Johnna Keller

by Johnna Keller

Director - Sustainability

Your Perfect Sustainability Fit

  • APRIL 22, 2018
  • READ

Sustainable design isn’t just attainable, it’s essential. New techniques and technologies, along with evolving social and professional priorities, have elevated sustainable and conservation-minded practices from a niche approach to the mainstream.  

The first, and most crucial, step in pursuing sustainability is finding the right fit.

With a proliferation of green building certification programs on the market, finding the best fit is really important to meeting a client’s sustainability goals. One of the most widely recognized green building rating systems is LEED. With over 2.2 million certified square feet per day, LEED is definitely a main driver of sustainability in the built environment.

But what if your goals are related to energy performance or health and wellness, or what if you want to build a parking garage*? There’s a green building certification program for that!

At M+A, we know that talking with the owner about their project goals is critical to understanding how those goals can fit into sustainability. There are generally keywords that help shape what those goals might look like, and subsequently, what rating system is best.

Some of these commonly-used phrases are:

  • Energy efficient
  • Health and wellness
  • Waste reduction
  • Walkability
  • Resilient
  • Daylight
  • Fresh air

These keywords all resonate with us at M+A in terms of goals to establish for each project and potential green building certifications to pursue. For instance, when we hear that an owner has taken major strides towards waste reduction and wants to be recognized for those efforts, it makes sense to bring  TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Zero Waste certification into the conversation. Likewise, if an owner’s goals are net zero energy, we’re going to talk about Zero Energy Building (ZEB) Certification through International Living Future Institute (ILFI). 

Sometimes talking to an owner about sustainability is a difficult first step, especially if the owner has preconceived notions about what sustainability is or what it looks like. In those cases, there’s even a right fit for them, oftentimes taking smaller steps towards bigger goals -- look at where they are now and where they want to go, use words like lower utility costs and productive workforce.

Even when green building certification isn’t an option, sometimes you can learn a lot by looking through green building standards, to apply specific strategies. Just because a parking garage isn’t pursuing Parksmart, doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate tire inflation stations and bike repair kits. Those are just good ideas for modern parking garages.

At its core, sustainability is about looking to the future. Strive to become a market leader, setting an example of how sustainability can boast company success, and supporting local businesses that, like your own company, are not just talking the talk, but truly walking the walk.


*Parking garages may not pursue LEED certification, per LEED Interpretation #10079

Johnna Keller

by Johnna Keller

Director - Sustainability

Johnna (ze/hir) is a passionate and energetic project manager. Being a LEED AP, WELL AP, LFA and a registered architect, Johnna is the go-to person at M+A for sustainability insight. Ze's full of creativity and passion, but not only for sustainability, in hir free time Johnna likes to test the limits through endurance multi-sports.