Contributed by John Leys and Mike Amodeo
Sherwood Design Engineers has taken another big step to becoming a truly carbon neutral firm. Sherwood as a company has spent quite a bit of time over the past few years greening up operations at all levels. This has included certification as a San Francisco Green Business, and the 50% reduction of solid waste generated by the SF office. Now, the New York office has gone so far as to offset the carbon emitted due to office electricity use and travel for the past year. After totaling up the miles traveled by office members by plane, train, and automobile, and assuming a standard rate of electricity use per square foot of office space (we don’t pay an individual energy bill in NY, typical of large buildings), we were able to estimate our carbon dioxide emissions with the aid of Renewable Choice Energy. We then purchased equivalent carbon offsets and wind power renewable energy certificates.
In total our New York office offset 23.2 metric tons of CO2 using ERT Certified Choice Carbon and 14,040 kWh of electricity using Green-e Certified American WindTM. This is equivalent to NOT driving 76,735 miles or planting 289 trees.
For 2008, we plan to move beyond tracking just electricity and travel. While we will continue to track our miles and estimated carbon emissions, we also plan to account for other environmental impacts such as paper use and waste generation. In addition, as a firm we will work harder to make design choices that require less energy during the short term in the form of materials and construction practices as well as during the long term in longevity and operations.
Photo of windmills take by Dan Chusid