flexiblefullpage
billboard
interstitial1
catfish1
Currently Reading

Greenbuild 2012 Report: Green Architecture Firms

Greenbuild 2012 Report: Green Architecture Firms

Design firms deliver gold, platinum, even net-zero projects


By By Robert Cassidy | November 1, 2012
Georgia Techs Engineered Biosystems Building will provide 200,000 sf of researc
Georgia Techs Engineered Biosystems Building will provide 200,000 sf of research space for multidisciplinary biomedical researc
This article first appeared in the November 2012 issue of BD+C.

Architecture firms are pursuing transparency and disclosure en route to achieving high sustainability ratings for their clients’ buildings.

“Transparency and healthy materials is one of the hottest topics in the green building industry,” says SERA Architecture’s Lisa Petterson, AIA, LC, LEED AP BD+C. “We are seeing more and more emphasis on actual rather than predicted performance.”

With partners Lucid and Enmetric, SERA is studying plug load use in its own Portland, Ore., office, to see how to save energy. A previous research project on water savings in actual projects led to regulatory changes in Oregon.

VOA Associates is developing post-occupancy surveys to collect building performance data. “This will help us understand human interaction on specific buildings and building types, to inform future projects and help us create better, healthier built environments,” says VOA Sustainability Leader Susan Heinking, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP O+M.

To get a better handle on real performance numbers, HDR Architecture has developed two metrics: the Sustainable Return on Investment (SROI), which computes a dollar-based measure of project goals in reducing energy, water, and waste; and the Sustainability-adjusted Life Cycle Cost Analysis (SLCCA), which evaluates the full cost of design decisions so that benchmarks can be developed for sustainable design decisions.

As a firm that does work all over the world, Gensler has to be attuned to many different climates; hence its use of design performance analysis software at the beginning of virtually all projects, says Kirsten Ritchie, PE, LEED AP O+M, the firm’s Sustainable Design Director. “We develop early conceptual designs and use building simulation software to measure design impacts on energy, carbon, water, and daylight,” she says. “This enables us to make design decisions that ‘tune’ our building performance.”

Firms are finding, however, that energy modeling, while usually helpful, is not an end in itself. “It narrows the universe of options really quickly and helps us make the right moves as early [in design] as possible,” says Heather Holdridge, Assoc. AIA, EIT, LEED AP BD+C, Sustainability Coordinator with Lake|Flato Architects. “It helps us to set some clear goals early in the process.”

At Cannon Design, project teams have a proprietary design tool at their fingertips—it’s called Material LIFE—that enables them to compare construction systems and materials from cradle to gate. According to Sustainability Director Rand Ekman, AIA, LEED Fellow, this process allows designers to choose materials that not only reduce global energy use but also have a positive life cycle impact.

MINING FOR PRECIOUS GOLD—AND MORE

More and more architecture firms are pushing higher and higher on the sustainability ladder.

For example, PGAL has executed numerous high-LEED projects in recent years: the net-zero-ready Bachelor Enlisted Quarters at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., awaiting Platinum certification; Gold-certified Innovation Village Apartments at Florida Atlantic University; the $42 million U.S. Federal Courthouse, Fort Pierce, Fla., awaiting Gold certification; and two transport projects seeking LEED Gold—the Consolidated Rental Car Facility at Boston’s Logan International Airport and the Regional Intermodal Transit Center at Bob Hope Airport, Burbank, Calif.

Globetrotting firm RTKL recently earned LEED Gold for the Mirdif City Centre, a 230,000-sf mall with parking for 7,000 cars, in Dubai. Another LEED project, the 135,000-sf Mall of Egypt, in Cairo, was also completed for client Majid Al Futtaim Properties. Closer to home, RTKL gained LEED Gold for the 21,000-sf White Oak Wonders, a child care center on the campus of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters in White Oak, Md.

WD Partners, a leader in green retail design, emphasizes the ongoing investment value of sustainability to clients like grocers Whole Foods, Price Chopper, and Fresh & Easy. The firm collaborated with UTC Power on the installation of a 400-kW fuel cell at a Stop & Shop in East Torrington, Conn., that provides 95% of the store’s electrical needs; the store’s total utility bills have been trimmed in half in the last two years.

WD Partners has also contracted with the U.S. Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Lab to develop the next-generation Home Depot retail outlet—one that will cut energy use 50%.

Design firms are also widening their green service capabilities. Atkins has launched a retro-commissioning business, based in Fort Myers, Fla., to capture some of the potential $1.8 billion that Pike Research projects will propel the retro-Cx market by 2014.

