Green Building & Design
vol 1, issue 1 july/august 2010
mithun An academic approach yields unrivaled designs
discussion board with Rick Fedrizzi The evolution, ascendancy, and future of leed
The essential guide for sustainable projects and ideas
Building Blocks of the Future july/august 2010
Advocates tout modular housing as being less costly and more eco-friendly, is it enough to propel the United States out of a real-estate crisis? p. 43
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july/august 2010 vol. 1/ issue 1
Coonrod & Associates Helping a devastated Kansas community
launch pad 18
CCM West Managing the recession
up front commodities
Erkiletian Construction Corp.
Meshing green technology and historic renovation with open spaces and farm living 23
ARCHITEXAS Restoring the responsive physicality of historic structures
John Hendricks of Hendricks Architecture
MANUFACTURED LIVING, p. 43
A childhood in the mountains inspires preservation of the natural world 26
Michael Baldwin of Baldwin Homes Every home reflects his ideals and belief in preserving ecosystems
Craftsman Home and Design An exclusive focus on high-performance homes
Greenhill Contracting Building the first zero-energy community in New York
taking shape 34
Handel Architects, llp Using sustainability to memorialize 9/11 and inspire a future legacy
Bloom General Contracting Pulled into and now purporting sustainability through a car dealership
Hanrahan Meyers Architects Natural elements like water inspire new community center at Ground Zero
For homebuyers and property owners looking for an alternative way to build, the modular construction process is a viable option. But is it enough to ward off the housing recession?
Fostering a Collaborative Culture, p. 49 Mithun is a Seattle-based company founded on an academic tradition, self-experimentation, and carbon neutrality.
Community & Recreation
ARQ Architects Daniels & Daniels Benchmark Building Contractors Facility Development Corporation adams + associates architects Fox Construction
mechanical contracting Bay Mountain Air Harris Mechanical
Vital support to urban ecology through vision, compassion, and common ground 113
energy Chicago Energy Solutions
recycling Frank Road Recycling Solutions
rain harvesting FreeRain
institutional Green facilities that reflect their broader values: wellbeing, creativity, and technology williams architects, ltd. Cord Construction company ASA Architects Cornerstone Architecture Inc. Burleson Construction company
Brooklyn Interiors, inc. Highly tailored designs that address the aural, visual, and physical experience
Bear Construction Company Renovating spaces becomes a complex visioning process
architect to watch
Pioneers in understanding the emotional and relational aspects of sustainability for dwellings 127 Barry Price Architecture Fortune Johnson Birdseye Building Company Buck Oâ€™Neil Builders P&P Construction Faust Contracting
Office Re-creating corporate culture through the holism of buildings that give back Mackey Mitchell Architects Cotter Ryan Construction Breslin Builders spacesmith llc
last look 130
portable housing A vertical design by Felipe Campolina
American Builders Quarterly is celebrating the best in American building and design with the 2011 Building Excellence Awards
abq Building excellence Awards
The ABQ Building Excellence Awards recognize achievements in architecture, design, and community planning across the nation. Winning projects will receive featured coverage in the July/August 2011 issue of American Builders Quarterly, in addition to prize packages available exclusively to Building Excellence Award winners. Awards will be granted in a variety of building categories, including residential, commercial, and mixed-use projects. Achievements in sustainability, architecture, interior design, and historical renovation will also be recognized. Project submissions must be received by mail no later than October 15, 2010. greenbuilding&design.com
Visit americanbuildersquarterly.com/awards for submission requirements, downloadable entry forms, and complete award details.
LEADERS IN INNOVATION
ur industry is delivering innovation and creativity every day when it comes to building healthy, sustainable environments,” says Cliff Cort, president of Massachusetts-based Triumph Modular (p.45). Green Building & Design (gb&d) is dedicated to paying homage to the companies and individuals delivering the innovation needed to transform sustainable building and product design as we know it. Profiled in this issue of gb&d you will find some of the most forward-thinking companies in North America, on a national and international level.
