“Ethically, we are responsible for the health of the spaces we build.”
From our design studio to your workspace, we are committed to making the world a better place by promoting sustainability, health, and equity in the built environment–for the planet we share, the people we serve, and the purpose that unites us.
Because architects are in the business of designing places for people to live, work, and play, we believe we can make a significant contribution towards developing a more sustainable world by changing the way we work by adhering to our core values: authenticity, empathy, innovation, rigor, and trust.
By signing the AIA 2030 Challenge, TRIA pledges to uphold our economic, environmental, and social responsibilities toward current and future generations, utilizing our firm’s guiding connections to the intellectual, emotional, and practical principles. We will continually define data-driven strategies that align with climate science. To keep us accountable, our success will be shared by publishing annual reports revealing analytical data collected from our office and clients.
The LEED and WELL, and Fitwell standards serve as a guided framework for design decision-making. To date, TRIA has designed over half a million square feet of LEED-certified buildings. All TRIA-designed projects will be at a minimum LEED Gold and WELL Silver certifiable.
DESIGN FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Our Sustainability Approach uses the same methodology that we use when executing science-based architectural
and design projects for corporate offices, laboratories, and manufacturing spaces.
PLANET – Intellectual
Climate & Energy
Since 2015, TRIA has committed to a practice of evidence-based design. We have shown that we’re capable of instituting new methodologies in our practice of planning award-winning offices, scientific labs, and manufacturing facilities. Applying the same mindset, we are executing innovative action plans to establish new standards for sustainability.
- By signing the AIA 2030 Commitment, we have pledged to track the carbon emissions resulting from TRIA’s project portfolio. Using energy models, we will test design changes that can reduce the carbon impact of our projects as well as demonstrate the cost-benefit of these changes to clients.
- When designing labs, TRIA will utilize the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) Best Practice guides. We will also contribute to the development of building energy usage baselines by reporting project data to I2SL’s Laboratory Benchmarking Tool, a peer-group database that is used to compare the energy use, emissions, and operational practices of lab buildings across the United States. Finally, we encourage My Green Lab certification which provides scientists and the teams that support laboratories with actionable ways to save money and preserve resources.
- TRIA’s clients will benefit from an up-front cost-benefit analysis during the earliest stages of the design process. Finally, we will encourage MyGreenLab certification, adopted by the UN Race to Zero.
When choosing materials for our clients, we want to ensure that everything within their space provides optimum comfort and health. The materials in our sample library are categorized to indicate material health and sustainability. We look for low VOCs, Declare Labels, and Health Product declarations for chemical transparency. We avoid products that contain Red List chemicals. In addition, TRIA partners with Re-Stream, Materials Recycling Service, which donates, reallocates, or re-uses samples when we are finished with them. We select products with indicators of embodied carbon such as Environmental Product Declarations and prefer products made in the USA.
Waste & Circulation
In our own office, TRIA uses consolidated waste stations with strategies for sorting, recycling, and composting. Our trash is weighed each night so we can determine TRIA’s contribution to the landfill and track our reduction over time. We have also eliminated single use plastic from our office. For our clients, TRIA designs spaces to facilitate waste sorting, and we connect clients with Take Back Programs for lab equipment and packaging.
People – Emotional
We offer safe and healthy jobs with fair wages. We maintain a diverse, collaborative-based culture that establishes optimal conditions for the sustainable commitment of the employees. When we re-imagine architecture, we have the power to design a more humane future. We seek to understand how building materials are made in an effort to eliminate forced labor from supply chains and advocate for market transformation.
Worker Well Being
TRIA aims to go beyond industry standards to develop initiatives that improve the lives of workers. We believe in a work-life balance and support a flexible Work-From-Home option. By offering a healthier lifestyle in the office, our staff can achieve their full potential. Eliminating sugary beverages, offering Fair Trade coffees, and creating spaces encouraging movement, we set a goal to adopt the Fitwel certification by 2024.
TRIA is proud to be the first space in the Innovation Design Building to utilize green cleaning practices. By collaborating with the property manager, we suggested and chose Green Seal-certified cleaning solutions that are better for the environment and better for our health.
