For COP21, artists Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing created “Ice Watch Paris.”
Formed in the shape of a clock, the glacier ice installation drew public
attention to the impact of climate change.
For COP21, artists Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing created “Ice Watch Paris.”
Formed in the shape of a clock, the glacier ice installation drew public
attention to the impact of climate change.

Gensler Signs Paris Pledge for Action on Climate Change

Firm’s designs to help clients meet energy reduction targets

At the COP21 conference in Paris, global governments reached a historic agreement — they pledged to reduce carbon emissions to limit climate change to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Private corporations also stepped up to join their governments, committing to support the agreement by signing the Paris Pledge for Action.

We signed because as architects, planners and designers we want to be part of the solution. As we lead the design and construction process, we commit to doing so in a way that enables our clients to meet sustainability targets. Here is how we will do it.

Gensler will focus on demand reduction. Six years ago, we signed the Architecture 2030 agreement, which aims to achieve net zero in all new buildings by 2030. To date, Gensler is the largest contributor to this initiative. We are well on target to achieve 2030 objectives, and will continue in our commitment to assemble better teams and tools to get there.

Gensler will pursue design partnerships with engineers and clients who share and advance our commitment to reducing operational energy demand supported by our designs. We will also design and specify building materials that consume less energy in three stages: when they are made; when they are maintained; and also when they reach the end of their useful life. In short, we’re looking to team with innovators.

Here are the steps that Gensler will take as we join with global governments, institutions and organizations to achieve less than 2 degrees Celsius climate change together. We will initiate all of these steps in each of our projects, with a goal of completing at least three of these six steps in every project we build.

Gensler will:
  1. Initiate energy conversations with all of our clients at the onset of the design process. Then, we will document client energy targets and track them.
  2. Assemble industry-leading teams able to execute energy models and simulations, and explain why it is important for all clients to do them.
  3. Before choosing materials, Gensler design teams will analyze their life cycle and embodied energy. We’ll discuss options with our clients, and encourage the selection of materials that have less embodied energy.
  4. Coach clients to commission their projects to align our designs with building operations.
  5. Encourage our clients to invite building operators to engage in the design process. This builds understanding and awareness of energy goals, and enables designers to offer building operators tools that they can use. The goal is to design building operating systems that people know how to use.
  6. Promote post-occupancy evaluations for all projects. This process enables design teams to come back after people are inhabiting the spaces we’ve designed and ask: How are the spaces working? These conversations are another opportunity to talk to building owners and coach occupiers as we fine-tune and calibrate our projects.

As we continue to raise the bar, we are putting in place systems and processes to track and measure our progress. We will celebrate this process, talk about its importance, and find ways to engage our teams and clients so that we all focus on potential areas for climate change mitigation. We value and care about this process, our results and succeeding in this key global initiative.

Climate change mitigation is a great challenge of our time, and Gensler embraces the opportunity to innovate as we create environments that align with global carbon emissions goals and create a healthier world.