Integral Impact | Deep Green Engineering

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transforming the engineering industry JENNY FOSKET

Integral is much more than a few individuals. It’s a firm born from the idea that together we can change the world through our collaborative efforts.

- Kevin Hydes CEO & Founder


About the Author Jenny Fosket has a Ph.D. in sociology and works as a writer of both fiction and nonfiction. With a longstanding interest in sustainability, health and the built environment, Jenny is the author of “Living Green: Communities that Sustain.�

A s p e c i a l t h a n k s t o J o h n A n d a r y, Kev i n H yd e s , E d G a r ro d , Eric Solrain, Melissa Moulton, Colette Connolly and Nancy Maribel for reading all or parts of the book and o f f e r i n g va l u a b l e f e e d b a c k . F i n a l l y, h e a p s o f g ra t i t u d e t o Te s s a D e C a r l o , e d i t o r e x t r a o r d i n a i r e . While I was not able to include everyone’s story by name in these pages, each and every one of them informs this story of Integral Group. I wish there had been more space to include even more of the wisdom shared with me by this inspiring group of people. The work you are doing gives me hope for the future.


I’d like to thank the dedicated, brilliant, passionate people at Integral Group who gave so generously of their time, expertise and energy toward this project. Thank you to the people who filled out the survey that informed the direction this book would take and to the people who shared their stories in interviews with me. E r i c S o l r a i n , D o u g Ke r r, E l l i e N i a k a n , R a c h e l M o s c ov i c h , Ty l e r D i s n e y, S i m o n E b b a t s o n , R o b H a r r i s , R a y J u a c h o n , Dave Ramslie, Ali Nazari, Megan White, Stuart Hood, D a v i d K a n e d a , A n d r é a Tr a b e r, N a t e E p p l e y, J a s o n F. McLennan, Conrad Schartau, Jonathan Robertson, B r i a n G r i f f i t h , V l a d i m i r M i k l e r, D e a n A s t r e n , B u n g a n e Mehlomakulu, Rachel Lieberman, Clara Bagenal George, N e i l B u l g e r, D a v i d B a r k e r, S h a n n o n A l l i s o n , Ke r a L a g i o s , Ben Galuza, Chris Piché, Stanton Stafford, Goran Ostojic, Mike Godawa, Ed G arrod, Gerry Faubert, Hillary Weitze, J o h n A n d a r y, S t e t S a n b o r n , A n d r e w M a t h e r, Ti f f a n y Elston, Mike Martinez and Kevin Hydes.


LEADERSHIP AT USGBC Kevin Hydes is Chair of the USGBC



1ST NZE LAB IN THE WORLD J. Craig Venter Institute is the first NZE completed lab in the world

INTEGRAL GROUP FOUNDED Integral Group founded by CEO Kevin Hydes

1ST JUST LABEL ENGINEERING FIRM Integral Group is the first engineering firm to receive a JUST Label

LEADERSHIP AT WGBC Kevin Hydes is Chair of World Green Building Council

WELL BUILDING STANDARD PILOT Integral Group helps launch pilot of WELL Building Standard

2009 NEW OFFICES: VIRGINIA Offices open in Richmond & Alexandria, VA RUMSEY JOINS INTEGRAL GROUP Rumsey Engineers join Integral Group in Oakland, CA


100+ EMPLOYEES CANADA: COBALT PARTNERS WITH IG Integral Group launches in Vancouver & Toronto when Cobalt joins the firm IDEAS SAN JOSE JOINS INTEGRAL GROUP After successful collaboration on numerous projects, IDeAs San Jose partners with IG


200+ EMPLOYEES UK: ELEMENTA JOINS INTEGRAL GROUP Elementa Consulting becomes a member of Integral Group with offices in London & Oxford, UK IG SAN JOSE: 1ST NZE COMM. OFFICE Integral Group’s San Jose office is certified as the first NZE commercial office building in the United States IG OAKLAND: HIGHEST LEED-CI SCORE Oakland receives world’s highest ever LEED Commercial Interiors score: 102 credits




NEW OFFICE: VICTORIA, BC CANADA 2017 LARGEST NZE MUSEUM The San Francisco Exploratorium is the largest NZE museum 400+ EMPLOYEES 1 LEED GOLD RESTAURANT Cactus Club Cafe becomes Canada’s first LEED Gold certified restaurant ST

NEW OFFICE: SYDNEY, AUS FITWEL CHAMPIONS Integral Group commits to becoming Fitwel Champions

ASHRAE AWARD: ENG. EXCELLENCE IG wins ASHRAE Award of Engineering Excellence (4th ever in 15 years) for Packard Foundation NZE Headquarters

1ST UK & CANADA FITWEL WORKPLACE CERTIFICATION Elementa UK receives first Fitwel workplace certification outside of North America. IG Toronto then receives first Fitwel workplace certification in Canada

ECODISTRICTS FORMED Integral Group becomes a founding member of EcoDistricts


NEW OFFICE: AUSTIN, TX 50 NZE PROJECTS Integral Group achieves 50 Zero Net Energy designed projects 1ST LEED V.4 GOLD LIBRARY The Alameda Library achieved first LEED v.4 Gold certification of a library NEW OFFICE: SEATTLE, WA


10TH ANNIVERSARY Greenbuild Boston: Integral Group celebrates 10th anniversary

1ST NZE COMM. BLDG. IN SAN FRANCISCO DPR Construction’s office is the first NZE certified commercial building in San Francisco ONE PLANET GLOBAL FOUNDER Integral Group signs on as a Global Founder of the online platform for One Planet Living JM BEAN & CO JOIN INTEGRAL GROUP Vancouver-based firm partners with IG


01 02 03


Who We Are Local and Global Diversity and Depth



Solving Problems Innovatively Performance Modeling Performance Modeling in Action IntegralDRIVE Modeling Light Evidence-based Design FLEXLAB® Middle Eastern Hospital Expansion Hawaii Schools Continuous Learning Total Embodied Carbon Study


09 12 14 14 18 18 18 20 21 21 27


Impacting Social Justice Breaking Through The Cost Barrier TreeHouse Dallas Kaiser Permanente Sonoma County 2060 Folsom Scaling Up District Energy Systems: TELUS Garden Building Codes for The Future Cambridge Green Building Plan

35 35 39 39 42 44 44 45 45

04 05 06



Wellness at Play Meeting the WELL Standard Haas School of Business New Academic Building Summit Foundation Bringing It Home A Fitwel First The Just Challenge

51 53 56 57 59 59 61

COMMUNICATING & CODIFYING Making a Difference Communication and Leadership Boulder Commons OUSD Madison Park Business & Art Academy Spring @ 8th Codifying Sustainability: LEED and BREEAM University of Nottingham’s Orchard Hotel The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory Passive House Hackbridge School The Living Building Challenge UniverCity Childcare Gulf State Park Interpretive Center


65 65 67 69 71 74 74 74 74 76 77 77 80 80


Next Generation








Introduction WHO WE ARE

Unlike many firms, Integral Group doesn’t have one origin story. Instead, it has many. Tracing Integral’s beginnings is like following a river upstream in search of its source and discovering not a single spring but many tributaries flowing from many different sources. Sometimes large, sometimes small, each creek and stream contributes its own unique qualities. Coming together, they propel and shape the overall flow. And just as a river deepens and broadens as it surges along and is fed by other streams, so too has Integral become stronger and more effective with every new addition to the group. Unlike a river’s meandering path, however, Integral’s story reflects a very intentional strategy for growth, laid out by the company’s CEO and President, Kevin Hydes. During his years of working in the green building field, Kevin started to see a problem. While the demand for green buildings was growing, and the work he and others were doing was contributing to that growth, the capacity to supply engineering solutions to meet that demand lagged far behind. “A lot of great thinking was going on,” he says, “but at the same time building after building was still getting designed, built and delivered way below potential.” Why was that? As Kevin tells it, firms and individuals all around were coming up with great ideas and doing important work on various pieces of the puzzle, but no one was tackling the bigger picture.

Doing the work the planet needed, Kevin realized, required a firm that could provide expertise at all stages of projects, from design to construction to operation and commissioning; from dreaming up creative solutions to applying the precise engineering that could make those solutions possible; from building single structures to entire cities. “What we need is a firm that can think about the problem from front to back,” Kevin decided. “The world needs a firm like that.”

In 2008 Kevin founded Integral Group to be that firm: a deep green engineering group where the mission would drive the work. And because he didn’t think the planet could afford to wait decades for these deep green solutions to emerge, he built the firm from the outside in, finding like-minded thinkers and inviting individuals and existing companies to join him. Like a growing river, over the next several years Integral Group was joined by firms from Washington, D.C.; Oakland and San Jose, California; Vancouver, British Columbia; and the Elementa offices of London and Oxford in the United Kingdom, while brand-new tributaries bubbled up across Canada and the United States, and most recently, in Australia. The result is a global group that is the most innovative deep green engineering firm in the world.


trust nurture inspire


Partly this has to do with climate. The kinds of problems a greenbuilding designer will encounter in the desert are significantly different than those she’ll find in the tropics, which are different again from those in more temperate places.

The ways different bioregions shape design go well beyond climate. There are important sociocultural and political issues as well. Sustainability, green, eco-friendly: all of these terms are understood differently in different places. “You’re working in parts of the world with very different expectations about how people behave and about what’s important,” says Ed Garrod, principal in Elementa’s London office. “We have to adapt all the time to different perceptions of what sustainability means.” Furthermore, the impact of building green varies in intensity from place to place. “We save way more carbon by going after the Southeastern United States and Eastern Canada because those areas rely on dirty energy,” Kevin points out. “We reduce carbon a hundredfold for every kilowatt that we save.” Thus, being strongly rooted in place is critical to Integral’s success and the impact its projects can have. Yet at the same time, Integral Group—with fifteen offices in four countries—envisions its scope and mission on a global scale.


A constellation of large and small circles, like a miniature solar system, forms a circle; each node connects to another by a series of pathways. This is the Integral Group logo. For Kevin, it’s a symbol full of significance, a visual metaphor for so much of what he envisions for the firm. It stands for a decentralized company, for a global network, for a firm where the specifics of place matter. “Things only ever get done in the local place,” Kevin explains. “Integral is involved with construction, and everywhere you go it’s all different. If you’re in Mexico it’s concrete; it’s steel if you’re in Japan; it’s wood if you’re in British Columbia. Materials are different, how they’re put together is different, the skills and knowledge of the workforce are different. Not only that, but climates are different, and so the problems and solutions for green buildings will be different. Cultural milieus are different, too. All these things shape the opportunities and barriers each of our offices and each of our projects may face.” In other words, green projects must be as diverse as the places where they’re located and the people who live and work in them.

As Integral’s U.S. West engineering design leader, Eric Solrain, jokes, “You want to create a zero net energy building in California? Just open the windows.”

DIVERSITY AND DEPTH From the beginning, the firm has had to be where the architects were, where the innovators were. And as it grew in size, Integral Group also grew in depth and diversity, expanding beyond its expertise in mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering as it was joined by leaders in sustainability consulting, urban planning, performance engineering, lighting and architecture. The vision of a firm that could take a holistic, front-to-back approach to sustainable building became a reality.

“We have architects and designers and engineers and people that have slightly different backgrounds and can bring different perspectives,” says David Barker, associate principal in Elementa’s London office. “That helps us solve the complex problems.” Doug Kerr was part of Elementa when that firm decided to join Integral Group in 2012. Today he’s managing director for the U.K. and EMEA. “We’re still who we are,” he says, “but we’ve gotten better, we’ve gotten stronger. We’ve got more depth.

We’ve got cutting-edge innovation that we’re sharing. But we still have the same philosophy of delivering deep green projects and wanting to do the best job we possibly can.” Conrad Schartau, executive vice president and COO, tells a similar story about the firm he was previously a part of, Cobalt Engineering, joining Integral Group. He says, “Although the two companies had a different vision, ours was French and theirs was Spanish. They essentially translated to the same thing.” By joining together, individuals and groups have been able to widen and deepen the impact they can have. Integral was created to be a group whose sum is greater than its parts. At the same time, one of the things that sets Integral apart is the abundance of brilliant individuals the firm has brought into its ranks. “There are few other firms you can join and be just a phone call away from the top people in so many fields,” says Integral’s managing principal in Austin, Texas, Bungane Mehlomakulu. “At Integral, if we haven’t done it or heard of it, it hasn’t been done, or at least not on any scale. We are the cutting-edge building performance and design people.” So while the sum of Integral Group is greater than its parts, the parts are pretty great, too. The river is rich with knowledge and expertise and great in size and scope, and it is powerfully changing the building services landscape.








