With a combined 25 years of experience in working with sustainable materials, and even more in environmental education and research, we educate our clients on how design decisions can better the environment. Our Director of Architecture, Josh Carel, pairs advanced education from Harvard University with Passive House credentials to bring holistic expertise to low-carbon design, from building materials to HVAC and indoor air quality. Our Director of Design, Adelle York, completed her Master’s in Landscape, Urbanism, and Ecology at Harvard University, where she refined a research-based approach to solving complex ecological issues. Teamwide, in all of our work, we seek ways to avoid emissions, preserving trees, leveraging the features of existing structures, and advocating for the integration of sustainable features. In conjunction with our building science expertise, our carbon consciousness benefits not only the planet, but also people.
Keeping carbon within our structures and out of the atmosphere
Plural is constantly researching ways to reduce the carbon our projects emit. We’re currently working with several companies to integrate biobased materials into residential projects with the goal of encouraging and normalizing their widespread adoption. Biobased building materials offer an organic solution to reducing, and even reverting, carbon emissions. When humans repurpose plant materials into building materials—cross-laminated timber, hemp insulation, and cork, to name a few—the carbon those plants previously inhaled stays within the structure they compose and out of the Earth’s atmosphere. Buildings made primarily of concrete and steel, which take an enormous amount of carbon to manufacture, emit an unsustainable level of carbon over the course of their life cycle. Structures made of biobased materials, on the other hand, emit less than zero.
Resiliency is a quality Plural strives for in every design. Resilient structures like our Piano House stand the test of time. They require little to no maintenance. They stay strong in the face of drastic weather. Even if power on the centralized grid goes out, they can still maintain operations by, say, drawing power from ground-mounted solar arrays. In the event of a drought, rainwater collection cisterns can provide months-long stores of hydration. Resiliency is also environmental–the less you have to maintain, the less carbon you expend.