W&A Cares About Sustainability
At the core of W&A’s mission to build better communities is the intention to impact the three dimensions commonly associated with sustainability: economic viability, social equity, and environmental protection. In this way, sustainability was naturally “built-in” to the W&A business model. This emphasis can be seen in the rooftop array of solar panels on our corporate headquarters, in the sustainable spaces our landscape architecture projects incorporate, and in our innovative site designs that minimize environmental impact. As we continue our corporate expansion, we are always looking for new ways to incorporate sustainable practices into our professional practice and corporate culture.
HERE’S HOW WE SHOW IT!
Sustainable Design Practices
“Leave it better than you found it”.
At W&A Engineering, we apply this philosophy daily as we strive to build better communities. Part of fulfilling that mission is providing our clients with design solutions that will last, that will meet the needs of today and tomorrow, and that, in short, will be sustainable.
Every project presents itself as a puzzle at some level, and W&A’s job is to solve that puzzle with sustainable approaches that save costs, minimize maintenance needs, reduce impacts to the environment, and eliminate unintended consequences. W&A achieves these goals by utilizing innovative approaches to stormwater management, applying BMPs (best management practices) to erosion and sediment control, specifying materials and products that will last, and selecting plant material to promote native habitat and limit the spread of invasive species. Smart landscape design is also important, like limiting excessive turf areas and promoting natural landscapes that have lower water and chemical needs. Establishing buffers around streams, using bottomless culverts that don’t disrupt streams, and designing stormwater ponds that don’t flood or damage downstream properties or drainage channels are all great examples that express our passion for protecting the surrounding environment and natural resources.
Through the use of these practices, W&A Engineering has become well-known for providing high-quality site designs that are truly sustainable.
“First and foremost, when I think about how we apply sustainable practices within our designs, is the long list of projects in W&A’s portfolio that were designed to enhance the community for a long time, and the detail and thought put into all W&A projects allow them to achieve that goal.”– Stephen Kesler, Landscape Architecture Design Associate
Community Development Partnerships
Sustainability is pertinent to successful economic development which is a priority for W&A. From our Economic Development Department that helps communities prepare for courting large, job-creating companies to providing guidance for land use, W&A has fostered partnerships with over 35 Georgia communities and counting. We apply best practices to our designs so that projects have the potential to become high-functioning sites, which in turn ensures long-term viability and prevents development blight.
Corporate Eco-Friendly Programs
W&A’s partnership with these programs is a reflection of our commitment to environmental protection and enforcing sustainable practices within our own walls.
Collective Harvest Co-Op Program
W&A Engineering has partnered with Collective Harvest to connect our employees with fresh, locally grown produce. Supporting local farms is part of W&A’s Corporate Citizenship commitment to sustainability and the local economy. As part of that commitment, we encourage employees to participate and provide incentives through our wellness rewards program, Healthy Habits. W&A loves Collective Harvest and what it stands for!
Awesome Possum Composting
W&A implemented composting into our recycling processes in 2019, and, since relocating our corporate headquarters to the Southern Mill Business Complex in Athens, Georgia, we have partnered with Awesome Possum Composting to recycle our compostable waste efficiently. As part of this effort, W&A replaced our frequently used disposable items such as plastic and paper plates, cups, and utensils with compostable products. We have even incorporated composting into our annual BBQ and corporate events, reducing waste from our local landfill and minimizing our carbon footprint.
CHaRM Recycling Partnership
The Athens-Clarke County Center for Hard to Recycle Materials provides a facility for recycling anything from batteries to old gift cards to computer screens to mattresses! We love partnering with organizations like CHaRM that work to educate the community on how to be good stewards of the land and build better communities, one recycled light bulb at a time!
“When I think about our part in designing sustainably, I think about how we design projects in such a way that they will be functional for many years to come.”- Mariana Madison, EIT Project Engineer
W&A Engineering is proud to have participated in the Solarize Athens 2.0 Crowdsourcing program that took place in 2019, contracting for a little over 40kW worth of solar panels for our Athens headquarters. Solarize programs encourage the purchase of solar systems by leveraging the power of group purchasing to lower the cost of solar panels and battery storage. Pricing is based on a tiered system, such that more participation helps to bring the price down for everyone.
“Because commercial and residential installations counted towards the program as a whole, W&A’s participation along with the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government’s contract were able to springboard the program into Tier 3 residential pricing before the launch of the campaign,” said Don Moreland, founder of Solar Crowdsource and administrator of the program. “This meant that the average residential solar system was already $280 cheaper at the start of the campaign, with additional savings accumulating as program participation grew.”
W&A’s participation in the crowdsourcing program was recognized for boosting participation and lowering the cost of solar for all who chose to participate, and it has proved to be a worthwhile investment for the company. During the first year of operation, W&A’s system produced over 40% of our headquarters total energy needs.
“W&A’s commitment to social sustainability can be seen in our parking lot where the Department of Public Health, thanks in-part to W&A’s commitment of financial and professional services, has set-up a vaccination and testing facility to treat the Athens community and limit the effects of COVID-19. W&A practices environmental sustainability through the use of solar energy and composting. And, through all services offered by W&A, we are propelling economic growth all across the United States.”- Headley Wilson, EIT Project Engineer