Sustainability. We believe that great design is synonymous with sustainable development and high performance buildings. Our design process is collaborative and multi-disciplinary resulting in innovative environmentally friendly solutions. Forward thinking, with efficiency and responsibility in mind. Always.



Our Commitment


Harley Ellis Devereaux recognizes the growing body of evidence that current planning, design and construction practices contribute to patterns of resource consumption that jeopardize the future of the Earth’s population.

We accept responsibility for our role in creating the built environment and believe we must adjust our approach to professional practice and encourage our clients and colleagues to join with us to change the course of our planet’s future.

Altering current planning, design and construction practices to realize significant reductions in the use of natural resources, non-renewable energy sources and waste production, and to promote regeneration of natural resources, will require our ongoing effort in conjunction with industry partners, educational institutions and concerned organizations.

We commit to that effort.


Sustainable Design Policy

As a company whose focus is to help transform the built environment, it is fitting to recognize and manage our impact on the natural environment through two avenues: how we work as a business; and what we design as professionals.  In support of our Sustainable Practice Commitment to assist others in the achievement of sustainable design objectives, and in keeping with our pledge to support the AIA 2030 Commitment program, it is appropriate that we embrace these issues and make positive contributions to help sustain the global ecology.  In short, environmental stewardship is recognized as an important practice value of Harley Ellis Devereaux.

Therefore, it is the policy of Harley Ellis Devereaux to conduct its business, whenever appropriate and feasible, in ways that minimize adverse impacts on the environment.  On the business operations side; these include among other efforts, the purchase of recycled and recyclable materials, energy efficient equipment, the recycling of used materials when economically feasible, the conservative use of resources, reuse when and where it can be, and when all other possible avenues are exhausted, the environmentally appropriate disposal of waste.  On the project architecture and engineering side; this will include “…achieving the design of carbon neutral buildings by the year 2030,” defined by the American Institute of Architects as, “building’s using no fossil fuel greenhouse gas emitting energy to operate.” 

To initiate, implement and sustain this Sustainable Design Policy, leadership has been established by the firm and action plans have been established and are being pursued.  Sustainable Design Leadership includes a firm Principal as our Sustainable Design Leader for overall firm oversight and team support, plus appointments by the Managing Principals in each office location from our staff as follows: individuals to serve as our Green Business Coordinator on the business processes and operations side, and one or more individuals in each location as appropriate to serve as our Sustainable Design Champions on the project architecture and engineering side.


Sustainability Action Plan

Our People

In terms of establishing a base level of sustainable design knowledge amongst our staff, we encourage all technical staff to become LEED Accredited Professionals. We provide in-house training for the credentialing exams and maintenance. LEED accreditation of technical staff is also a key consideration in hiring and promotions.  We have a Green Bag Lunch Program that is intended to bring leading-edge technology and system experts and product representatives into our offices on a regular basis for staff presentations. A similar Green Field Trip Series occurs wherein we take the opportunity to have staff visit green facilities often of our own design.  We encourage staff to participate and provide leadership in the sustainable design community.  Every year a certain amount of the firm’s overall training and education budget is dedicated toward sustainable design issues. This budget includes the attendance of staff at selected conferences.

Our Clients

We understand that sustainable goals need to be established during the marketing and proposal phase of a project. If a project prospect does not appear to have sustainable goals during the RFP phase, we believe it is our responsibility to pro-actively inquire and educate the prospective client on the long term advantages of environmentally friendly design.  In terms of our existing and repeat clients, as with other areas of design innovation, we share our knowledge of best practices, leading-edge technology and educational opportunities as a part of our on-going relationship.

Our Work

While we begin with an understanding of the client’s sustainable mission for the project, all of our built environment projects include a “Green Start to Finish” integrated design process, regardless of the client’s additional sustainable requirements. The Green Start to Finish process includes green programming, eco-charrette aspects incorporated within our multi-disciplinary design charrettes, and the HED LEED Default Checklist is utilized if no other benchmarking tool is required for the project.  We report annually on the firm’s design portfolio within the framework of the AIA 2030 Initiative and utilize this as a benchmark upon which to further improve our design work overall and seek the goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.

Our Success

This plan will be reviewed and updated annually in response to our reporting results, reaching the goals toward carbon neutrality established by the 2030 commitment and our expanding knowledge in the area of environmentally friendly design.

Created by John Varley, a Harley Ellis Devereaux staff member from our Chicago office, we love this simple take on sustainable building design.  Please take a moment and review this short video, “Life of a Building”.