Building Smarter S O LV I N G P R O B L E M S I N N OVAT I V ELY

Engineers solve problems. At Integral Group, they strive to solve problems in continually innovative ways. Integral is home to the dreamers and creators, the people with the big ideas. Integral CEO Kevin Hydes says his least favorite phrase is, “We tried that and it just didn’t pencil out.” While experience and past knowledge are valuable, innovation requires tackling every problem with fresh eyes. Changes in climate, economics, logistics or any number of things may mean a solution that worked yesterday needs to be tweaked today. And solutions that aren’t possible today might be possible tomorrow thanks to a new technology or a cultural shift. Things we couldn’t even imagine ten years ago are now part of our taken-for-granted reality. Embracing this dynamic worldview, Integral Group engineers and designers are solving problems in ways that are changing the taken-for-granted realities not only of today, but of the future. And thanks to their innovative ideas and high level of technical expertise, Integral Group teams are able to make significant and sometimes game-changing contributions to the world of engineering and building services. Integral Group’s four pillars are: Imagine. Perform. Accelerate. Sustain. “The thing I love about that catchphrase is the ‘Imagine’ bit,” says Rob Harris, principal in Elementa’s London office. “It reminds me that we, as engineers, have a duty to influence the design process.”

What’s demanded is more than brilliant ideas, though. At Integral Group, ideas are transformed into real-world results. “What I love about Integral is our ability to go really deep technically,” says Andréa Traber, U.S. West sustainability and resilient design leader. Associate principal Kera Lagios elaborates. “What sets us apart is being able to provide the technical background, the technical know-how, along with the aesthetic component,” she says.

“We are making beautiful spaces that are also really energy-efficient, and that function in reality the way they should. It’s not just about having an idea, but making something that can be deployed.” Integral Group is home to the best thinkers in the field and is structured to ensure that the ideas and solutions Integral’s people generate will have the largest impact possible. “What I love about our structure is that, whatever you can think of to be modeled or to be analyzed, or even if you just have a good idea, someone in one of Integral’s offices can figure it out,” says Austin associate principal Jonathan Robertson.



We’re not doing analysis just for the sake of doing analysis. We go beyond what’s needed to deliver the best buildings, the best performance, the best occupant satisfaction.

- David Barker Associate Principal

Ray Juachon, principal in Oakland, joined Integral Group precisely because it offered the chance to work with the best. “I ended up at Integral because of David Kaneda’s work,” says Ray, referring to Integral’s thought leader and principal in the San Jose office. “That guy—his mind is great. There’s no one like him. He really pushes it. And I wanted to work with him. I wanted to work on these really cool, cutting-edge projects.”

PERFORMANCE MODELING David Barker, associate principal in the London office, describes himself as a building physicist. He focuses on the analytical assessment of buildings and argues that creating great environments within a building has to begin with performance modeling. Performance modeling isn’t the norm, he says. “In London every building that goes through planning needs to have some level of modeling done on it. But I would argue that the modeling demanded by regulation doesn’t necessarily drive better design.” Here David is describing compliance modeling, which he contends offers no nuance or contextualization.

The performance modeling Integral Group does is a different story. “We’re not doing analysis just for the sake of doing analysis,” David says. “We go beyond what’s needed to meet regulations and model so that we can deliver the best buildings, the best performance, the best occupant satisfaction.” He describes performance modeling as targeted and valuable because of the process it embodies. This begins by understanding the question the modeling is meant to answer: Is it checking the compliance of the design against regulatory frameworks? Or assessing occupant satisfaction? Or something else? Understanding the question allows the analysis team to target modeling to best answer that question. He continues, “We like to use the whole tool kit, from hand calculations on the back of a napkin, through Excel, through shoebox models, all the way up to complex, high-quality, physically-accurate models that take a day to run. We do the whole shebang.” By understanding the questions and targeting models to answer those questions, the analysis team can guide the design process along a simplified path: instead of spending time exploring options that actually aren’t relevant to the problem at hand, they hone in on the optimal solution. This produces valuable information and streamlines the process, allowing teams to get to solutions quickly. The teams’ experience with this process broadens the tool kit further and allows simplification and streamlining without sacrificing quality.


Now Ray leads the electrical team in Oakland and says he is inspired by the younger engineers he’s helped bring into Integral, as well as by the group’s leaders. He explains, “The younger engineers are super passionate about what they do, passionate about sustainability. I come to work every day because I want to be a part of that. I hired them and I want to follow through and fulfill what I came here for.” Because of the high level of technical expertise and innovative ideas Integral Group teams bring to the table, the impact they are able to make in the world of engineering and building services is significant.

“Compliance modeling is set up so that it’s apples to apples no matter who you are, which firm you work for, which building you’re designing,” he explains.


PERFORMANCE MODELING IN ACTION An example of how targeted performance modeling creates better design comes from a story told by Ed Garrod, principal in London. The Integral team was brought in to help on a project where a team from another firm had already been working on a building for a year. Integral was tasked with designing a second building using an approach similar to that used in the building already in progress. “We were told, ‘You’ve got to catch up with these guys, prove out that what you’re doing is right, validate their design and apply their principles to the second building,’” Ed recalls.

These strategies allowed the Integral team to model smaller pieces of the overall design, whereas the other engineers, using a traditional approach, were modeling the whole building in great detail. Consequently, the Integral team could produce analyses in a day, while the other team needed two or three weeks. And so the Integral team could quickly and efficiently find solutions to the problems they noted in the other team’s design and propose a new strategy.

INTEGRALDRIVE Streamlined, useful modeling is also at the heart of IntegralDRIVE, a tool created by Ali Nazari, a principal in the Vancouver office. Ali traces his interest in engineering to a childhood karate teacher. Growing up in Iran with parents who were both doctors, Ali was expected to follow in their footsteps. But he knew that wasn’t what he wanted. One day his karate teacher, whose day job was working as an engineer, invited Ali to his factory. Ali spent the whole day there and came away determined to become a mechanical engineer. Today Ali is the head of Integral’s Energy Modeling and Sustainability Team for all of the Canadian offices as well as Washington state. His team is responsible for modeling a tremendous number of projects. In the course of doing this work, Ali began to realize the process was flawed. “The way it worked, the energy modeler, the sustainability guy, was always two steps behind,” he recalls.


After reviewing what the other team had been doing, however, the Integral team realized that it was not the best strategy. “So we embarked on a series of really quick studies to test different ways of tackling the problem, different systems approaches, lots of really smart, fast analyses,” explained Ed. Utilizing a targeted modeling approach, they applied different modeling strategies to different facets of the problem. In order to model air flow, for instance, David Barker applied a tool similar to what fire engineers use to model smoke going through buildings, based on the same building physics.

They were then faced with presenting their findings to the client and to the other engineering team whose design they were arguing wouldn’t work. Creating a visualization of the modeling, they told a compelling story with images and animations, and what could have been a contentious meeting had a very positive outcome. The other team and, more important, the client accepted the Integral team’s approach and the overall design was pivoted. “We had a huge impact just by thinking smart, by not doing the usual approach to consultancy,” Ed says. “We were flexible with our thinking and really collaborative with other engineering firms and with the client.”

At that time, Ali explains, the standard way of doing modeling entailed the modeler getting the required information from the architect and engineers, then spending four weeks modeling. When the modeling results came back, as often as not they revealed the systems wouldn’t work for the goals at hand. Then the whole process would start over again. Ali saw this problem as an opportunity. “I realized that if we can get this problem fixed, we’re going to have happy clients, and we’re going to increase our profit margin.” He imagined a scenario in which there would be two meetings instead of fifty. “In the first meeting, we’re just going to listen and understand exactly what the criteria are and what options they are interested in. Then we’re going to go back and do the analysis. But rather than just do one analysis, we’re going to provide them with all possible scenarios for their building. And we’re going to do it so early that we’re actually getting involved in schematic design. Then we’re going to come back to the second meeting and say, ‘Okay, you asked me about these five different types of glass. Well, with this glass type number one, here are the impacts on construction costs, operating costs, energy use, and LEED points.” This vision has been realized in IntegralDRIVE, an innovative energy modeling service that empowers architects, developers, building owners and design teams to make informed decisions about their projects. It’s a visualization tool that gives instant feedback on any combination of building features, allowing clients to meet sustainability goals in ways that are most efficient, most cost-effective or most desirable within whatever particular parameters they choose. Clients receive a customized report summarizing LEED points, energy use, energy cost and CO2 emissions of the design alternatives under consideration. With standard sustainability consultancy, Ali says, a consultant “provides three options. The first is the option that they have thirty years’ experience designing, the second option is the one that is going to cost a fortune and the third option is the one that’s not going to fly.” In contrast, IntegralDRIVE enables a consultant to see a myriad of potential options and understand the cost and performance implications of each one. Integral teams have found that IntegralDRIVE ends up saving clients anywhere from one to five percent on construction costs.







Another place Integral Group is making an impact is in the area of lighting, particularly in shifting the way electric light and daylight are thought about and modeled. As lead lighting designer at Integral, Kera Lagios is pushing the boundaries of design to integrate lighting and daylighting in unique ways. Along with daylighting expert Mike Martinez, an associate principal in Oakland, Kera is working to blur the distinctions between electric light and daylight. “We have been trying to link lighting and daylighting in a way people don’t usually approach the question,” she says, “to look at the luminous environment, regardless of whether it comes from daylight or electric light. There are major differences in how you treat those two things, of course, but a goal of ours is to bring those two things much more together.”

In describing what makes Integral Group special, Oakland associate principal Hillary Weitze says, “We rely on building data. Not only do we do a lot of front-end modeling to make accurate predictions of how a building will perform, but we use post-occupancy data to inform future design.” Integral Group prides itself on leveraging data to produce the best building design possible.

To counter this, Integral staff are creating visualization tools that show an image of how and how much a space is illuminated. “This way you see the lighting very differently,” Kera says. “You’re seeing the effect of the lighting rather than the hardware.”

The U.S. Department of Energy calls FLEXLAB™ the world’s most advanced energy efficiency test bed. Kevin Hydes calls it the most important building in America. A Department of Energy facility located at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab on the campus of U.C. Berkeley, FLEXLAB™ is a set of four identical test beds and simulation platforms that allows users to compare and evaluate the energy efficiency of major building systems under real-world conditions. One of the four beds rotates, enabling users to test a feature in different orientations to the sun. The test beds are programmable to simulate various climates and conditions, so users can get the data that is most relevant for their particular project. With FLEXLAB ™, Kevin says, “For the first time ever, we can test these ideas before we build them.” Integral Group provided engineering services for FLEXLAB™, a job that Eric Solrain, Integral’s U.S. West engineering design leader, describes as especially fun.


One of the key ways Integral Group is changing how we think about light is through visualization tools. The traditional way that light is indicated on a building plan reinforces the separation between the two kinds of light. Electric light shows up as pendant fixtures or sconces or downlight, and daylighting doesn’t really show up at all.




“Basically, the test beds are each little laboratories, and they have to maintain really precise conditions in order to get high-quality data between the test cells,” explains Eric. This precision makes it an especially useful facility for research and also for practice. Manufacturers, building owners, architects and engineers can all turn to FLEXLAB™ for topquality data on efficient buildings. Now Integral Group is working with FLEXLAB™ on a net-zero energy test for buildings under 10,000 square feet, a project that could potentially have a huge impact. “The vast majority of small buildings don’t hire engineers,” Eric says. “This program will create a suite of energy efficiency measures that an architect or general contractor or owner can plug the basics of their building, their climate and their use into, and get the top ten energy efficiency strategies that they can implement.”

MIDDLE EASTERN HOSPITAL EXPANSION Having data on their side allows engineers at Integral Group to stay true to their ideals in the face of challenges. Such was the situation David Barker, associate principal in London, encountered in designing a major Middle Eastern hospital expansion that is currently under construction. The new medical center expansion design includes a shading system that wraps around the building and is made up of thousands of individual shading elements. To model the building in full, with explicit detail, would have resulted in unwieldy simulations that would take a cumbersomely long time to run. Instead, the Integral team used several simplification techniques to support their analysis, which were chosen specifically to meet the requirements of the task at hand.


