Ever Forward: A Commitment to Sustainable Practices

This article is included in the Winter 2007 edition of the DPR Newsletter.

in•no•va•tion (in’e-va’shen) noun: a new idea, method or device; change that creates a new dimension of performance

With every new year comes new opportunities to innovate. At DPR, we believe in continual self-initiated change, improvement, learning and the advancement of standards for their own sake. We call this “ever forward,” and it is one of four core values that drives our business. We are a company committed to changing for the better, enhancing our toolbox to take project delivery and customer service to new degrees. DPR’s green building program serves as a strong example of what can be accomplished when you give the right people the opportunity and freedom to innovate.

Rising Market Demand. What was once more of a grassroots effort has grown notably greener as an increasing number of customers are beginning to fully understand and experience the proven benefits of green. In the latter part of last year, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) reported that the market for green building grew more than 37 percent over 12 months. Similarly in 2006, DPR experienced an increase in the number of projects with green elements, and of the nearly $1.5 billion worth of projects sold last year, 40 percent of them are either pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification or feature a significant sustainable component.

“LEEDing"the Nation in APs. The knowledge of green building is quickly becoming a necessity for project teams rather than just a value-added service. Not to mention, as a company committed to having a proven track record of being environmentally responsible in the way we do business, we need individuals who are not only passionate about green but also have the expertise to help customers, such as Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Arizona State University, HP, Intuit, Roche Molecular Systems, Thomas Properties Group and VMware, develop the right sustainable strategies for their projects. As a result, DPR offers green construction training to all of its employees, as well as owners, architects, subcontractors and other members of the business community. In addition, 181 members of our professional staff, which accounts for 27 percent, are currently LEED accredited, making DPR a leader among general contractors in the nation.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint. Along with meeting customers’ needs, DPR is taking a proactive approach to our own offices, starting with DPR’s Sacramento office. When completed in 2003, the building was the first privately owned LEED-certified building in Sacramento. Today, it is targeting LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB), allowing us to measure operations, improvements and maintenance. DPR’s Atlanta office also recently moved to a new space and is seeking LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI), as well as our Fairfax, VA and San Francisco offices. DPR’s goal is to have all of our offices achieve either LEED-EB or LEED-CI by the end of the year in an effort to reduce our overall carbon footprint.

Our commitment to environmental good practice also extends into the field. Over the last year, DPR rolled out a formal recycling/waste diversion program and created a custom module to track every container pulled from jobsites across the country. To date, every project that is pursuing or has obtained LEED has diverted a minimum of 75 percent of its waste from landfills. In addition, DPR’s Austin office was recognized by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce for our ongoing green building practices, including recycling or diverting an average of 86 percent of materials on all projects.

As a company dedicated to driving change, both internally and throughout the industry, we must continue to build an environment where people are encouraged to be creative and try new things that create new dimensions of performance.