Yost Grube Hall Architecture's Climate Action Contribution
About Yost Grube Hall Architecture's Climate Efforts
We have a responsibility to provide the best service we can to our clients. This includes our responsibility to investigate how our work influences the current climate crisis. We strive to design buildings and operate our office to be part of the solution, not further contribute to the problem.
YGH has been an AIA 2030 Commitment signatory for 11 years, committed to tracking and reporting our project’s progress towards the 2030 Challenge – a global target that all new buildings, developments, and major renovations shall be carbon-neutral by 2030. We are continuously striving to meet 2030 targets and in 2018 YGH was one of 16 (out of 252) firms that met the 70% reduction target across their entire portfolio. We also work closely with Energy Trust of Oregon, a regional organization, that assists owners in designing energy efficiency into their projects with technical assistance and cash incentives.
Additionally, we are strongly focused on reducing the embodied carbon in our projects. Making material choices based on embodied carbon and material life cycle analysis transparency information is a vital part of our design process.
We commit to:
1. Use BIM processing and Life Cycle Analysis to quantify embodied energy.
2. Choose project materials with embodied carbon in mind.
3. Look for options to absorb and/or sequester carbon emissions where possible.
4. Discuss with our clients their options for reducing the embodied carbon and operational carbon to promote a more carbon responsible or climate restorative building.
We not only strive to reduce our carbon footprint by encouraging bike and public transit commuting and remote meetings, we also offset our carbon emissions by purchasing third party verified carbon credits through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.
We commit to:
1. Offset project travel mileage: cars, trains, and airplanes,
2. Offset employee commuter emissions.
3. Utilize car rental and car sharing companies that are offsetting their carbon.
4. Support remote meetings over in-person meetings whenever appropriate.
5. Provide discounted public transportation passes to employees for commute.
6. Provide walk/bike cash incentive to employees.
7. Purchase external goods from local or regional sources as much as possible.
8. Purchase office meals locally with local producers and utilize reusable dishware.
9. Utilize a shared local material resource library.
Climate Action Commitments
Current Climate Actions Yost Grube Hall Architecture Is Taking:
Commit to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutant Emissions
Short-lived climate pollutants—such as black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons—are powerful climate warmers many times more potent than CO2 over their lifetimes. Because they are short-lived in the atmosphere, actions to reduce these super pollutants can have substantial, near-term climate, agricultural and health benefits and are an essential complement to CO2 reduction strategies. Policy-makers can announce regulatory or voluntary approaches to drastically reduce SLCPs, such as developing methane strategies or adopting rules on use of warming HFCs. Organizations can commit to engage with suppliers to provide training, conduct pollutant inventories, and establish systems for tracking, measuring, and monitoring these types of emissions. Analysis shows that SLCP emissions can be cost-effectively reduced by an estimated 40-50 percent by 2030.
Policymakers, companies and organizations are encouraged to accept the #SLCPChallenge of the U.S. Climate Alliance, which calls for ambitious action on SLCPs. Feel free to elaborate on your work towards reduction, along with your other efforts, in the "Other Commitments" field below.
Commit to Reduce Climate Impacts of Packaging and Reducing Waste
There are many ways to reduce the climate impact of packaging including reducing materials (i.e., “source reduction”); replacing virgin materials with post-consumer recycled content; replacing traditional plastics made from fossil fuels with biopolymers; re-designing packaging to be more compact and therefore efficient for transport and storage; using biodegradable packing materials; and recycling at end of the packaging’s life to name just a few practices.
Commit to Building Climate Resilience in your Community
By committing to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate, companies and institutions can secure their operations and supply chains and conserve natural resources that are stressed due to climate change. While there is much a business can do within their community, primary among these options is reducing water usage. Organizations can commit to increase their own water security through a range of actions, including installing water-saving devices, capturing rainwater for onsite uses, and recycling grey water. Or just commit to get engaged with your community in resilience planning.
Commit to Reducing the Climate Impact of Your Transportation
Organizations making a commitment to reduce the climate impact of transportation should consider practices such as measuring transportation greenhouse gas emissions and setting reduction targets, switching fuels, optimizing the efficiency of shipping operations, and reducing transit- and travel-related greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses can develop a green transportation action plan to map the movement of goods to market and identify opportunities to increase efficiency. Organizations can buy hybrid and electric vehicles within their own fleet, and can reduce the footprint of their workforce through incentivizing public transportation, installing EV charging stations, promoting telework, and locating near transit centers.
Commit to Increase Energy Efficiency
Most companies begin by assessing energy usage or performing an energy audit to identify opportunities to increase energy efficiency throughout their facilities and operations. Energy reduction targets can be framed as either absolute reductions or reductions that are normalized per unit of production, such as per tons shipped, per dollars of revenue produced, or other relevant business metric. Some examples of commitments that can be taken include:
- Conducting an energy audit or request a meeting with your building owner to explore scheduling an audit
- Upgrading HVAC system to a more efficient model
- Upgrading lights in your office/facility to LEDs
- Upgrading insulation and windows
- Replacing appliances in your office with Energy Star-rated models
- Instituting a company policy of turning off lights other electronics when not in use.
Commit to Understand and Reduce Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Understanding your GHG emissions is the first step to making measurable reductions in those emissions. The EPA provides an overview report and CoolClimate Network provides a simple tool for “low emitters” to better understand sources of emissions, as well as how to use that information to set reduction targets. For this commitment, it is as simple as committing to complete a greenhouse gas inventory for your business or oganization, but in the future your inventory can be used to make a commitment to set a specific goal, such as “reduce GHG emissions by 50% by 2025.
New Climate Actions Yost Grube Hall Architecture Commits To Take:
Commit to Increase Your Use of Renewable Power
Increasing your percentage of renewable energy sources is a key component of reducing overall GHG emissions. Installing onsite renewable generation, like solar panels, is a good long-term strategy if possible. But renewable energy can also be procured through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), renewable power purchasing agreements (PPAs), and in some locations from retail electricity providers or local utilities that offers a high percentage of renewable power. Also consider becoming an EPA Green Power Partner.
YGH’s multi-disciplinary practice includes planning, programming, architecture, and interior design specialists. In our single office, we combine these specialties with in-house sustainability, cost-management and building information modeling (BIM) experts. We have defined a team-based “learning organization” model and believe that a unified collaborative culture attracts, trains and empowers the best staff producing the best work. Our stable staff size over the past fifteen years, working together in one office environment, provides us the strongest basis for consistent design quality and client service.