President and CEO of the USGBC, Rick Fedrizzi, took time out of his schedule to speak with gb&d to discuss the state of green building today, how the government is assisting in propelling green building into the future, and the evolving state of LEED certification (p.10). “The success of LEED depends on its flexibility and ability to evolve. It’s a tool for market transformation, spurring innovation and invention. I would also encourage people to take a look at what they are doing in their everyday lives to make a difference. We all have the ability to make an impact, and we should all share the sense of responsibility,” Fedrizzi notes. In this issue, we also delve into the debate behind modular construction in the feature “Manufactured Living” (p.43). Is it a safer and healthier way of building? Can modular design assist in pulling the faltering US housing market out of a recession? While modular housing design isn’t by any means a new way of building—as pre-fabricated design can be traced back to 1910 with the first designs sold by Sears, Roebuck Co.—it is now being tested and constructed for use in the modern market on a larger scale. Explains Tom Hardiman, executive director of the Modular Building Institute, “The economy has caused people to take a second look at the construction industry as a whole and realize some of the inefficiencies in it and consider some of the alternatives like modular.” One thing that is obvious in all the companies featured in this issue, is that sustainability encompasses more than just a few projects; rather, it is a way of thinking and a way of living and working. “We are focused on ethics in both the natural and built environment,” says Bert Gregory, president and CEO of Mithun (p.49). As the principals of Seattle-based Mithun exhibit, sustainability is a collaborative approach, an approach that starts in the workplace. I invite you to flip through the pages of our inaugural issue of gb&d to discover some of the ground-breaking spaces and solutions embedded within this issue. As gb&d gets off to a running start, we look forward to covering today’s leaders in building and design, issue after issue. Enjoy, Amie Kesler Features Editor
editor-in-chief Christopher Howe
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Interior enhancements pushing the sustainability envelope
1. Knockonwood Jaga Inc., a Canadian-based company, has developed the first radiator made of wood, and yes, it is fireproof. The design, known as Knockonwood, has a simple, yet elegant presence with its durable wood outer shell, protected by top-quality veneer. With more than 40 years of continuous research on heating technology, Jaga has created what it calls the LowH20 fin-tube design to produce efficient, hydronic heating and low carbondioxide emissions. jaga-usa.com
2. Coco Tiles After coconuts are harvested for their fruit, the shells are typically burned or thrown-away. Kirei USA has found a new interior application for these seemingly useless coconut shells. Its new line, Coco Tiles, uses reclaimed coconut shells, FSC-certified plywood, and low- or zero-VOC glues to create textured and unique wall coverings, available in many designs and color combinations. kireiusa.com
3. JAX Stool The JAX stool, designed by Los Angeles-based interior designer and LEED AP Sarah Barnard, is made from recycled steel and is upholstered in non-toxic, non-animal leather. Specializing in green design and healthy living, Barnard is a member of the ASID and the NKBA and serves on the Santa Monica Conservancyâ€™s board of directors. sarahbarnard.com
4. Falling Water Designed by the German-based company Tobias Grau, Falling Water is a modern chandelier designed with highperformance, state-of-the-art LEDs. The contemporary design creates a glare-free, intensive light that hangs from the ceiling like drops of water. tobias-grau.com 4
6. American Earth Plaster
5. Echo Coffee Table Ecolok is the furniture version of a modular-housing manufacturer. Its customizable Echo Coffee Table comprises six interlocking pieces made of solid wood. Using patented technology, the table is shipped flat and comes ready to assemble without tools, mechanical fasteners, or VOCemitting adhesives. ecolokfurniture.com
American Clay Enterprises, Inc. offers designers and architects a patented, award-winning, all-natural alternative for wall-finishing products. American Earth Plaster, seen here after application, is the first US-based,and -made earthplaster finish. The various plasters containing zero VOCs, are non-flammable, mold resistant, odor absorbent, and provide temperature and humidity buffering. americanclay.com
what’s next for the usgbc? Rick Fedrizzi discusses what the future holds for green building and how he hopes to get there
by Jennifer Kirkland
rofessionals across the building industry are talking about the green revolution—how innovation and best practices feed more innovation and improvement, making new buildings greener almost by default. The idea of sustainable construction is no longer unusual—it has become mainstream, the industry standard. Everyone from architects concerned with sustainable designs; to subcontractors who are always eyeing the bottom line; to occupants who are reaping the savings of lower construction, energy, and maintenance costs associated with green buildings have been part of this process. Many in the supply chain want to do the right thing to help save the world from environmental disaster, but most professionals in the industry see green as simple common sense—it is one of the best ways to lower the cost of doing business.
“LEED is in a constant state of development because it has a built-in continuous improvement process, informed by the thousands of LEED users, USGBC members, and volunteers who are working on LEED projects every day,” says USGBC president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. He understands that green buildings are good for business, but he also understands that maintaining the growth of sustainable building is a constant struggle with very high stakes. Fedrizzi sees his role as a passionate advocate who is helping to put together the pieces of a global puzzle. At the recent 40th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Fedrizzi led a discussion called “Retrofit Financing and Investment,” on the importance of green-renovating existing buildings. “We know that the first, best fuel is energy efficiency,” Fedrizzi told the meeting attendees, “but financing for building retrofits to achieve that efficiency is the hardest piece of this puzzle to solve.” USGBC is pioneering strategies such as paid-from-savings and green-performance contracting, but Fedrizzi knows that the industry must
Economic impact of the total green-construction market GDP 2000–2008
work together to achieve its goals. “USGBC is focusing on greening our existing building stock, which will create new green jobs that save money and energy—all while addressing our single greatest opportunity to help solve the climate-change equation,” Fedrizzi says. Fedrizzi is also aware that the industry alone often does not move fast enough, and that government incentives play an important role in solving the puzzle. Since LEED began in 1993, the system has evolved from one set of standards to a complete set of guidelines that govern every aspect of building construction from design to long-term maintenance. The most important trends driving LEED today are government incentives, which have accelerated since the election of President Obama in 2008. Fedrizzi explains that the role of government incentives is tied to economic recovery. “The Obama administration is working to chart a new course for our struggling economy,” Fedrizzi says, “and green building is part of that course, supporting or creating 7.9 million jobs and contributing $554 billion to the US gross
“We’ll know we’ve been successful in transforming the market when we stop singling out individual buildings as being green—and that is because they are all green.” —Rick Fedrizzi, CEO, usgbc
