Buildings accounted for almost 39% of total energy consumption and almost 39% of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. in 2005. Additionally, building construction, renovation, use and demolition together constitute about two-thirds of all non-industrial solid waste generation in the U.S. (www.epa.gov). We find these numbers to be staggeringly high and believe that we as design professionals have a distinct responsibility to ourselves, to our clients, and to the environment to approach structural design with sensitivity towards resource consumption and environmental impact.
We stress the importance of getting involved early in the design process to address structural implications of proposed green architectural features, as well as discuss aspects of the project where sustainable structural features can be implemented. Examples of sustainable structural features that we have used in green projects include high fly ash concrete, structural steel (which is inherently the most recycled material used in building construction), engineered wood products, and all-bolted structural connections to facilitate deconstruction, among others.
Our Green Pledge
It is our professional, ethical and humane duty as inhabitants of this sacred planet and as designers of devices composed of its natural resources to heed our impact on the world of the present and future and to seek out and employ sustainable means of practice. It thus behooves us to continually examine our personal and professional principles and practices, realize their impact on both the natural and built environments, and modify said efficacies in order to nurture the evolving intimacy between nature and culture.