Firms are also stretching their goals. Net-zero energy is no longer the impossible dream, as the Health Professions & Student Services Building at North Shore Community College, Danvers, Mass., demonstrates

The three-story, LEED Gold building uses a 50-well geothermal system, chilled beams, and a tight building envelope to reduce energy consumption, and roof-mounted PVs to generate the power needed to make the building net-zero for energy. DiMella Shaffer Associates (designer) and Walsh Brothers (CM) headed the team.

On the green horizon: PNC Bank Headquarters, under design by Gensler and Buro Happold (SE, MEP, modeling consultant). The client for this $400 million, 800,000-sf tower, PNC’s Gary Saulson, has publicly defined his “modest” demands—to make it the “greenest high-rise building in the world,” with the lowest predicted energy use intensity. We’ll find out how well the Building Team did to meet these goals in about three years. +

Related Stories

Student Housing | Jun 20, 2024

How student housing developments are evolving to meet new expectations

The days of uninspired dorm rooms with little more than a bed and a communal bathroom down the hall are long gone. Students increasingly seek inclusive design, communities to enhance learning and living, and a focus on wellness that encompasses everything from meditation spaces to mental health resources.

Museums | Jun 20, 2024

Connecticut’s Bruce Museum more than doubles its size with a 42,000-sf, three-floor addition

In Greenwich, Conn., the Bruce Museum, a multidisciplinary institution highlighting art, science, and history, has undergone a campus revitalization and expansion that more than doubles the museum’s size. Designed by EskewDumezRipple and built by Turner Construction, the project includes a 42,000-sf, three-floor addition as well as a comprehensive renovation of the 32,500-sf museum, which was originally built as a private home in the mid-19th century and expanded in the early 1990s. 

Building Technology | Jun 18, 2024

Could ‘smart’ building facades heat and cool buildings?

A promising research project looks at the possibilities for thermoelectric systems to thermally condition buildings, writes Mahsa Farid Mohajer, Sustainable Building Analyst with Stantec.

University Buildings | Jun 18, 2024

UC Riverside’s new School of Medicine building supports team-based learning, showcases passive design strategies

The University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine has opened the 94,576-sf, five-floor Education Building II (EDII). Created by the design-build team of CO Architects and Hensel Phelps, the medical school’s new home supports team-based student learning, offers social spaces, and provides departmental offices for faculty and staff. 

Mass Timber | Jun 17, 2024

British Columbia hospital features mass timber community hall

The Cowichan District Hospital Replacement Project in Duncan, British Columbia, features an expansive community hall featuring mass timber construction. The hall, designed to promote social interaction and connection to give patients, families, and staff a warm and welcoming environment, connects a Diagnostic and Treatment (“D&T”) Block and Inpatient Tower.

Concrete Technology | Jun 17, 2024

MIT researchers are working on a way to use concrete as an electric battery

Researchers at MIT have developed a concrete mixture that can store electrical energy. The researchers say the mixture of water, cement, and carbon black could be used for building foundations and street paving.

Codes and Standards | Jun 17, 2024

Federal government releases national definition of a zero emissions building

The U.S. Department of Energy has released a new national definition of a zero emissions building. The definition is intended to provide industry guidance to support new and existing commercial and residential buildings to move towards zero emissions across the entire building sector, DOE says.

Multifamily Housing | Jun 14, 2024

AEC inspections are the key to financially viable office to residential adaptive reuse projects

About a year ago our industry was abuzz with an idea that seemed like a one-shot miracle cure for both the shockingly high rate of office vacancies and the worsening housing shortage. The seemingly simple idea of converting empty office buildings to multifamily residential seemed like an easy and elegant solution. However, in the intervening months we’ve seen only a handful of these conversions, despite near universal enthusiasm for the concept. 

Healthcare Facilities | Jun 13, 2024

Top 10 trends in the hospital facilities market

BD+C evaluated more than a dozen of the nation's most prominent hospital construction projects to identify trends that are driving hospital design and construction in the $67 billion healthcare sector. Here’s what we found.

Affordable Housing | Jun 12, 2024

Studio Libeskind designs 190 affordable housing apartments for seniors

In Brooklyn, New York, the recently opened Atrium at Sumner offers 132,418 sf of affordable housing for seniors. The $132 million project includes 190 apartments—132 of them available to senior households earning below or at 50% of the area median income and 57 units available to formerly homeless seniors. 

boombox1
boombox2
native1

More In Category


Museums

Connecticut’s Bruce Museum more than doubles its size with a 42,000-sf, three-floor addition

In Greenwich, Conn., the Bruce Museum, a multidisciplinary institution highlighting art, science, and history, has undergone a campus revitalization and expansion that more than doubles the museum’s size. Designed by EskewDumezRipple and built by Turner Construction, the project includes a 42,000-sf, three-floor addition as well as a comprehensive renovation of the 32,500-sf museum, which was originally built as a private home in the mid-19th century and expanded in the early 1990s. 



halfpage1

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021