We recycle. We compost. Our lights are on timers. Beyond the basics, we look for ways to do more at the office and empower employees to be more sustainable in their home lives. This ethos also extends into the work we do for clients, where we can advise and influence sustainable decisions around their communications initiatives.
At the Office
Use it or pass it on
In 2008, we relocated our office, which provided an opportunity to put our principles into action. As we were designing and building out our new space with SkB Architects, we asked them to explore sustainable options every step of the way. We kept as much furniture and equipment as possible. For the stuff we couldn’t reuse, we found new homes: our work stations went to a startup business and our large steel reception counter was donated to a church that was expanding. New furniture came from secondhand sources, the carpet under our feet is made with 33% post-industrial recycled material (including shredded plastic soda bottles) and the cork flooring is a rapidly renewable resource.
Green in more than one way
Hands down, our favorite part of the office is our beautiful rooftop garden. We maintained all of the existing hardscape, kept the mature trees and planted low-maintenance native plants. The custom "green wall" absorbs and filters storm water, which reduces local water pollution and helps prevent storm water runoff. Living walls also filter air particulates—improving air quality—and help reduce the urban heat-island effect.
There is no reason old computers and electronic equipment (and the toxic materials inside them) should end up in landfills. Methodologie has hosted two e-cycling events in partnership with InterConnection, a Seattle nonprofit that refurbishes electronic equipment and donates it to underserved communities. With the help of our property managers, we included our entire 23-story building and had over 100 items donated.
Alongside Our Clients
Over the years, our clients have increasingly made sustainability a priority, and we see it as our role to advise and implement when we can. Beyond helping clients switch from paper to pixels or find FSC-certified paper options, we look for new ways to turn our creativity to sustainable ends on behalf of our clients. Here are two examples.
Industry standard exhibit fabrics contain a lot of questionable materials and throw off harmful PCBs. This was top of mind when we collaborated with Unico Properties on brand strategy and design for their prefab apartments project, Inhabit. We asked our fabricator for help and discovered Bioscrim, a biodegradable banner material that is completely PCB-free.
Designed for reuse
The 365: AIGA Annual Design Exhibition 29 was AIGA’s showcase for the winners of its annual design competition. When they asked us to create the exhibition’s graphics, our team thought up a concept that maximized what sustainable design can accomplish. It’s standard practice for AIGA to donate leftover materials from its exhibitions to a nonprofit group. So we found Publicolor, a group that mentors at-risk youth while teaching them commercial painting skills. Our design artfully misused painting supplies while preserving them for later use. After the exhibition, AIGA donated 7 ladders, 41 buckets, 50 rollers, 30 pans, 720 rolls of paper towels, 168 rolls of rosin paper and 5 drop cloths used in the exhibit to Publicolor.
Across the board, when we are at home we recycle, compost, use natural products, buy secondhand and donate old stuff. But there is also a variety of unique and creative practices among our employees, including keeping chickens that provide eggs and fertilizer for the garden; making household cleaners from scratch; cutting up old LP album covers for homemade greeting cards; designing the ultimate reusable shopping bag; driving a 100% electric van, or a car that runs on homemade biodiesel; and introducing masonry bees into the garden to help the ecosystem.