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News > Context Winter 2024 > Editors’ Letter: Shaping the Future

Editors’ Letter: Shaping the Future

When approaching this issue, our topic was quite broad in thinking about Policy and Design; however, we felt it important to highlight how our work can create meaningful change to our community and that our efforts can shape future policy. Our expertise as architects is valuable to policymakers when thinking about the built environment and it’s important that we partner with our elected officials to advocate for our core goals of Advancing Design, Leading on Climate Action, and Prioritizing Equity & Justice. 

In Pennsylvania we are fortunate to have many architects transition to politicians, and we’ve featured how their design education has influenced their policymaking. Pennsylvania is also one of the very few states that has a well-established architecture advocacy group working within the political sphere. Our past city mayor promoted an architect as deputy mayor; while AIA Philadelphia collaborates with local legislators, members, and our community at large to offer insights aimed at enhancing proposed legislation to foster a better built environment.  

With our successful lobbying to adopt newer building codes five years ago, the state is finally on a cycle to update with the latest 2021 ICC Family of Codes to be adopted in 2025. This is a giant leap for net zero carbon that AIA National & Architecture 2030 spearheaded as a voluntary renewable energy portion touted as the Zero Code in IECC Appendix CC. While we wait for state law to require more stringent energy efficiency, many firms are pushing for full electrification of projects to remove fossil fuels within a building.  

When Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, they earmarked significant funding for renewable energy, and energy efficiency for both home-owners and commercial properties. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is in the process of getting approval for the use of this federal tax money and by next year we are expecting they will roll out with tax incentives for the Commonwealth. This is an exciting time to see what lies ahead and how we can help shape the future. 

 

Fauzia Sadiq Garcia, RA, LEED AP 

Assistant Professor, Temple University 

Partner, Sadiq Garcia Design 

CONTEXT Editor 

Daryn Edwards, AIA, LEED AP 

Principal, Cicada Architecture/Planning 

CONTEXT Editor 

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