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Mini-grant R&D program pays off in a big way for AE firm

Created through funding from Little’s LaceUp program, the Center for Building Performance has helped the design firm win 14 new jobs since its inception.

August 23, 2016 |

Set to be completed in late 2017, Alamance Community College’s Advanced Applied Technology Center, located in Graham, N.C., is one of the projects that Little’s Center for Building Performance helped to win for the firm. Photo courtesy of Little.

MANY design firms have in-house research and development programs to help foster innovative and habitual breakthrough thinking. Little’s LaceUp mini-grant initiative is one such successful program.

Since launching in 2013, LaceUp has funded 43 unique projects, including a program to convert shipping containers into pop-up retail buildings and a forum for young professionals to share ideas and network with the firm’s practice groups.

The crown jewel of the LaceUp initiative is the Center for Building Performance (CBP), which takes a holistic approach to optimizing buildings for occupants and owners throughout the design, construction, and occupancy phases. The center has been in operation for a year and has already helped the firm win 14 jobs: two workplace retrofits, five retail projects, five university new construction projects, and two civic new construction projects. 

The program’s architects and engineers conduct simple box modeling on design ideas and present the results in interviews to show the potential for customized high-performance solutions.

“We remain involved with projects from concept through at least one year of occupancy to measure and verify the success of each high performance strategy,” says Elizabeth Ratner, CBP’s Director. “This real-life feedback will help us refine future recommendations, create more accurate energy models, and improve our controls design and occupant training.”


Read about more innovations from BD+C's 2016 Great Solutions Report

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