domestic product.” Saving money also saves and creates jobs, he adds. In addition to working to retrofit existing buildings and creating jobs along the way, USGBC has a number of successful programs to promote green buildings. Fedrizzi has a personal stake in one of them. As he explains, “Our LEED for Schools program has seen significant traction since its launch in 2007, dovetailing with my own personal passion to put every child in a healthier, green school within a generation.” Fedrizzi’s passion for the greening of public schools has much to do with his commitment to healthful buildings: “We send our children off to buildings that are more like prisons, and we expect them to come home with A’s and B’s. It’s counterintuitive. Every child deserves a safe, healthy environment to live, learn, and grow in, and greening school buildings can provide that,” he concludes. The LEED for Schools program also has another obvious benefit: education. As in the construction industry, where best practices and innovation provide demonstrable results to everyone in the supply chain, green schools will help teach generations of children about the benefits of sustainability. “Not only do they use less water and energy,” Fedrizzi says, “green schools have better indoor air quality, better acoustics, and more daylight and views to the outdoors, which have all been proven to increase a child’s ability to retain information and perform better on tests.” Currently in the United States, more than 240 LEEDcertified schools exist, and 1,692 LEED-registered school projects are underway. In addition, tied into the retrofit initiative, USGBC is also working to retrofit more than 133,000 existing schools. The green schools initiative will provide resources and direct assistance to schools and school districts around the country to construct, retrofit, operate, and maintain green LEED schools. “Schools are
LEED v3 2009 for new construction and major renovations certifications are awarded according to the following scale:
Certified 40–49 pts Silver 50–59 pts Gold 60–79 pts Platinum 80+ pts
a top priority for the Council,” Fedrizzi says, “and we are committed to leading that charge across the nation.” As new discoveries and innovations are made, LEED continues to evolve. In April 2009, USGBC unveiled the latest evolution of the existing LEED-rating systems for commercial buildings, LEED v3 2009. The new guidelines are based on eight years of market and user feedback and include a series of major technical advancements focused on improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and addressing other environmental and human health outcomes. “An exciting aspect to the update was a series of regional credits,” Fedrizzi says, “which are extra points that have been identified as priorities within a project’s given environmental zone.” Already, USGBC is working on the next generation of LEED, scheduled for release in 2012. “We recently issued a call for ideas, and we received hundreds of ideas that we’re reviewing to possibly incorporate into future iterations of LEED,” Fedrizzi says. “The success of LEED depends on its flexibility and ability to evolve. It’s a tool for market transformation, spurring innovation and invention.” Fedrizzi is in a unique position to see the whole landscape of the industry. He views government incentives and the natural evolution of the industry as complementary forces, moving the population forward to the day when “sustainable” will be an unnecessary adjective before “construction”. “I would also encourage people to take a look at what they are doing in their everyday lives to make a difference,” he says. “We all have the ability to make an impact, and we should all share that sense of responsibility. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: We’ll know we’ve been successful in transforming the market when we stop singling out individual buildings as being green—and that is because they are all green.” gb&d
soaring wings Location: Austin, TX
Designed by Winn Wittman of Winn Wittman Architecture, and built by Gary Robinson of Home as Art Inc., Soaring Wings is a sustainable residence with private and public interiors. The house was constructed using sustainable, domestic woods, and the floors are select maple—the interior laminations of which are waste wood. In addition, the home also features a rainwater-collection system and a V-Kool system, which blocks 99 percent of UV light and 70 percent of sun-generated heat. Many of the materials used to construct the house are long lasting—certain copper and steel elements can last over 100 years—an oftenoverlooked aspect of sustainable-building practices. Photos: Casey Dunn and Thomas McConnell. winnwittman.com, homeasart.net
the idea playground Location: Los Angeles, CA The new headquarters for WET Designs—the geniuses behind some of the most well-known international water designs around—incorporates sustainability and creates an interactive environment for the design team’s model shop, optics and chemistry laboratories, and WET Labs. The firm’s designers, architects, and engineers collaborated to create a headquarters that not only includes Los Angeles’ first permeable-grass parking lot, but also low-E glass technology which changes the entire perimeter of the design lab into opaque glass; a glass-enclosed lobby with a live-grass floor; walls made of recycled chalkboard; and a rainwater-reclamation system—perfect when paired with WET’s sustainable, water-based designs. Photos: WET Designs. wetdesign.com
Studio City Terrace Location: Studio City, CA For this project, architect Jeff Tohl, of Architecture Studio, Inc., chose to build his family home into a hillside overlooking the valley of Studio City. The 2,800-square-foot, multi-level interior features totally open rooms, steps up the hillside, and a backyard defined by a 16-foot-high retaining wall. Through the utilization of drought-resistant, low-maintenance plants, recycled concrete and steel, and FSC-certified ipê wood, Tohl created a sustainable space that takes advantage of the natural landscape. In addition, Tohl incorporated a hardscape front yard— recycled concrete, raised planters, and an open fireplace create an outdoor living space that blends seamlessly into the home’s interior. Photos: Val Riolo. thearchitecturestudio.net
The Retreat Location: McLean, VA As part of the East Coastâ€™s first carbon-neutral home, Ernesto Santalla, AIA, LEED AP, designed a captivating space that reflects the center of calm we envision within our bodies. Without excesses of any kind, the space features natural light and a waterfall in the center of the room, functioning as a recirculating shower. Designed as part of the CharityWorks GreenHouse, most extraordinary about The Retreat are its art and furniture. A corrugated-cardboard table and a compressed-particle-wood and recycledpaper credenza serve to encourage rest, and art installments such as a swarm of butterflies made from recycled beer cans and a conceptual piece featuring untreated grass mounted on stainless steel inspire inhabitants and redefine what is beautiful. studiosantalla.com.
Helping A Devastated Community Coonrod & Associates brings new life to Greensburg, Kansas, a tornadodamaged town, through LEED construction by Zach Baliva in may of 2007, an ef5 tornado ripped through the town of Greensburg, Kansas, destroying more than 95 percent of the city. The Kiowa County seat was devastated—only one building was left standing in the downtown area, and eleven people died. In the following months, residents in the 1500-person town came together to start rebuilding. As the long process began to unfold, locals and leaders started to realize an opportunity to improve their surroundings while restoring Greensburg. Seizing the opportunity, the city council developed a sustainable master plan and passed legislation mandating each new city building be built to LEED standards. Brad Rice, project manager and estimator at Coonrod & Associates in nearby Wichita, remembers driving his truck through Greensburg two months after the damage. Although the county, state, and FEMA were working together, he still felt the desolation. “I saw driveways leading up to holes in the ground where houses used to be. There were a few buildings on the east side of town, but it was completely destroyed,” he recalls.
