We first started recording the carbon footprint of our practice in 2006. Fast forward 16 years, and this year’s footprint – for 187 people, across four offices, was 127 tCO2e. That’s equivalent to going from 1.6t to or 0.7t per person – a 64% reduction since 2006.
We break down our footprint into its main constituents: energy – electricity and gas; travel - trains, planes, cars; and paper, amongst other things. What this allows us to do is see trends, and act on them.
This year’s footprint marks a slight rebound compared to our 2021 figures, as we have returned to offices, and to normal pre-COVID behaviours. However, we see trends that include a reduction in travel since pre covid times, showing that while in person meetups are valuable, online meetings are also here to stay. One by-product of our hybrid working tech solutions has been an increase our electricity-use. Measuring our usage has alerted us to this, and we have found strategies to reduce it that are already having an impact.
Having this overview, and the agency to make change is empowering. This also applies to the projects we work on. We measure the carbon impact of all of our projects, from concept stage onwards.
Since we started using FCBS Carbon in all our projects and reporting on both the embodied and operational energy use of all of our completing buildings, we have extended our carbon literacy to whole-life carbon. We can compare our proposals with best practices to ensure we will reach our low carbon targets. Through carbon-conscious design, we are also able to reduce the embodied carbon in each new building we design by many times the carbon that we emit as a practice.