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.”