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September 11, 2020
Interview with HED NOMA Fellowship Intern Aaron DeRoux
The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) Foundation Fellowship (NFF) is an initiative that seeks to increase diversity within professional practice as well as provide firm mentorship and design research experience for young emerging professionals.

In this inaugural 30-student cohort, HED has had the opportunity to host two interns -- these students spend their internship researching a topic with the help of HED staff and resources. HED is proud to provide a platform for the next generation of architects and looks forward to the positive impact they will have on the industry and the world.

One of this year’s interns is Aaron DeRoux, a master's student studying architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We asked Aaron about his time at HED and the positive impact he created while being a part of our team.

What is the title/topic of your project?
-The topic is called Embodied Carbon Reduction Research-Research measurement tools and processes to measure and perform Life Cycle Assessments in relation to embodied carbon reduction design strategies.

What drew you to this topic/project?
-This topic was selected by the leaders in the Chicago office, but I will say that this topic falls in line with my thesis focus during graduate school. A sustainable tower in downtown Chicago that acts as an environmental oasis within a concrete jungle.

What type of work did this project consist of?
-The work consists of a product testing new technology such as tally and one-click LCA. These products are a great carbon emission calculator during the design process. They allow architects and designers to consider material use within their projects and its potential impact on the environment. It also generates data and charts that could be easily understood by different stakeholders.

What was the result/findings?
-The findings so far prove that as we continue to work in the built environment, we need to make a change that can benefit our ecosystem and minimize the effects of global warming. Currently, concrete is our most popular building material, and it is great that we can reduce the energy usage of concrete structures. Still, the embodied carbon released through the life cycle of the material from manufacturing to disassembly can be just as harmful to the environment. With this understanding, we can see that doing LCAs early allows us to make smart and sustainable design decisions.

What is the positive impact or potential positive impact of this project?
- The positive impact behind this work is that we can now generate data that can help us design for a better future. A lot of firms are taking the initiative to be apart of the architecture 2030 challenge to become carbon-neutral with their buildings. HED is a significant player in the built environment. The findings from this research will allow architects across the country to easily implement a sustainable mindset during early project phases. 

HED is proud to be an active supporter of NOMA and wishes Aaron the best in his future.
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