Happy Earth Day!
Today on Earth Day, during Earth Month and beyond, DPR is committed to creating a more sustainable work and built environment. An imperative part of those efforts happens through the action and aspiration of our teams on jobsites and in offices, who operate at the local and global level to advance DPR’s commitment to the planet through the projects we work on and within our own business operations. Read more from those who go above and beyond as sustainability advocates about what excites them about their roles as we advance on the pathway to a more sustainable future.
Liz Owen, Project Manager
Sustainability has been a passion of mine since college. I started my career with DPR in the Bay Area, but when I moved to Florida in 2016, I was disheartened by the lack of “green” infrastructure and regulations, especially coming from California where state regulations on waste management and pollution were more stringent. At that time, I found that there was limited demand in the southeast for sustainability efforts beyond the occasional LEED project, so I focused on my roles in operations, and organically became known as “the girl who is passionate about sustainability.” I took opportunities within my role to make small changes on my projects, and just share my passion with others in the office.
We have set up water refill stations on select project sites and encouraged the use of reusable bottles. We substituted our standard jobsite and office supplies with eco-friendly alternatives when reusable is not feasible. We purchased more reusable dishware for the office and asked that food vendors stop bringing in disposable products when they deliver food. These changes alone are small, but they have provided the opportunity to begin educating others, which is where the small changes start to create a bigger impact.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve helped lead DPR’s Southeast Environmental Advocate group as a way to connect the region and initiate incremental changes at our jobsites and in our offices. This has provided the opportunity for us to share resources, challenges, and success stories. It has sparked new recycling initiatives in offices and jobsites and prompted the birth of a soon-to-be regional PPE recycling program in partnership with OES.
I am very proud to be a part of this company that defines it’s “Most Admired” goals in part by our progress towards a sustainable future. Although we have a long journey ahead of us, it excites me to see the momentum being built within DPR and in the southeast. I believe that we have the power and influence to lead changes in our industry, and I’m grateful to be a part of that, no matter how big or small!
Praseedha Subramanian, VDC Sr. Project Engineer
As a VDC Engineer, I’m always on the lookout for being able to mesh my Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) side with my Earth Warrior side. Just as my role goes beyond technology and tools and focuses on building it right the first time, practicing sustainability is not to be treated just as a need of the hour, rather a way of conducting everyday life and how each individual approaches the impact they leave on our world. This belief allows me to challenge myself and my colleagues at everything we do, both at home as well as in the workplace.
Having gained a broad understanding of key sustainability challenges through my post graduate studies, I chose to add my advocacy for sustainability to my VDC role to help ensure sustainable and energy-efficient materials and practices are being integrated from the ground up. The biggest challenge in our industry has always been ‘re-work’ that accounts for missed productivity and exhausted resources. By promoting an increase in sustainable building practices and dedicated collaboration, we can eliminate the potential risk of having to restart projects and reduce the percentage of construction re-work by fixing issues that may occur down the road due to oversights during the design development and installation phases. Thus, creating a green future one building at a time!
Stepheni Dougan, Project Engineer
One of my favorite things about DPR is that the things you do aren’t limited to your role—you have the opportunity to plug in and get engaged across many different peer groups, work groups and with our family of companies. I enjoy exploring and championing sustainability initiatives, working with different folks across the company to make it a reality. Pooling our resources between different teams like Global Social Responsibility, Innovation and our strategic partner OES (among others), empowers us to create a strong alliance to make visions into reality.
My favorite thing is going out to a jobsite and seeing the initiatives that folks have been working on behind the scenes being utilized! Water refill stations with the vision of eliminating single use plastic on all DPR jobsites, jobsite waste signage to educate and promote informed disposal, cleaner jobsite power alternatives to challenge the way we have always done things—this is only the beginning! I look forward to the ways we continue to revolutionize jobsites in an effort to propel ever forward for our people and our planet!
TJ Cyr, Integration Manager
Sustainability gives me a great sense of purpose—it’s where my passion for construction and love of nature coalesce. In my current role as an Integration Manager, I work with our project teams to align their project goals with DPR best practices before construction starts. This early engagement is a prime opportunity to influence the decisions our teams’ make with guides, like DPR’s own jobsite sustainability best practices. These concepts are not limited to green certified projects, they are suggestions for better environmental stewardship on every job. It’s about being conscious of the impact that everything we use will have on our people, lands, air and water, and to broaden our perspective of entire product lifecycles.
Ecological restoration takes much more time than it takes to mine or harvest material or destroy it with our pollution and waste. I am personally motivated as an outdoorsman and conservationist to operate sustainably. Healthy habitats and natural areas are important for my own recreation and for the future enjoyment of my kids and the generations to come. Aldo Leopold once wrote, “There is a limit to the number of lands of shoreline on the lakes; there is a limit to the number of lakes in existence; there is a limit to the mountainous areas of the world, and in each one of these situations there are portions of natural scenic beauty which are God made, and the beauties of which of a right should be the property of all people.”
I’m excited to be a part of this organization on our path to regeneration. With our talented and innovative people, we will prove how to build with minimal environmental impacts. We’ll shift the paradigm of construction and inspire the industry to follow suit. To me, that’s how DPR Construction will change the world.
Zeke Salvo, Project Engineer
As the project engineer on a 55,400-sq.-ft. amenity building for a blue-chip technology client, I’m truly excited about the use of sustainable building materials on my project.
For example, the building structure consists of glulam and cross-laminated timber sourced from Northeastern Canada in lieu of structural steel framing, and the building façade includes exterior framing with 24% post-consumer and 9% pre-consumer recycled content, as well as insulations with 20% pre-consumer recycled content. The Interior finishes include acoustic baffles made from about 60% post-consumer recycled plastics, door frames with 20% pre-consumer recycled content, interior storefront with 13% post-consumer and 6% pre-consumer recycled content, gypsum wall board (GWB) assemblies containing insulation with 60% recycled content and framing with 30% recycled content, ceilings with 60% recycled content, and zero VOC paints.
I believe these sustainable, high-end products coupled with quality construction will create an awesome space for the occupants who will soon inhabit the building!
DPR’s monthly Global Social Responsibility (GSR): Be a Pillar series spotlights diverse experiences and perspectives within the DPR family. While we highlight our sustainability efforts and commitments today on Earth Day and during the month of April, we recognize that more and more of our customers seek to align their real estate portfolios with their sustainability commitments every day of the year. As contractors, we can contribute to those goals in more ways than ever.