News

NBBJ Becomes Carbon Neutral and Commits to Net Zero Carbon by 2050

NBBJ Becomes Carbon Neutral and Commits to Net Zero Carbon by 2050

The milestone makes the firm one of the largest in the industry to be carbon neutral certified.

SEATTLE – November 3, 2021 – NBBJ announced today that it has achieved CarbonNeutral® company certification, in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol, the leading global framework for carbon neutrality. The milestone is the latest development in the firm’s long-standing commitment to create resilient, sustainable communities.

As an early signatory of the 2030 challenge, today NBBJ has 7.5 million square feet of projects that meet the 2030 mandate of 80% fossil fuel reduction. In addition, the firm has more than five million square feet of net zero projects in design and millions of additional square feet of projects that meet sustainability criteria issued by organizations including LEED, BREEAM and the Living Building Challenge.

“As a purpose-driven company focused on sustainability, health and community, CarbonNeutral certification is a critical step in our quest to create lasting impact and to live out our values,” said Steve McConnell, FAIA, Managing Partner. “In addition, this milestone further aligns our culture with that of our clients and joins the international community to drastically reduce carbon emissions now.”

NBBJ selected Natural Capital Partners as its climate action partner due to its industry-leading carbon neutral framework and endorsement by key NBBJ clients such as Microsoft and Kaiser Permanente.

“We are happy to work with NBBJ as it demonstrates the critical role businesses must play in achieving a decarbonized world,” said Miguel Sossa, Vice President, Western Region at Natural Capital Partners. “In this critical decade of climate action, we need to use all the solutions available to deliver change. NBBJ’s net zero commitment and offsetting strategy is a showcase for going beyond business as usual and committing to making that change.”

Alongside the certification, NBBJ also commits to a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030 and to be fully net zero by 2050. NBBJ’s plan includes a further decrease in energy use across its offices, incentives for employees to use public transit, reduced air travel, contracts with carbon neutral suppliers and the purchase of carbon offsets.

“CarbonNeutral certification is an important milestone in our action plan for a decarbonized future,” said Jonathan Ward, FAIA, Design Partner. “We do this in parallel with an intensification to reduce carbon in our project work around the world, where our most profound impact can be achieved in supporting a low carbon economy. As a firm that has already reduced emissions on projects by 60% – above the industry average of 49% – we remain committed to concrete steps that move the needle.”

Currently, the firm is working with Microsoft to power its future headquarters using thermal energy, an important achievement to help the company in its effort to be carbon negative by 2030. Also in the Pacific Northwest, NBBJ has worked with three hospital systems to reduce energy consumption on their new expansions by almost 70%. And the firm’s proposed design of Amazon’s HQ2 outside Washington, D.C., will be powered using 100% renewable energy.

In addition, the firm’s Design Performance Group – which focuses on technological solutions that improve the health of building occupants and the environment simultaneously – is beta testing its new ZeroGuide, an open-source zero carbon tool that allows building owners and design teams to measure and reduce embodied and operational carbon. Through the firm’s philanthropic efforts, NBBJ has also partnered with the Nature Conservancy to plant 750,000 trees, sequestering more than 170,000 tons of CO2 over their lifetime.