Looking forward to 2022, our committee has listed three primary areas of focus: Sustainable Design Workflow, Education and Knowledge Sharing, and Strategic Planning. By setting goals within each of these areas, we hope to continue to refine our internal processes, increase our general firm knowledge on sustainable design best practices, products, and systems, all of which will work to align our overall initiatives with our firm’s strategic goals.
In terms of our in-house workflow, our committee plans to continue to improve our project checklist and increase transparency for our project teams. Check-ins will continue to take place at regular intervals throughout the design process to reinforce our standard sustainability practices and goals. We also plan on auditing our process documentation with a consultant from the Department of Sustainability who will assist us in further refining our focus.
More specifically, our committee is largely focused on better understanding our projects’ carbon footprints, accounting for both the embodied and operational carbon that results from their construction and use. In efforts to develop a better understanding of our projects’ embodied carbon, we’ve continued our deployment of Tally on select projects, an embodied carbon measurement software, while also beginning to analyze typical building assemblies that are common in our work.
Regarding our buildings’ operational carbon, we intend to begin leaning more heavily on post-occupancy energy use data to not only have an accurate accounting of a project’s actual energy use, but also to better predict the energy use of future projects early in the design phase. As we continue towards our 2030 goal of net-zero operational carbon for all new projects, it’s becoming clear that we must not rely solely on theoretical modeling alone.
And although we’ve identified that bringing a higher level of organization and carefully vetting and documenting our processes are key to us realizing our goals, we also feel that a big part of furthering our sustainability initiatives depends on keeping our entire staff educated on current and emerging sustainable technologies and products, through the sharing of our own research as well as engaging with our peers. This year, we plan on holding quarterly sustainability focused information sessions and presentations with the entire firm as we continue to develop a deeper understanding of our practice’s roles in the bigger picture of climate awareness. In terms of Strategic Planning, this will also allow us to better align our firm’s strategic and sustainability goals, further engraining sustainability as a cornerstone of our firm’s future.