According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings account for one-third of energy use, 30 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions and 30 percent of raw material use in the U.S. today. If we can reduce the environmental impact of a building and the people who live in it by 50 percent, we can significantly improve the quality of life for everyone. Minimizing carbon footprint and decreasing dependency on oil are fundamental to our sustainability goals.
Carbon footprint measures the impact of human activity on the environment in terms of the amount of harmful greenhouse gases produced and measured in units of carbon dioxide. To reduce the carbon footprint and energy dependence in all of our buildings, we build with innovative water- and energy-conserving features: rainwater harvesting, daylighting, solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and more. We recycle the vast majority of demolition and building materials, use recycled content (such as rapidly reusable steel and concrete) and provide residents with eco-friendly cleaning supplies, among other strategies.
We are passionate about urban development because it has less of an impact on the environment than other kinds of development. Building within existing infrastructures is inherently more sustainable than creating new ones, and dense urban developments require less land and other resources than new suburban homes and other buildings serving a comparable number of people. In addition, people who live in dense urban areas tend to use less fuel because they don’t drive as much. We also encourage the development of alternate forms of transportation that help reduce carbon emissions and dependency on oil, such as walking, biking, streetcar and the bus.
At first glance, some of our ideas seem unconventional: utilizing photovoltaics, wind turbines, ground-source heat pumps and fuel cell technology, to name a few. We spend countless hours researching and developing alternative technologies. Some methods don’t live up to our expectations, but most meet or surpass them. Whatever the outcome, each experience gives us an opportunity to learn and use this knowledge in other applications. For us, every idea is worth considering; we keep learning every day.