Carbon and Climate

McKinstry takes action to address the climate crisis at different levels: through our operations, our work with clients and our impact on local communities. Only with these combined efforts can we achieve a thriving zero-carbon future. 

Progress Toward Decarbonized 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.  

McKinstry’s 2023 GHG report will be published in April 2024, at which point we will provide updated data on our progress towards our goal.

Rolling Forward with Fleet Electrification

These new vehicles will allow us to continue evaluating EV truck functionality on jobsites and performance on the road. Most critically, their use will inform how to ensure these vehicles can reliably charge through a combination of home, depot, and public charging platforms, the biggest hurdle for any fleet electrification transition.

And the good news for our climate goals: each EV truck added to our fleet reduces 8.5 tons of our annual greenhouse gas emissions, the same emissions as an average home produces in a year.

Moving forward, we expect to integrate more Silverado EVs into our fleet, bringing on as many as 20 new trucks a quarter. Because of our early adoption and lessons learned, we are in a strong position to fully transition our fleet to EVs and reach our decarbonization target.

Zero-Carbon Approaches for Our Facilities New and Old

McKinstry’s leadership in the built environment shines through not only in our work with clients but also in our own offices and facilities. Standing tall among these is the Catalyst building in Spokane, Washington, that houses classrooms and labs for Eastern Washington University as well as the main office for McKinstry’s Inland Northwest operations. The building uses 78% less energy than those typical of its size and use, achieved through sharing heating/cooling systems across multiple buildings in the South Landing campus, a sophisticated building envelope and a custom solar/battery storage system.

In 2023, we further demonstrated our zero-carbon commitment with a new 68,000 square foot, all-electric, state-of-the-art manufacturing center in Spokane. The facility, which greatly expands McKinstry’s ability to serve customers nationwide, will include EV charging infrastructure to support our fleet electrification efforts.

To further reduce the carbon used in our existing buildings, in 2023, the McKinstry Facilities team partnered with our own Engineering and Design team to develop a decarbonization roadmap that will drastically reduce our reliance on gas-powered systems and power our operations using renewable energy at our Seattle campus.

Employees Hop Aboard 
Alternative Commutes

To encourage employees to commute via public transit, in 2023 we launched a “Last-Mile” program that provided fully subsidized ride-share transportation between major regional transit centers and our Seattle headquarters. Participants reduce their daily commute emissions by 90% on average each time they use the program compared to commuting in a single-occupant gas-powered vehicle. In addition to public transportation incentives, throughout the year we also provided information and resources on bike commuting, carpooling and EVs, to promote a variety of low-carbon commuting alternatives.

Decarbonizing with Clients Nationwide

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


Our Solar Gardens Grow Benefits for Denver Communities

In October, we celebrated completion of a solar garden at Northeast Early College High School, the third of 12 solar installations in our ongoing partnership with the City and County of Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency. These solar gardens power buildings with 100% renewable energy, direct renewable energy (and financial relief) to low-income families and provide shade and cooling. Solar workforce training programs that advance underserved community members round out this visionary partnership. 


Delivering Sustainable, Healthy Schools for Students in Salt Lake City

We’re helping the Salt Lake City School District deliver on its student-initiated plan to transform schools into healthy, sustainable environments. In fall 2023, we completed nearly 1 MW of solar on six schools, LED lighting and low-flow water fixture installation, and the full electrification of one elementary school (and partial of another). The completed project will yield a 30% reduction in carbon emissions, $1.3 million in utility costs savings and a water consumption reduction of 11 million gallons annually.

PowerPoint Presentation

Our Innovative Heat Recovery System Powers the Life Sciences

McKinstry is the trusted design-build partner to King County and Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. in one of the nation’s first large commercial projects to draw heat from the sewer as a renewable energy source for buildings. This heat-recovery system is expected to provide 70% of the heating for the Alexandria Center for Life Science South Lake Union, a five-building, 1.6 million-square-foot mixed-use life science mega campus.

Addressing the Climate Crisis in Communities

Earlier this year, McKinstry announced several large philanthropic gifts to climate-focused organizations, rounding out our commitment to donate $1 million by 2025 to organizations addressing the climate crisis. We are proud to support the work of these wonderful organizations nationwide.

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Climate-Focused Charitable Awards Recipients