Rice graduated from Kansas State University and eventually joined Coonrod, which was established in 1984 and has a long history of working on local schools and other public structures. His company works as a general contractor and construction manager and self-performs concrete, masonry, steel, and earthwork. Rice received his LEED accreditation in 2007, the same year he and his colleagues started focusing more heavily on the sustainable aspects of construction. “We saw the green movement as something that would last and wanted to offer it to interested clients. As Greensburg started to rebuild, we were taking LEED on full-force,” he says. The timing was perfect, and Coonrod bid on—and won—one of Greensburg’s earliest LEED projects. The county was operating out of mobile trailers, and it made the Kiowa County Courthouse a top priority. “They needed to get back into the courthouse, and we were ready to rebuild it to LEED standards,” Rice says. Only the exterior walls and structure were left intact during the renovation, so Coonrod & Associates worked to
ABOVE: After the 2007 EF5 tornado, much of Greensburg lay in ruins. Photo: Greg Henshall/FEMA.
“We saw the green movement as something that would last and wanted to offer it to interested clients. As Greensburg started to rebuild, we were taking LEED on full-force.”
Who was Impacted? A look at the impact the 2007 tornado had on Greensburg’s housing market.
(70% of population)
(30% of population)
Pre-disaster housing stock
—Brad Rice, Project Manager & Estimator
divert demolition debris from landfills and recycled 95 percent of project-generated waste. The 18,000-squarefoot building retained its old character but received a modern geothermal-loop HVAC and an efficient electrical system. Regional materials, low-VOC paints, and other LEED principles will help the courthouse achieve LEED Gold certification. Coonrod added similar features to its next job—renovation of the adjacent Kiowa County Sheriff’s Office and jail. The 8,200-square-foot unit is designed to reach LEED Silver levels, and it will share a 15,000-gallon rainwater tank with the courthouse. Both buildings’ toilets flush via the shared system. The jail is slated for additions including a commercial kitchen, a booking area, an extra restroom, and storage areas. Other projects at Coonrod & Associates include those for Chapman and Valley Center Unified School Districts as well as buildings for Kansas State University and the local YMCA. Working in the Greensburg community, however, has proven especially rewarding. “Greensburg is still rebuilding, but we get closer and closer with each day. It took a tornado 20 minutes to destroy this town, and it’s taken three years to get to where we are,” Rice says. “Greensburg has good, hardworking people who have never complained about their situation.” For Rice, the gratitude of people who see the new courthouse and jail is a welcome motivator. Locals in Greensburg have fully embraced the idea of reinventing the county seat as a green town. In the immediate aftermath, city officials developed an 86-page community-recovery plan to guide the process. The document calls for a sustainable-development resource office, sustainable-building programs, alternative-energy solutions, renewable-resource opportunities, and a publiceducation component. The efforts are all-encompassing, and Coonrod & Associates is proud to be a part of the process. gb&d
Source: Greensburg Long-Term Community Recovery Plan, August 2007
Forshee Painting Contractors Inc. Proudly serving the Midwest. Contact us to discuss your project needs. 448 Pattie Street Wichita KS 67211
Tel: 316.263.7777 Fax: 316.263.7779 july/august 2010
Managing the Recession Up-and-coming construction-management firm, CCMWest, Inc., brings clients money-saving advice while warding off the downfalls of a tough economy
by Julie Schaeffer sal ariganello and scott heskes, both veterans of the construction industry, had been working together on and off for years when they decided to start their own business. That business was a construction management firm, and the year was 2008—what Ariganello called “terrible timing.” But the duo has persevered, and today, things are starting to look up. 18
Ariganello began working on construction sites with his father, a heavy-equipment operator, at the age of 16. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in construction management, he spent 37 years working in preconstruction and development services with notable firms such as Staubach, Koll, Swinerton, and AECOM. Heskes, who earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, started his career as a reporter and edited a newsletter for British Petroleum. Over 32 years, he advanced from estimator to project manager to operations manager to regional senior vice president at a number of firms, including Koll, Swinerton, and AECOM. In 2008, with more than three decades of experience and a shared history, the two friends decided to leave the corporate world and form their own business. “We figured that two could do it better than one, so we founded CCMWEST, Inc. with the vision of being a construction advocate,” Heskes says. “Having been on both sides of the business—working as a developer, general contractor and an owner’s representative—we had a 360-degree view of the construction industry,” Ariganello says. “We were thus able to service a range of clients, from those who know nothing about construction to those who do quite a bit of building but don’t have their own manpower to oversee it.”
