Keith Hempel Appointed to National AIA 2030 Working Group

LPA Design Director of Commercial Keith Hempel was recently appointed to the AIA National’s 2030 Commitment Working Group, where he will help lead the architecture industry efforts to achieve net zero buildings.

The Working Group provides strategic direction for the 2030 Commitment program, which calls on architects to reach energy reduction targets on the way to reaching net zero in 2030. The group also advises firms on best practices, shares resources and addresses the program’s tactical implementation. LPA was the largest firm in the country to meet the Commitment’s target of a 70 percent reduction in energy use the last two years.

“My involvement in the Working Group is an opportunity for LPA to share lessons learned in exceeding 2030 Commitment benchmarks and help the profession raise the bar on achieving the commitment’s targets,” Hempel says.

LPA was an early signatory of the 2030 Commitment and has developed a wide variety of practices and internal initiatives to help achieve high-performing buildings. LPA invests in education for all designers to understand energy performance issues, provides access to emerging technology and resources, and maintains a culture that embraces the same mission of energy reduction. As an integrated firm, LPA brings together architects, engineers, interior designers and researchers, who collaborate at early stages of projects to ensure all design decisions support energy efficiency and sustainability goals.

Hempel believes this holistic approach is the best way to push building performance to a higher level and ultimately achieve net zero target. Firm transparency in setting goals, tracking progress and sharing results play a large role in improving efficiencies, he says. Design leaders should empower projects teams to meet energy reduction goals by instilling “a culture that makes it clear you can’t achieve outstanding design without outstanding environmental performance,” he wrote for a recent AIA National article, “Five Tips for Meeting the 2030 Commitment.”

“The most important thing LPA has to offer the profession is to share how we’ve built our culture and how it has helped us become successful in integrating high performance design and design excellence,” Hempel said. The Wall Street Journal recently discussed the challenges the industry faces in meeting 2030 Commitment benchmarks. Only 27 out of 19,000 building-design firms owned by AIA members reported meeting their annual mark according to a recent AIA report.

To start his three-year appointment, Hempel will serve on the Firm Culture subgroup, where he will focus on helping firms develop the type of practices that lead to higher performance design. In his 25-year career at LPA, Hempel has become a leading advocate for sustainable design and a frequent speaker at industry events. In September, he was a keynote panelist for Architecture 2030’s CarbonPositive RESET: Designing to Meet 1.5ºC” Global Teach-in.