Global architecture firm Perkins&Will has announced they will now be issuing clients a ‘carbon forecast’ for their projects. The forecast itself is a tool aimed at facilitating measurable and meaningful carbon reduction in the built environment, helping clients understand their projects’ carbon impact at the earliest stages of the design process.
The forecasts will assess each stage of the building process in its report, including design, construction and operation, but most importantly, these measures will help identify bespoke steps clients and project teams can take to reduce those emissions. These will include:
- Strategies for realizing net-zero operational carbon immediately or in the near-term.
- Measures for realizing maximum reductions in embodied carbon.
- And opportunities for enabling circular design.
“Firmwide, we’re investing in research and talent, emphasizing scientific rigor in our design process, and coordinating with global partners to effect change at scale,” says Kathy Wardle, principal and director of sustainability. “We’re applying all available industry tools and even building new ones, and we’ll benchmark performance and catalogue best practices as we go.”
Kaiser Borsai Hall to Prototype the First Carbon Forecast
One of the first clients to receive a carbon forecast has been Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington with the construction of the new Kaiser Borsari Hall. The University’s future home for electrical engineering, computer science, and energy science, Kaiser Borsari Hall will be the only carbon-neutral academic facility in the region—and one of only a handful in the U.S.—when it opens in 2024. The carbon forecast, the University says, has helped them substantially in achieving that goal.
“The design of Kaiser Borsari Hall is one more example of Western’s leadership in sustainability, and the carbon forecast for the project provides a high-impact visualization that demonstrates the value of carbon reduction to our organization and community,” says Rick Benner, university architect and senior director of capital planning and development at Western Washington University. “The forecast may also help attract donors who can support specific measures to drive the project as near to ‘net-zero’ as possible.”
Though the firm notes its carbon forecasts will by no means be a global warming panacea, Phil Harrison, CEO at Perkins&Will does believe they represent another significant financial and intellectual capital investment in research and strategic partnerships to accelerate carbon reduction.
“It might sound hyperbolic, but the truth is that the health of our planet and all of humanity is at stake,” Harrison says. “We believe carbon forecasts can help our clients drive down their carbon emissions with greater confidence and measurable impact—and that’s a leap in the right direction.”
The firm will report its progress in one year.