The power of FLEXLAB™ is spreading. In Singapore, for example, BCA SkyLab is a rotatable test lab modeled on FLEXLAB™. Other labs are being created around the world to produce real-world data on building systems and expand the possibilities for unleashing the best in high-performance buildings.

One design solution that was implemented was a fanning of the vertical fins o n t he w estern f acade. A f ew s uper-simple simulations were conducted to communicate the benefits t o the architectural team, benefits that included improved views from within the building out to the horizon. There were challenges along the way as the building went through the design process. “The team met with some resistance when it came to delivering the mechanical systems that we thought would provide the right solution for energy management and demand control,” David says. The fact that they had reliable data to back up their design choices enabled the Integral team to stick to what they knew were the right decisions. “What I’m proud of on that project is that we didn’t give up on our ideals when we were challenged on certain decisions or systems selections,” David explains. “We fought the good fight in the right way, by providing analysis and evidence to back our decisions up and push the wider design team to consider options that might be a little less common for the construction marketplace in that part of the world but that we thought could still be achievable.”

HAWAII SCHOOLS The Hawaii Department of Education was under pressure to provide air conditioning to classrooms, but without increasing their energy bills. They enlisted Integral Group to help and David Kaneda, managing principal in Integral’s San Jose office, seized the opportunity. Electricity costs are high in Hawaii, so in order to provide air conditioning at no additional cost, the Integral team had to come up with an alternative to conventional practices.

Yet what should have been the straightforward answer— photovoltaic (PV) solar—wasn’t. “We’re starting to see something called the duck curve,” David explains, “where there’s so much energy being generated by renewables that it’s potentially threatening the grid. You can’t put any more energy into it.” The high cost of electricity in Hawaii has led to a boom in solar PV systems, which causes an oversupply of power to the grid on sunny days. Within this context, the problem facing the Integral Group team in Hawaii was no longer a building problem, but a grid issue. Once they reframed it this way, the team was able to come up with solutions. They developed a design utilizing air-conditioning units powered by new PV panels, a SolarEdge inverter and a Tesla PowerWall to store any excess energy generated. “Some of the work in Hawaii is small, but it’s exciting because it’s responding to a very specific challenge,” David says. “It’s the beginning of something that will be a much bigger issue in the future.”

CONTINUOUS LEARNING “Continual improvement is the norm at Integral,” says Kevin Hydes. “Picture a circle with Imagine on one side and Perform on the other. They are constantly feeding back into one another. What’s learned on one project becomes the spark of an idea for the next.” Integral Group is unique in being a firm that provides both design and commissioning services. It can thus take full advantage of this circle of learning. Commissioning at Integral falls to the Performance Engineering team, and one of the engineers at the helm of that team is Chris Piché, regional director of U.S. East.




Chris traces his interest in building performance in part to witnessing the work his wife was doing as an engineer in the medical field. “When you’re sitting in an ER with an infusion pump, the engineering behind that infusion pump is really important, but what’s even more important is making sure the nurse who’s working on the twelfth or eighteenth hour of a night shift understands that it’s really easy to operate this thing.”

At Integral, making sure buildings are designed in ways that make sense to the people using them, and then making sure the buildings are actually performing in the ways they were meant to, is paramount.

“There are instances where the design or the technology is the best thing since sliced bread,” Chris says, “but then you talk to the operator and he’s saying, ‘I can’t get the thing to work.’” Chris has another analogy he likes to use to explain performance engineering. “No one gives you a car when you turn sixteen and says, ‘Here, go figure it out.’ You take a course, you learn, and eventually you can work yourself up from the $500 car you bought off the lot to a really nice Tesla. There are steps to learn that, and I don’t think buildings should be any different. We’ve got to be able to provide the tools to people so that they can learn from them.

Often performance engineering consultants come in at the beginning of a project, during design. The performance engineering team can understand how the building is going to be used and make design suggestions on that basis. This was the case at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. A massive public-private partnership, the project demolishes the central terminal building and its associated infrastructure and builds a brand-new 1.3-million-square-foot, 35-gate terminal building, plus a new aeronautical ramp, frontage roads serving the new terminal, a new central heating and refrigeration plant and other utilities and site improvements. Integral Group was brought in to develop the design-phase commissioning scope. Senior building analyst Rachel Lieberman was a member of that team and recounts how the strong systems Integral Group has developed for commissioning helped manage such a massive project. “At that scale, there are people working in roles I didn’t even know existed,” she says. “But I was able to rely on the process we’ve established for commissioning, even when dealing with new roles or situations, such as how do I have a conversation about commissioning with the procurement department, which I usually would not need to do. It always comes back to, ‘Okay, what is the process we’ve developed at Integral Group?’”


Many things can get in the way of buildings functioning the way engineers expect them to, from occupant behavior to technical glitches to climate issues, to name but a few. With green buildings, meeting sustainability goals depends on performance, so paying careful attention to this side of things is critical.

That’s what’s at the core of our Performance Engineering group: closing that loop. It’s getting these buildings set up to operate to achieve their intended goals and making sure people feel comfortable operating these things.”

Performance engineering consultation continues throughout the life of a project, sometimes for years after it has been built. For Integral Group, the building that perhaps best exemplifies the spirit of continuous learning is the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s headquarters in Los Altos, California. Widely written about, the building was at the time the largest project ever to receive a Zero Energy Certification from the International Living Future Institute. With its highly efficient envelope and building systems, the building achieved an energy demand reduction of 60 percent over code baseline, and a 50 percent reduction in plug load energy use. Integral Group had made sure systems were built in to monitor performance on an ongoing basis, and since the building became occupied Integral has continued to track the building’s performance. This ensures that the Packard headquarters lives up to its full potential and also provides valuable lessons for future projects. One of the next-generation projects that benefited from lessons learned on the Packard Foundation project was the DPR Construction headquarters in San Francisco. DPR wanted to make its offices net-positive-energy and do it on a traditional budget for a Class A+ office space. This was a challenging goal, not only because of the cost constraints, but because, instead of building new, DPR decided to retrofit an existing two-story, 24,000-square-foot, industrial-style office building. Furthermore, they wanted to complete the project in ten months. The existing building was surrounded by taller buildings on three sides, making the kinds of passive design strategies traditionally used in zero net energy buildings, such as natural ventilation and lighting, more difficult. So the Integral team focused on the building envelope.

A tight, high-performance envelope, with added roof insulation, reduced energy demand. As a result, the 100 percent electric building is powered by rooftop photovoltaic and solar thermal systems. The team studied DPR’s plug loads at the construction company’s old site to identify which equipment used the largest amounts of energy and then took steps to reduce those loads in the new building. Smart plug strips were installed, turning off non-essential equipment to prevent unnecessary power use. To bring daylight in, the Integral team added solar tubes and vertical skylights with electro-chromatic tinting glass. The tinting automatically adjusts based on outdoor light levels, increasing and decreasing with the ebb and flow of San Francisco’s rolling fog. Flooded with daylight, the building is able to meet its remaining light needs through ultra-efficient lighting, further reducing energy use. Living walls, operable windows and ceiling fans all add elements of biophilia and improve indoor air quality.

The DPR building became the first zero net energy office building in San Francisco, and then surpassed that to become net positive, producing 20 percent more energy than it consumes on an annual basis. The project has received numerous awards, including the 2017 CIBSE International Project of the Year Award and the 2016 ASHRAE Technology Award for existing commercial building.



TOTAL EMBODIED CARBON STUDY The success of the DPR project was wide-reaching, but Integral Group realized there was an even bigger story to tell. The ability to take an existing building and retrofit it to zero net energy tunnels into a deeper issue of carbon savings, one that isn’t often at the forefront: embodied carbon. Embodied carbon refers to the greenhouse gas emissions released throughout the extraction, refinement, processing, transportation and fabrication of a material or product. Thinking about embodied carbon encourages a cradle-to-grave approach to understanding carbon.

That is, it isn’t only the carbon emissions a building will produce once it’s operational, or even just the carbon associated with its construction, but the carbon embodied in the building’s entire life cycle. For Megan White, an associate in Integral’s Oakland office, thinking about embodied carbon is a natural fit. She came to Integral from a construction background and looks at sustainability through the lens of building materials. Megan grew up in Maine and spent much of her childhood outside in nature, gaining a deep understanding of the Earth and amassing a pretty impressive rock collection. Today Megan is passionate about embodied carbon because it has so much potential to make an immediate impact. With a new-construction, zero net energy building, the carbon benefit accrues over time as the building saves energy. But the carbon associated with building materials happens before the building even opens. “The extraction of raw materials out of the ground, the manufacturing process that transforms them into a product and then the process of transporting them to the job site and building the actual building itself—that happens over a five-year span, and that’s happening now,” Megan says. “And now is when we have a carbon problem and a greenhouse gas emissions problem. We don’t have fifty years to solve them.” Thinking in those terms, the Integral Group team realized that embodied carbon savings was the bigger story at the heart of the DPR project, but the carbon savings hadn’t yet been quantified and so there was no way to measure the extent of the impact.





With sponsorship from the Ecological Building Network and funding from StopWaste, Integral Group partnered with Siegel & Strain Architects to study the DPR project in order to figure out how to measure the embodied carbon and understand the real savings that can occur in a zero net energy retrofit. Using a tool called Tally, they calculated the embodied carbon footprint for DPR and evaluated the emissions avoided by building reuse compared to building new. The results revealed a stunning 70 percent reduction in embodied carbon. Most of that savings came from the structure: the foundation, concrete footings and steel pilings. The study concluded that a netpositive renovation such as DPR, which reused most of an existing structure, can be a carbonsequestering building over time. Stet Sanborn, an associate in the Oakland office who worked on the study, says the most radical way to avoid catastrophic climate change “would be to do a deep energy retrofit on every building three stories or less, and thereby actually sequester all that carbon.”

Vancouver principal Dave Ramslie echoes that sentiment. “There’s a generosity in this firm,” he says. “As a truly a mission-driven firm, we don’t jealously guard our ideas. We want people to take them.”


These kinds of insights reflect the continuous learning that’s at the heart of Integral’s work and will help create the solutions of the future—because Integral Group is committed to sharing them widely. Says Chris Piché, “We’ll show you exactly how we’ve done it. Because really what use is it to us if we’ve gone and built the Exploratorium, we’ve gone and done the Packard Foundation, but we’re keeping all the trade secrets to ourselves? If we’re truly about transforming the market, we need to have those knowledge transfers to move the market forward.”

4 16

Passive House Projects

Certified Passive House Designers/Consultants



Hours Worked Toward the Green Movement

LBC Projects Completed or in Design

12 3

Fitwel Ambassadors

91 90+

Fitwel Projects (London, Oakland, and Toronto offices)


Countries with Integral Group Projects

Total LEED Projects Completed

LEED Accredited Professionals


BREEAM Projects


WELL Certified Projects



15 Offices


Zero Net Energy Projects Completed or in Design

481M 4M

kWh Project Savings (est.)

Therms Project Savings (est.)

243M 3M

kWh per Year influenced Savings (est.)

Therms per Year Influenced Savings (est.)

430 Employees

350+ Industry Awards






At the heart of the passion to build sustainable buildings is a desire to make those buildings accessible to as many people as possible. In order to do that, green building has had to move from being associated primarily with high-cost, high-end developments to becoming recognized as part of affordable building solutions. Integral Group has been at the forefront of this shift, proving that sustainable design doesn’t have to be expensive and changing ideas about what green buildings are and whom they are for.

BREAKING THROUGH THE COST BARRIER The explosion of high-tech firms competing to build the next most impressive, most glittery campus has left California’s Silicon Valley with a glut of older office spaces that no one wants—rapidly aging, seismically unsound, inefficient buildings, many of which stand vacant. Concrete boxes, dark, inefficient and cold, they are proving difficult to rent in an area that offers so many better options. Seeing an opportunity, developer Kevin Bates of Sharp Development Company, Inc., worked with Integral Group to create a model for retrofitting existing inefficient buildings in a way that would be both cost-effective and energy-efficient. The goal was to create the business case for zero net energy office spaces and accelerate the transformation of these undesirable buildings into something better.

