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Becoming 'EcoEngaged’ a response to demand for sustainability

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The list of demands on construction firms that expect to win new contracts in a tough economic environment is long and challenging.

Performance requirements include cost, quality, safety, on-time performance and the ability to apply the latest building technologies. Joining this list at unprecedented scope and speed is the demand for sustainability, the ability to produce buildings that dramatically reduce their impact on the environment. "Going green" is not the latest fad or a marketing slogan, but a concept that is a necessary part of evolving the way we approach our work and leading the growth of our industry.

Southern California-based Barnhart Balfour Beatty is an affiliate of Balfour Beatty Construction (BBC), a leader in the U.S. commercial construction industry for 77 years and one of the Top 25 Green Contractors as named by Engineering News Record magazine. Our firm has adopted BBC’s "EcoEngaged" program, which uniquely describes our company’s sustainability efforts. We understand the tremendous impact that the built environment has on our planet and are doing our part to support the spirit of sustainable building and propel these concepts forward.

By becoming EcoEngaged, Barnhart Balfour Beatty is now focused on ensuring an environmentally sustainable future. Our environmental policy includes contributing positively to local communities by using low-carbon technologies, adopting responsible sourcing practices, protecting sensitive ecological habitats, reducing water and energy consumption, increasing the use of recycled materials and keeping waste to a minimum.

Barnhart Balfour Beatty’s portfolio of green projects includes the award-winning Ronald McDonald House at San Diego Children’s Hospital.

Many of our clients want to achieve LEED accreditation for their projects, and we have responded by providing incentives to our employees to become LEED accredited. We currently employ nearly 50 LEED accredited professionals, and this number continues to grow as our employees see the value both professionally and personally of becoming credentialed in green building practices and standards. We also have incorporated expectations related to sustainability into every employee’s job responsibilities, with the belief that all employees can make a contribution to the sustainability initiative.

For all non-LEED projects, we discuss potential green solutions with clients and offer ideas and suggestions on how a project can become more sustainable, even if the project is not in pursuit of LEED certification. We have developed checklists of sustainable practices and implemented sustainability reviews as a standard procedure to discuss possible opportunities during the planning stages on all new construction contracts.

As a result of these efforts, we have built a healthy portfolio of LEED registered, certified and equivalent projects that span a broad spectrum of projects types. Industry experts are recognizing the results with recent green awards for the Ronald McDonald House at San Diego Children’s Hospital, the Wounded Warrior Barracks at Camp Pendleton and the Berth Lima Conversion project, which created a new berthing space for the U.S. Navy’s three aircraft carriers that are home-ported in San Diego.

We are moving forward and moving fast on all our sustainability initiatives, committed to becoming an industry leader in green construction, business practices and a green way of life for our employees.

Submitted by Brian Cahill for Barnhart Balfour Beatty

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