Sustainability at Katerra
Environmental intelligence, delivered at scale.
Katerra’s central sustainability goal is to deliver improved environmental performance and a reduced carbon footprint–without adding costs.
Addressing the climate and environmental crises we face today will not be possible without changing the way we build. Construction activities account for more than 30 percent of annual global carbon emissions.
The environmental challenges of construction are complex and interconnected. Firms are fragmented across the building process, holding only a portion of the data and having little incentive to change practices. Over the last several decades, many worthwhile certification standards and highly sustainable projects have been developed; but today these high-performance buildings carry premium costs, and limited ability to replicate or scale their impact.
Slow, incremental progress will not be enough to address these entrenched issues; we urgently need transformational change on a massive scale.
At Katerra, by combining value chain integration with technology investment, we are able to develop newfound levels of transparency and stewardship across the full building lifecycle. This offers tremendous potential to address long-standing environmental inefficiencies within the typically-fragmented areas of building product sourcing, manufacturing, construction, and operation. We believe this is a generational opportunity to advance the collective environmental intelligence of building design and construction.
Three guiding principles shape Katerra’s framework for development of sustainability solutions:
- Driving operational energy efficiency through technology investments
- Driving embodied energy efficiency through materials research and development
- Driving quality and efficiency benefits through the end-to-end Katerra process
We believe that viable solutions can’t be environmentally sustainable only – in order to scale and truly make an impact they must be economically sustainable as well . Accordingly, we pursue solutions that increase environmental efficiencies, reduce costs, and can be deployed at scale. Our central goal is to deliver improved environmental performance, a reduced carbon footprint, and do so without adding costs.
While Katerra is on a mission to transform construction through technology, this transformation wouldn’t be complete without reducing the environmental impacts of buildings. The examples below represent current initiatives in which Katerra is focusing efforts to expand our environmental intelligence over the years to come.
Products & Materials
Katerra is developing a broad portfolio of products that will improve building performance and reduce carbon outputs.
Typical structural building components such as masonry, concrete, and steel have a large carbon footprint. Replacing these materials with wood, which sequesters carbon for the life of the building, reduces greenhouse gas emissions. A 2014 Journal of Sustainable Forestry study found that replacing the steel used in construction with timber such as CLT could cut C02 emissions by 15-20 percent.
Projects & Design
In line with Katerra’s unique business model, we are pursuing a new approach to sustainability. Rather than establishing a siloed sustainability department, we instead infuse a mindset of environmental intelligence horizontally across the company, threading it into every division and discipline. In many instances, it begins with smart design and comes to life through real-world projects.
At 159,000 square feet, the Catalyst building is set to be certified as one of the largest zero energy and zero carbon buildings in North America. The building makes extensive use of mass timber as a structural and design element, including the floors, shear walls, beams, and building envelope, which enables near-Passive House levels of thermal performance.
California Energy Strategy
The 2019 update to California’s Energy Code requires greater than 50 percent improvement in residential housing energy efficiency, making it the most stringent building energy code in the country. Find out how Katerra is using smart design and building science best practices to help meet aggressive energy targets at a lower cost.
Katerra pursues efficiencies and waste reduction over traditional building design and construction in a myriad of areas, including optimization of design for material reduction, streamlined delivery and logistics, renewable-powered factories, and more.
Offsite construction is by nature more material and resource efficient than conventional construction, by moving as much work as possible to the controlled factory environment. Significant reductions in waste derive from automated manufacturing equipment, inventory control, and repeatable manufacturing processes.
As Katerra continues to expand our manufacturing footprint, we are committed to maximizing renewable energy use to power our facilities and product fabrication. At our Tracy, CA factory, 3,000 panels help to power more than 60 percent of factory operation.