The first building they tackled, 435 Indio, Sunnyvale, was an uninsulated concrete tilt-up office building that had been vacant for years.

They transformed it into a zero net energy space that is 100 percent daylit and 100 percent naturally ventilated. Out of an ugly, boxy office block, they created a beautiful, airy open space with soft light, exposed ductwork, polished concrete floors and a white fabric ceiling that acts as an acoustical buffer. Relying heavily on passive and bioclimatic design strategies, the renovation achieved its goals primarily by upgrading the building envelope and greatly reducing the mechanical loads. Skylights and electrochromic windows bring in daylight, and natural ventilation takes care of the majority of cooling needs, with fans keeping the air gently circulating. Skylights and windows open automatically at night to flush the building and cool the exposed concrete walls and floors. Roof-mounted photovoltaic and solar thermal systems offset energy use. 435 Indio packed a lot of sustainability into a reasonable budget.





Four zero net energy retrofits have now been completed in Sunnyvale and neighboring Mountain View. The successful replication of this cost-effective, energy-efficient model can potentially pave the way for even wider adoption of zero net energy buildings, as other developers see the advantages of applying these strategies to their own projects. “The buildings have impacted the industry worldwide,” says associate principal Shannon Allison, “because Kevin Bates, the developer, was very open about how he was able to make it work financially, and that resonated with a lot of people. He did a great job of pushing it out there. To me it’s in line with Elon Musk not patenting his battery so that it can easily spread. That’s what Kevin Bates did—he allowed these practices to spread, and that is in line with our goal of spreading our mission.”

Another aging Sunnyvale building, 415 Mathilda, a 1970s two-story, 35,000-square-foot athletic club, was transformed into a Class A office building that is also zero net energy. The renovation used many of the same strategies that were deployed on the Indio retrofit—skylights and dynamic glass, rooftop solar panels—but 415 Mathilda also posed unique challenges. One of the biggest was a two-story racquetball court with virtually no outside light, which the team transformed with the addition of eighty-six new windows, electrochromic glass and light sensors.

John Andary agrees and explains, “These are small buildings, but they have had a big impact. They’re getting people to consider doing a zero-energy building and showing them that it doesn’t cost more, that they can actually make money.”

The renovation was so successful that the California Energy Commission awarded the project a $1.5 million grant, hailing it as a model for the commercial and financial viability of retrofitting commercial offices to achieve zero net energy.

In fact the growing number of retrofit projects Integral Group has been involved in stands as powerful evidence that energy-efficient and renewable systems are approaching a cost-neutral tipping point. Says Jason F. McLennan, founder of the International Living Future Institute, CEO of McLennan Design and Integral Group’s chief innovation officer, “The work Andary is doing in California to bring zero net energy down to an affordable level exemplifies the Integral approach of ratcheting up performance and driving down cost.”


When the renovation was completed, the building moved from being a Class C- to a Class B+ in real-estate terms and found tenants within three months (compared to the eighteen-month average for similar buildings in the area), and at a higher-thanexpected rent. This was a major success for the developer, but an even bigger success in terms of its ripple effect: 435 Indio demonstrated that zero net energy retrofits could be not only affordable, but profitable. As impressive as it was, the project became the first chapter of a much bigger narrative. “The story now is how we were able to replicate 435 Indio’s success so effectively, by developing the right strategies at the beginning,” says John Andary, Integral principal and lead engineer on the project. “Since that first project, the developer’s been able to do a new zero net energy retrofit every year.”

TREEHOUSE DALLAS Replicable, affordable sustainability was at the heart of another Integral Group project, the Dallas, Texas, flagship store for TreeHouse, a big-box home improvement company that associate principal Jonathan Robertson calls “the Whole Foods of home improvement.” TreeHouse’s company mission is to make homes beautiful, healthy and sustainable, and they wanted their Dallas store to reflect these values, so they set a goal of zero net energy. The catch was that they didn’t have any extra money to spend on the project—it needed to be zero net energy at the same cost as a conventional building. “The nature of the business means they don’t have piles of money,” explains Bungane Mehlomakulu, managing principal in Austin, where TreeHouse is based. “Can’t innovate. Must be simple. And they wanted the design to be replicable, because they want it at all their stores.” Teaming up with the architectural firm Lake Flato, Integral Group set out to help TreeHouse achieve these ambitious goals. Drawing on its experience with zero net energy buildings, the Integral team utilized passive and low-energy design strategies to create a big-box store unlike any other. When the Dallas store opened in June 2017, TreeHouse declared it the first net-positive home improvement store in the world. Power is produced from rooftop solar PV panels, which sit on the south-facing surface of the saw-tooth roof. The north side features windows, flooding the space with natural daylight. A large overhang shades the building. Two Tesla Powerpacks store the rooftop solar array’s power for evening use and allow excess energy to be returned to the city’s grid. High-volume, low-speed fans move air through the space, maximizing comfort without the need for a large, expensive HVAC system.

TreeHouse plans to replicate many of the sustainability features of its Dallas store in future locations. Moreover, the cost-conscious success of TreeHouse Dallas is showing other companies that zero net energy—and even net positive—is a smart possibility for retail.

KAISER PERMANENTE SONOMA COUNTY Proving that energy efficiency can also be cost-effective is a major achievement. But John Andary and the Integral team have taken that accomplishment a step further with their work on a building for health-care giant Kaiser Permanente in Sonoma County, California. Here, sustainability became the strategy for building new, at even lower cost than conventional construction. Kaiser Permanente was looking to build a brand-new threestory, 87,300-square-foot medical office building in Santa Rosa. Ideally, they wanted a zero net energy building, but they didn’t have a lot of money to spend. The Integral team looked at what it would cost to build the bare minimum, a conventional, non-sustainable building that was just up to code and nothing more, and found that even this would cost more than Kaiser Permanente wanted to spend. So the Integral team took a deeper dive. “We looked at this absolutely least expensive building,” John says, “and hunted for ways to take more dollars out.” Taking this closer look, John noticed that the heating, hot-water boiler and piping systems accounted for nearly half the cost of the building’s entire HVAC system. When the team realized what a huge expense that was, they decided to rethink. Integral drew up the project again, taking out the hot water piping and natural gas boilers and using “thermodynamically zoned heat pumps.”




They figured out which rooms were always going to need only heating or cooling, but never both simultaneously. They grouped those rooms together and served them with their own AHU and heat pump. Five AHU units were put on the roof; with all of the heating and cooling happening there, no reheating was required, which resulted in substantial annual energy savings. And money was saved at initial cost because pipes or coils didn’t have to be distributed throughout the building. Instead each room has its own individually controllable Therma-Fuser, which senses the air temperature and automatically adjusts the flow of air to meet the room’s comfort setting.

“The results were stunning,” John says. “When we priced it up as an all-electric, zero-energy building, it cost a million dollars less!” Saving money at initial cost by utilizing sustainability strategies in building design would have been unimaginable to most people only a few years ago, when green building was widely regarded as synonymous with expensive. Realizing that it could be otherwise “requires stepping back and not accepting the norm, thinking a little differently,” John says. Now he’s got a new tag line: “Go zero net energy, save a million dollars.”

Making green buildings affordable makes their many benefits accessible to far greater numbers of people. Perhaps nowhere does this have the potential to make a bigger difference in people’s lives than in the realm of affordable housing. Stet Sanborn is vehement on the subject. From paying less for utility bills to breathing cleaner air, the advantages of green buildings can be most significant for people on lower incomes. “The potentially negative health consequences of buildings are worse for at-risk populations like the elderly and the poor,” he says, “the people who will live in affordable housing. So making a difference there can have such a big impact. It’s great, soul-filling work.” A case in point is 2060 Folsom, a nine-story affordable building complex in the Mission district of San Francisco, a city in the throes of a housing crisis and in desperate need of lower-cost housing. The building will provide 136 apartments for lowincome families and youth who have aged out of the foster system. It will also include a community room, a child-care center and retail and office space, aiming to meet the goals of both maximizing density and providing opportunities to create community. The design for 2060 Folsom uses Passive House principles that maximize natural methods of climate control. The building will have simple mechanical systems instead of expensive, complicated ones, with the savings directed into construction of a high-performance building envelope. “We are taking what we are learning from bigger-profile buildings and integrating those lessons at a price point even affordable housing can afford,” Stet says.


Moreover, the team decided to make the whole building electric and power it via a PV system, achieving a zero net energy building that is also carbon neutral. The PV system covers the building parking lots and was provided at no additional construction cost by a third-party power purchase provider that sells the energy back to Kaiser Permanente at a rate lower than that charged by the local utility company.




The project utilizes an innovative continuous balanced ventilation scheme with heat recovery and night-flush cooling, as well as air-source heat pumps for domestic hot water. In all, 2060 Folsom is set to achieve nearly 50 percent netzero energy, at a lower cost than a traditional project with conventional systems. “And we aren’t getting this done at cost by skimping,” Stet emphasizes. “We aren’t taking away comfort. We aren’t taking away amenities.”

SCALING UP In recent years Integral Group has increasingly turned its attention to a larger scale: looking at buildings not just as isolated units, but as parts of larger webs of connections, communities, districts and cities. This is another way Integral is helping to bring green buildings to greater numbers of people. “We’re looking at things like district systems—an ecodistrict where energy, water, food, transportation, building, social and cultural systems are very integrated,” says U.S. West sustainability and resilient design leader, Andréa Traber. “There’s huge value around that scale for me. I want to see the big picture, and one building at a time isn’t going to do it. Even net-positive-energy buildings, one at a time, just aren’t going to make the change we need.

DISTRICT ENERGY SYSTEMS: TELUS GARDEN District energy systems connect buildings via underground pipes and allow the sharing of energy within the network, neighborhood or campus. Conventional district energy systems usually provide heating only, distributing steam or hot water to connected buildings from a central heating plant, such as a natural-gas heat source. Integral Group is at the forefront of the next generation of district energy, taking the concept further by focusing on energy efficiency and low carbon emissions. Vladimir Mikler, principal and leader in district energy, explains that all Integral’s designs not only focus on renewable energy sources, but also look for opportunities for energy recovery, for reusing waste energy. An excellent example of Integral Group’s creative thinking around district energy is the TELUS Garden mixed use development in downtown Vancouver. Completed in September 2015, TELUS Garden is a 44-story residential tower and a 22-story office tower that was the first office building in Vancouver to win LEED Platinum certification. Notable among its many achievements is the project’s district energy system. The office and residential towers are connected to a third building on the site, the existing TELUS building, which houses a large data center. While the two towers’ needs were heating-dominant, the data center required a significant cooling system.


In addition, the simplicity of the systems at 2060 Folsom will make them easy to maintain, “which is also important in a context where there might not be as much money for maintenance,” Stet says. Highly efficient utility systems will also relieve low-income tenants of the burden of high utility bills and reduce the impact of future energy cost spikes. In all of these ways, low-cost energy efficiency is a double-impact route to social and environmental justice, as projects like 2060 Folsom pave the way to the democratization of green buildings.

I’m totally driven by the big change—the great turning, if you want to think of it like that.” From connecting a few buildings in a district energy system to building communities to reforming city codes, Integral Group is scaling up and accelerating change.

Integral’s innovation was to make the surplus heat rejected from the data center’s cooling system part of the TELUS Garden district energy system, transforming it into useful heating energy for the residential and office buildings. When all three buildings work together, waste heat becomes useful heat, and the overall carbon footprint is reduced dramatically. Says Goran Ostojic, Integral Group vice president and regional director for Canada West, “We really created something new and different that’s shaping the construction industry and showing what can be done.”

BUILDING CODES FOR THE FUTURE When policies or concrete actions at state and federal levels are lacking, cities often step up to aggressively tackle climate change—and Integral Group is helping them do so, bringing its expertise to this scaled-up level. Integral has consulted, designed and implemented master plans for campuses, districts, cities and communities across North America and globally. Perhaps no one in the firm better exemplifies this expertise than Dave Ramslie, principal in the Vancouver office. With degrees in macroeconomics and urban design, Dave is widely regarded as one of the most innovative urban policymakers in Canada. For nearly a decade, he did strategic policy development for the City of Vancouver on green building programs, climate, energy and resiliency. He left the City looking for ways to have an even bigger impact. “The experience I gained there was unique, in that I was working for a very progressive city that was willing to push the envelope on a lot of things,” he says. “I thought that I had a lot of really great experience that not a lot of other people have and that I could significantly shorten the learning curve for a lot of the other governments and utilities that were out there.”

