Miletus Group First Prefab Design-Build Company to Go Carbon Neutral
Firm solidifies commitment by joining AIA 2030 Commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by the year 2030
(Rochester, IN, February 21, 2012) Miletus Group, the architecture firm that specializes in sustainable onsite, prefab, and modular solutions, has become the first prefab design-build company to achieve carbon neutrality in all of its production facilities and offices. The achievement has led the company to strive for net zero emissions by 2030 in accordance with the AIA 2030 Commitment program. To this end, Miletus Group has partnered with The Nature Conservancy to support The Tensas River Basin Project, the not-for-profit organization’s first voluntary carbon offset project.
The initiative has its roots in 2009 when Miletus Group began converting its production plant into a green facility to become as energy efficient as possible. The undertaking proved a challenge, since the plant was originally built in the 1970s. To achieve the ambitious goal, Miletus Group, under the direction of president James B. Guthrie, AIA, undertook internal energy-monitoring measures and implemented office policies that called for heightened awareness of energy consumption on a companywide individual level.
The key to individual involvement, Guthrie points out, was educating staff on the purpose behind the goal. “This led to greater participation by everyone,” Guthrie explains, “which led to the realization that small savings add up. Now everyone checks every night to make sure the coffee maker and copier are shut off.” Energy consumption analysis of tools and equipment, in addition to climate control monitoring in offices and production facilities—which includes a 40,000 square foot offsite factory—was an integral component in achieving the goal, according to Guthrie, who points out that the factory’s roof was recently coated in a white “green” solution.
Corrective measures were taken wherever and whenever possible. For example, inefficient, energy-consuming pneumatic tools in the plant were immediately repaired or replaced. Highly energy efficient lighting was installed throughout the company. Winter heating in the facility was also closely scrutinized, whereby older heaters were replaced with new, more energy-efficient units. Moreover, energy conservation in terms of climate control during company off hours was practiced as a matter of course.
While the production facility saw the bulk of the energy savings, the company’s offices also played a vital role in achieving complete carbon neutrality. To facilitate the thermal performance of office buildings, remodels, which included additional insulation and the installation of rain-screen façades, were performed. Once energy consumption was reduced as much as possible, while maintaining just enough to operate, the company reevaluated its energy profile.
It was when the energy savings were calculated that Guthrie and his team realized they were within reach of achieving carbon neutrality. Once the goal was set, the company sought to partner with a voluntary carbon offset program and found The Tensas River Basin Project through The Nature Conservatory. “We looked for a serious program that was passionate about global conservation, and one with a connection close to home,” said Guthrie, who points out that the natural, freshwater drainage from the company’s headquarters and production facility in North-Central Indiana ends up in the Tensas River basin on the Lower Mississippi River before eventually running off into the Gulf of Mexico.
Revenue from voluntary carbon offset contributions, such as those from Miletus Group, supports land purchases in the basin, the planting of trees in order to restore the region’s natural habitat, which has been destroyed by human encroachment, and the monitoring of the carbon benefits. “We are pleased that our contribution to The Nature Conservancy’s first carbon offset project is helping toward the effort to clean our planet’s air and waters,” said Guthrie, adding that Miletus Group can offer the same level of energy consumption and savings analysis that earned the company its carbon neutral status to its clients during the design and post-construction stages.
The analysis service offered by Miletus Group to its clients would provide recommendations for reducing carbon-based energy consumption through building design and operations, and then address methods of reducing the remaining carbon footprint to zero. “I believe being green is one of the key components in creating good architecture in the 21st century,” opines Guthrie. The company’s long-term commitment to reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gases is evident in its recent joining of the AIA 2030 Commitment program. The programs objective is to commit all architects to reaching carbon-based energy free designs by the year 2030. “We are well on our way to meeting that goal,” states Guthrie.
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For more information, contact:
Mary Beth Duehr
Duehr and Associates, LLC
1902 Wright Place, Suite 200
Carlsbad, CA 92008-6583