Press Releases 04.22.2020

Our Firm Commits to Carbon Assessments for all Projects in Western Canada

We now offer clients a Carbon Impact Statement as part of our standard service for all projects located in Western Canada

VANCOUVER, British Columbia—On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Vancouver and Calgary studios of Perkins and Will announce that they will immediately begin offering clients a Carbon Impact Statement with every project at no additional cost to help identify carbon reduction measures.

The Statement will build upon best practices to limit “operational” carbon—greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted during the project’s operations phase—through the integration of passive design measures, minimization of energy loads, optimization of systems, and integration of energy renewables. It will also include recommendations on the use of low-embodied-carbon materials, striving to limit GHGs emitted during the materials’ life cycle.

The new offering represents the next chapter in the studios’ long-standing commitment to reduce GHG emissions, and will be integrated into the early design stage of every project. Led by their research and sustainability team, this initiative will be applied to projects located in Western Canada.

“Building upon our legacy of designing great places for people and our planet, we are committed to helping our clients create buildings and spaces that are climate-positive,” says Susan Gushe, managing director at Perkins and Will’s Vancouver and Calgary studios. “We are at a critical juncture to make meaningful change, and are pleased to offer our clients a Carbon Impact Statement as a means to help reduce each project’s GHG emissions.”

Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector
The building and construction industry contributes a total of 39 percent of the world's emissions.

Meeting Performance Requirements

Contributing 39 percent of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions (according to the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction), the building and construction industry faces increasingly aggressive regulatory performance requirements, like the BC Energy Step Code and City of Vancouver’s Zero Emissions Building policy. The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) also recently released version two of its Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standard, further illustrating the motivation to raise the bar on carbon reductions in the industry.

Designed to help clients address these requirements, the Carbon Impact Statement provides carbon reduction strategies for all project types—­from interiors and retrofits to new builds and community planning.

“Our aim is to help our clients get ahead of the curve in delivering sustainable buildings and spaces that meet or exceed progressively demanding energy codes within their budget,” says Kathy Wardle, associate principal and director of sustainability in the Vancouver and Calgary studios of Perkins and Will. “We will not only provide clients with proven design measures for reducing operational carbon, but we will also future-proof their projects for emerging embodied carbon policies.”

A Carbon Impact Roadmap

In support of this effort, the studios’ research and sustainability team is releasing Embodied Carbon in the Built EnvironmentA Primer that summarizes emerging knowledge on embodied carbon targets, conservation strategies, tools, and timelines for action. This report, along with the Carbon Impact Statement, provides a roadmap for the next generation of impactful projects.

“As the reality of climate change sinks into the hearts and minds of humanity, we must embrace the invention of a new path forward—not just with buildings but with everything we do on this planet,” says Bruce Langereis, President of Delta Land Development. “Reducing carbon emissions in every way is not a choice anymore…it is a necessity for all our survival.”

Carbon Life Cycle
A building’s whole life carbon is made up of the following life cycle stages: product stage, construction process stage, use stage, and end of life stage, as defined by and derived from European Standard EN 15978.

Our Commitment

This new initiative is a natural evolution of Perkins and Will’s leadership in sustainability. As early adopters of climate-positive design, the firm prides itself in operating a carbon neutral business over the last decade. With its commitments to Architecture 2030, Perkins and Will is deeply committed to collaborating with industry peers to advance the performance of the building industry. Perkins and Will co-led the development of the RELi Resilient Building and Design Standard, participated as pilot members of the CaGBC’s Zero Carbon Building Pilot Program, EC3 embodied carbon tool, and Fitwel standard. Leaders throughout Perkins and Will have served on the AIA’s Thought Leader for the Materials Knowledge Group and Committee on the Environment, and served on the Education Committee and Board of Passive House Canada. As founding signatories of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada’s (RAIC) Committee on Regenerative Environment’s (CORE) “Architects Declare” initiative, Perkins and Will is committed to accelerated climate action.

Download the executive summary

Download the full report