Sasaki Associates wanted to demonstrate its holistic approach to sustainability when deciding on new offices for its San Francisco branch. “The main [goal] was to get the amount of driving we do down,” says Tim Stevens, AIA, one of the firm's principals. “Aside from that, we were looking for a space that would showcase our ideals.”

Sasaki chose to relocate to an existing building near several public transportation stops so employees could take the train or bus to work. Led by project architects Stevens and Vitas Viskanta, AIA, LEED AP, another firm principal, Sasaki gutted the space, repurposing many exposed surfaces as finish materials. It reused built-ins from its old office and opted for sustainable new materials such as low-VOC paints and recycled-content carpet.

Sasaki gained an appealing work environment, while the Earth's atmosphere lost some carbon dioxide emissions. According to Stevens, just 5 percent of the staff now drives to work, down from 75 percent before the move.