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Lake|Flato strives to create restorative environments that reduce carbon emissions and enhance our understanding and relationship with the natural world. Our work reflects the belief that sustainability and design are two sides of the same coin — balanced, integrated, and inseparable. We design beautiful, healthy, highly efficient design solutions and system strategies that are tailored to each project and location. Design performance provides us with a clear path to achieving sustainability by integrating design with building performance, technology, research, innovation, and equity.
Throughout Lake|Flato’s history, there have been several iterations of our sustainability action plan. The first started in 2010 when Lake|Flato joined the AIA 2030 Commitment, which provides architects with a set of standards and goals for reaching net zero emissions. 2030 Commitment signatories are asked to create a Sustainability Action Plan to help guide them on their journey to net-zero energy.
In 2015, we held a retreat that led to a revised strategic plan focused on topics beyond net-zero energy. These included being a leader in design and sustainability, being transparent about our progress, integrating sustainability into our design practice, achieving net-zero energy or water in all projects by 2025, creating sustainable urban and district-scale projects, and establishing our research and development program called Investigations.
In 2020, we began reviewing our progress and revising our action plan to include additional topics we would like to address in our designs, such as healthy building materials, equitable design, indoor environmental quality standards, embodied carbon, and beyond. In addition, we added more content around our firm practice and how we can ensure we are practicing what we preach. For example, our San Antonio office is currently pursuing the Zero Carbon Certification and WELL Platinum Certification.
All of these milestones have led us to our current 2023-2025 Design Performance Action Plan.
This Design-Performance Action Plan outlines our goals, objectives, and strategies in three critical areas:
PRACTICE. PEOPLE. PLANET.
Each focus area has specific strategies on how and when we will achieve these goals. Many of these goals take inspiration from existing frameworks and standards, such as the AIA Framework for Design Excellence, WELL Building Standard, The International Living Future Institute and associated programs, the Sustainable Sites Initiative, and more.
Each of the strategies within the objectives are organized into two parts:
L|F BASE: Goals we expect all projects to meet today.
L|F REACH: Our project and client-specific “above-and-beyond” goals and strategies to further enhance performance and work toward regenerative design.
This was done intentionally to allow design teams to understand what goals they should be meeting today, versus ones they could strive for on their projects to go beyond zero, into regenerative design practices, and leave a positive impact on our planet and communities.
To begin to implement the objectives of the action plan and set trackable goals, each studio within the firm has set a 2023 goal, which we will track and revise. The action plan will be re-evaluated every 5 years, starting in 2025 to assess our overall progress. The 2023-2025 Design Performance Action plan allows us to have a clear path forward to create great design that positively impacts our practice, people and planet.
Our 2023-2025 Design Performance Action Plan can be found here.