Our plan in action: Reducing embodied carbon at Salesforce Tower Chicago

Our plan in action: Reducing embodied carbon at Salesforce Tower Chicago

While embodied carbon isn’t included in Hines’ net-zero target as of June 2022, the firm is also focusing on reducing embodied carbon across new Hines developments and retrofits.

In April 2022, Hines completed the concrete core and steel structure for Salesforce Tower Chicago, the 60-story, 1.2 million-square-foot office tower in downtown Chicago. Informed by the best practices outlined in our Embodied Carbon Reduction Guide, Salesforce Tower Chicago became the first building in Chicago to require and measure Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), within a competitive bidding competition that considered both cost and carbon, to quantify embodied carbon emissions of concrete, steel and other various construction materials.

An EPD is like a nutrition label for buyers. EPD reporting informs on data such as the global warming, or the carbon footprint of each vendor’s offering.

This led to an early focus on the concrete mix designs, which ultimately achieved a 27% project carbon footprint reduction for the concrete, in comparison to industry average data and project specific offerings. After another 9% reduction from the steel buying while using a similar process, total carbon savings for the structure was more than 19% from the start of the project to what actually was installed, all at no additional costs due to the lower carbon footprint materials purchased.

For Salesforce Tower Chicago, this reduction in construction materials reduced the buildings embodied carbon in concrete and steel by more than 7 million kilograms of CO2. That is more than 1,500 cars off of the road for a year, or about 800,000 gallons of gas. This accomplishment exemplifies Hines’ progress towards reducing carbon emissions in its commercial developments and demonstrates Hines’ commitment to ESG.


Case Study is for illustrative purposes, and there is no guarantee that future investments will achieve the same results.