A learning culture: How JPE Design Studio engages its team to support its net zero plan

JPE Design Studio is a multi-disciplinary design studio based in Adelaide, Kaurna Country, offering architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and urban design services.

JPE has a team of 34 employees, including 5 directors, and it’s striving to become net zero by the end of the 2024 financial year.

Cristina Nadasan is an architect at JPE with a passion for sustainable design. She brings her passion to life through her client-facing work, as well as her work to support the studio’s net zero goals.

She shared how JPE engages employees to support its net zero goal.

Image: Cristina Nadasan, architect, JPE Design Studio. Photography courtesy of JPE

How do you engage your team with your net zero ambitions?

We have an internal Environmental Sustainability and Design (ESD) committee dedicated to promoting sustainability within and outside our studio.

The committee focuses on setting goals, updating processes, arranging training sessions, sharing knowledge and staying up-to-date on best practices within our industry.

We aim to reach carbon neutral in our office as well as to incorporate sustainability as a base level in our client offerings.

How does the committee work together and who is involved?

The whole JPE team is enthusiastic about learning and striving for sustainable outcomes. To foster a culture of learning and collaboration, we regularly host learning labs and forums, and share knowledge and experience from within the studio and with external experts.

It is now standard for us to ask product representatives about whether they calculate their embodied emissions and how they are moving towards a sustainable supply chain.

Regular conversations at these product meetings and team meetings ensure all employees share similar values and understand the benefits involved.

What’s one example of how JPE has reduced its operational footprint?

We recently completed a sustainable fit out of our office, demonstrating our commitment to using environmentally friendly materials.

The office serves as a visual representation of our ethos, instantly conveying our values to clients and stakeholders. The fit out design and materials used were entirely developed through internal engagement.

The team was very keen to ensure that our material approach focused on natural elements that align with sustainability and functionality.

Our dedicated landscape architects ensure our office incorporates abundant plantings, which enhance air quality and create a serene ambiance.

We strive to lead by example. Our own office serves as a constant example to all our staff of how they can incorporate sustainable offerings to clients, and to clients of what they can create for themselves.

Cristina Nadasan, architect, JPE Design Studio

JPE is updating its quality assurance system to include an environmental sustainability and design (ESD) checklist, which serves as a tool to identify and incorporate sustainable practices into projects. This includes designing all-electric buildings, setting ambitious green building goals, specifying recycled materials, and integrating biophilic design.

This checklist helps identify opportunities for achieving higher levels of sustainability within projects, as well as keeping these concepts front of mind during design stages. Importantly it’s used throughout a project, with quantifiable goal outcomes and ensuring continuous improvement.

Image: JPE Design Studio. Photography courtesy of JPE

Is there anything else you’re proud of that you’d like to share?

JPE promotes a flexible work environment - we provide opportunities for remote work and facilitate online meetings to reduce travel. Working in the city centre enables staff to walk or ride to meetings, which reduces reliance on private vehicles.

Photographer: David Sievers Photography

Project Team: Shape Australia

Architects / Designers: JPE Design Studios

Learn more

Cristina shared her experience during a CitySwitch webinar. Have a listen.