• Our Approach
  • Whole-Building Life-Cycle Perspective
  • Comfort Solutions through Architecture
  • Personal Commitment
  • Experts & Educators

Our Approach to Sustainability Consulting

We work with the architect and building owner at the inception of every project to help turn their sustainability vision into a reality. We collaborate on the design, construction and operation of sustainable buildings to provide innovative solutions that greatly reduce operational costs and contribute to more resilient buildings while meeting high standards for occupant comfort and health.


Whole-Building Life-Cycle Perspective

We evaluate and propose design options that consider a project from material production to construction, use and through to end-of-life scenarios. We perform in-depth analysis to help clients make material, design and system choices that fully consider embodied and operational energy. This approach allows us not only to optimize operational and energy budgets, but also to consider other regional and global environmental impacts.


Comfort Solutions through Architecture

We use building-science expertise and data-driven strategies to develop architectural solutions that help our clients achieve high-performance, low-energy buildings. We recommend project-specific options for attaining occupant comfort while minimizing building loads and operating costs. By shifting budget dollars to high-impact architectural solutions, we increase overall long-term value for our clients.


Personal Commitment to Solving Environmental and Health Challenges

We care deeply about the results of our work because we believe that high-performance, low-energy, healthy buildings lead to a better world. We are confident that our work can help solve global challenges such as climate change and water scarcity. We are proud to work at a company that aspires to be among the most sustainable in our industry – both in the way we provide services to our clients and in our business operations.


Content Experts and Educators

As one of the first organizations invited to be a USGBC Education Partner, we are recognized as offering best-in-class green building and sustainability education. We teach large and small audiences, from architects and contractors to college students, in venues ranging from community centers to boardrooms. Our educators are USGBC faculty and have years of experience lecturing on a broad array of green building topics and providing continuing education and LEED exam preparation.

Sustainability projects

Commitment to Innovation


Cities, communities, facilities and organizations often face shocks and chronic stresses that hamper their ability to function and thrive. These can range from security and safety breaches to natural disasters like rising sea levels due to climate change. The capacity of entities to respond to and recover from such events directly influences their likelihood of success. Our team of engineers, architects, and sustainability and risk specialists takes an interdisciplinary approach to resiliency, providing the expert advice, tools and solutions clients need to make informed decisions about physical improvements, mitigation and resiliency strategies over the short, medium and long terms to improve their chances of succeeding in an uncertain future.

Commitment to Innovation

Net-Zero Design

Owners, design teams, and now cities and states are setting ambitious goals for achieving net-zero energy. Our net-zero approach begins with an extensive analysis of the climate, building site and surroundings to identify available on-site resources such as solar irradiance, wind, vegetation and water. We drive loads down, and performance up, and model the building and its systems to help direct cost-effective approaches to achieve net zero. As the first engineering firm to join the American Institute of Architects’ 2030 challenge for achieving a carbon-neutral future, Thornton Tomasetti aligns early with building owners and design teams to establish the path forward and to provide strategic guidance and technical expertise for projects targeting net-zero energy and water.

Commitment to Innovation

Life-Cycle Assessment

As a participant in the development of the Whole Systems Integrated Process ANSI Approved Standard for Integrated Design, we are uniquely positioned to provide a whole-systems perspective on major design issues. One way we support the integrated design process is by performing a life-cycle assessment for our clients. We collect and evaluate quantitative data on the inputs and outputs of material, energy and waste flows associated with a building over its entire life cycle so that its whole-life environmental impacts can be determined.

Commitment to Innovation

Embodied Carbon Efficiency Tool

In 2012, Thornton Tomasetti began measuring the embodied carbon footprint of our engineering projects, developing a database fed by our own embodied energy and carbon calculator. To assist in this undertaking, we developed the Embodied Carbon Efficiency Tool, which lets us calculate and visualize the embodied carbon contents of most structures in real time. Applying this tool in conjunction with our generative structural design suite enables us to compare building typologies, column grid layouts and combinations of structural materials to understand the effects of different design options and to optimize structures to meet clients’ carbon goals.

Commitment to Innovation

Design Explorer

Design Explorer, an open-source tool developed by Thornton Tomasetti, enables users to visualize large batches of performance data and graphically discover multi-objective solutions, providing a uniquely intuitive and effective approach to big data analysis. The tool makes information from analyses performed by our team available to all team members through a web-based portal, allowing designers to explore sets of design solutions scattered across a vast, high-dimensional probability space. Members can “play” with results to find combinations that meet goals like “net-zero energy performance for no additional first cost” or “maximization of daylighting with minimal solar gains.” Results can be customized for every project, and typically employ metrics like total energy use, heating and cooling system peak loads, daylighting performance, and first cost. Thornton Tomasetti created Design Explorer as an open-source platform in hopes of advancing the industry and receiving feedback from our peers.

Commitment to Innovation

Healthy Materials

Thornton Tomasetti is committed to working with designers, engineers, contractors and owners to research, specify and procure products from manufacturers that reduce and eliminate chemicals that are harmful to human and environmental health. One of the guiding principles that drives our healthy materials research and advocacy work is the International Living Future Institute’s Red List Imperative. The Red List is composed of 22 classes of chemicals found in building materials that are known toxins to humans and the environment. Many of these chemicals are not sufficiently regulated by U.S. legislation, and their use has become standard practice in manufacturing. We understand the environmental and human health benefits of eliminating and avoiding Red List chemicals, and seek to align ourselves with other industry leaders interested in creating a market demand for healthier products. Together, we advocate for a healthy environment where people can live, work and play.