TRIA develops sustainable improvements by utilizing metrics we gather after the employees move in. A post-occupancy survey informs us about the health and wellness of the space. Developers can also then utilize this data to attract tenants.
Investing in Employees
Investing in our employee’s education ensures our staff’s competitive edge. We believe people learn in different ways, and therefore development takes many forms, including on-the-job experience, exposure to new technologies, informal and formal education, activities with professional organizations, coaching, etc. Because of our commitment and our employee’s responsibility to stay current with job requirements, we offer tuition reimbursement. Throughout the work week, we offer Lunch and Learns with industry representatives and vendors.
Each semester TRIA hires a diverse pool of interns to join our team. The interns gain a comprehensive overview of the architectural field and the opportunities they can pursue within the field. We provide opportunities for mentorship and growth.
TRIA is also a proud supporter of the Boston Chapter of Professional Women in Construction, a non-profit organization that seeks to support, advance, and connect women and promote diversity within the architecture, engineering, construction, and related industries.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
At TRIA, we believe developing a culture focused on diversity, equity and inclusion drive innovative, creative solutions. Our team-based, integrated approach to our projects produces an equitable workforce, encouraging staff participation and engagement.
Beyond adhering to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), we offer wellness rooms for accommodating new mothers or anyone needing privacy. We provide an anti-harassment, anti-bullying, and discrimination-free environment.
We celebrate diversity and our commitment to creating an inclusive environment for our colleagues. According to the AIA’s 2020 demographic report, only 17% of registered architects identify as belonging to an underrepresented racial or ethnic group. At TRIA, we are breaking barriers:
22% Minority Status
67% Women in Leadership
We are proud to provide equal employment and advancement opportunities to all individuals. Employment at TRIA is based on performance, qualifications, abilities, and business needs.
Purpose – Practical
In the lab, TRIA seeks to reconcile issues of risk and resiliency. Ensuring strategies add value to our client’s projects is our top priority. Before signing the 2030 Commitment, our associates were already developing above-industry standards. Edwin Hargrave, a TRIA associate principal, was the first to establish a minimum number of air changes required in a laboratory HVAC system, from 12 to 4 air changes per hour, a key step towards making the labs we design more efficient.
Ethics & Oversight
TRIA has created a team of Social Responsibility Champions who will help roll out initiatives within their project teams. Rather than assigning the task to one department, these ambassadors are integrated within each team. And they are committed to learning, adapting, and improving TRIA’s sustainability, health and equity business practices.
Giving & Volunteering
TRIA’s commitment to giving back to the Boston community is at the core of who we are. Since the start of the firm in 2015, TRIA has supported several philanthropic organizations.
A sampling of some of the organizations we have supported include:
- St. Jude
- The Greater Boston Food Bank
- Toys for Tots
- Thompson Island
- I2SL New England
Anne Whitsel, LEED AP, BD + C, Fitwel ™ and WELL ™
Anne Whitsel, a designer, also serves as TRIA’s sustainability strategist, establishing TRIA’s environmental policies by developing standards and goals for helping TRIA and our clients reach net zero emissions in the built environment. Furthermore, she will champion our mission to improve the health of our environment, incorporating Fitwel™ and WELL™ strategies in the workplace.
With a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Anne also equipped herself with a minor in environmental engineering, and she understands the critical role our engineering partners play in the effort to reach net zero emissions.
Anne examines every part of our business—our employees and our clients—to implement sustainability. Integrating LEED and WELL certifiable design into every project as a standard service requires education, new project workflows, data analysis, and green practices at our offices.
As 90% of TRIA’s project work is interior fit-outs, our most significant impact as we design and develop interiors, she says, can be focused on the worker’s health. “Ethically, we are responsible for the health of the space.” Anne points to the research and says it’s a no-brainer to invest, especially for our clients who are in the business of saving lives.
Integrating this initiative into our workflow, TRIA will be enabling all of our designers to be putting the client’s health and sustainable efforts first.