Headshot of Laura Soma

Laura Soma

Sustainability Manager

Meet Laura

In 2018, at Building Green’s inaugural Sustainable Construction Leader’s Summit, representatives from over 25 general contractors across the nation embarked on a journey to expand our industry’s sustainable practices and measuring tools. Together, we took on the task of creating the Contractor’s Commitment, a set of guidelines specific to builders to improve sustainable stewardship.

By investigating the aspects of construction we have control over, we developed an ambitious yet feasible approach to track and reduce carbon output, create healthier work environments for jobsite crews, reduce waste and water usage, and select healthier and more sustainable building materials.

Puget Sound Sustainable Construction Leaders Meeting

To continue conversations at a local level, the Puget Sound Sustainable Construction Leaders meet monthly to hear from industry experts, explore new ideas, and share and evaluate sustainable building practices.

Published in December 2020, the Contractor’s Commitment immediately went into full effect for several general contractors, including GLY. During its 2021 pilot year, signatory companies focused on implementing sustainable requirements and tracking, measuring, and reporting outcomes to have benchmarks going forward. Without these critical benchmarks, we cannot understand our progress.

Highlights of the pilot year include:

  • 12 signatory companies
  • 89% of signatories adopted anti-idling plans for vehicles and construction equipment
  • Signatories diverted 85% of construction waste – about 14,000 tons – from landfills
  • Over one third of waste diverted was concrete

Energized by a companywide anti-idling policy and inspired by a goal to divert project waste by 75%, GLY also tracks carbon impacts across our offices and largest projects. As a founding member of Forterra’s Evergreen Carbon Capture program, we have increased our carbon offsetting to reflect our initial findings.

Anti Idling Sign and Waste Diversion Signs

GLY’s anti-idling and waste diversion efforts are two of many sustainable construction strategies in the Contractor’s Commitment.

GLY’s Sustainability Advocacy Group is now using data collected thus far to develop and implement carbon reduction strategies across jobsites. Three of them include:

  • Using R-99 Renewable Diesel
  • Researching and investigating electric vehicles and equipment
  • Working with design teams to advocate designing for deconstruction and reducing future waste from the landfills

Looking ahead, Contractor’s Commitment signatories plan to work with the manufacturing industry to help reduce harmful chemicals used in building materials and encourage manufacturers to provide Environmental Product Declarations, or EPDs, that note the carbon impacts of their products. This transparency puts more responsibility in the hands of owners, architects, and contractors. We know the impacts of our product selections on our environment.

Not even two years young, the Contractor’s Commitment may still be in its infancy, but we are already seeing significant progress across signatory companies. The time to join is now. Significant change starts with commitment from many. If you want to learn more about it or what GLY is doing to improve sustainability in construction, please reach out. We would love to talk!

Contractor's Commitment Pilot Year Infographic