An international organization consisting of engineers, scientists, architects and other professionals Thornton Tomasetti aspires to be one of the most sustainable firms through its design projects and business operations. It was the first primarily structural engineering firm to join the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2030 Commitment; an active member of UK Architects Declare Climate and Biodiversity Emergency; and is an early adopter of the Architecture 2030 Challenge, which envisions all new buildings and renovations as carbon-neutral by 2030.
As a firm that “practices what they preach”, Thornton Tomasetti strives to reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact of its annual operations. Toward the goal of achieving carbon-neutral business operations by 2030, the firm’s management sets short-and medium-term targets for reducing carbon emissions from office operations with the assistance of its local green champions and Corporate Responsibility Department. Since starting data collection in 2012, the firm has reduced its average annual per capita carbon footprint from 5.37 to 2.96 metric tons of CO2e/person.
Thornton Tomasetti’s carbon neutrality goal will be reached through energy use reductions first and carbon offsets only in those areas where reductions are not possible. To that end, Thornton Tomasetti has calculated and offset the carbon emissions for all necessary and unavoidable employee business travel for the past seven years in partnership with Carbonfund.org Foundation. To date, Thornton Tomasetti has neutralized almost 16.2 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s new energy efficiency technology and renewable energy projects through the purchase and retirement of carbon offsets produced by those projects. Those emissions reductions are equivalent to eliminating the carbon emissions produced by the annual electricity usage of 1242 residential homes.
Thornton Tomasetti measures each office location’s electricity consumption and heating fuel use, waste emissions, and travel emissions from commuting and business travel. Every two years, the firm conducts an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and compares the most recent carbon footprint data to the baseline to assess progress toward their climate neutrality goal.
Thornton Tomasetti’s Sustainability practice consults with clients on LEED and other green building certifications and provides building analytics for sustainability. Internally, all Thornton Tomasetti new office fit-outs or major office renovations that are 4,000 sq. ft. or larger must endeavor to seek LEED for Commercial Interiors Gold or an equivalent certification. Thornton Tomasetti has provided leadership in the AEC industry on embodied carbon – the carbon footprint of building materials and construction – and is a long-time sponsor of the Carbon Leadership Forum. The firm has built up a database of over 600 of its structural projects assessed for embodied carbon over its seven years of R&D on embodied carbon calculations and recently released its new Beacon tool for embodied carbon assessment.