Soon after starting at Integral, Dave embarked on a project on behalf of the Province of British Columbia, convening various stakeholders to ask: What does the building code of the future need to look like if we are going to get to zero net energy buildings? Research, initially self-funded, led to the production of a white paper titled “The Future of High Performance Buildings in British Columbia,” which became a project that the provincial government took on. Integral Group was hired to design the technical background and run the public process that brought industry and local governments on board. “Now it’s the law here in British Columbia,” Dave says. “It’s the first code to provide a direct pathway to net-zero emissions in North America that has energy and greenhouse gas emissions targets within it. Now we’ve emulated this for Vancouver, Toronto and, nationally, for the Canadian Green Building Council. The Vancouver project is one of those keystones that we’ve used to make a broader impact across the building industry.” Efforts to shape building codes in ways that will usher in netzero futures are also underway in California. Integral Group joined Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Codes And Standards Enhancement (CASE) Utility team in 2015 to develop changes to California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24), aimed at bringing all new commercial buildings to zero net energy by 2030.

CAMBRIDGE GREEN BUILDING PLAN In early 2013 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a group of citizen activists formulated a petition demanding that all new buildings be zero net energy starting the very next year. While they may have appreciated the concept, many local businesses and institutions, including Harvard and MIT, opposed the petition’s drastic timeline.

- Dave Ramslie Principal


It was a huge piece of work and spoke to our unique offering: I’m a touchy-feely planner backed up by some incredible, technical engineers who are experts at doing this type of analysis.


Says Dave Ramslie, “They were saying, ‘This is the center of research in the Northeast, one of the biggest knowledge communities in the United States. We absolutely can’t do this. It’s going to be unaffordable for us and it’s going to drive business out of town.’” Faced with these competing demands, the City of Cambridge set out to develop a roadmap to becoming a zero net energy community that could meet everyone’s needs. The city retained Integral Group over the course of 2014 to advise city staff and a group of key stakeholders and expert professionals that was known as the Getting to Net Zero Task Force. The goal was to develop an action plan that would balance the needs of the community with the concerns raised by businesses, lab owners, universities and other large institutions.

The Integral team embarked on an eighteen-month process during which they designed and facilitated task force meetings, conducted public outreach and did all the climate energy modeling. At the end of the year and a half, the task force had come up with a plan.

Integral Group has made this kind of impact in cities from Toronto to Richmond, Virginia, crafting frameworks and policies to guide the building industry toward zero net energy futures. Integral is also working on tool kits that can be used by any city to implement these kinds of sustainability plans. “We were hired by three cities—Boulder, Minneapolis and Seattle—to develop an energy systems transformation playbook,” Rachel reports. “We worked closely with them as we developed a step-by-step process for cities and we tested it on them. But the ultimate product was a playbook that should be a tool for any city wanting to develop a planned energy transition. So we hope our impact will be much broader.”


Rachel Moscovich, an associate in the Vancouver office, spent her first day on the job at Integral Group flying with Dave Ramslie to Boston to tackle the Cambridge Green Energy Plan. She’d worked with Dave at the City of Vancouver and says the primary reason she came to Integral was to have the chance to tackle bigger problems and make a bigger impact. “I could see that Integral would support my vision, by way of the company’s core values and commitment to deep green leadership, and by way of its network and global reach,” she says. “My first day on the job in Cambridge showed me I’d made the right move.”

Amazingly, and despite the contentious beginnings, the plan was unanimously endorsed by both the business community and the citizen activists. Says Dave, “It was a huge piece of work and spoke to our unique offering: I’m a touchy-feely planner backed up by some incredible technical engineers who are experts at doing this type of analysis. The real genius part of this was that it was as much about governance as it was about the technical solutions. We were able to design an ongoing process for implementation in Cambridge whereby the business community trusted that there were going to be points where we would check in and manage this trajectory to zero net energy and that their voice was going to be heard, but we were also providing the technical rigor that assured everybody that this was possible and was going to be costeffective.”





Building for Health W E L L N E S S AT P L AY

As humans, we spend on average 90 percent of our time in buildings. The air we breathe, the light we are exposed to, the toxicity of building materials, the comfort and pleasantness of the built environment—all of these factors shape our health and well-being. Today the idea that healthy buildings are essential for a healthy population has filtered into the mainstream. And Integral Group has been at the forefront of putting this idea into action, championing the many ways that well-designed and well-constructed buildings can enhance, promote and protect human health. The mechanisms by which buildings shape health are many, and so are the points at which building designers can intervene, beginning with building materials. From asbestos to lead to flame retardants, many materials historically used in the built environment were later revealed to have serious negative health consequences for building occupants as well as for the people who manufactured the products or worked with them in the course of construction, renovation or deconstruction. Numerous products, less well known, are still being used today even though they may pose toxic dangers to human health.

“The concentration of toxic chemicals indoors compared to outdoors is anywhere from two times to one hundred times greater,” notes Integral Oakland associate Megan White.

Building with healthier materials leads to healthier spaces. One way Integral is helping to accelerate the shift to nontoxic materials is by working with clients to understand the alternatives. Integral has started keeping a database of healthy materials to streamline the process of vetting and choosing. It has also created a matrix of the many different requirements for healthy materials within different building standards (such as the LEED, Living Building Challenge and WELL standards), in order to show clients where the standards overlap and diverge and help projects achieve more than one certification simultaneously. A focus on indoor air quality and lighting is another way Integral Group is significantly influencing the creation of healthier buildings. Integral Group encourages building designs that bring the outdoors inside, in ways that improve both light and air. “We need to start understanding buildings as much more open,” says Michael Martinez, an associate principal who specializes in daylighting. “We need to think of them as a filter of the natural environment, rather than as a barrier.” Lighting design team leader Kera Lagios points out that there has been an abundance of research on the health effects of lighting and circadian rhythms. “From a health standpoint, one of the best things you can do is have a well-daylit space,” she says.



Yet it’s also essential to think about how to handle spaces where people don’t have access to daylight, or spaces that are occupied at night. In such cases, Integral Group works with solutions that mobilize electric light in ways that mimic natural light and create some of the same positive benefits. Awardwinning lighting designer Ellie Niakan, associate leading the Vancouver lighting studio, points out that tunable light can be used to mimic the color and temperature of the sun. “It helps keep people alert during the day and ready for sleep at night,” she says. “And that allows people to be happier and more productive.” A recent example of how lighting can make an environment healthier is the work Integral is doing on Camp Southern Ground. Located in Georgia, Camp Southern Ground provides a welcome respite for special-needs kids in the summers and for military veterans during the school year. The therapists who work at the camp told Integral that tunable white light can be an element of treatment for veterans with PTSD and also may benefit children with developmental disabilities. Using the visualization tools described in Chapter One, Integral’s daylighting team designed the space to maximize daylight and employ tunable white light to achieve the environment the therapists wanted. Integral also works to create healthier buildings in ways less engineering-oriented and more focused on the human experience. Highlighting the importance of movement and of active design, Integral consultants help clients think about ways their spaces can encourage physical exercise as well as healthful eating choices and access to nourishing food. Integral teams also advocate integrating biophilia, or connection to nature, into building design, whether through views of green spaces or the inclusion of verdant features like green walls.

“When we’re in an indoor-outdoor space, we fundamentally feel better,” explains U.S. West design leader Eric Solrain. “Our acceptance of and comfort with wider ranges of temperature and humidity and wind speed and smells all expand as we make that connection with nature.”

MEETING THE WELL STANDARD Building for health often isn’t straightforward. “It can be a hard conversation to have,” Megan admits. “There are a lot of intangibles, and it can be difficult to measure the effect of the built environment on health.” But tools and standards have emerged to help designers build for health. One is the WELL standard, a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being. Integral’s sustainability team offers healthy-building consulting to projects pursuing WELL certification or seeking to incorporate some of its facets into their projects.

But the Integral Group’s connection to WELL goes deeper; Integral was also part of the original development of WELL, as auditors on its pilot studies. Eric Solrain was part of that team. For him, the links between sustainability and health became clear early. At age ten he traveled with his dad to a Kentucky coal mine, which his father, a Texas oil man, had kept afloat when it was at risk of shutting down. In gratitude, the mine was named after Eric’s dad and he and his family were invited to Kentucky for a celebration.




“I vividly remember being there with all the workers, in front of the big opening to the mine, with the forest around us,” Eric says. “And I remember seeing all of these sickly older men cheering my dad for keeping them working in these dirty, dirty, horrible conditions.” That experience set him on a path to finding a better way than how things were done by the people he saw around him. “For me this nexus of health, efficiency and sustainability has always been at the center,” he says, “even if at any one time I might just be doing pieces around it.” But as part of the team doing the pilots for the WELL standard, Eric was able to truly put his concerns at the center. “One of the pilots that sticks out for me is going to a hospital in the Midwest that was a bone-marrow transplant recovery unit for pediatrics,” he recalls. “These kids’ immune systems are basically gone while they’re incorporating the transplant, and so cleanliness and conditions within these rooms were already top-notch. The WELL program was a way to go even a step beyond. This was my first opportunity to really look at circadian response to lighting and how to bring comfort in the room not just to the ninetieth percentile but to 99.9—to take it to the very tip.”

HAAS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS NEW ACADEMIC BUILDING Associate principal Jonathan Robertson calls the Haas School of Business expansion “the project that accidentally became awesome.” To support a growing student population and a broadening curriculum, the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, needed to expand. They set out to build a new six-story building on campus, and Integral Group was part of the team. The project was pretty far along when a donor came along with an offer to pour some additional money into the project. “They asked us, What are some ideas?” Megan White recounts. “So we had a brainstorming session, and one idea was achieving the WELL certification standard. The school and the donor really loved that idea and wanted to pursue it.”


When the first public standard for WELL came out, Eric was a contributor. “One of the areas I focused on and really pushed to get included in the public standard was dedicated outsideair systems,” he says. “It’s a fundamental shift when you’re not recirculating air within a space, because that’s acknowledging that if you seal humans up in boxes, we become the contaminant. Because we’re not built for that. We, like everything else, are built to live in breathable air. So my standard is fresh air only.”

There is an abundance of data about how building design can positively affect test scores and happiness, decrease the amount of sick time and the like. And although the data isn’t yet robust enough to make large and definitive claims, Eric says, “the developer working with the business school just got it! So there was this alignment and the whole team really jumped on the opportunity.” But there was a catch: by the time this was decided, the building was already in construction. So the team had to assess what kinds of changes would be required to bring the building up to the WELL standard, and whether those changes were even feasible at such a late stage. To everyone’s delight, analysis showed that the building had already been designed to such a high sustainability standard that taking it to that next level was completely doable, even so late in the game. Indoor air quality is a high priority in the Haas School of Business expansion design. A building-wide dedicated outdoor-air-handling unit provides 100 percent outside air. Operable windows give access to natural ventilation and allow the building to be passively cooled under typically temperate weather conditions. When it’s too hot or cold outdoors for natural ventilation, mechanical ventilation and mechanical heating or cooling are provided via active chilled beams. Dynamic high-efficiency air filters offer both reduced maintenance and increased air quality, and an innovative kitchen ventilation design maximizes energy savings while maintaining occupant comfort. Natural light abounds, with shading and high-performance windows managing glare. The LED electric light is daylight-controlled. Everything about the space is designed to be student-centric, with spaces for gathering, studying and collaborating.

Integral Group’s consulting team will continue to review and monitor the building’s WELL-related strategies to ensure the school’s goals are met. The team anticipates that the project will have a tremendous impact as an excellent example of a WELL building, but also because the ongoing monitoring and analysis will accelerate knowledge on the effects of green building practices on health and happiness.

SUMMIT FOUNDATION The Summit Foundation fosters ocean conservation, girls’ empowerment and sustainable cities, to help create a world where both people and nature thrive, “where one is not sacrificed for the other.” So when the private family foundation began planning for their Washington, D.C., headquarters, they wanted the new building to reflect their values, and they hired Integral Group to help make sure it did. An important part of Summit’s vision was for their headquarters to be a space that would enhance health and well-being, and so it was designed to meet WELL certification standards.