With CCMWest, Ariganello and Heskes aim to provide more than basic construction management. “We call ourselves a comprehensive construction management firm,” Heskes says. “That’s because we try to take into consideration all of a client’s needs—understand what they want to accomplish in the big picture—and put together a comprehensive program that could encompass multiple projects over a number of years.” The duo became interested in being green when their clients started asking about it. “They would come to us and say, ‘Is it timely? Is it cost effective?’” Ariganello says. The answer to that question was, “It depends.” “The payback times on implementing sustainable features depends on the product,” Ariganello says. “We started looking at solar energy as well as the many different systems in a building that cost money—lighting, insulation, windows, mechanical systems, roofing.” Ariganello explains that the firm found that being green, in many cases, made good business sense. “If you can get payback sometime between 5 and 10 years, you have something to think about,” he says. “But if you can get payback within one year, it’s crazy not to do it.” That, Ariganello says, is often the case with energy-efficient lighting—as a result, many of the firm’s efforts focus on that. Ariganello and Heskes have significant experience with efficient lighting. One of their past projects involved retrofitting the lighting for Bank of America—a challenge because the company had 20 million square feet of properties spread over some 2,000 locations. “Some were owned, some were leased, and all had different lighting fixtures,” Heskes says. “So we had to sort out where it made sense to retrofit and were it didn’t.”
construction management “Ensuring Predictable Results” The CCMWest vision is to offer practical and cost effective Construction Management, Design and Development solutions to
“Having been on both sides of the business—working as a developer, a general contractor, and an owner’s representative—we had a 360-degree view of the construction industry.” —Sal Ariganello, Cofounder
public and private sector clients with a commitment to innovation, collaboration and Green Building technologies. CCMWEST was formed in 2008 by Sal Ariganello and Scott Heskes, veterans of the construction, design and development
In the end, though, Ariganello and Heskes developed a plan to retrofit 15 million square feet of lighting. The results were significant. “In addition to helping the environment, it is scheduled to payback in only two years,” Ariganello explains. CCMWest’s greatest challenge, however, has been the economy. Ariganello and Heskes have found that most clients are reluctant to spend money until the economy is on more solid footing—even when it seems to make sense to do so. “We did an analysis for a parking structure that showed if it changed its lighting, it would improve visibility a hundred times over, and payback within eight months,” Ariganello says. “But the client was still unwilling to pull the trigger because of the upfront expenditure.” Although the firm has had to cut back its staff due to the troubled times, its starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. “Companies that feel good about what they’re doing from an environmental perspective are still coming to us, especially if they’re confident about how long they’ll be around,” Ariganello says. “And when the Obama administration’s environmental initiatives all come into effect, we think people will take a second look at what we’re offering.” gb&d
industry, each having 30 plus years of experience building projects in:
• Entertainment and Hospitality • Retail and Commercial Office • Industrial and Distribution • Life Science and Technology • Public and Institutional • Recommissioning For more information on how we can help you with your next project, contact us today.
800.791.5641 www.ccmwest.com 316 California Avenue #502 | Reno, Nevada 89509
before + after Historic Preservation Bringing life back into old buildings, while retaining their landmark features
Erkiletian Construction Co. by Peter Fretty
with a solid background in developing high-density real estate, including condominiums, apartment buildings, and office buildings, Erkiletian Companies understands large-scale development and has a history of incorporating technology into the end product. However, it was not until after the founder’s daughter and son, Stefanie and Alex Erkiletian, joined the firm in 2004 and 2007, respectively, that it really embraced green principles. “Today’s sustainability focus is really an extension of one of our guiding principles. We have always tried to find development opportunities where we could start by demolishing unusable structures and rebuilding. We have never believed in adding to urban sprawl,” explains Alex Erkiletian, manager and director. According to Erkiletian, a current project in Loudoun County, in the town of Purcellville, Virginia, is serving as the launching pad for the firm’s green practice—starting with the renovation of an 18th-century, stone-built Quaker farmhouse and culminating with as many as seven potentially LEED-certified, highperformance homes. The recently completed farmhouse component includes the historic restoration of the original building as well as a sustainability-laced addition. “In honoring the historical significance of the original house, we have been somewhat limited in what we could incorporate, however we will be far more creative with the remaining component since we will be starting from scratch,” Erkiletian explains. When the company purchased the farmhouse, it had a small addition on the southern side that was built in the
Reusing the Land The original farmhouse in Purcellville, Virginia, as seen from the northern side. The right half was constructed in 1792; in 1803, the Silcotts added the left portion. Sitting on 20 acres of land, Erkiletian will reuse the area to build as many as seven high-performance homes near the renovated farmhouse. Photo: Eric Taylor.
late 1800s, as well as an addition built in the 1940s. The firm removed the additions and saved the wood from the 1800s section to reuse in other components of the multihome development. After demolition, Erkiletian added approximately 1,600 square feet to provide a much larger kitchen, a family room, and a guest bedroom. “We have incorporated passive-solar technologies and concepts into the restoration and addition because a large section of the house is south-facing,” Erkiletian says.
Preserving the Past at Silcott Springs Location: Loudon County, VA Development Size: 7–8 single-family homes Average homes size: 2,000–3,000 square feet Completion date: TBD The current list of green products planned for the development include: • Dual-flush toilets • Convection-cooling systems and radiant-heating systems • Pervious concrete on the main inlet road • Solar panels, solar-thermal hot-water systems, and dedicated solar-powered
“All the windows on the southern side of the house have overhangs that extend past the edge of the roof and above each window. We have fixed louvers based upon the angle of the sun in the summer—allowing us to eliminate direct sunlight in the summer while capturing direct sun in the winter.” Some of the materials utilized throughout the renovation include stone flooring as well as wood flooring produced through regionally sourced, recycled fence posts,
charging stations • Reclaimed-wood flooring • Greywater-reclamation systems and drip-irrigation systems • No- and low-VOC paints and adhesives • Recycled countertops and floor tiles • Dimmable LED-light fixtures and vampire-light switches • Reflective, tubular skylights • Cool-mixed concrete footings • Landscaping with indigenous and drought-resistant foliage and water-reclamation technology
Erkiletian Construction Co.
“We have incorporated passivesolar technologies and concepts into the restoration and addition because a large section of the [farm]house is south-facing.”
