Minimizing embodied carbon emissions, like those created during construction, represents an important avenue where DeSimone engineers can lead building projects toward greater sustainability. Because our approach to sustainability brings together material Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), efficient design, and green specifications, DeSimone is uniquely placed to execute sustainable, cutting-edge design ideas.
DeSimone is a signatory of the Carbon Leadership Forum’s SE 2050 Challenge and has worked internally since 2020 to fine tune our carbon reduction design approaches, including creating standard sustainable specifications and developing proprietary LCA software. These approaches help our partners achieve ambitious carbon performance goals like scoring high on LEED 4/4.1 analyses in multiple categories and lowering embodied carbon emissions. Additionally, utilizing holistic structural and material analysis, our teams have worked to implement carbon reduction approaches across our projects, utilizing high-strength concrete to reduce emissions associated with the production of cement, for example, or engaging in projects that utilize tactical structural engineering approaches to retrofit existing buildings for new purposes. Additionally, our work on a collection of Net-Zero and Passive House projects shows that engineers can play many roles as we work alongside architects, contractors, and clients to decarbonize the building industry by 2050.
Amazon Facility, Maspeth, Queens
Unique Challenges: Delivering a substantial warehouse facility while also capturing significant carbon reductions.
DeSimone was able to deliver significant material, schedule, and carbon savings through the deployment of voided slab systems in a 1-million-square-foot Amazon warehouse facility. The voided slabs are created using an array of plastic spheres embedded within the concrete, a system that delivers significant structural capabilities while also reducing the embodied carbon emissions associated with cement use. Additionally, the spheres used to create the voided slab are manufactured from recycled plastic, further increasing the sustainable potential of this approach.
Reductions due to voids:
- Reduced 12,000 yd3 of concrete
- Reduced 1,020 ton of rebar
- Reduced deep foundations by 20%
- Reduced seismic loads and bracing
- Reduced temporary shoring
- Reduced schedule
Eagle + West
Unique Challenges: Realizing an adventurous architectural design requiring significant and progressively larger cantilevers; utilizing the allowable building envelope to provide the required number of housing units per client’s pro forma; minimizing material use, particularly concrete, to deliver project on-time and with tangible carbon savings.
The staggered, stepped design of the Eagle + West towers in Brooklyn utilize an optimized blend of high-strength concrete and post-tensioned columns to deliver a project that realizes the architectural and financial visions of the client and project team.
Unique Challenges: Realizing a mixed-program, ground-up project that optimizes structural configurations for stacked programs; helping project team deliver Passive House project; creating large-scale public space along ground level to connect building with surrounding downtown area.
For Winthrop Center, DeSimone engineered a substantial “Sky mat” transfer slab that allows the particular column grids for upper-level residential program to lower-level offices to meet efficiently. This arrangement unified divergent column grids while resolving structural loads efficiently and with elegance.
Unique Challenges: Combining mixed programs, including a school gymnasium requiring long-span capabilities, in a mixed steel and concrete structure primarily serving affordable housing residents.
For the project, DeSimone is providing structural engineering services for the Sendero Verde project, which includes over 70 designated affordable units, a school, extensive community spaces, retail spaces, and outdoor gardens. Sendero Verde will become the largest fully affordable Passive House building in the world when it is completed.
Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability
Unique Challenges: Developing structural strategy to support large solar array.
DeSimone engineered steel structure for the first net-zero energy elementary school in the northeastern United States, creating a distinctive steel structured roof supporting a large-scale solar array installation.
1 Wall Street
Unique Challenges: working within an existing, historic structure; closely optimizing material, spatial, and structural considerations to transform an office building into housing.
DeSimone provided structural engineering for the largest office to housing conversion in New York City by utilizing voided slabs to allow for the large reduction in existing column reinforcement and setback transfer slab thickness. These approaches minimize the intrusion of new structural components into occupiable spaces, allowing the client to deliver desired floor-to-floor heights for the new residences. Along the lower levels, redirected loads from above allow for the removal of a column line within the project’s ground-level retail space, allowing for a double-height volume and a more open floor plan.