Haskell’s engineers play a critical role in promoting sustainability and carbon reduction with their design and construction choices, such as creating this system of wind and solar power and a green roof, which work together to reduce carbon emissions.

February 7, 2024

Material Choices a Critical Part of Engineering for the Environment

Take a look at how clean energy solutions and sustainable materials play crucial roles in Haskell's strategies for minimizing environmental impact.


Bring up climate change in a large room, and you’re likely to get a variety of opinions – perhaps even an argument or two, some based on fact, others not.

Tom Warner, AIA, LEED ® AP BD+C, GPCF, CCS, who chairs Haskell’s Sustainability Council, looks beyond politics, and the reason is simple: He doesn’t want his 27-year-old daughter and 23-year-old son to have to worry about the repercussions. He doesn’t want them to deal with stronger hurricanes, more significant flooding and 30-foot snowstorms. He wants the same for other families, too.

Sustainable Solutions You Can Trust
With 127 Sustainability Certified projects to its credit, Haskell’s team of more than 100 Accredited Professionals and our sustainability-experienced design and construction personnel work collaboratively to ensure your sustainability goals are met and exceeded. Utilizing cutting-edge technologies, tools and knowledge, our teams develop and implement efficient and cost-effective strategies to minimize a project’s environmental impact within budget.

Warner, a Senior Architect, said design-build firms such as Haskell play a significant role in reducing the impacts of climate change by reducing embodied carbon, which is tied to the manufacturing, transportation and installation of construction materials, and operational carbon, which is linked to a building’s energy consumption.

“As a promoter of building, it should be our goal to promote sustainability, carbon reduction and bring it to our clients as part of our design process and construction,” Warner said.

Engineers at Haskell are particularly critical in that effort because they understand how their design and construction choices can affect the environment for generations.

This is especially important because the United States is again part of the Paris Agreement, a measure joined by nearly 200 countries with goals of substantially reducing global greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase.

Warner said Haskell’s engineers take an active role in reducing operational carbon by designing plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that are efficient and innovative and that take advantage of clean-energy solutions. The choices can include solar hot water systems, all-electric buildings, LED lighting and photovoltaic (PV) systems, which convert sunlight directly into electricity.

Engineers can also help reduce carbon emissions by:

  • Choosing products or systems with low embodied carbon (EC) footprints by reviewing environmental product declarations for the lowest embodied carbon products that meet performance requirements.
  • Replacing products with high-carbon ingredients with lower-carbon ingredients, such as replacing Portland cement in concrete with limestone cement and fly ash.
  • Reusing existing facilities instead of building new ones when appropriate.
  • Reducing transportation emissions by selecting regionally extracted and manufactured products.

Haskell has steadily climbed to No. 22 in the Engineering News-Record (ENR) rankings of the Top 100 Green Building Contractors, largely because Warner and the Sustainability Council continue to educate and evolve.

The Council promotes sustainability as a guiding principle of Haskell. It is organized into three subcommittees – Educate, Engage, and Evolve – and ensures that the entire Haskell community incorporates and advocates sustainability in its business practices.

Most recently, he has been developing a sustainability checklist for Haskell’s projects, which includes suggestions such as orienting buildings during the design phase to maximize solar and daylighting potential; considering highly reflective roofs, which may reduce cooling and heating loads; making sure building envelopes are well-sealed to prevent leaks; and ensuring they’re providing interiors that are healthy and breathable.

Warner doesn’t just focus on the issue at work; he also lives it in his personal life. He has solar panels on the roof of his Minnesota home and uses a battery-operated lawn mower and snow blower.

Contact us to discover how Haskell’s design-build methodology, built on integrated project delivery, is ideally suited to creating responsible, sustainable projects that enhance our communities.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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