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We Can Make a Difference

All of us hear about climate change and greenhouse gases. What role does construction play in these issues? As it turns out, buildings represent one of the largest opportunities to address these problems.

How much do buildings contribute?

Overall, buildings contribute nearly 40% to global GHG emissions.  Buildings and transportation comprise the two largest contributors.  This presents a unique opportunity for our industry to make a significant difference.

In our local communities, the effect of buildings is estimated to be even higher.

  • The City of Denver estimates that commercial and multifamily buildings contribute 49% of Denver’s GHG emissions.
  • Kansas City estimates that commercial and residential buildings comprise 56% of 2019 total GHG emissions, per the KC Climate Action Plan.

Another factor to consider is continued population growth and economic development. By 2060, the world is projected to double the global building stock.  

Building GHG Reduction Goals

Graph: “JLL, “The Real Estate Leader’s Guide to Decarbonizing your Portfolio.”  April 2022

To reach zero emissions in the existing building stock, there is a push for new policies that encourage upgrades to energy efficiency at capital-improvement cycles or when clients lease or buy space.  Further emissions reductions can be achieved by making changes that include improving the efficiency of building systems and shifting to electric heating and cooling systems powered by carbon-free renewable energy.

The pathway for full reduction of carbon emissions is described in the accompanying graph, “Pathway to carbon reduction for real estate.”  This approach can be applied during the design phase for new construction projects.  The approach also could be applied towards existing buildings at the appropriate time depending upon equipment service life and the return-on-investment for capital improvements. 

What is U.S. Engineering doing?

We will continue to develop The Legacy Project internally, supporting our Action Teams to leverage team member expertise to reduce our carbon footprint. Legacy Action Teams will analyze our business practices to find ways to improve our sustainability efforts, focusing on areas like our facilities, policies, supply chain and fleet and transportation.

We will explore offset programs and other methods of advancing our goals toward carbon neutrality. And we will extend our knowledge and expertise to our customers, so they can meet their own sustainability goals.

To U.S. Engineering, giving back to our communities is more than a priority. It’s our responsibility. As experts in building, installing and maintaining mechanical systems, we can positively affect future generations by actively helping reduce GHGs and other harmful emissions. So we will continue these efforts for decades to come.