SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING DESIGN
Linchpin SE is committed to sustainable future development through Net Zero design. We’ve joined the SE2050 movement of reducing embodied carbon by both monitoring and minimizing the use of impactful structural materials, an initiative spearheaded by Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
The SE2050 program aims to:
Educate the industry on the best practices of sustainable structural design and construction that will lead to net-zero embodied carbon by 2050
Engage in an embodied carbon tracking program until net-zero is realized
Report on the current embodied carbon impacts and trends of various structural systems for different regions.
Architecture 2030 reports that buildings make up a collective 39% of all annual global CO2 emissions with 11% produced directly from building materials and construction (Architecture 2030, 2018). Of that 11%, 9% is produced by concrete, iron and steel (WoodWorks Wood Products Council, 2021).
Given that the emissions associated with building materials are such a crucial and growing issue, developers are beginning to recognize the appeal and long-term cost savings of green buildings. A study by the U.S. General Services administration found that green buildings use 27% less energy, have 13% lower maintenance costs, and report 27% higher levels of occupant satisfaction than their classically designed counterparts (General Services Administration, 2008).
As the data in favor of green design continues to build up, the sustainability movement will continue to gain ground and will eventually become standard practice. Now is the time for the structural engineering industry to commit to doing our part in reducing the global environmental impact of our work. Linchpin SE is proud to be a Signatory Firm committed to this important environmental movement.
By educating ourselves about the issues and available opportunities, documenting and reporting our progress, and advocating to our industry partners to develop collaborative approaches, we can begin to create real change in our industry.
SE 2050 Signatory Firm Highlight Interview
We are thrilled to be recognized in the SE2050 August Firm Highlight. Read about our interview below:
This month we spoke with Linchpin on committing to SE 2050 and the sustainability movement within structural engineering.
1) Why did Linchpin Structural Engineering, Inc. (Linchpin) commit to the program?
Linchpin joined the SE 2050 commitment because we believe climate action is required at all levels. We understand the impact our industry has on the environment, and we believe it is our duty to support the movement to reduce embodied carbon in our structures. In addition, we see the market evolving to demand environmental consciousness. Firms that are willing to evolve are going to be the leaders of the future.
2) What excites Linchpin the most about SE 2050?
We are excited to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Tackling climate change at any level cannot be done alone. We are excited about the collaboration SE 2050 provides, including access to leading-edge research and resources in the carbon-neutral effort throughout the structural engineering community.
3) Does Linchpin have a favorite past project that had a focus on sustainability? If so, what was the best part of that project with regard to its sustainability goals?
Linchpin previously completed design on a custom residence with a sustainability-focused design team. Among other highly innovative design considerations, the design team opted to use a hemp composite wall insulation technology that prevented Linchpin from utilizing traditional lateral force-resisting systems. We worked with the design team and the permitting jurisdiction to develop a timber brace system that met the needs of all team members and maintained the focus on material efficiency and sustainability which was a hallmark of the overall project. It was an exciting challenge and we look forward to the opportunity to complete similar creative solutions on future projects. Working with a collaborative team with a common goal of sustainability was refreshing and hopefully a harbinger of future opportunities to come!
Speaking of future projects, Linchpin is currently in the early design phase for a mid-scale commercial building, which intends to be a complete carbon net-zero building. This will be achieved through its energy sources, energy usage, construction materials, and architectural/engineering design. Once complete, we intend the project to be Linchpin’s SE 2050 highlight project for 2022.
4) Does Linchpin have any advice for other firms considering making the SE 2050 commitment and/or another sustainability goal?
Our advice to other firms is to join now; the movement will be much more powerful with more committed firms on board. The community and resources are an invaluable aid to all our efforts. Sustainable design is the future of engineering in all disciplines. Taking the time and investing the resources to get on board now is in the best interest of every design/engineering firm and in the best interest of our planet.
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