Thornton Tomasetti joined more than 500 organizations around the world on Friday, June 17 by turning off the lights to participate in Daylight Hour. It’s the second consecutive year that we participated in the global social media campaign, which was launched in 2014 by the Building Energy Exchange. The New York City-based nonprofit aims to raise awareness of the energy savings possible by utilizing natural lighting.
Twenty-two Thornton Tomasetti offices in four countries switched off their lights for at least one hour during the workday. The initiative was led by our Green Champions, who are employees from across the firm that are actively engaged in the process of greening their offices, and supported by the firm’s leadership. Daylight Hour provided an opportunity for our global network of Green Champions to connect and collaborate as they shared and tweeted pictures and stories about the self-imposed outage in their offices.
Although the campaign calls for one hour of lights off in areas with sunlight, it lasted longer than that in most of our participating offices. Denver, Los Angeles, Kansas City, New York-Madison Ave. and Washington, D.C. opted to keep the lights off longer and sunny Miami and Fort Lauderdale relied on natural light for the entire day.
The Daylight Hour initiative aligns with our Corporate Sustainability goals and is one of many firm-wide measures that demonstrates our commitment to achieving sustainable business operations. To reach our big goal of carbon neutral business operations by 2030, we need to reduce our office electricity use by 45 percent from the 2012 baseline. We are getting closer to achieving this with LEED certification for new offices and major expansions, but we can’t get to 45 percent without also reducing electricity use in existing offices.
Through our continued participation, we have learned that it can often be more pleasant to work in natural light. In fact, the San Francisco and Chicago offices are considering the possibility of adopting this self-imposed outage on a weekly basis, while the Portland office keeps the lights off whenever possible.
As evidenced by the photos, staff in the participating offices embraced the idea. And since most of our offices get ample natural light, can we suggest more natural and less artificial lighting every day?
We thank the Building Energy Exchange for organizing this awareness campaign and all of our Green Champions for their untiring enthusiasm in the pursuit of greener offices.
— Nado Saab, corporate sustainability intern
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