RIGHT: The Silcott
—Alex Erkiletian, Manager & Director
LEFT: The Silcott Springs’ homes will feature louvered overhangs to allow sunlight to shine through into the interior. Photo: Jar-
barn. Photo: Eric Taylor.
which provide a wide plank and hold stain well. Because the space between the ceiling and roof was less than 12 inches, Erkiletian elected to use soy-based spray-foam insulation instead of petro-based insulation. “We also have two Energy Star-rated wood-burning fireplaces, which were engineered to maintain and distribute heat efficiently,” Erkiletian says. “We also have a solar hot-water heating system on the roof to serve as the primary source for hot water augmented by the boiler system.” Nestled on 20 acres, the firm could build as many as 17 houses on the parcel; however, Erkiletian does not believe in overdeveloping. In addition to positioning each home so that it takes full advantage of passivesolar opportunities, portions of the house will be also modularly built.
Strength & Experience Since 1976 www.thorsenconstruction.us
As Erkiletian explains, “These new houses will be smaller, at 2,000 to 3,000 square feet versus the 3,500 to 4,000-square-foot homes that are down the road. However, they will cost about the same. As a result, the key challenge will be finding the balance between sustainability and practicality. The big-picture view is that these homes have higher efficiencies and will cost less in the long run. Fortunately, after the big gas-price scare, people are thinking a little more long-term before making decisions.” gb&d
5702-H General Washington Dr. Alexandria, Virginia 22312 • Phone: 703.501.1506 july/august 2010
ARCHITEXAS by Susan Johnston preserving and repurposing historic buildings poses special challenges to architects; however, that doesn’t bother Craig Melde, founding principal of ARCHITEXAS, a Texas-based design firm that specializes in historic preservation and sustainable practices. “A lot of times we’re up against preserving the historic integrity of the building while maintaining and improving environmental performance,” he says. “That’s a challenge, but that’s where the creativity comes in. That’s what we really enjoy.”
SUSTAINING A LANDMARK The San Francisco Mint Building Upon completion, the renovation of the Old Mint Building, at the corner San Francisco’s Fifth and Mission streets, will be the city’s only LEEDcertified National Historic Landmark. Led by the architectural team of Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, Inc. and the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, the LEED Platinum design will function as both a museum and a civic landmark—creating a vibrant, interactive community excited to discuss the history of the city in which it dwells. The renovation of the Old Mint Building can be divided into four parts— all of which involve interior renovations and a focus on material-reuse.
Natural Daylight. The building includes a central courtyard, the intention of which was to provide natural daylight throughout; the existing floor is a renovation, and will be modified to allow daylight to reach the ground floor.
Natural Ventilation. Although many of the building’s windows are now sealed, the Mint’s layout originally allowed for natural ventilation. The renovation team will unseal many of the windows to restore the building’s naturalventilation strategy.
Occupational Zones. Because of the renovationbased new use of the building’s interior, localized zones will be controlled based on occupancy and specific zone needs. For example, radiant heat will be used in areas in which thermal-massing techniques are not possible.
Water Use. Rainwater-capture techniques will provide water for the building and are the system on which the renewed use of the Mint depends. The water will be used to feed a vegetative roof, provide specific plumbing-supply water, and minimize use of local resources.
Melde has been involved in historic preservation since graduating from the University of Texas–Austin in 1974. He points out that many historic buildings were designed to respond to their local environments, so they already perform well. “What I love about historic building is they were built without air conditioning,” Melde explains. “Historic buildings were designed to be responsive to the environment much more than contemporary buildings from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. They tend to have larger windows for good daylight and ventilation and are typically oriented the right way to respond to the environment.” That’s not to say that these buildings don’t have other elements that could perform better. For instance, many historic buildings have windows with non-insulated glass. Melde explains, “windows are a primary defining feature, so the standards we must follow don’t promote the removal of historic windows. In some cases the windows can be adapted with insulated glass or we design interior storm windows. Also, other issues include how to integrate efficient mechanical systems into the buildings while preserving integrity.” Another challenge is designing for Texas’ extreme climate. “We have extreme heat and extreme cold, so we have to pay attention [to our designs in relation to the regional climate changes],” Melde explains. “We’re working on a new city hall, recreation center, and library for the City of Wylie, Texas. The design was to be responsive to the site and the environment.” Melde continues, “the concept was a stone wall built with stone quarried in west Texas that unifies the three buildings. A continuous clerestory also unifies the buildings and provides daylight. All buildings open to the south, with large windows shaded with deep roof overhangs to allow controlled daylight.”
“A lot of times we’re up against preserving the historic integrity of the building while maintaining and improving environmental performance. That’s a challenge, but that’s where the creativity comes in.” —Craig Melde, Founding Principal The Harland Building, a former ice-storage warehouse in Dallas, after renovations by ARCHITEXAS.
A Message from Armstrong-Berger Our dedication to sustainable design solutions has been at the
Many of ARCHITEXAS’ largest projects over the last decade have involved restoring Texas courthouses. Melde says the undertaking was “created by the Texas Legislature to provide funding to restore about 190 surviving historic courthouses across the state. Around the turn of the 20th century, Texas constructed most 24
core of our practice since its inception. We are proud of our collaborations with ARCHITEXAS over the past 30 years. At the heart of our design processes is educating our clients on the importance of history and that thoughtful and innovative design solutions can be sustainable.
