Carbon Neutral Operations Since 2004

Date Posted: 04.22.2022

On this Earth Day 2022, Mithun is proud to announce its 18th year of carbon neutral operations firmwide, as certified by The Climate Registry. This milestone highlights the firm’s exemplary record of measuring and reducing carbon emissions in the built environment, with third-party verification and offset of operational carbon emissions since 2004.

For decades, Mithun has been recognized as a leader in sustainable design. An early signatory to the 2030 Challenge, the practice has more than 1.5 million square feet of projects that met or exceeded the 80% fossil fuel reduction target in the 2021 reporting year. In 2019, Mithun was one of only two large firms (over 100 employees) nationally that met the mandate of 70% reduction that year.

“While our design work is clearly our biggest opportunity to make a positive impact on global climate change, we have always felt a strong responsibility to lead by example,” said Mithun president David W. Goldberg, FAIA. “We are proud of Mithun’s long term commitment to the health of our planet, and this important investment for our children and future generations.”

As part of annual operational carbon reporting and offsets, Mithun measures and tracks firm-wide Scope 1 emissions from gas use for space heating in all three office locations and from company vehicles; Scope 2 emissions from purchased electricity and heating; and Scope 3 emissions from air miles, rental cars and taxis for business travel. These annual emissions have been verified with the Chicago Climate Exchange (2004-2010) and The Climate Registry (TCR) since 2011. Mithun has earned Climate Registered™ Gold status through TCR, which conducts third-party verification of the audits and provides transparent reporting to the public.

“Organizations that become Climate Registered™ are the leaders in a growing movement to address climate change by managing and reducing emissions at the subnational level,” said Amy Holm, executive director of TCR. “We have just over a decade to take action that will ensure we avoid the worst effects of climate change. This kind of leadership is needed now more than ever.”

In addition to reducing and offsetting operational carbon in the firm’s practice and projects, Mithun framed 2021 as the Year of Embodied Carbon to advance its iterative design and measurement approach to achieve low carbon buildings and communities. This initiative encompassed a six-prong effort to strengthen carbon literacy, project workflow, measurement and feedback loops, research and development, and advocacy.

One example is the current Mithun R+D effort Build Carbon Neutral 2.0: Enhanced Tool for Carbon Calculation, which will update the (BCN) calculator, a publicly available and widely referenced tool for early estimation of a project’s embodied carbon impacts. Originally developed by Mithun in partnership with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin and launched in 2007, the BCN calculator is being expanded with a grant from the AIA Upjohn Research Initiative to better address complex construction types, specific structural quantities, site design and above-ground biomass for simplified carbon assessments.