Sustainable Design

Committed to a greener build.

DCI leverages Life-Cycle Assessment, decades of structural design experience and industry connections to assist our clients in achieving project sustainability goals while also bolstering our commitment to reduce the building industry’s carbon footprint as a whole.

Our work

We are committed to helping our project partners arrive at cost-effective design solutions that employ sustainable design practices – whether aiming for specific certifications such as LEED® Design or the Living Building Pilot Program, or just simply helping to make this planet a little bit greener… DCI is here for it.

We believe high-performance structures must also demonstrate environmental, social, and economic responsibility, and we are constantly exploring how structural systems impact embodied carbon, material sourcing and other sustainability factors.

Our Values

DCI isn’t just focused on building something tangible, but also building a culture that embraces diverse ideas, equality, and celebrates the individual stories of our employees. We believe diversity drives innovation in an environment that is designed to help employees grow.






Equity & Diversity

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While DCI is proud to help build within our communities, sometimes a new building just isn’t enough. Helping change the built environment comes with a responsibility to help the people who are a part of it – as well as to the men and women who are entering the industry. Learn More

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As the AEC industry works toward greener building solutions, engineers have an unprecedented opportunity to create impactful change by way of the structure. Learn how DCI is focused on a better, more sustainable future.

Icon for Equity & Diversity

DCI is focused on building something tangible. We're looking to build a culture that embraces diverse ideas, equality, and celebrates the individual stories of our employees. Learn more.

DCI's Sustainability Services

  • Schematic Structural Life Cycle Assessment - Our team explores environmental impacts for consideration during the structural system comparison and selection process.
  • Structural Life Cycle Assessment Design Coordination - We can track & optimize environmental impacts throughout the structural design process, assist with reduced carbon material procurement and coordinate structural LCA results with the project’s sustainability consultant.
  • Structure & Enclosure Life Cycle Assessment - Our services also include green building rating system documentation & coordination including, but not limited to, LEED, ILFI, Green Globes, and AEGB.
  • Embodied Carbon and Structural Sustainability Education - Contact the team for our official AIA-approved presentation, which is tailored to audience levels of experience and interests.

Click through DCI's Sustainability Brochure below for a deeper dive on Sustainability Services and Expertise!

Sliding panel ECAP link for sustainability values page

SE 2050

DCI Engineers is a signatory firm for the Structural Engineers 2050 Commitment Program, which was developed by the Sustainability Committee of the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

We're committed to understanding, reducing and ultimately eliminating embodied carbon in our projects by 2050.

Embodied Carbon Action Plan

Part of our SE 2050 Commitment includes a yearly Embodied Carbon Action Plan (ECAP). Click through our latest update below!

DCI's Commitment to a More Sustainable Future

With embodied carbon being a factor beyond just the operational components of a building, structural engineers have an unprecedented opportunity and responsibility to tackle the upfront product stage -- the beginning of a building's life.

As engineers, we can make impactful change by way of the structure, providing one that will outlive the many cycles of tenant improvements and building system upgrades for years to come.

But change doesn't happen within a silo. It requires education at all levels and buy-in from project partners. Thankfully, sustainable design is possible, and its implementation is becoming more streamline with each year and every project.

Key Considerations

Material Re-Use Evaluation


Existing Site Analysis, Tenant Improvements, Alternate Building Occupancy Adaptation, Reclaimed Material Recommendations

Modular & Prefabricated Design


Panelized Systems, Volumetric Modular, Component Assemblies, Manufacturer Coordination

Performance Based Design


Performance Objective Coordination, Material Supplier Collaboration for Performance Optimization, Research and Development of Alternate Analysis Methods

Deconstructability & Resiliency Considerations


Connection Detailing for Future Building Decomission and Adaptability, Demolition Permit Coordination, Desired Risk Performance Implementation

Green Building Rating System Assistance


LEED, ILFI, Green Globes, AEGB & More

Mass Timber Design


Fire-Rated Member and Connection Detailing, Supplier Coordination for Maximum Layout Efficiency

Procurement Collaboration & Supplier Coordination


Holistic Bidding, Design Optimization, Lean Construction

Low Carbon Material-Focused Specifications


Performance-Based Specifications, EPD Requirements, GWP Limits

Optimized Structural Designs & Detailing to Reduce Material


Castellated Beams, High Strength Structural Steel, Cement Minimization, High Strength Concrete Reinforcing, Wood Fiber Optimization, Composite and Hybrid Systems

DCI's First LEED-Certified Project

DCI took its first big step into sustainability with the design and completion of Hollywood & Vine, a 1.7M-sf, hotel and residential mixed-use development on the historic Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, that earned LEED Silver certification – the firm’s first!

