One Small Tree, One Big Impact

There is a Greek Proverb that says, “Society grows great when old men plants trees in whose shade they shall never sit” We at Spiezle feel that the same can be applied to designing and building sustainably. We understand that locally sourcing materials on a single project doesn’t help to immensely reduce the carbon footprint, but by doing so repeatedly over the course of time, we can begin to make progress. We feel building sustainably isn’t looking at the splash of a pebble tossed in a lake today, but rather analyzing where the ripples go tomorrow and into the future.

It’s estimated that nearly 40% of global carbon emissions are generated by the building and construction industry. To begin to help offset that, Spiezle has starting a tree planting initiative on select projects. While this may seem like a small gesture, one tree can make a big impact. A single oak tree can support 534 species of caterpillars. When you consider how much insects play a part in supporting natural food webs, this can lead to the creation of a great support system for wildlife in the area. A single shade tree can sequester approximately 4.5-11 kg of carbon annually and that same tree can also absorb between 500 and 2,000 gallons of storm water annually. One small tree, one big impact.

Tree planting is just the first of many initiatives that Spiezle has been rolling out in the last couple of years. Our internal sustainability meeting meets once a month to bring about more initiatives like this one. We are constantly looking at new building technologies aimed at reducing our carbon footprint and analyzing various rating systems to understand the best way to continue to develop a sustainable practice for our firm at large. At the first meeting of this committee, we went around the table and spoke about why we were interested in sustainability. One of the members said he wanted to leave a better world for his grandchildren. He was in his mid-forties, his three children were all younger than ten. He didn’t have grandchildren yet, but his vision inspired us all. We want to plant trees in whose shade we shall never sit.

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