of the county courthouses. Those that have survived have fallen into disrepair and had been adversely altered. Many across the state have been restored, with ARCHITEXAS completing 30 courthouse master plans, 12 which are complete and 5 are under construction.” In addition to historic preservation, ARCHITEXAS also designs new buildings according to historic principles. One such project is a new convention center and visitor’s bureau office building for the City of Grapevine, Texas. “The concept is to make the building authentically appear like it was built 100 years ago,” Melde says. “Instead of making it just look like it is old, we’re applying historic design applications and principles like thicker walls and other treatments to the facades.” While not all of ARCHITEXAS’ clients want to spend the time and money on LEED certification, Melde says the firm still applies those sustainable concepts and principles to its designs. “We promote LEED certification, but there are additional costs, and sometimes the client doesn’t want to pay those costs,” he explains. “We usually end up applying the standards and principles anyway.” As for the current state of sustainable design, Melde is encouraged that it’s “becoming more of an accepted standard. I also would like to think that [green design] is a quiet movement among architects in our country.” gb&d
john hendricks Owner of Hendricks Architecture values continuing education of LEED-certified products and services to build mountain homes that stand the test of time
by Daniel Casciato architecture can be a creative process, or it can be a process that encourages design recycling. Architect John Hendricks prefers to take the creative route, bringing new ideas to every project. Those ideas can be traced back to his roots. Growing up in California’s Central Valley, Hendricks’ family had a cabin in the Sierra Nevadas—the place that nurtured his love for the mountain lifestyle and architecture. Hendricks studied house and boat plans in magazines such as Sunset and Yachting, and he eventually hoped to design his own. Hendricks, however, was also captivated by movies. He originally went to the University of Southern California to be a screenwriter. After two years, a cultural awakening, and a rejection from film school, Hendricks decided to attend Texas Tech University to become an architect. After working for various architects upon graduation, Hendricks started off on his own in 2000 so he could have more design freedom. His intent was to specialize in mountain-style homes, mainly in the Pacific Northwest. The company’s office is headquartered in Sandpoint, Idaho, a resort town nestled along the shoreline of Lake Pend Oreille, one of the largest lakes in the Northwest. For several years, Hendricks and his family lived in Seattle, so he traveled frequently to various mountainous places, mostly in the Northwest, to market and meet with owners; four years ago, he moved to Sandpoint to be more centrally located in the mountains. Today, Hendricks Architecture continues to design mainly in the mountain style, and it mostly designs resort homes. In addition, it also designs recreational, inspirational, and office buildings, as well as various commercial projects. In the current distressed economy, the firm is also designing remodels and additions to homes and offices. Regardless of the project, the firm is dedicated to green design. Its green philosophy is rooted in a deep respect for the natural beauty of the environment.
“Everyone has their own ideas about things, so it’s fun to mesh our different ideas. In that way, every project is an original, and is custom to fit [a client’s] lifestyle and needs.” —John Hendricks, AIA, Principal & Owner
“We feel that it’s important to minimize the impact we have on our environment and try to preserve as much as possible for everyone to enjoy,” says Hendricks. “Everyone has an impact on the planet just by being here, but if we practice responsible consumption, make wise choices, and try to leave a small footprint, we will find that the planet can generate enough resources for everyone to live comfortably.” Beyond LEED certification, the firm is continuing to educate its employees about the new technologies in green building, and learning about products as they become available. Through magazines, trade publications, continuing education courses, and talking to industry professionals, the firm stays informed and makes choices about what products are going to be useful, energy efficient, and cost effective for the type of projects it designs. “Our approach is to be green by design, not necessarily by using high-tech products or devices,” Hendricks says. “Not that we don’t believe there is some benefit to some of the products out there, but the market is flooded with green products that haven’t stood the test of time.” gb&d
Founder of Baldwin Homes, Inc. invests in sustainable building practices while ensuring the survival of coastal-water systems
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by Jennifer Kirkland when michael baldwin founded Baldwin Homes, Inc. in 1999, the company was a small-volume luxury homebuilder that diversified its product line to compete with larger builders in the area. Production, semi-custom, and custom homes have represented the company’s wide spectrum of capability for more than a decade. “I used to be stressed about our broad product line,” says Baldwin, “but when the recession hit, that diversity served us well.” Baldwin learned construction at a young age in his family’s excavation and road-construction business—it’s no surprise that he started his own residential construction company, or that it’s thriving despite a tough market. “Back then, I was working on roads and framework for communities, but I was always fascinated by the idea of building homes,” he recalls.
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It was through membership in a Builder 20 Club, sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders, that Baldwin got his first glimpse of the possibilities in sustainable home building. “I quickly found that if you’re building a quality home, you’re building a green home,” he says. “Sustainable homes last a lot longer, they require much lower maintenance, and they’re healthier for inhabitants than conventional homes. People purchasing high-end homes expect not to have to think about the maintenance too much. And why waste lumber and send trash to the dumpster if you don’t have to?”
Learn how you can build tomorrow’s green homes with the ecomaginationSM Homebuilder Program. In collaboration with Masco Corporation and their Environments For Living® program, GE has simplified the building of innovative, energy-efficient, comfortable homes that are designed to deliver a reduction in home emissions, energy and indoor water consumption by at least 20%.
Baldwin Homes ramped up its sustainable construction expertise quickly; today, all its homes incorporate green features. Baldwin-built homes are fully customizable, and owners can choose exactly the green features they want. “It was fairly simple for us to get our arms around the green-building process and take our homes to that next level. It’s most effective to embrace the entire process of building sustainably, not just parts of it, but we let our customers decide how green they want to go. Some features have a quicker payback than others,” Baldwin explains.
For information, please call our ecomagination Homebuilder Program hotline at 1-800-828-1280 or visit geappliances.com/energy_efficient_home.
