This Earth Day, more than 2,500 HOK employees on four continents are being challenged to "Go Barefoot" by taking a tangible step toward reducing their carbon footprint. The architectural design firm is asking its people to alter their transportation, travel and work habits on April 22, to contribute to reducing the firm's collective environmental impact.
HOK's "Go Barefoot Day" initiative supports the firm's commitment to reduce carbon emissions from its projects and practice by 50 percent by 2010. This goal reflects United Nations reports that recognize the role buildings play in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
"We are using Earth Day as a catalyst for making simple behavioral changes that will have a profound impact on our collective carbon footprint," says HOK sustainable design director Mary Ann Lazarus. "After making this single-day commitment, we hope our people are inspired to make permanent, positive changes to their travel and work habits."
Through a series of online surveys, HOK employees worldwide are reporting their current transportation and office practices and committing to make specific changes on April 22 that will reduce their environmental footprint. These changes may range from taking public transportation or biking to work, to eliminating paper usage, to reducing use of disposable packaging. After Earth Day, the firm will measure the tangible collective impact of the initiative.
HOK has also developed a "Barefoot blog" and educational poster to help employees identify, evaluate and share potential opportunities for modifying their behavior beyond the norm. These resources include examples of specific actions and their corresponding annual environmental impact.
"By quantifying the impact of simple behavioral changes, we can demonstrate how individuals can contribute to a significant reduction in carbon emissions," notes Lazarus. "The blog will connect our people around the world and enable them to share their ideas, experiences and successes."
As part of the initiative, HOK is also inviting its clients, partners and local communities to join the firm in going barefoot for the day.
"We hope Go Barefoot Day builds momentum beyond the walls of HOK and inspires our clients and communities to walk alongside us," add Lazarus.
HOK is a global architectural firm that specializes in planning, design and delivery solutions for buildings and communities. Through its collaborative network of 26 offices worldwide, the firm serves diverse clients within the corporate, commercial, public and institutional markets. HOK is committed to developing resources and expertise to help lead the world toward sustainable communities and building environments. Founded in 1955, the firm's expertise includes architecture, engineering, interiors, planning, lighting, graphics, facilities planning and assessment and construction services. For more information, go to www.hok.com