It was the beginning of a pursuit for greener, more sustainable building design.

First Living Building

The world’s first commercial building to achieve net-zero use of energy and water was completed on this date in Seattle. The Bullitt Center was also the city’s first building to complete the Living Building Pilot Program, which earned that status in 2015.

As the EOR on the project, DCI provided innovative, sustainably focused structural design services for this ground-breaking, six-story office building in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Formation of the DCI Sustainability Committee

With roots in the firm’s Austin office, which started with about 15 passionate members, the DCI Sustainability Committee was born! Formed to develop and direct sustainable design practices for the company, the Committee provides meaningful data to staff and project stakeholders regarding the environmental impact of their design choices; seeks out innovative and sustainable structural systems that add value to our projects and the whole of society.

To date, the Sustainability Committee has strong representation across DCI’s nation-wide offices; and, just as it did in its earlier days, encourages further discussions about sustainable development beyond code minimums and green programs requirements to make real, positive impacts on the built environment.

June 2020: Presented First Company-Wide Embodied Carbon 101 Class

Because DCI holds sustainability in such high regard, the Sustainability Committee wanted to ensure that all technical staff at our firm have a basic understanding of embodied carbon in the built environment. This presentation put sustainability at the forefront of our internal conversation and introduced design considerations that all engineers should keep in mind while working to meet their projects’ unique needs.

First Internal & First Contracted Life Cycle Assessments

Consisting of three separate buildings, The Mill Phase I was DCI’s first internal Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The design team developed three different designs for the larger office building at the schematic phase, which was a perfect opportunity for the DCI sustainability committee to perform a comparative LCA study. This consisted of an all-steel design, steel/mass timber hybrid design and all-mass timber design.

It gave DCI its first opportunity to demonstrate a new service to clients, develop its first LCA report and learn several LCA software programs. While this didn’t end up driving any design changes on the project, it led to the creation of several internal resources and sparked current LCA capabilities.

Not even a month later, DCI was contracted by B+H Architects to conduct an LCA as part of a proposal to the City of Seattle on a new bridge in West Seattle. The LCA was conducted to compare a typical concrete and steel-framed bridge with a hybrid bridge structure utilizing mass timber trusses. New internal tools were created to quickly calculate environmental impacts between the two conceptual designs.

DCI Signs onto the SE 2050 Commitment

Developed by the Sustainability Committee of the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the SE 2050 Commitment is a pledge by signatory firms—which includes DCI!—to better understand, reduce and ultimately eliminate embodied carbon in all projects by 2050.

SE 2050 stands for the Structural Engineers 2050 Commitment Program that is in response to the SE 2050 Challenge issued in 2019 by the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF). The SE 2050 Commitment Program was developed by the Sustainability Committee of the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)" -SE 2050

DCI Integrates EPD & GWP Requirements into General Notes Template

Adding Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) language into DCI’s general notes template encourages the production of product and facility specific EPDs in DCI’s project regions, while adding regional Global Warming Potential (GWP) limits encourages the industry's development of low carbon materials and procurement of reduced impact materials on DCI’s projects, regardless of the project’s overall sustainability goals.

DCI Introduces New Sustainability Team

With sustainable projects and an internal committee well underway, it was clear a dedicated team focused entirely on these efforts would move the needle even farther. Sourced internally, DCI’s first Director and Sustainability Specialist, filled by Ethan Martin and Jessica Martinez, respectively, was the first step; followed closely by the firm’s first Principal in Charge of Sustainability, Roger Heeringa; and most recently, the firm’s first Sustainability Engineer, Arizona Dabrusin.

CLF Commitment/Involvement

DCI committed even further to sustainability by sponsoring the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF), a non-profit organization leading the way to decarbonize the built environment. With Committee members involved and active in their local CLF chapters, DCI is promoting knowledge sharing and hubs amongst designers, suppliers and builders who hold sustainability in high regard.

DCI's First Approved LEED Whole Building LCA

DCI achieved 5 LEED Version points on a project: 3 points for the whole-building LCA demonstrated a 12% reduction in global warming potential and over 10% reduction in two other impact categories; and reusing over 30% of the existing building structural elements earned 2 points. The 5 points earned are the maximum allowed by LEED for the Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction credit.

Sustainable Design Leaders

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Ethan Martin

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Roger L. Heeringa

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Jessica Martinez

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Arizona Dabrusin

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