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2020 Environmental Stewardship Report

Premnath Sundharam

In the past decade, we have seen supporting policies, regulations, and commitments at the local and regional levels in the United States and throughout the world, urging industries and institutions to accelerate action to combat climate change. The past year also brought challenges beyond our control including the COVID-19 pandemic and a significant uptick in natural disasters including wildfires and hurricanes. This resulted in the highest levels of carbon dioxide ever recorded.

DLR Group is a passionate advocate for zero net energy design and we are collaborating with clients around the world to deliver true sustainable facilities with innovative operational plans to foster a richer understanding of zero net energy buildings. Accelerating the design and delivery of zero net energy buildings is crucial if we are to produce the needed outcomes to solve the climate change challenge during this decade.

Five-Year Impact of Sustainable Design

2020 marks a milestone in our progress toward the goal of Architecture 2030. The past five years have given DLR Group the opportunity to grow our sustainability story in tangible ways.

From 2016 to 2020 DLR Group:

  • Tracked more than 500 projects against the 2030 Challenge goals
  • Designed approximately 60 million SF of projects driven by the 2030 Challenge
  • Achieved an overall average 50 percent energy reduction compared to the average energy use in similar buildings. That average represents a 28 percent improvement from 2016.

In 2020, the firm’s investment to research and development of new design tools and process returned valuable benefits for clients, communities, and the planet.

Sustainability in Action

Our average reduction target of predicted net energy use intensity based on performance data, has consistently exceeded the national peer group average. In 2020, our integrated design process resulted in a 53 percent pnEUI reduction compared to average buildings. More than one-third of design projects were adaptive reuse or major renovation projects, further contributing to the embodied carbon savings by reusing existing buildings. Beyond embodied carbon, DLR Group is addressing the impact of designs on another precious resource – water. In 2020, the energy delivery process of our designs saved an estimated 1.4 trillion gallons of water.

Continued Commitment

We continue to live our core value of environmental stewardship through a variety of internal and external initiatives including material transparency efforts; developing workshop tools for zero net energy; net positive water; and biophilic design. Building on our mass timber expertise by serving clients throughout North America, we have begun to position carbon as the common denominator in integrated design conversations. This report celebrates DLR Group’s commitment to environmental stewardship by highlighting key projects, initiatives, and accomplishments of the past decade.

2020 Environmental Stewardship Report

Read our progress. This report transparently celebrates environmental stewardship over the past decade. Download the report.

This article was co-authored by DLR Group Principal Lindsey Piant Perez, AIA, GGP.  

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