Step 3. Consider project-specific factors
Each project is uniquely guided by your company’s sustainability goals, industry best practices, and challenges and opportunities specific to your project.
Design guides and best practices
We assess your company’s design guidelines, general construction practices, and corporate sustainability goals. The local project teams may already be aware of global company guidelines that can significantly impact the project design. For example, it’s common for larger companies to have existing design guides that mandate a certain percentage of renewable energy, greywater reuse, or criteria for using natural refrigerants. Expectations for external certifications, such as LEED or WELL, may also affect the project.
Since every project—regardless of location or scope—has limitations, it’s important to identify these as early as possible to allow for more efficient decision-making and design. Specialized sectors, like biopharma and food and beverage manufacturing, possess unique design challenges. These can include:
- Less flexibility in terms of what materials can be used, including the use of sustainable materials (e.g., renewable, natural, organic), which needs to be balanced with the increased risk of microbial contamination and GMP/GLP integrity
- Cleanliness requirements sometimes necessitate the use of so-called ‘red list’ materials and those containing VOCs or high-embodied carbon
- Excessive energy and water use may prompt additional considerations for steam-based systems
Including all project owners, AEC stakeholders, and key trade partners in the goal-setting and early discussion allows multi-disciplinary identification of integrative strategies. Ideation sessions spur innovative thinking and early planning to incorporate synergies between teams. This process enables multiple goals at minimal cost compared to projects that attempt to incorporate sustainability during later design and construction phases. Concepts may include:
- Onsite renewable energy, allowing grid resiliency and carbon reduction
- Passive ventilation to improve health and wellness while reducing energy costs
- Programmatic planning to enable flexibility with in-person work to encourage health and wellness while reducing footprint and required energy costs
- Water reclamation from purified water generation systems to offset potable water used for non-potable needs
- Green walls that encourage higher air quality and contribute to biodiversity gains