Decarbonization 101

Exploring the opportunities to achieve operational decarbonization and reduce embodied carbon with design. 

This On Demand CEU is a recorded presentation from a previous live event.

By: Jeanette Fitzgerald Pitts 

Decarbonizing the built environment might be the hottest topic on the planet. Buildings account for nearly 40% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions—a major player in the current climate crisis. Nearly one-third of that is from burning fossil fuels on site. Architects are uniquely situated to make a real and material difference with design.

From helping to achieve an operational building decarbonization to reducing the embodied carbon that exists in the products and materials on a project, design teams can embrace decarbonization in many ways. This course explores the current path to decarbonization and the products, solutions, and strategies currently available to support architects’ efforts to kick carbon use to the curb.


After reading this article, you should be able to: 

  • Explain the difference between operational decarbonization and embodied carbon.
  • Summarize the design path to achieving operational decarbonization and the most effective architectural strategies for designing energy efficient buildings
  • Discuss how some leading architectural firms are innovating and participating in this shift toward decarbonization.
  • Identify several product categories where architects now have low embodied carbon options.

Image credit:  © NASA

Not Enrolled

Course Includes

  • 1 Lesson
  • 1 Quiz
  • Course Certificate
  • AIA

    Credits: 1 LU/HSW

    Instructional Delivery Method: On-Demand: Print/Other

    Prerequisites: None

    Program Level: Basic

    Advance learner preparation: N/A

    AIA CES program approval expiration date: 9/26/2026


    AIA CES Provider statement: Endeavor Business Media is a registered provider of AIA-approved continuing education under Provider Number 10084542. All registered AIA CES Providers must comply with the AIA Standards for Continuing Education Programs. Any questions or concerns about this provider or this learning program may be sent to AIA CES ( or (800) AIA 3837, Option 3). This learning program is registered with AIA CES for continuing professional education. As such, it does not include content that may be deemed or construed to be an approval or endorsement by the AIA of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product. AIA continuing education credit has been reviewed and approved by AIA CES. Learners must complete the entire learning program to receive continuing education credit. AIA continuing education Learning Units earned upon completion of this course will be reported to AIA CES for AIA members. Certificates of Completion for both AIA members and non-AIA members are available upon request.





    This CEU is registered with the Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC) for continuing education credits.