Rethinking the Relationship between Humans and Nature
Sustainability is simply good design.
Since the firm’s inception, sustainability has been pivotal in all our work. And more than ever, it is a defining factor in how our clients measure success. As the strategic importance of sustainability grows, we are leading the next frontier– through research, tool development, design, and the services we deliver. We are committed to the financial, human, and environmental sustainability of our projects and to working with our clients to meet their sustainability goals.
The following are a few of the ways we are working to ensure a healthy environment (and bottom line):
Resilient Design and Climate Adaptation
We are partnering with clients to identify vulnerabilities to natural and manmade stressors in buildings, cities, and their communities, and to create design responses to help achieve stability and adaptability. We are working to help restructure the social, economic, and physical capital necessary to create buildings, cities, and communities that are more diverse, more resilient, and more vital than in the past.
Regenerative Design and High Performance Buildings
As a practice, we are leading sustainable design to the next level of building performance and resource conservation in our built environment. More and more of our clients are achieving net zero energy, water, and carbon goals through design. This requires a visionary and innovative approach to understanding the interaction between natural and technical systems and the impacts from all design decisions. Beyond just reducing a building’s impact, EPCS is a leader in the pursuit and development of Regenerative Design strategies which seek to create systems that are waste free and actually restore resources to our environment.
Transparency and Material Health
EPCS is at the forefront of the healthy building materials movement and has helped raise awareness of how building materials and finishes may relate to human and environmental health. Some of the research and tools we created are available to the public on our Transparency website. We initiated the first on-product ingredient label for building materials, detailing the complete make-up of a product, highlighting critical lifecycle information and potential human health impacts per published governmental sources. We are advocates for improving the industry benchmark for material health, including considering whether there are potential toxic loopholes in the USGBC’s LEED V4 Standard.
Our practice is active in the pursuit of sustainability at all scales. In order to achieve true sustainability, it must be addressed as a holistic system and at a community scale. Our Urban Design practice is pioneering the latest thinking in vibrant, sustainable cities and health districts. We engage communities in the design and development of urban frameworks that restore and sustain the environment, also integral to our client’s goals.
Designing for a Water-Stressed World
The world’s freshwater reserve—a finite natural resource that is necessary to sustain human, animal, and plant life—is diminishing. At EPCS, we strive to design projects that can achieve net-zero water waste and reduce the demand on freshwater sources. We work on both building and city scale, and collaborate with academic institutions, public water agencies, districts, and commissions to inspire the next generation of sustainable water policies and building codes.