Carbon and Climate

Through our Action for Impact plan, we are taking action to address the climate, affordability and equity crises. We are driving toward a zero-carbon future and creating change in our operations, in our industry and in our communities.

Reducing the Environmental Impact of Our Operations

To evaluate progress towards our carbon and climate commitment — halving our emissions by 2025 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2030 — we take an inventory of our annual emissions each year. In our most recent accounting for 2022 as our company shook off the remaining impacts of the pandemic, emissions rose 28% compared to the prior year. Though elevated, these emissions were still 19% below our 2019 base year, and 47% lower than what they would be assuming our base year emission intensity thanks to facility efficiency upgrades, shifts in our project mix and new ways of working. We expect additional emissions reductions in the coming years as we continue to electrify our fleet, procure renewable energy for our operations and decarbonize our facilities.

Electrifying Our Fleet and an Entire Industry

McKinstry has taken the driver’s seat to define industry-leading best practices for fleet electrification — addressing the challenges faced in our own journey while also developing models that will accelerate fleet decarbonization for the entire construction industry.

Vehicle fleet emissions account for nearly half of all emissions from McKinstry’s business. In 2022, we took a critical step in our plan to reduce these emissions, incorporating four EV trucks into our fleet. Lessons learned from pilot studies with these vehicles are informing how McKinstry will begin to rapidly phase greater numbers of EVs into our fleet, eventually replacing all 700+ fleet vehicles with EVs and other zero-carbon technologies. Considerations for this transition include the challenges of sourcing EV trucks that are equipped to meet our business requirements and accommodating home vehicle charging for our workers.

Leading Our Clients Toward a Zero-Carbon Future

McKinstry partners with our clients to create innovative and cost-effective ways of building a zero- carbon future.

22.10.12Winona State University Solar

Winona State University

McKinstry and Winona State University partnered to deliver annual guaranteed utility and operational cost savings of approximately $673,000 a 23.8% reduction in utility costs and a total savings of $26 million over the project’s 25-year lifetime.


King County Metro

With aggressive sustainability and carbon reduction goals established in King County’s 2020 Climate Action Plan, Metro partnered with McKinstry to support their journey to achieve a 100% zero-emissions fleet by 2035. The project successfully reinforced the county’s commitment to convert buses and fleet by upgrading transit bases at the end of their useful life to battery electric buses (BEB) and BEB enabling infrastructure. Importantly, this project included the development of a battery electric charger test facility where different combinations of BEB manufacturers and chargers can be tested.


Salt Lake City School District

Along with installing solar panels on school rooftops, we’re helping the district implement LED light upgrades, waste-water conservation upgrades and electrical projects at numerous schools. These efforts are expected to reduce annual utility costs by more than $1 million while reducing the district’s carbon footprint by 30% and water consumption by 11 million gallons.

Partnering to Drive Change

MEP 2040

In December, McKinstry became a signatory of MEP 2040, an initiative of the Carbon Leadership Forum. MEP 2040 brings system engineering firms together to advocate for and achieve net-zero carbon in their projects as well as to achieve net-zero operational carbon by 2030 and net-zero embodied carbon by 2040.  

“The built environment generates nearly 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions. Joining the MEP 2040 Challenge represents another tangible step towards facing the climate crisis. Together, we can accelerate our decarbonization goals to reduce our environmental impact.”

—Michael Frank, VP Engineering and Design 

Climate Pledge

In 2020, McKinstry joined The Climate Pledge, which calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040 — a decade ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of 2050.

Throughout 2022, in continued partnership, we attended initiative-hosted meetings and engaged with other signatories to forward critical work that decarbonizes the built environment.

“The construction industry has a tremendous opportunity to combat the climate crisis by reducing the carbon footprint of buildings. We are prepared to take bold action to create a new standard for buildings that restores the balance between the built and natural environments.”

—Dean Allen, CEO