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Reduce, Reuse, Reform

How one Architecture firm has pledged to create more sustainable buildings.

Presented by April 11, 2016

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Did you know that buildings consume nearly half of all the energy produced in the United States? According to a 2013 U.S. Energy Information Administration survey, buildings consume 47.6% of total energy and 74.9% of all U.S. electricity. During a time in which sustainability and climate change have become daily topics of conversation, reducing carbon footprints at every scale—from the micro to the macro--is as important as ever.

According to Energy Trust of Oregon, commercial buildings are the largest source of carbon emissions in Portland. Recently, The City of Portland passed a policy addressing the energy performance of commercial properties over 20,000 sq. ft. With the help of the Oregon chapter of BOMA, Building Owners and Managers Association, a strategy was developed to begin energy reporting for properties that include office, retail spaces, grocery stores, healthcare, higher education facilities, and hotels. The energy reports generated by the owners will become a valuable tool for architects and engineers designing new buildings or improving existing conditions.

One subset of the construction industry with a unique opportunity to reduce carbon footprints are the architects and interior designers who are shaping buildings for the future. Ankrom Moisan is one these design firms upholding principles to design more energy efficient buildings. With a portfolio that includes more than two dozen LEED Certified projects, as well as the largest multifamily Passive House development in North America, the Portland-based firm has recently extended their obligation to sustainable design by pledging the AIA 2030 Commitment.

Inspired by Architecture 2030’s challenges to reduce energy and emissions for new and old buildings, The American Institute of Architects (AIA) developed a national movement to provide an outline for architects to consistently record and evaluate the environmental impact of their designs. This commitment, released in 2009, is striving for a carbon-neutral built environment by the year 2030. Simply put: all buildings of the future will be designed to use zero fossil fuels. 

The journey to achieving net zero standards begins with creating a Sustainability Action Plan. Although there are no specific requirements for this plan, it is intended to keep sustainable measures at the forefront of each architectural design. Ankrom Moisan has formed a practice group to focus the firm’s sustainability efforts and ensure that they are continually progressing toward their Net Zero goals. Current initiatives include making responsible materials selection for every project and improving internal workplace operations.

With Earth Day just around the corner, Ankrom Moisan will be introducing firm-wide initiatives throughout the month. To learn more about the firm’s work, visit www.ankrommoisan.com. Interested in joining their sustainable-minded team? Visit the Careers Page at www.ankrommoisan.com/thrive/careers.