Much thought and consideration went into choosing the materials for the project, which ultimately achieved the Living Building Challenge Petal certification in materials. The project also includes high-efficiency LED lighting and controls, daylight optimization with automated shade controls, glass for the internal walls of perimeter offices to maximize daylight penetration, and an educational display that allows the building’s occupants to monitor its performance and comfort conditions.



BRINGING IT HOME In addition to providing health-enhancing conditions, buildings can also be tools for health by actively promoting wellness through encouraging healthful behaviors. One of the standards that embraces this perspective is Fitwel, a cost-effective, evidence-based tool for assessing a building’s health score. Developed by the U.S. General Services Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Fitwel standard calls for encouraging health and productivity through improvements to workplace design and policies. Certification, administered by the Center for Active Design, assesses such building and workplace features as outdoor spaces, proximity to public transit and fitness f acilities, i ndoor a ir q uality a nd healthy food standards against baseline criteria for what creates a health-promoting environment.

“Fitwel is less about the design level and more about operations within your building, within your space,” explains Megan White. “It’s about how can you use your space better.” A FITWEL FIRST It was a challenge Integral Group was eager to meet. Although Integral had been deeply involved in the creation of the WELL building standard, its work was subject to non-disclosure agreements and so couldn’t be publicized at the time. Frustrated that other companies were broadcasting their involvement with implementing WELL while Integral had to keep quiet, Integral’s leaders resolved not to let that happen again. That was one reason Elementa’s London office was determined to become a poster child for Fitwel certification in Europe.

The Elementa team had recently moved into old insurance company offices at 80 Cheapside in Central London. There wasn’t much money, or a lot of extra time, but the team set out to prove that it was possible to achieve Fitwel certification quickly and on a budget. In the end it took them only six weeks to get certified and, as London principal Ed Garrod says, “We didn’t spend much money because we didn’t have any!” The team began by recycling and reusing everything: they repurposed the furniture, left the building systems in place and even kept the carpet. They improved daylight and views by rearranging furniture and reimagining spaces so that people were closer to windows or situated in areas with better daylight. Much of Fitwel is operational, focused on encouraging positive behaviors and instituting policies that support good health. To this end, the London team created guidelines as to what kinds of cleaning products were allowable, improved access to the stairs and started growing salad greens. They also improved emergency preparedness and created a wellness corner. In Spring 2017, Elementa’s London office became the first Fitwel-certified workplace anywhere outside of North America. Based on the team’s experience at 80 Cheapside, Ed Garrod created a Fitwel Roadmap that can be applied to any workplace. There’s a repeatability to what was done in London, and now that low-cost approach is being used as a template for other offices across the firm. Vancouver, Toronto and Oakland have all received or are set to receive Fitwel certifications. A big benefit of doing this work for their own offices is that Integral staff can share their experiences with clients and use the lessons they’ve learned in their own spaces to create better buildings for everyone.



THE JUST CHALLENGE Another measure of Integral Group’s commitment to a better world is its participation in the JUST label. From the drive to create green buildings for underserved populations to the emphasis on diversity and equity within its own offices, Integral Group takes the issue of fairness seriously. So another challenge Integral wanted to rise to was being evaluated by JUST. The JUST label was created by the International Living Future Institute to help companies improve social equity and enhance employee engagement. It’s a voluntary disclosure tool, a transparency platform for organizations to disclose how they meet a range of social-equity metrics, including how they treat their employees and where they make financial and community investments. The JUST label looks like a nutrition label, but instead of listing calories and vitamins, it shows the world how a company measures up on twenty-two specific social and equity indicators, including pay equity, diversity, family friendliness, worker safety and community volunteering. Integral Group’s Canadian offices have received their JUST label, and other parts of the firm are in the process of getting their own. JUST’s rating system gives Integral Canada top marks in many areas, including non-discrimination, gender pay equity, local sourcing and family friendliness, but shows that areas for improvement include gender diversity and responsible investing. “The JUST label is looking at social equity across the firm,” explains Megan White. ”Like Fitwel, it gives us metrics to look at from year to year so we can ask ourselves, ‘Where are we improving? Where are we falling short?’”

Beyond labels, Integral’s commitment to walking the walk of creating nurturing workplaces is clear when you talk to the people who make up the company. Again and again you’ll hear how connected they feel to one another and to the Integral Group vision. “For me, the main thing about Integral is relationships,” says Ali Nazari, principal in the Vancouver office. “We work together like a family, rather than employeremployee. All of us help each other out and have each other’s back. Our shared values encourage us to trust each other and inspire each other.”

Conrad Schartau, Integral’s executive vice president and COO, puts it this way: “We really care about people. We’re always encouraging people to fulfill what matters to them.” That makes sense to Tiffany Elston, head of the People Department for Integral globally, because creating a workplace culture where people feel included and nurtured, where they can grow long, rewarding careers, is the key to business sustainability. “We’re deep green and we’re also deep inclusion,” she says. “Because the happier and more inspired our people are, the better our projects are going to be.”






Communicating and Codifying MAKING A DIFFERENCE

At the heart of all the projects, endeavors and initiatives described in this book is a desire to make a difference for the planet; that’s the passion that fuels the innovations described in these pages and in scores of others that Integral Group teams have been responsible for. It’s also the passion that brings people to Integral and keeps them there.

In part, this is a matter of communicating with clients in ways that help them see that sustainability is in everyone’s interest. In part, it’s about using sustainability standards to set high goals for building performance.

“Everybody comes to Integral because they know we embrace sustainable design,” says Nate Eppley, associate principal in the Oakland office. “We champion it on every single project, at all levels and across the board. It’s inspiring.”

Tyler Disney, associate and lead visualization engineer, sees his life’s purpose as “showing people a world they actually want to live in, that they can get excited about”—so excited that they will be motivated to take the actions required to make that world a reality. At Integral Group, Tyler is fulfilling this purpose through his work as a visual storyteller, creating animations of projects that bring to life the often hidden mechanisms of engineering systems and simplify complexities that are sometimes hard for non-engineers to grasp. These animations are used by Integral Group at all stages of a project—at the beginning, to explain the vision and scope; in the middle, to illuminate a particular idea that may be new or different; and at the end, to tell the whole story of a project. The animations Tyler creates translate Integral Group’s engineering solutions so that all members of the design team can understand. He helps teams and clients visualize what they want to build, showing them that better world they want to live in.

David Barker, associate principal in Elementa's London office, echoed the same sentiment. “Right from the start I fell in love with the whole ethos of the company,” he recalls. “And actually more than the ethos—the evidence that the firm really acts on the mission of developing deep green solutions.” When the people of Integral Group describe the projects they’ve worked on, they emphasize that the company finds ways to make every project green to some extent or another. “I always try to put sustainability into a project even if an owner isn’t interested at first,” says Dean Astren, managing principal in Calgary. “There’s always a way.”




Visual storytelling for projects exemplifies Integral Group’s commitment to communicating ideas and visions effectively. For CEO Kevin Hydes, this commitment starts in the firm’s name. “The name itself is important,” he says, “because what we’re doing is all about integration. It’s the ability for a firm to be able to translate ideas in a way others can understand them.” Where most engineers are trained to wait for the client to tell them what to do, and then go do it, their role at Integral Group is more proactive, says Neil Bulger, principal and building performance team leader for U.S. West. “A fundamental part of our ethos is a desire to help our clients understand their goals and what the built environment could do for them.”

Each project, each client, each challenge is different, says John Andary, principal in San Jose. “But at Integral, our people are willing to take leadership and create an atmosphere where integration can happen.” “I could probably pick an engineer out of a crowd because they’re usually head down. At Integral it’s different,” says Oakland principal Ray Juachon. “We’re able to speak about other systems that aren’t necessarily mechanical, electrical and plumbing. We can talk about the building facades, we can talk about gray-water systems, we can talk about district-level stuff. Not a lot of engineering companies have that capability, but Integral is very collaborative.” At Integral, Neil says, “we want to help create an idea. It’s kind of a struggle a lot of times, because it’s a leadership role, which is not a traditional role for engineering professionals. But we’ve created a firm that says engineers can be good communicators and take the lead when it comes to establishing the built environment.”

That also means tuning in to what clients want and to the specifics of each project. “We listen to our clients,” says Vancouver principal Ali Nazari. “We don’t copy and paste. We think about each project as a unique project.”

BOULDER COMMONS For Neil Bulger, the project that best exemplifies Integral’s leadership and commitment to communication is Boulder Commons, a pair of buildings in Boulder, Colorado, with offices, retail stores and restaurants. “We were able to share with the developer and their contracting partner the idea that they could be the leaders of change in creating a zero net energy building,” Neil says. “They gravitated toward it and really understood how the built environment is changing into the future.” Integral helped show them how to be at the front end of that change. The buildings use bioclimatic and passive design strategies to minimize energy use while maximizing comfort and connection to the outdoors. Some of those strategies include daylight harvesting, aggressive exterior solar shading, automated interior blinds, natural ventilation, a highly insulated and air-tight envelope and the use of thermal mass to regulate internal temperatures. As the team moved through the design process, Neil says, there was ongoing communication among all members of the team and continual learning from one another. As a result, the contractor trades working on the project “ended up coming up with their own solutions as they started to understand the tradeoffs between the building’s envelope and the air-conditioning system.” For example, the Integral team had chosen a VRF system that uses one heat pump to heat or cool.



“We helped the client and the contractors understand that if they add insulation here or add shading there, the heat pump gets smaller and smaller,” Neil says. “We showed them that the reason we need shading on the west is so that then the size of the heat pump isn’t driven by the summer’s heat peak, it’s driven by the winter’s cold peak.” The knowledge sharing went both ways, Neil adds. When the Integral team was looking at how to add insulation in a cost-effective way, “the contractor came back and said, ‘The product you’re planning to use is very expensive, but I think I could cut two-by-fours in half and hold insulation in a way that’s much more cost-effective and will likely give you the same insulation you would have achieved anyway.’ The construction people were able to understand the game of simplified systems, of passive design, and bring their own solutions to the table.” While Boulder Commons tells a story of communication in the context of aligned interests, communication becomes perhaps even more important when stakeholders have differing priorities.

“What I like about what we do is that we empower everybody. We have the opportunity to really communicate with the people we work with and with the clients we work alongside,” says Chris Piché, Integral’s regional director of U.S. East. “You never feel like you’re trying to railroad somebody into a decision; you never feel like you’re trying to take advantage of a scenario. That ability to listen is really at the forefront of what we try to do.” It proved to be a skill crucial to the Madison Park school project in Oakland, California.

OUSD MADISON PARK BUSINESS AND ART ACADEMY Commitment to sustainability runs high in Oakland, but so do the needs and pressures facing the Oakland Unified S chool District (OUSD). In a state that spends less per student than most others in the U.S., in an area facing pressing issues of equity and achievement gaps, many investments can seem more urgent than green buildings. It was in this context that Integral Group reunited with architect Dong Kim of Byrens Kim Design Works to design Oakland’s Madison Park Business and Art Academy. Integral had worked with Dong on a previous project for the Oakland Schools, and the two firms h ave a c ommon i nterest i n s ustainability and high-performance architecture. For the Madison school, Dong envisioned a zero net energy building. “It’s the Oakland Unified School District, so we can’t spend any more money on it than we normally would,” says London principal, Ben Galuza.“ But it’s an awesome opportunity because we’re working with somebody who shares our vision.” Providing high-performance buildings on a budget is something Integral teams know how to do, but having the technical know-how isn’t necessarily enough. Equally critical is the ability to convince stakeholders, many of whom probably associate net-zero buildings with higher construction costs. What’s crucial is knowing how to shepherd a project through the delivery process. “If your high-performance targets start getting cut out early on in the project, there’s no way to make up the ground,” Ben notes. “So you have to be very thoughtful early on about how you position the problem and how you talk about it.”



For the Madison Park project, the Integral Group team understood that the different stakeholders looked at the project through different lenses, so they shaped their communications accordingly. Instead of providing one-size-fits-all information, they focused on what was most meaningful to each audience. “When we were sending things to the cost estimators we emphasized how simple everything was,” Ben explains. “For instance, in the mechanical sections we wrote that all the systems used are standard off-the-shelf systems. When we wrote about architectural systems we pointed out that the architecture is concrete blocks, which is a standard construction technique used in schools. When we talked to the school district we had a whole pack about how this project would be very energy-efficient, which to them means low operating costs. They can go back to the school board with this and say that green’s not just for the rich kids in Marin—it’s something we can do in Oakland as well.” This communication strategy worked. All stakeholders were able to see that the design reflected their interests when it was presented in a targeted and meaningful way.

