2030 Sustainability Goals

Since the beginning, Millwork Commons has been committed to sustainability, making it a top priority to reduce the neighborhood’s negative environmental impacts. Millwork Commons is an innovative district powered by collaborative relationships and regenerative systems, which means we’re striving to move beyond merely minimizing our negative impacts to maximizing our positive impacts. We lead today with responsible design and position our people, infrastructure, and economy for the possibilities of the future.

Being sustainable is the right thing to do and from the earliest stages of developing the neighborhood, we have been mindful about integrating sustainability throughout every phase of design, construction, and operations. Millwork Commons embraces and encourages diversity, innovation, and creativity – all of which are fundamental to sustainable, inclusive, and transformative spaces. The site of Millwork Commons was selected for its regenerative capacity, a place where healthy ecological and social relationships could be restored. Native and resilient landscaping, proximity to public transit and multi-modal transportation options, reuse of existing materials and entire buildings, resilient infrastructure, high density, and local retail were all core elements during the earliest conceptual phases of Millwork Commons.

Building on the early concepts of sustainability for the neighborhood, Millwork Commons adopted five sustainability goals focusing on greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste, transportation, and engagement. These goals guide the design, construction, operations, and management of the district by focusing on minimizing harm to the environment and maximizing the neighborhood’s efforts to benefit the community and natural world.

Our Goals

Avoid 60% of our projected, business-as-usual emissions in 2030

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the neighborhood are based on building energy consumption (electricity and natural gas usage). Millwork Commons currently has three buildings online, the Mastercraft building, the Ashton building, and HELLO Apartments. Disbrow Block and other future retail and residential spaces are in development. With our projected growth and build out, we also have projected our estimated GHG emissions. Our projected GHG emissions are based on “business as-usual” design, construction, and planned operations. Building type, such as residential or retail, and building size also influence our projections. Therefore, our estimated GHG emissions may change as our land use plans evolve.

Our goal is to do better than business-as-usual. How the neighborhood’s buildings are designed, constructed, and operated greatly influences our GHG impact. Collaborating with our partners, including architects, contractors, and tenants, helps us keep our buildings as energy efficient as possible. Our goal is to work together to avoid 60% of our projected, business-as-usual emissions in 2030 and 80% of our projected emissions by 2050.

Current Initiatives:

  • Designing, constructing, and operating our buildings following our sustainable design guidelines that include requirements for conducting energy modeling and building performance simulations.
  • Installing LED light fixtures in indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • Educating tenants on what they can do to reduce their energy consumption and maximize the energy efficiency of the neighborhood’s buildings.
  • Obtaining, analyzing, and using energy consumption data to guide decision making.

Avoid 30% of our projected water use

Water consumption in the neighborhood is measured for both indoor and outdoor spaces. To motivate our water conservation efforts, we asked ourselves: If Millwork Commons were to use only the water that fell within the neighborhood’s boundaries, how much water would we have access to? In response to this question, the neighborhood calculated a theoretical water budget based on annual rainfall in Omaha.

Using this estimated water budget, Millwork Commons would have access to 42 million gallons of water each year. Our goal is to use only 70% (29.4 million gallons/year) of the neighborhood’s water budget. To achieve this goal, Millwork Commons identifies water saving projects in new design, construction, and renovation projects and relies on tenants to use water wisely.

Current Initiatives:

  • Installing efficient water-using fixtures that meet or exceed EPA WaterSense criteria.
  • Following the Millwork Commons sustainable design guidelines to identify and implement water saving technologies and practices, such as placing submeters in appropriate locations to collect data and locating water-collecting infrastructure in strategic locations.
  • Providing resources to tenants to help them practice water-saving behaviors.
  • Reducing the amount of water needed in the neighborhood’s park and outdoor spaces by planting native and ecologically well adapted plants. Read about our work with Mullhall’s to create a native landscape and use innovative landscaping techniques to reduce water consumption and ensure the plants and trees in the neighborhood thrive for years to come!

Divert 90% of all materials from going to the landfill

Reducing waste at the source is the first and best step to responsible waste management. When materials cannot be reused, Millwork Commons provides tenants and guests with recycling and composting options so we can all keep materials out of the landfill.

Current Initiatives:

  • Composting was implemented throughout the Mastercraft building and on the main floor of the Ashton building in the summer of 2021. Organic materials, such as food waste and used paper towels, are now being turned into soil.
  • A customized toolkit for tenants helps navigate material management in the neighborhood. Resources in the toolkit include tips on how to reduce waste at the source and how to set up effective waste collection stations.
  • The neighborhood’s materials management process follows an integrated waste management plan that includes best practices for waste diversion, including national standards for signage and ensuring both Spanish and English languages are available on recycling and composting signs throughout the neighborhood.
  • Millwork Commons works with Hillside Solutions to manage our waste and divert materials from the landfill. Learn more about Hillside’s services and how to get started with a solid waste management program with their Quick Start Guide here.

40% of tenant trips are taken via active commute modes

How we move around in the world has big impacts on our personal and community wellbeing. Transportation is also a major contributor to GHG emissions in Omaha. By encouraging active commute modes, such as walking, biking, taking the bus, and carpooling, and by creating structures that make it easy to actively commute, Millwork Commons strives to improve community health and reduce negative environmental impacts associated with driving alone in a vehicle.

Current Initiatives:

  • Traditional and electric bikes are available from Heartland Bike Share. Ride or return a bike at the station on the corner of 13th and Nicholas.
  • If you have your own bike, you can store it, make repairs, or pump tires in the bike room of the Ashton building.
  • Omaha Metro added a bus stop at 13thand Nicholas St. in 2020. Omaha Metro has an easily accessible map and mobile app to allow you to smoothly plan your commute via public transit.
  • Live near where you work! Millwork Commons’ first apartment building, HELLO Apartments opened in 2022 and Dizzy Mule Apartments will open in 2024.

Achieve a Sustainability Engagement Score (SES) of 65

In collaboration with our partners in sustainability at Verdis Group, Millwork Commons evaluates sustainability engagement with a survey every other year. Results from this survey determine the neighborhood’s Sustainability Engagement Score (SES). There are 100 possible points and the survey measures sustainability engagement across the five dimensions:

  1. Awareness of sustainability: familiarity with sustainability and related concepts
  2. Awareness of efforts: familiarity with sustainability initiatives at Millwork Commons
  3. Behavioral frequency: how often respondents report participating in specific sustainable behaviors
  4. Perceived norms: how often respondents believe others participate in those same behaviors
  5. Knowledge: understanding of how to take sustainable actions

Current Initiatives:

  • To help tenants understand waste management best practices, Millwork Commons has a customized toolkit for tenants. Resources in the toolkit include tips on how to reduce waste at the source and how to set up effective waste collection stations.
  • Monthly Millwork Commons newsletters and social media posts often include information about the neighborhood’s efforts to be more sustainable. Stay up to date on happenings in the neighborhood by signing up for our newsletter here. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @millworkcommons and on LinkedIn.