Strides Toward Decarbonization Make Improving the Built Environment Even More Natural

The AIM (American Innovation and Manufacturing) Act, a measure to phase down the use of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) by 85% over the next 15 years, is intended to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions while creating jobs and other economic benefits. As a greater understanding of how the AIM Act accelerates the replacement of HFCs evolves, benefits to building owners will transform from being a competitive advantage for early adopters to being a minimum market requirement.


Companies and employees everywhere are thinking more critically about the air they breathe. According to Project Drawdown, the gases used as refrigerants today are adversely affecting the earth’s climate. The AIM Act of 2019, a measure to phase down the use of HFCs – today’s refrigerants – by 85% over the next 15 years, serves as an opportunity for building owners.

Our building owner clients tirelessly juggle the needs of their tenants, building operations and making capital investment decisions. As societal preferences and behaviors evolve, they have sought a competitive advantage to attract and retain tenants. Food halls, fitness centers, simulated golf ranges, conference centers, LEED certification, health and wellness, building/portfolio apps, security measures and connectivity are among many strategies our building owner clients have implemented.

The pandemic has accelerated the awareness of indoor air quality, health and wellness and corporate dedication to environmental, and social and corporate governance (ESG) issues – including climate change. As building systems near the end of their useful life, it is a great opportunity for building owners to explore operating efficiencies gained through the replacement of these systems, the incentives available to offset first costs and the competitive advantage of being an early adopter as it relates to attracting and retaining tenants who are seeking alignment with their ESG initiatives.

To narrow down the options most appropriate for your building, email Andrew Lehrer, High Performance Buildings Practice Leader, or call him at 312 551 8652.  


Example of HFC Reduction Impact:


If almost every commercial building over 300,000 square foot originally built in Chicago between 1980 and 1995 replaces their chillers at the end of their useful life with new chillers using R-514A refrigerant – global warming potential (GWP) can be reduced by 252,892 tons CO2 – the equivalent of removing 55,000 cars from the road each year. 

Would you like to learn more? Reach out to Andrew.  


Impact From a Recent Client Partner:


Working with Tishman Speyer at the 2.3 million-square-foot CME Center built in 1983 and 1987, our team explored several strategies for the complex’s building systems. One of the strategies Tishman Speyer implemented via an ESD-led risk assessment was the replacement of the original chillers with chillers using R-514A refrigerant. This choice resulted in the equivalent of removing 4,200 cars from the road per year.

Do you want to know how energy and other construction incentives were used to reduce the upfront construction and equipment replacement costs at the CME Center? Reach out to Andrew

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