By supporting two WWF climate action programs and working with the NGO to set a path to operational carbon neutrality, the firm is building on its commitment to sustainability and embracing its role as an impactful global practice by mitigating the impacts of its business operations around the world.
Through a collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), KPF is providing support for Climate Crowd, which will increase carbon sequestration through forest restoration, and Alliances for Climate Action (ACA), which is laying the groundwork for a future low carbon society. Additionally, the firm has implemented strategies to significantly reduce the energy, water, and waste impact of its corporate campus, which serves over 750 employees in nine offices across seven countries. WWF will also advise KPF on setting a Science-based Target for emissions reductions to help the firm identify ways it can further reduce its climate impact in line with the Paris Agreement.
WWF’s Climate Crowd is a crowdsourced effort designed to work with vulnerable communities across the globe to adapt to the effects of climate change while reducing their impact on biodiversity. KPF will help scale a 2018 reforestation and wetland reclamation pilot project in a key watershed along the Parana River in southwestern Brazil. In addition to capturing carbon, the project achieves many related goals – to reestablish a contracting wetland, to reintroduce thousands of native species of trees and shrubs, and to reestablish an important wildlife corridor. The efforts also bolster the local economy by employing residents.
Alliances for Climate Action (ACA) is a global initiative that connects businesses, local governments, academia and civil society into national coalitions committed to driving the zero-carbon transition in their countries. KPF will support the recently-established national coalitions in Mexico and South Africa to mobilize more subnational actors to take on voluntary climate actions in their countries; build public understanding and support for the zero-carbon transition; and engage with their national governments on the policies that can help accelerate their transition towards a zero-carbon future.
“At KPF, we believe that our commitment to low carbon building design cannot be limited to our project work, and must become an integral part of our own studio culture and operations,” said KPF Environmental Design Director Carlos Cerezo Davila. “That is why we are putting our evidence-based design approach to work at home, not only monitoring and modeling our energy use and travel demands, but also connecting them to our health and wellbeing. Our support for WWF enables us to translate this commitment beyond our office walls and have a tangible and immediate contribution to climate action. I am truly excited to share this news and continue working through 2020 towards our carbon neutrality goal.”
In addition to supporting these programs, KPF has implemented office-wide operational changes and campus enhancements to reduce its direct environmental impact. An ongoing renovation of the firm’s New York office will include high-efficiency LED lighting, heat recovery ventilation, occupancy controls, and upgraded HVAC systems. In a larger effort to also improve the wellbeing of KPF’s staff, environmental quality monitoring sensors have been installed and paired with occupant surveys to optimize the operation of existing mechanical systems. KPF is also increasing the diversion rate of waste in the New York and Hong Kong offices, is analyzing employee’s mobility preferences and developing strategies to minimize their impacts, and is reducing the need for travel by upgrading its remote communication technology. These changes are part of a long-term plan to reduce the firm’s carbon footprint every year.
KPF’s commitment to environmental responsibility extends beyond the firm’s campus to the larger mission of delivering buildings with a minimal carbon footprint over the next decade, joining the ongoing efforts led by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). KPF is a signatory of the AIA 2030 Commitment and the UK Architect’s Declare.
“We recognize that as a global firm working at a significant scale, we are uniquely positioned – and have a duty – to make a profound impact,” said KPF President James von Klemperer. “Our projects are often large, urban and dense, and are located in some of the fastest growing cities in the world. We are embracing that scale and reach to take advantage of our expertise to make a positive difference at a critical time. Because our technical knowledge base is derived from our experience in a wide range of geographies and markets, we are able to distill best practices from around the globe in order to advance the sustainable dimension of our work.”
KPF’s operational climate action builds on a strong portfolio of sustainable and environmentally conscious projects around the world that take ambitious steps to both increase urban resilience and mitigate their carbon footprint. In Singapore, 18 Robinson incorporates publicly accessible green space atop its podium roof, reducing the impacts of overheating in a dense urban environment, and has been recognized by the AIA New York City chapter for its sustainable design. In response to the consequences of Superstorm Sandy, KPF’s work at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Red Hook Houses will lessen the public housing community’s vulnerability to natural disasters and improve the sustainability and livability of the development’s 28 buildings housing over 6,000 people. To mitigate the carbon footprint of 390 Madison Avenue, a repositioning project in Midtown Manhattan, KPF dramatically transformed and modernized the building through a surgical re-massing that retained over 70% of the existing structure. KPF’s design for the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) campus in Guangzhou, which broke ground in Fall 2019, is targeting carbon neutrality, in an effort that will combine high-performance building systems and renewable energy generation on site.
About the WWF Programs KPF is Supporting:
Climate Crowd is a crowdsourcing initiative that convenes and supports a network of partners to gather data on how climate change is impacting people and nature, and supports on-the-ground projects that help rural communities adapt while reducing pressure on biodiversity.
Alliances for Climate Action (ACA) are national coalitions dedicated to taking climate action, increasing public support for addressing the climate crisis, and engaging national governments to build a zero-carbon future together. These coalitions include subnational leaders across many sectors of society – state, local, and regional governments; companies and investors; business and civil society; academic and cultural institutions; tribal organizations and faith communities; and healthcare institutions.
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