Quinn Evans was featured as an Embodied Carbon case study in the American Institute of Architects most recent AIA 2030 Commitment Report titled “2030 by the Numbers” released in December 2021. The report measures annual performance of the architecture and design community toward its goal of carbon neutral buildings by 2030. It includes data from calendar year 2020 and suggestions for improving performance year to year. This is the first-time embodied carbon has been included in the data collection and reflects AIA’s focus to “help ensure we’re focusing not just on energy but also more broadly on buildings’ life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions.” Quinn Evans tracks basic embodied carbon metrics on all our projects as part of our commitment to reduce carbon impact and value existing buildings.

Quinn Evans specializes in historic preservation and the redesign of existing buildings, and the firm has been a leader in exploring the sustainable value of existing buildings long before embodied carbon became common sustainability lexicon.  The ‘Planting Seeds’ case study featured in this report was included because Quinn Evans had the highest percentage of projects that track embodied carbon. Every project team at Quinn Evans uses the very simple Construction Carbon Calculator early in design to benchmark a rough estimate of the carbon impact of construction, building reuse, and to get a sense of how different choices may yield different embodied carbon results.

“We’re trying to build familiarity with what the metrics of embodied carbon are—what is a big number, what is a small number, what is your benchmark, what is your target? We are starting to plant seeds.

Julia Siple AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, Senior Associate, and Director of Sustainability at Quinn Evans.

A photo of Julia Siple in front of a bookshelf.
Julia Siple AIA, LEED AP, BD+C

Siple is excited that embodied carbon reporting is now an option in the DDx. The 2030 Commitment “started with energy because it felt accessible: This is where we have control, influence, and opportunities.” The industry has made progress and energy use per square foot is typically much lower than it was when the AIA 2030 Commitment started in 2009. Broadening the scope of this report to emphasize zero carbon strategies through energy modeling, electrification, renewable energy, and embodied carbon is a big deal. It represents progress and our commitment as architects, designers, and industry leaders to continue to be part of the solution of Climate Change.

Quinn Evans is a signatory member of the 1.5oC COP26 Communique spearheaded by Architecture 2030. As leaders in the international building industry, we understand the importance of reducing carbon emissions for a lasting built environment. You can read the full report for more information.