SPRING @ 8TH Spring @ 8th is the new corporate headquarters for NCR, the global leader in consumer transaction technologies. In 2015, NCR approached Cousins Properties to help them develop a new class of office building on a site in close proximity to Technology Square in midtown Atlanta. Cousins is a very successful development company, but a traditional one, according to Stanton Stafford, managing principal in Integral’s Atlanta office, and not sure about going beyond convention when it came to energy issues.

But as he listened to the client, Stanton learned that they were keenly concerned about water. That’s because water and sewage rates in Atlanta are among the highest in the country and in the last twelve years have gone up more dramatically—233 percent—than in any other city. So anything that can be done to save water in a new building in Atlanta will have not only an environmental benefit, but a significant financial one as well. In response, the Integral Group team pitched a different kind of energy story, one with water savings at its heart. As construction started, the Integral team noticed that sumps had to be dug and that water was being diverted. Stanton asked, “Instead of moving the water somewhere else, why don’t we take it and treat it and use in the building?” When the team costed it out, they realized that, incrementally it wouldn’t cost much more to create infrastructure to harvest water. “And the paybacks were incredibly good,” says Stanton.

“We ended up capturing enough water through condensation and rain to take care of 100 percent of the flushing, 100 percent of the irrigation and 60 percent of the water for HVAC.” Innovations like these helped Spring @ 8th qualify to be the first LEED Platinum office tower in the South. Another benefit is the shift in the developer’s mindset. “Cousins is all fired up now,” Stanton reports. “They have a new appreciation for the advantages of green building.” By listening to their client’s needs, the Integral team not only helped design a building that’s much more sustainable than it might otherwise have been, but also sold the developer on a new way of doing things. That’s undoubtedly going to lead to more high-performing, sustainable buildings in the future.




CODIFYING SUSTAINABILITY: LEED AND BREEAM Assessing and categorizing how well a building performs in terms of environmental sustainability is a relatively recent phenomenon. In 1990, BREEAM in the United Kingdom and in 1994, LEED in the United States became two of the first, and most widely recognized sustainability standards. They gave building owners and designers specific criteria to aim for if they wanted to build green.

In addition to being visually stunning, the hotel achieves overall 20 percent carbon savings and was awarded a BREEAM Excellent certification. “Nottingham was fantastic because of the type of client we had there,” says Rob Harris, principal in London. “As a university they were really progressive, really focused on positive change and doing something differently. They were starting from scratch and testing the model.”

THE ELEMENTARY TEACHERS FEDERATION OF ONTARIO As the first LEED Platinum certified office building in Toronto, the new headquarters of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario has come to be seen as a model of sustainability. Integrated active and passive systems, such as raised floors, radiant heating and cooling, green roofs, 100 percent fresh air displacement ventilation, geothermal, automated exterior shades and daylight sensors all combine to create a beautiful space that is also highly energy-efficient.



The Orchard Hotel is an eco-friendly building on the University of Nottingham campus featuring accessible rooftop terraces, green roofs and maximum use of natural daylight. Open spaces provide superb views of the university’s extensively landscaped 330-acre campus. Two bedroom wings are connected via a central hub space enclosed by a glass roof and oversailing timber canopy. Built to exacting environmental standards, the building uses state-of-the-art technology to minimize carbon emissions, including ground source heat pumps, photovoltaics, a bespoke sustainable urban drainage system and combined heat and power units.

CANMET, one of Natural Resources Canada’s largest research centers, was relocating from Ottawa to Hamilton and seized the opportunity to build its new lab with sustainability in mind. The work that would be going on there would necessarily require high energy consumption, but they set a goal of a 70 percent improvement in energy efficiency over the standard—a goal that’s particularly challenging for an industrial lab building. To achieve this, an intensive integrated design process was undertaken, along with on-site research, including collection of weather data.


Both standards have evolved over time, adapting their benchmarks to what the cutting edge in green building technologies mandate and expanding from new buildings to renovation projects to communities. In the last ten years, Integral Group has designed forty LEED Platinum buildings and fifteen BREEAM Excellent projects, including some that were explored earlier in this book. Here are a few others that are innovatively impacting the planet for the better.


Ultimately the building design included passive strategies such as green and reflective roofs and external shading features.

Extensive daylighting reduces the need for electric lights. The building’s vast roof was used for extensive renewable energy installations; 209 solar thermal collectors harvest heat energy year round, and thermal energy is collected in solar tanks and used for radiant heating and domestic water heating.

PASSIVE HOUSE Alongside Integral Group’s proven expertise in bringing LEED and BREEAM certified buildings into fruition, the firm is simultaneously deepening its command of the emerging Passive House standard. Passive House is a standard for which designing in place is key. Originating in Germany. where it’s called Passivhaus. this standard begins with passive survivability, which ensures that a structure can maintain basic conditions even if power and other critical services are lost. Within the worldview of Passive House, a building is a living organism that can change and adapt to its surroundings, just as any other organism can.

The benefits of Passive House go beyond energy savings, he adds. “It’s great for human well-being. These buildings are not only energy-efficient, they’re supremely comfortable. They avoid any mold growth by controlling moisture and condensation, and so they also avoid health concerns like asthma, which is strongly linked to mold growth in buildings. They also minimize noise. Well-sealed, well-insulated buildings are also very quiet inside.” One project being built to a Passive House standard is The Heights, a multi-family residential project in Vancouver. When completed it will be Canada’s largest Passive House development. The developer, Eighth Avenue, touts the residence as a “dumb building,” in contrast to the perceived “smart” high-tech version of green that many people in Vancouver may be more familiar with. “No technology or complicated mechanical systems,” Eighth Avenue proclaims, “just a simple envelope, high-quality windows and high-quality air control through heat recovery ventilation. Walk in and set your heat… that’s it! The money is spent on its simple well-built design, not technology.”


Excess thermal or process energy is discharged to the geoexchange field, which will be extended to serve other campus buildings. In addition to winning LEED Platinum certification, the project was also one of the top ten projects chosen by AIA’s Committee on the Environment in 2015.

Integral Group’s Vancouver office has eagerly taken up the challenge of Passive House and become its leading champions within the firm. Stuart Hood, the office’s managing principal, has become an expert in passive design. “It’s almost reverse engineering,” he explains. “We’re making buildings’ mechanical and electrical systems simpler and less complicated and dealing more with the building envelope. By engineering the building envelope the right way we can completely minimize the mechanical and electrical systems we need to put into the building.”

We’ll be seeing more Passive-House-influenced construction in the future as new energy codes go into effect, Stuart predicts. “The work our firm’s been doing here with the City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia as they write the new energy codes is driving the standards towards the Passive House level of performance.”

HACKBRIDGE SCHOOL Located next door to BedZED, the One Planet Living development in London, Hackbridge School includes many of the One Planet aspirations for truly sustainable living. Intended to be a happy, healthy learning environment, the school is designed to be net-zero carbon (regulated and unregulated), zero net energy and Passive House certified. Passive House strategies become a tool for zero net energy when used in combination with on-site renewables. Hackbridge will utilize an extensive array of high-efficiency solar PVs and a reverse-cycle ground source heat pump system with the potential for inter-seasonal thermal storage. Careful consideration has been given to selecting materials that are healthy, have low-embodied energy and will be easy to use for construction and to maintain. The internal environment is developed to maximize natural day lighting and fresh air. When completed, Hackbridge School will be a highly sustainable environment to learn in, as well as an exemplary project to learn from.

THE LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE The Living Building Challenge is often described as the most advanced measure of sustainability for the built environment, requiring zero net energy, waste and water on every project. Through its work on Living Buildings, Integral Group is making some of its most significant contributions to a healthier planet. A project can only meet the performance-based Living Building Challenge when it proves its efficacy in everyday life. The International Living Future Institute has organized twenty holistic imperatives within a matrix of seven areas referred to as Petals: place, water, energy, health and happiness, materials, equity and beauty. Three levels of certification are possible: Living Building certification (for projects that achieve all seven imperatives); Petal certification (for meeting the imperatives of at least three Petals, but not all seven); and Zero Energy certification (for meeting four imperatives, including zero net energy).




Many of Integral Group’s projects have received Zero Energy certification (for example, the Silicon Valley retrofits), several have Petal certification (the Summit Foundation project is one example) and a few have taken the full leap to Living Building certification.


The building will be energy-independent, water-independent, free of toxic materials and completely local in its composition. It was built on a previously developed site with almost no impact on existing natural ecosystems, and the developer set aside an equal amount of land away from the project site in perpetuity as part of a habitat exchange.

GULF STATE PARK INTERPRETIVE CENTER In 2010, an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico at a British Petroleum offshore oil-drilling rig set off the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history, releasing millions of barrels of oil into the gulf. The ensuing devastation had far-reaching consequences, along the Gulf Coast and further afield. For their role in the disaster, BP paid a $20 billion settlement.

The result was an interpretive center in Gulf State Park that would be a hub of education and connection with nature, linking the public with the beauty that the Gulf shores offer and simultaneously fostering a deeper understanding of its ecology. From the very beginning, the goal was to make this center a living building that could achieve all seven Petals of the Living Building Challenge. The big story of the Gulf State project is how it dealt with water. Jonathan has been involved in water from the beginning of his career. He started off working on large civil projects and joined Integral after deciding that he wanted to “design spaces for people, instead of spaces for pumps—though pumps do complain a lot less!” At Integral, he grew his expertise in water, and the Living Building Challenge goal of Gulf State Park represented an incredible opportunity to get creative. The team decided to generate all water—potable and non-potable— onsite and accomplished this utilizing one of the project site’s greatest natural resources: rain. Pursuing net-positive water changed the way the team modeled water, Jonathan explains.


One of Integral Group’s first Living Building Challenge projects was the UniverCity Childcare facility located in the heart of Simon Fraser University’s high-density, sustainable community on Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia. The center planned to operate within the Reggio Emilia philosophy, which emphasizes nature as a critical component of early education, and wanted a space that reflected that worldview. They decided to design within the Living Building framework and ultimately received Petal certification for place, water, health and happiness and materials.

This included $5.5 billion in civil Clean Water Act penalties and billions more to cover environmental damage and settle other claims by the five Gulf states and local governments. The Alabama Department of Parks and Recreation wanted to use a portion of this settlement to do something extraordinary. “They wanted to take this terrible event for the environment and turn it around to be a beacon for what is possible with sustainability,” explains Jonathan Robertson, associate principal in the Austin office.

“Before, when we were just doing water offset, we could always say, ‘When the tank runs dry, we can get water from the municipal tap.’ Well, here we couldn’t do that. The project wouldn’t have a municipal tap. So instead of thinking about how efficient a tank needs to be, we had to think about how long is this tank going to last me, what is my program, how often does it rain, how heavy does it rain, what’s the cyclical period between wet and dry years? It meant a much deeper dive into the weather data.” After doing the modeling, the team realized their proposal was feasible. Next they had to figure out what technology to use to transform rainwater into potable water. Technologically speaking, it turned out not to be very different from the systems used on any harvesting or water-treatment project for non-potable water. “The hardest part was the technical red tape,” Jonathan says. “We’d go to the Health Department and they would say, ‘Oh, we’re not touching that; you have to go to the state.’ Then we’d have all this back and forth with the state. Since the center will be serving more than 25 people in a year, it’s considered a public water utility, so then we were beholden to all the standards of the municipal water purveyors. There were so many meetings!” They persevered, however. The commitment to achieving all seven Petals was so great that the project even scaled back its size in order to spend more money on water treatment. “We started out with something like 4,000 square feet of enclosed space for the building, and in order to meet budget numbers we ended up with about 1,300 square feet of enclosed space and about 3,000 square feet of outdoor space,” Jonathan says. Currently, the building is on target to achieve its goals once construction is completed.







