Prioritizing all-electric buildings, water conservation, and natural refrigerants, Henderson Companies has pledged to reach net zero as well as signing on to the MEP 2040 Challenge.
The MEP 2040 Challenge is a commitment from organizations that provide mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and other related design services to achieve net zero on their projects by 2040. As part of being in the program, Henderson Companies says it will reduce operational and embodied carbon across MEP systems on all projects.
Henderson Companies, which is the parent of Henderson Engineers and Henderson Building Solutions, has been involved in several significant projects across the United States, including SoFi Stadium in California, Walmart Supercenters, and a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport. Through establishing these sustainability measures across its operations, Henderson says the efforts will result in significant emissions reductions.
Operational carbon includes greenhouse gas emissions resulting from using and maintaining buildings or projects throughout their lifespans. Embodied carbon includes emissions from manufacturing, transporting, installing, maintaining, and disposing of building materials.
Buildings make up nearly 40% of the world’s emissions, with approximately 10% of that coming from embodied emissions, the MEP 2040 Challenge says. According to Architecture 2030, 23% of the world’s emissions come from three materials – concrete, steel, and aluminum. The organization says that offers significant potential to eliminate those emissions through reusing materials, using low-carbon alternatives, and using carbon-sequestering materials, among other efforts.
The MEP 2040 Challenge requires participants to establish a company plan, use low-global warming potential refrigerants, and request environmental product declarations (EPD) in project specifications for MEP system components.
Refrigerants especially remain an important sustainability measure, and the EPA recently proposed stricter rules on hydrofluorocarbons calling for a 40% reduction based on historical levels beginning in 2024. EPDs offer ways to be transparent about a material’s impact, including emissions and water pollution.
In addition to transitioning to all-electric buildings and using natural refrigerants, Henderson plans to track its emissions associated with energy and water use across its US offices to find ways to be more efficient. The company also is quantifying emissions associated with business travel, starting composting programs to keep waste from landfills, and offering financial incentives to employees to contribute to ESG efforts.
Henderson has a goal to achieve net zero across its business operations by 2040. More than 70 organizations are involved with the MEP 2040 Challenge.