The facts are clear: our emission of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is accumulating at unprecedented rates due to human activity. Climate change is precipitating more extreme weather events and myriad effects that impact all corners of the globe.
As architects, we are positioned to shape the solution. To us, sustainability is not a line item on a budget, nor a marketing buzzword. Design that exemplifies stewardship of the environment through daylighting, connection to the outdoors, energy efficient systems, and durable, sustainably-sourced materials is core to HMFH’s business model and has been since our founding. We believe sustainability is not only achievable, but imperative. It is our duty as part of the architecture, engineering, and construction industry to lead the way forward.
It’s one thing to talk the talk but to celebrate our 50th anniversary, we are furthering our commitment to walk the walk. We will measure our own carbon footsteps and look at how we can unload carbon. We will take a deep dive into our office operations to quantify, understand, and reduce our impact in these three areas:
Taken together, these efforts will give us a clear picture of the ways we can reduce emissions and lighten our firm’s carbon footprint.
We have consistently developed innovative strategies throughout our five decades of work, from one of our early high school projects that incorporated an ice storage system allowing the school to make use of off-peak electric rates, to our current projects that are designed with geothermal wells, solar thermal hot water heaters, and PV that contributes energy back to the grid.
To continually improve our profession’s practices, we signed on to the AIA’s 2030 Commitment in 2015. This shared commitment by more than 500 firms across the country in the design and construction industry targets the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel consumption, and water consumption in the built environment with the ultimate goal of designing and building carbon-neutral buildings by 2030. In 2017, the collective efforts of the signatory firms saw a carbon savings of 17.8 million metric tons over the 2030 baseline equivalent buildings. The AEC industry is moving in the right direction, but we are committed to doing more.
Diving deeply into the strategies to reduce carbon within our office will further our understanding and ability to incorporate innovative strategies into our projects. We look forward to sharing our research and implementation of these strategies with you throughout the year!