Heading to the Future NEXT GENERATION

On a sunny day in September in Oakland, California, Integral Group CEO Kevin Hydes settles in to read the 2017 submissions for the annual Integral Innovation Awards. As he pores over the sixty-page booklet, projects leap off the page that illuminate the diversity of the innovations that Integral Group teams have been a part of this year, from a low-income, environmentally sustainable housing development to a camp for children with special needs; from changing the California energy code to studying the feasibility of district energy systems; from projects that challenge the way we think about light and water to ones demonstrating new ways of thinking about building envelopes and energy storage. Now in their fourth year, the Integral Innovation Awards recognize excellence in engineering by Integral Group teams and individuals.

An outside jury is brought in to assess the merits of dozens of Integral projects within the matrix of the firm’s core values—Trust, Nurture, Inspire—and the four pillars that guide the firm’s culture, vision and methods: Imagine, Perform, Accelerate, Sustain. Reading through this year’s contenders, Kevin is struck by how vividly they demonstrate the breadth and depth of Integral Group’s achievements.

No one person, no one company can change the world singlehanded, but Integral Group and its people are having an impact all over the globe. A few weeks later, Kevin is on hand to see that impact take dramatic form, when a crowd gathers at the Building Centre in London to celebrate the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI). Focused on mitigating catastrophic climate change by dramatically reducing carbon emissions from the city’s buildings, LETI was established as a multidisciplinary collaboration working toward a zero-emissions future for London. Tonight’s gathering marks the launch of the LETI report, “Getting to Zero,” which lays out a roadmap for making all London buildings zero net energy by 2050. After rousing speeches from leaders in the industry, people flock to show their support by signing the posters that line the walls. LETI is poised to make a big difference, and it all began with the vision of one person, a member of Elementa’s London office named Clara Bagenal George. Hers is a story of the power of one to make a big difference, and is also a story of the power of many. It shows how a person with a vision, backed by a supportive team with access to resources, can mobilize like-minded people who together can have a tremendous impact on one of the world’s biggest cities.




Clara was a relative newcomer to the field when she came to Integral Group determined to help change the world. She saw green building as a field w here s he c ould m arry h er s kills i n engineering and architecture with her desire to make positive change. As a member of Elementa’s sustainability team in the London office, she did compliance work, making sure buildings adhered to official codes and policies.

“I figured I had three choices,” she says. “I could change countries, change my career to do something else for social good or try and change policy.” She opted for the third. After talking to people in Integral Group and across the industry and discovering others shared her frustration, she decided to host a workshop to brainstorm strategies for making change. It was originally envisioned as a half-day event with about thirty participants, but 140 people eventually signed up and the workshop met with much enthusiasm. “It was really positive,” Clara says. “We started building momentum.”

From that workshop emerged the London Energy Transformation Initiative task force, which set about delving into four key priorities that the group established: energy use disclosure, better performance metrics, de-carbonizing energy, and heating and delivery mechanisms. The “Getting to Zero“ report lays out their recommendations and is the centerpiece of the Building Centre event. For Kevin Hydes, it’s a momentous occasion. “This report lays out a roadmap to a zero net energy future for London,” he tells the crowd. “Tonight will kick-start a chain reaction of momentum. London has the opportunity to lead once again, and we must do all we can to ensure it will succeed.” The creativity and passion highlighted in both the Integral Awards process and the LETI origin story show why Integral Group continues to have such a significant presence in the world of green building. Like bees to honey, Integral Group draws people with dedication and know-how who want to change the world. It’s a company full of bright sparks and big thinkers, and its culture encourages individual initiative.


She soon realized, to her dismay, that these policies were not encouraging the best practices of sustainable design. “I saw that our decisions were being guided by what the compliance work was telling us, rather than by the performance work. Because of existing policy, we were putting in systems that weren’t necessarily as advantageous as they could be.” As someone whose primary career goal was making the world a better place, Clara found this especially frustrating.

Next she spoke with Kevin Hydes and got support from the firm to create a bigger event, which included bringing in Dave Ramslie from Integral’s Vancouver office. Dave facilitated the workshop, sharing his urban planning expertise and vast experience with building codes and policies. The event was a huge success, bringing together an array of stakeholders, including developers, sustainability professionals, facility managers, engineers and architects.


“There’s a very generous spirit in this firm,” says Integral’s Oakland associate principal Mike Martinez. “If you have good ideas, you’re not just free to realize them as much as you can—you’re expected to.” Rob Harris, principal in London, agrees. “If there’s anything I’ve ever wanted to do, the company has given me the opportunity to do it,” he says. “It’s quite unique in that way, because of its size and flexibility and nimbleness. At Elementa and Integral at large, if you can, you do.”

“We want to be an ally and an advocate for anyone out there who’s moving toward the same objectives we are, whether it’s other firms or industry groups or citizen activists,” says Rachel Moscovich, associate in the Vancouver office. “We can’t get to a sustainable future just by being a bunch of smart people at Integral Group. We are going to get there by way of alliances and collaborations. That’s how we make change. So yes, we are a competitive business, but we’re also driven by that desire to make an impact.”

The year-long competition tackles the social, economic and environmental challenges caused by climate change, gathering collective intelligence and sharing ideas and designs to benefit not just the Bay Area but the world beyond.

“As we head into our tenth year we’re very proud of what Integral Group has been able to accomplish,” says Kevin Hydes. “Our people are making a better future—that’s what drives us, what drives the whole company. I’m certain that during our next decade we’re going to have even more to be proud of.”


Nor is it just individuals operating alone. When Clara had the good idea that eventually led to the creation of LETI, she was not only encouraged by the rest of the Integral team but actively supported by a network of Integral colleagues who were ready, willing and able to translate each other’s promising insights into reality. Moreover, the LETI story shows how Integral Group’s culture of collaboration and inclusion extends far beyond the firm itself. What made LETI strong was the way it brought together many different perspectives and interests, an approach that permeates Integral Group.

As Integral Group moves into its next decade, there are already glimpses of the next generation of innovations coming down the pipeline. In London, Elementa has just started tackling a tidal-powered school, a project that began as a competition and is now harnessing the potential of the twice-daily tidal energy that the River Thames breathes into the heart of London. The harvesting of local natural resources in an urban setting is a fertile area for future exploration for Integral Group and for the industry at large. In Vancouver, Integral Group’s work on the central generation plant at the Vancouver International Airport is helping that city reach its goal of becoming the greenest city in the world. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Integral Group is one of ten world-class teams participating in the Resilient by Design competition.



AFTERWORD | JASON F. MCLENNAN INTEGRAL – THE NEXT EVOLUTION I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Integral Group closely over its current arc – growing from a new firm to a global leader in just a decade, as well as, sharing a history with many of its early pre-Integral iterations. The question in my mind, is, where does Integral go next? As 2018 begins, we close out perhaps the worst hurricane season on record – after multiple successive years of breaking ‘the hottest year on record’. It is clear that our planet is moving into a new climate era even amidst a political climate that denies that anything is amiss. Recently, the book “Drawdown” shifted the focus from warning the public about the implications of climate change to one that elevated the solutions to reversing the course and drawing down atmospheric carbon levels. The number one solution in the book was refrigerant management, clearly right in the wheelhouse of MEP engineering – but many other top 100 solutions, such as solar, wind, living buildings, and water are also directly highlighted. A focus on solutions rather than gloom and doom is what has been needed all along. This is where I think the future of Integral Group comes into play – a small but important player globally in my mind is, and should be this company. At its heart it is a firm that is all about pioneering innovative, transformation solutions – and then helping them scale.

Engineers have always been the unsung heroes of performance – architects gain more attention because their work is flashier and more visible, but engineers make things work. They do the math and design the systems. Consistently, Integral is at the forefront of this. In my opinion, they are the best engineering firm in the world on average – and it is a model for engineering firms everywhere, not just because of its innovating spirit and quality – but because of why it does what it does. All engineers should want to serve their clients well and engineer functional and efficient systems. However, there is a social and environmental mission at Integral’s core that is most important – a set of values that is being expressed through their designs that truly sets them apart. They are on a mission to help create a better world. And we need to bet on firms like that. When I had the pleasure of working with Delos to write the first version of the WELL Building standard, I knew this was an opportunity to elevate a whole new set of issues to the foreground. The firm I recruited to help with the initial engineering reviews, the first WELL audits and technical input was Integral. They have played an important part in that burgeoning global story. When I restarted my architectural and planning practice – designing Living Building and zero net energy buildings and communities across all markets– it was always Integral that I called. I reached out to them not only for modeling, analysis and MEP design, but for innovative design ideas.

As a result, I may in fact be the only design professional that has now worked with every single Integral office on the planet. I have been amazed at the common thread of mission and passion that exists within the organization, whether it’s the Vancouver, Oakland, London, Victoria, Atlanta, DC, or Toronto offices. Indeed, when it was time for me to build my own house – Heron Hall, the first LBC home in Washington State – Integral was the obvious choice to help out, even though the project was small. Integral worked with me on modeling and choosing my building systems. The home has been very successful, as it has been selected as home of the month in November 2017 by Architectural Record, and was featured in multiple publications. Integral has been an important part in that as well. So, in the future, Integral must continue to lead – but in new ways. Green Building has gone through a curve; the golden era of green building certification systems is coming to an end in its own way. LEED, WELL, LBC, passivhaus, GreenStar, BREEAM and others were all essential in helping the industry and movement to define the issues, name the goals and create a common language. We’ve set the benchmarks and created the mental models that can get us to a true Living Future. Integral was at the forefront of many of these programs and benchmarks. They were the ones volunteering, sponsoring, pushing clients and demonstrating compliance, and that needs to continue through this next decade. However, the real future is about actual performance, about scale and the ubiquity of green building performance such that these standards and tools are barely needed.

The first demonstration projects have been built even to LBC standards, with larger ones just over the horizon. The economics of what we’ve been talking about for two decades is finally here, along with an urgency that can’t be denied. LED’s, photovoltaics, batteries, plug load reductions in appliances and computers, extensive monitoring and feedback systems, dynamic glazing and more – a near- perfect storm of technologies and knowledge converging, thanks to efforts of the leaders in the green building industry. The next course of action is ushering in change so that this current level of leadership becomes simply the new normal. Integral needs to help turn its current competitive advantage into the industry standard way of doing business and then find its next place of innovation. As such, the race is now on between two possible futures. One future is a bleak world where the consequences of decades of inaction on climate and a fossil fuel powered world means diminished potential for all of humanity and other life; the other, a brighter world of abundance running only on renewable forms of energy and systems operating within the planet’s carrying capacity along with active global collaborative work to regenerate ecosystems and enhance the capacity of life on this planet to thrive. With firms like Integral helping to lead the way – I bet my money on the second scenario.

JASON F. MCLENNAN Founder Living Building Challenge CEO, McLennan Design, Chief Innovation Officer, Integral Group


- Kevin Hydes CEO & Founder


Our people are making a better future —that’s what drives us, what drives the whole company. I’m certain that during our next decade we’re going to have even more to be proud of.

Reading the captivating story of how this firm came to be is fundamental to understanding its ethos – engineering with a heart. The passion and drive to change the industry is apparent at each level of the organization, and evidenced in the revolutionary projects the firm embraces. This narrative shines a light on the team’s dedication to delivering regenerative, world-class solutions. Witnessing the transformation of Integral Group from a one-man singing whirlwind into a global force has been truly inspirational. They have utilized Einstein’s “new manner of thinking,” and knowing there is much more to come gives us a reason to be optimistic about the future. BOB BERKEBILE, FAIA PRINCIPAL EMERITUS OF BNIM

Integral Group has long been a disruptor in the building industry – challenging themselves and other key industry players to design spaces that are better for the planet and healthier for occupants. Rather than try to mitigate common building issues such as heat or glare from windows by air conditioning or using blinds or shades, Integral Group models how daylight will move through a room and how it impacts occupants and performance of the building. They look at the building holistically throughout the process, from conceptual modeling through post-occupancy commissioning, ensuring that each building performs at its best. At the end of the day, it’s not really about the buildings at all – it’s about the people, making sure they are comfortable and productive in their spaces, and that their spaces connect them to the community. DR. RAO MULPURI CEO OF VIEW INC.

In less than 10 years, Integral has grown to be one of the leading engineering groups internationally, particularly with a growing reputation and track record in low and zero carbon design and implementation. It is an incredible achievement. I have no doubt Integral will remain a company to watch in the coming decade. POORAN DESAI, OBE CO-FOUNDER OF BIOREGIONAL & INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR OF ONE PLANET COMMUNITIES


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