Practical strategies to reduce the climate impacts of landscape architecture offices – THE DIRT

Practical strategies to reduce the climate impacts of landscape architecture offices – THE DIRT

Towards Zero Emission Business Operations: A Landscape Architect’s Guide to Reducing Office Climate Impacts / ASLA; Cover photo: Irvine Nature and Wetland Restoration Center. / © Biohabitats, Inc.

ASLA and the ASLA Fund have released a comprehensive, freely available guide: Towards Zero-Emission Business Operations: The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Reducing Office Climate Impacts.

The guide is designed to help landscape architecture firms of all sizes transition to zero-emission offices more easily.

It identifies more than 110 strategies landscape architecture companies can implement to reduce their business and project greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50-65% by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.

The guide offers best practice strategies relevant to companies that lease or own their offices. It offers companies ways to:

  • Measure their carbon footprint
  • Develop a climate action plan to reduce emissions
  • Take action to reduce Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions

ASLA’s Climate Action Committee produced Towards Zero Emission Commercial Operations to support landscape architecture companies in achieving the goals of ASLA’s Climate Action Plan.

Rooftop solar panels at SWA studio in Sausalito, California / William Tatham, Courtesy of SWA Collection

The guide was authored by landscape architect Ronnie Siegel, founder of ASLA, Swire Siegel, landscape architects and member of ASLA’s Climate Action Committee, who interviewed 19 landscape architecture, architecture and sustainability consulting firms to develop the resource.

“Toward Zero-Emission Business Operations is a must-read book for any landscape architecture company serious about decarbonizing their business. These smart strategies can help companies not only reduce their emissions but also save Money and increasing the health and well-being of its employees.

“Decarbonizing, electrifying and transitioning to renewable energy creates new opportunities for landscape architecture companies. By measuring emissions, making a plan, and taking action, any company can be on a path to zero emissions,” said ASLA’s Ronnie Siegel.

Mithuen team members bike to work / Hilary Knoll, courtesy of Mithuen

The guide builds on the ASLA Climate Action Plan and the ASLA Member Climate Action Field Guide, which chart a path for landscape architects to achieve greenhouse gas emissions in their projects and operations and increase carbon sequestration by 2040.

In 2022, the Climate Action Plan was developed by a high-level task force of five landscape architects chaired by Pamela Conrad, ASLA, Climate Positive Design Foundation, and a 17-member advisory group. It sets out a bold vision for 2040 and 71 actions to be taken by 2025.

Our vision for 2040:

All landscape architecture projects will simultaneously:

  • Achieve zero embodied and operational emissions and increase carbon sequestration
  • Providing significant economic benefits in the form of measurable ecosystem services, health co-benefits, waterproofing, and green jobs
  • Addressing climate injustice, empowering communities, and increasing equitable distribution of climate investments
  • Restoring ecosystems and increasing and protecting biodiversity

To advance the Climate Action Agenda, ASLA and the ASLA Fund recently released Collaborating with Industry Partners on Climate Action and Biodiversity: A Guide for Conversations Among Landscape Architects, Vendors, and Product Manufacturers.

ASLA’s Climate Action Committee and Corporate Members Committee have curated more than 70 questions landscape architects can ask vendors and product manufacturers to advance climate and biodiversity goals.

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