Interior Design Unveils the 2023 Sustainability Giants
Sustainability matters to design firms. It’s big business because it’s good business. Although we’ve gathered data on green practices in the past, last publishing the results in 2016, this year we’ve given the top 100 environmentally focused studios a list of their own—allowing us to better track trends in this all-important sector. The big news: In 2022, total fees for the Sustainability Giants were $1.8 billion. Gensler accounted for $563 million of that, making the firm easily the largest by fees.
Many firms integrate environmentalism into their plans; indeed, some 60 percent of projects completed by the Sustainability Giants have measurable environmental goals. Specific targets have a lower percentage of follow-through, however, either because clients don’t request it—or they balk at the cost. Indeed, only 37 percent of clients mention environmental, social, and corporate governance reporting as integral to their project goals.
In other cases, firms embrace some but not all sustainability practices. Roughly a third of respondents’ projects include green design elements but don’t go all the way to achieving certification, again because the client doesn’t want to foot the extra expense. Measurable sustainable initiatives include tracking embodied carbon as well as WELL, LEED, and Fitwel certifications, but most firms track these at low percentages. Where these firms do well is in specification. About half of FF&C products are chosen based on environmental factors, plus some 26 percent of designers are LEED AP or WELL AP accredited.
Given these considerations, we’ll continue to refine what we track and how we gather data. As for next year, the Sustainability Giants predict a comparable $1.8 billion in fees for 2023. We’ll enjoy seeing how this new group evolves.
Sustainability Giants Rankings 2023
|wdt_ID||2023 Rank||Firm||HQ Location||Sustainable Fees (in millions)||FFC Value (in millions)||Sq. Ft. (in millions)||Design Staff|
|3||3||Page Southerland Page||Washington||112.98||2297.46||8.3||120|
|9||9||Ted Moudis Associates||New York||34.00||705||7.5||81|
|10||10||HMC Architects||Ontario, CA||25.00||-||-||111|
Number of Projects Tracking Embodied Carbon
Top Firms Based on Fees from Projects With Measurable Sustainability Goals
|wdt_ID||Firm||Design Fees||% of Total Fees|
|3||Page Southerland Page||112,983,421||50|
|9||Ted Moudis Associates||34,000,000||100|
Sustainability Goals Achieved
|1||Embodied carbon tracking||12|
|4||Other sustainability certification(s)||5|
|5||Followed the principles, but client unwilling to pay for certification||36|
Number of Projects Achieving WELL
|wdt_ID||Firm||Number of Projects|
|2||IA Interior Architects||24|
|3||Partners by Design||24|
|4||M Moser Associates||14|
Number of Projects Achieving LEED
|wdt_ID||Firm||Number of Projects|
|2||IA Interior Architects||122|
|5||Page Southerland Page||36|
|8||Ted Moudis Associates||30|
|9||CID Design Group||24|
|10||M Moser Associates||24|
The Interior Design Giants annual business survey comprises the largest firms ranked by interior design fees for the 12-month period ending December 31, 2022. The listings are generated from only those surveyed. To be recognized as a top 100, Rising, Healthcare, or Hospitality 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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