large communal space with people sitting on top of wooden platforms with windows all around
Cleveland Foundation, Ohio, by Vocon. Photography by David Joseph.

Presenting Interior Design’s 2024 Sustainability Giants

Of the 100 Sustainability Giants, one-third are new to the rankings, which we attribute to increased recognition of this newest Giants category initiative, now in its second year. To be considered for the list, firms need to report fees garnered from projects that had “measurable” sustainability goals—a somewhat flexible definition that includes both official certification and other assessments.

In both the inaugural year of data-collection and this one, the percentage of projects attaining WELL or LEED certification was low (although the latter is up from 2 to 5 percent), which we chalk up to clients’ interest in environmental consciousness—but not in investing extra for the rubber stamp. More specifically: Designers said 37 percent of their clients follow LEED or WELL principles but don’t want to pay for the certification, an increase of 10 percent year-over-year. Mentions of ESG as the client’s primary project goal is flat as well, at 29 percent.

As for fees: Defying this group’s expectations, sustainability income is solid, having risen from $1.8 to $2.4 billion between 2022 and 2023—a 33 percent year-over-year increase, surpassing predictions. Sustainability Giants do forecast a small 8 percent decline for 2024, a figure that’s in line with Giants’ overall predictions.

Other metrics indicate how tough sustainability efforts remain in our industry. For instance, percentage of projects tracking embodied carbon is 7 (up from 5), so not many folks onboarding. Last year, when we asked Giants what was interfering with their ability to do so, most responded they didn’t have the technology or a system in place, or even the right team of people. (Perhaps relatedly, the percentage of LEED- or WELL-accredited staff is flat at about one-quarter of employees.) We do know anecdotally that Giants are seeing an uptick in projects designed with the health of people and planet in mind, but the certification and tracking numbers don’t reflect that enthusiasm—yet. We’re encouraged, however, by No. 1 and 2 firms Gensler and Perkins&Will reporting that more than 88 percent of their fees derive from projects with measurable sustainability goals, and by Giants’ and urgent commentary regarding the importance of working together to address climate change—and how well positioned the industry is to be a leader in that cause.

Sustainability Giants Rankings 2024

wdt_ID wdt_created_by wdt_created_at wdt_last_edited_by wdt_last_edited_at 2024 Rank Firm Headquarters Sustainable Fees (in millions) FFC Value Of Work Installed (in millions) Design Staff 2023 Rank
1 michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM 1 Gensler San Francisco 779.0 3,176 1
2 michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM 2 Perkins&Will Chicago 281.9 10,329.4 819 2
3 michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM 3 HKS Dallas 120.0 174 5
4 michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM 4 AECOM Dallas 113.6 11,361.0 499 4
5 michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM 5 Page Southerland Page Washington 108.4 2,889.6 731 3
6 michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM 6 HDR Omaha 90.5 2,410.9 123 new
7 michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM 7 Corgan Dallas 81.0 3,200.0 434 12
8 michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM 8 SmithGroup Detroit 53.7 237 6
9 michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM 9 NBBJ Seattle 52.0 8
10 michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 06:43 PM 10 ZGF Portland 52.0 90 7

“blank cells” = did not report data


Top Firms Based On Fees From Projects With Measurable Sustainability Goals

wdt_ID wdt_created_by wdt_created_at wdt_last_edited_by wdt_last_edited_at Firm Fees (in millions) % Of Total Fees
1 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM Gensler 779.0 88
2 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM Perkins&Will 281.9 90
3 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM HKS 120.0 60
4 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM AECOM 113.6 50
5 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM Page Southerland Page 108.4 75
6 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM HDR 90.5 61
7 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM Corgan 81.0 46
8 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM SmithGroup 53.7 42
9 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM NBBJ 52.0 64
10 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:19 PM ZGF 52.0 67

Note: Rankings are based on firms’ total fees deriving from sustainable projects. Gensler has the leading dollar amount and Perkins&Will the highest percentage of fees.


Firms With The Most Projects Achieving WELL

wdt_ID wdt_created_by wdt_created_at wdt_last_edited_by wdt_last_edited_at Firm # %
1 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM Partners by Design 27 15
3 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM Perkins&Will 20 1
4 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 12 7
5 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM michaelma 19/04/2024 11:28 AM AECOM 10 1
6 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM Aedifica 10 <1
7 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM M Moser Associates 5 1
8 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM STUDIOS Architecture 5 2
9 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM ODA 5 14
10 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:27 PM Rule Joy Trammell Rubio 5 9

Firms With The Most Projects Achieving LEED

wdt_ID wdt_created_by wdt_created_at wdt_last_edited_by wdt_last_edited_at Firm # %
2 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 105 61
3 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM Perkins&Will 93 6
4 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM Sargenti Architects 68 4
5 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM AECOM 52 5
6 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM Chipman Design Architecture 28 5
7 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM Ted Moudis Associates 25 5
8 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM DLR Group 24 2
9 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM LMN Architects 21 60
10 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:29 PM TVS 16 16

Firms With The Most Projects Tracking Embodied Carbon

wdt_ID wdt_created_by wdt_created_at wdt_last_edited_by wdt_last_edited_at Firm # %
1 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM AECOM 484 49
2 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM RSP Architects 391 32
4 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 165 96
5 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM Flad Architects 117 70
6 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM Page Southerland Page 93 61
7 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM Perkins&Will 87 6
8 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM Spacesmith 60 59
9 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM HMC Architects 50 9
10 michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM michelleyee 16/04/2024 02:38 PM JLL Design Solutions 50 4

Percentage Of Projects For Which Firms…


Methodology

The Interior Design Giants annual business survey comprises the largest firms ranked by interior design fees for the 12-month period ending December 31, 2023. The listings are generated from only those surveyed. To be recognized as a top 100, Rising, Healthcare, Hospitality, or Sustainability Giant, you must meet the following criteria: Have at least one office location in North America, and generate at least 25% of your interior design fee income in North America. Firms that do not meet the criteria are ranked on our International Giants list. Interior design fees include those attributed to:

1. All aspects of a firm’s in­terior design practice, from strategic planning and programming to design and project management.

2. Fees paid to a firm for work performed by employees and independent contractors who are “full-time staff equivalent.”

Interior design fees do not include revenues paid to a firm and remitted to subcontractors who are not con­sid­ered full-time staff equivalent. For example, certain firms attract work that is subcontracted to a local firm. The originating firm may collect all the fees and re­tain a management or generation fee, paying the remainder to the performing firm. The amounts paid to the latter are not included in fees of the collecting firm when determining its ranking. Ties are broken by rank from last year. Where applicable, all per­cent­ages are based on responding Giants, not their total number. 

All research conducted by ThinkLab, the research division of SANDOW Design Group.

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