The American Institute of Architects (AIA), a professional association for architects, recently made several additions to its Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct with the intention of improving sustainability and decreasing the health impacts of materials. The new code, which outlines the tenets of ethical behavior by all AIA members, states that “members should select and use building materials to minimize exposure to toxins and pollutants in the environment to promote environmental and human health and to reduce waste and pollution.”
In addition to these ethical standards, which guide the work of AIA chapters and members (numbering over 260 and over 91,000, respectively), the organization offers a step-by-step protocol for setting healthier materials goals that educates members on design and implementation best practices. We applaud the AIA for including consideration of material health impacts as a tenet of ethical behavior. We look forward to providing continued guidance to the architecture and design communities as they work with their clients to make product choices that are healthier for all people and the planet.