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Sustainable Design

Published April 14, 2021

Green Now, Green Later

Show us what you’re made of


By Abby Murray

Co-Founder + CEO, MORTARR

That line caught my attention, too. In Arkansas, a school district reduced its annual energy costs by more than half a million dollars through solar energy, taking a portion of those savings to increase teacher salaries. I’m going to assume teachers may be asking for solar panels over apples next year. The intangible “buzzwords” to go green, reduce your carbon footprint, and protect our planet for future generations are often overwhelming challenges for organizations to get on board with, often seen only as future value. But as a business owner, this article was math I could get behind — reward today and tomorrow!

Of the energy consumed in the U.S., 49% is consumed by the built environment. Yes, half. Between the construction of buildings (embodied carbon) and the usage of said buildings (operating carbon), the built environment takes a toll on our environment (Gensler). But where do we even begin to make change? And how much of an impact can we really have?

To be honest, I didn’t know.

As my career shifted (only 5ish years ago) to the creation of Mortarr, a search engine for pros serving the built environment, I became more exposed to the realities of our industry’s role in carbon emissions and began to tune in. A comment from Eric Corey Freed in a session on green building decisions has stuck with me over the years — “You don’t have to get it all right, all of the time to make a lasting impact. You just have to start.” 


By sourcing some sustainable products in your designs and choosing even just one method that reduces or reuses, you reduce your carbon footprint and begin to create change for the better. And if the built environment accounts for half of our country’s energy consumption, think of the immense impact we can make in a positive direction!

That felt digestible. Doable even.

"You don’t have to get it all right, all of the time to make a lasting impact. You just have to start."

- Eric Corey Freed, RA, LEED Fellow

Short-term sacrifice for long-term rewards isn’t something we all easily adopt. It is really tough to be heavily invested in such a futuristic, intangible reward. But sustainable practices, eco-friendly decisions, and going green are just good business practices that CAN translate to reward here and now.

So, we at Mortarr made a commitment to get involved. How could we as a digital platform enter into the challenge for carbon neutrality? Through our own workplace, yes. But there was more there. Our mindset began to shift from Mortarr as the industry’s digital search tool to Mortarr as the industry’s sustainable resource, replacing product catalogs and spec sheets, lessening travel through digital Showrooms and online project-team collaboration, and cutting down on samples by helping teams virtually narrow in on final decisions.

Taking it a step further, how could we give exposure to and drive demand for the companies, products, and projects who are doing the work to make our todays, tomorrows, and future generations better? 

In collaboration with our friends at International Living Future Institute, International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), and many individuals directing sustainability for leading firms, we drew on their expertise to incorporate educational content into our messaging and built out filters and features within our site to bring those sustainable pros, products, and projects to the forefront.

Today, offers sustainability features that allow site users to visually select companies and products that align with their sustainable goals. 

Our sustainability filters allow you to search for pros, products, or projects that have achieved certifications and disclosures, including Declare, LBC, WELL, LEED, Green Guard, and more like the LEED Platinum and WELL certified ASID HQ Project crediting numerous products tagged within the space, and the pro team of Perkins + Will, Savills Studley + Rand Construction.

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Companies with sustainable initiatives and projects like the LEED Platinum Saint Gobain North American Headquarters Project featuring Sage Glass, receive the green leaf icon making it easy for decision-makers to see who is right for them and our future.

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White product tags have been upgraded to green for certified products from brands like FabriTRAK and framery, making it easier than ever to take that next step forward in sourcing responsibly.

Digitalization not only increases the efficiency of the design process, but significantly decreases our reliance on in-person and in-print everything. These changes to the way we work bring tremendous benefits to companies and teams (less cost, more time, wider profit margins), and even greater is the lasting impact this makes on our environment. We can quite literally change the future and the landscape one project at a time. 

Show us what you’re made of,


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