IMPACT BY DESIGN 2020
GENSLER RESEARCH INSTITUTE
THE GENSLER CITIES CLIMATE CHALLENGE (GC3)
Within a decade, we will eliminate all net emissions associated with our work.
The Gensler Cities Climate Challenge (GC3) is our commitment to achieving carbon neutrality in all our work within a decade. It also is a rallying cry to our industry, our clients, and our colleagues. Achieving carbon neutrality entails eliminating or offsetting all CO2 emissions from the built environment. To that end, the GC3 is focused on minimizing two primary sources: emissions related to using buildings (operating carbon), and those related to making buildings (embodied carbon).
Sources: United Nations, U.S. Energy Information Administration
To become carbon neutral, we need to eliminate or offset the impact of both operating and embodied energy.
The total net carbon impact of the building is the sum of its embodied and operating carbon, minus its carbon offsets.

To become carbon neutral, we need to eliminate or offset the impact of both operating and embodied energy. In an average building today, operating energy accounts for 72% of the overall energy consumption. Strategies for reducing operating carbon include right-sizing, significantly reducing operating energy per square foot, gradually increasing onsite renewable energy production, and increasing flexibility for renewable procurement through electrification.

Embodied energy — the energy associated with building materials — accounts for the other 28%. Strategies for reducing embodied carbon include right-sizing, selecting low- and zero-impact materials, reusing buildings instead of engaging in new construction, and offsetting impact through net-positive production and/or increases in carbon sequestration (captured through absorption).

IMPACT BY DESIGN 2020
GENSLER RESEARCH INSTITUTE

In Impact by Design 2020 we introduce Strategies for Climate Resilience: a collection of six major areas that have the greatest potential for positive climate impact in the coming years.