OAC’s 2023 Sustainability Task Force Initiatives

At OAC, improving where people live, learn, work, and play is what we strive for every day. It’s a guiding principle that shapes our day-to-day and long-term objectives. Our sustainability efforts are at the core of this principle.

Several years ago, we realized we need to be doing more to help build a sustainable future and minimize the greenhouse gas emissions we produce. We decided to aim higher and hold ourselves better accountable for our carbon footprint. An internal task force was established to learn about and implement sustainability initiatives. The task force created a Sustainability Action Plan, which acts as a roadmap and guidance document to reduce our impact on the planet. The continuously growing 10-member team meets monthly to strategize and track Action Plan initiatives.

OAC Project Manager Evan Ponto, a driving member of the task force, is passionate about finding sustainable solutions in construction. He says:

“Nearly a quarter of global carbon emissions come from the production of concrete, steel, and aluminum which are building materials used widely in construction. I am passionate about sustainability in the construction industry because construction is one of the highest emitting industries and in order to combat climate change, we need to make construction more sustainable.”

In 2021, the task force started calculating OAC’s carbon footprint using 2019 as our baseline year and reported OAC’s emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Once the task force has calculated OAC’s 2022 carbon footprint and receives third party validation of those calculations, OAC will purchase carbon offsets to become carbon neutral by the end of 2023.

The task force also set a carbon reduction goal to achieve and maintain a per-employee carbon footprint of less than 5 metric tons of CO2e by 2030. One way we’re working towards this goal is by encouraging OAC employees to only travel when absolutely necessary and to keep our sustainability initiatives in mind when doing so.

Sustainability in Action: Sharing Knowledge & Empowering Communities

We want to help you build better. One of our most important responsibilities is sharing our sustainability knowledge and experience with our clients. OAC’s team of experts helps clients set sustainability goals and requirements for their projects and identify trackable metrics to recognize results. Incorporating sustainability planning into a project’s budget, schedule, and quality control helps builders plan, chart, and achieve realistic targets.

OAC has recently engaged with Bellingham School District (BSD) to provide carbon accounting services. BSD has been a leader in sustainability efforts in the education sector and we’re proud to be working with them sharing our knowledge of carbon accounting. We’ve also been working with a high-tech confidential client to help them achieve Salmon-Safe certification, Zero Carbon certification, and LEED platinum certification on their project.

In our commitment to sustainability, OAC has signed 2 important climate pledges: The Climate Pledge (co-founded by Amazon on Global Optimism) and Salmon-Safe’s Puget Sound Pledge. Through these pledges, OAC is committed to measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions; implementing decarbonization strategies; neutralizing remaining emissions by 2040; sharing our findings; and educating OAC employees, clients, and partners. We uphold this responsibility by hosting community engagement events, engaging with OAC’s Outreach Committee, and making an impact on our project sites.

With commitments and action plans in place, we’re working to make better happen for our communities and planet in the fight against climate change. And it doesn’t end here. This fight will continue, and our efforts will need to keep growing.

To follow along our journey and to learn more about sustainability opportunities for you and your projects, click here.