To Reach Net Zero by 2030, We Need Coordinated Action

Designers, builders, and government must work toward the same goal — our lives depend on it.

by Kent Jackson

The University of California, Merced campus is designed to achieve net-zero emissions, energy use, and waste by 2020—well ahead of California’s already ambitious statewide targets. Photo: Dave Burk © SOM

Our whole industry needs to be aligned

We cannot reach net zero by ticking boxes; it calls for a holistic reshaping of the entire built environment.

The Kathleen Grimm School is the first in New York to achieve net-zero energy. Photo: Stark Video, Inc. | Aerial NY © SOM

Breakthroughs in design and research

Through testing and research, SOM has demonstrated the potential of mass timber in high-rise construction. Photo © SOM
Our prototype for a sustainable concrete slab also served as a public pavilion during the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Photo © Dave Burk | SOM

The building industry and government must take action

Choosing timber construction for Billie Jean King Main Library, in Long Beach, California, dramatically reduced the building’s embodied carbon. Photo: Benny Chan | Fotoworks
Bridging central Paris and its suburbs, our master plan for Charenton-Bercy includes a net-zero tower that would be the first of its kind in Europe. Image © Luxigon

Why wait until tomorrow?

Our San Francisco studio — along with all of our offices worldwide — is committed to achieving net-zero operational carbon before 2030. Photo: Dave Burk © SOM

We are a collective of architects, designers, engineers, and planners building a better future. To learn more, visit