Big Green Commute History

ZGF Architects LLP has been promoting high performance building and environmental stewardship long before LEED became a household term. That commitment has included incorporating green standards in our office practices, whether through carbon offsets or office supply orders.

One day in 2000, the DC office decided to "throw down the gauntlet" and test each office's sustainable chops. Thus began the first ZGF inter-office competition between the four offices of Seattle; Portland, Oregon; Los Angeles; and Washington, DC, aptly named the Big Green Commute (BGC)–with New York joining (and usually setting the gold standard) a few years later.  What started as a one-day contest has grown to a week-long event that coincides with National Bike-to-Work Day and Bike-to-Work Week.

Over time, the BGC has become a heated battle within the firm, with bragging rights and the coveted recycled etched wineglass trophy. Knees were scraped. Tears were shed, people were stranded at abandoned bus shelters trying new commuting strategies. The DC office's Green Team continues to manage the event and, in 2010, with our connections to the AIA-DC Committee on the Environment, we led a new version of the BGC between DC design and construction firms. In 2012, the event reached its highest participation levels to date, and we are just getting started…