In 2007, Baldwin Homes built an affordable green home as an alternative to its usual projects. One of the most
blueprint for green homes
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“I quickly found that if you’re building a quality home, you’re building a green home. Sustainable homes last a lot longer, they require much lower maintenance, and they’re healthier for inhabitants than conventional homes.” —Michael Baldwin, Founder & President 27 sustainable elements of this 2,700-square-foot, Energy Star-rated home in Severna Park, Maryland, was the process the company used to put it together. “We panelized the home, both the floors and the walls, and we carefully planned the arrival and departure of crews so the floor was put down in 15 minutes, the walls were up in about 30 minutes, and the structure of the house was under the roof within a day,” Baldwin explains. This approach cost a little more, but it reduced the overall carbon footprint of the construction process. Materials included thicker-gauge, low-maintenance vinyl siding with UV inhibitors, DOW structural insulated sheathing, and blown-in, recycled-newspaper cellulose insulation for the walls. “This insulation is a very cool product,” says Baldwin. “It’s sprayed into the wall, and any waste can be vacuumed up and used again as the wall cavity is being filled.” Further green features included a water- and energy-conserving plumbing system, an energy-efficient HVAC system, Energy Star lighting, eco-dimmers that promote longer bulb life, FSC-certified cabinets and lumber, Lyptus hardwood floors made from quickly renewing eucalyptus wood, recycled carpet, and tankless water heaters. Baldwin Homes puts a strong emphasis not just on the cost-saving benefits of living in a green home, but
also on the positive impact on health, well-being, and comfort. Low-VOC paints and finishes, filtered freshair sources, and low-formaldehyde products are just a few of the materials and techniques that help minimize potential impact on health. The Preserve at Severn Run is a new development that implements a coastal-plains outfall system—the first in the region and the first all-green community for Baldwin—that captures storm-water runoff and filters it back into the ground rather than letting it run into the stream. Deep swales in front of the homes will be planted with native plants—the root systems of which will eventually function as carbon filters for the water. A series of stone weirs and additional swales further slow and filter runoff. Together, these elements combine to keep the ecosystem of the neighborhood and surrounding environment in balance. “With this system in place, we decided to make all the homes in this development green,” says Baldwin. “Every home in the preserve features a GE energy-management system, and owners can customize their homes and choose the level of green they want.” Baldwin Homes will be building 72 homes in the preserve over the next five years, and the company will offer high-quality, healthful, green homes for many years to come. gb&d
off the grid As the movement towards sustainability progresses and climate change becomes an increasing concern, construction and energy production must meet both environmental and consumer needs. The companies profiled here are not only adapting, but also creating homes and communities that create more energy than they produceâ€” testaments to the benefits of living off the grid.
Craftsman Homes and Design Focusing on near-zero net-energy, custom-home building in order to spread awareness and spur business
ABOVE: Photovoltaic and thermal solar systems provide almost all of the energy needed for Craftsmanâ€™s net-zero model home and office.
by Daniel Casciato husband-and-wife team dale and beverly Stevenart have been building quality, energy-efficient homes in Colorado almost since their companyâ€™s inception in 1975. In 1999, the owners of Craftsman Homes and Design, based in Pueblo West, Colorado, discovered the concept of insulated-concrete-form (ICF) construction. Today, Craftsman offers high-performance, customhome building, with each project organically designed for the site with careful attention to views, exposures, and privacy. The company provides energy testing, with resulting documentation, for homeowners. The standards regarding efficient use of energy and reduction of greenhouse emissions have always been in effect for Craftsman Homes.
Craftsman Homes and Design
All in One Designed and built by Craftsman Homes, this home utilizes local stone and stucco, Energy Star lighting, and a vented kitchen—assisting in its achievement of receiving a HERS rating of 17. The model home also serves as Craftman’s offices; allowing the firm to provide potential clients with educational seminars and tours of the home.
As building technology has evolved, so have Craftsman’s efforts to use the most effective products possible. Recommending and specifying water-saving fixtures, recycled materials, Energy Star lighting and appliances, along with an effort to reduce job-site waste are standard procedure. “With over 30 years of experience of genuinely doing more than we had to, regarding energy savings, we have a comfort level with high-performance construction,” Beverly says. “We conduct educational seminars to help potential homeowners sort through some of the green possibilities when it comes to building an environmentally responsible home. The renewed interest of the general public and our government is exciting and promising.” Craftsman’s high-performance homes offer more comfort; lower heating and cooling costs; and create a more healthful environment. Beverly says that building green is something that is not new to the company. Its building
methods were green from the beginning; however, there was not a cultural and industry focus on sustainable building and design. “We build high-performance and near-zero energy homes exclusively,” Beverly stresses. “It’s a philosophy that has carried through and never faltered. There has never been a time that we thought in order to cut costs we should eliminate that aspect of our business.” In 2005, Craftsman Homes participated in its first Parade of Homes and captured the award for Best Custom Home in the Nation from ICF Builder Magazine, as well as numerous local awards such as People’s Choice and Best Custom Home. In 2008, one of their homes won a Pueblo Parade of Homes award for Best Promotion of Energy Efficient Home. In 2006 and 2007, Craftsman also won numerous awards, including the Parade of Home’s Built Green Award.
Craftsman Homes and Design
The company was born in 1975 when Dale, a former IT professional, started building homes after a bad experience with a local builder on his own custom home. Beverly joined him in 1985. “With a passion for smart, energyefficient design and construction, we were off to a good start,” she says. Craftsman’s success is due to the fact that it has always believed in high-performance construction. Having its projects in several Parade of Homes exhibitions has also helped the company promote its business and philosophies. One project of which Craftsman is particularly proud is its model home, into which it recently moved its offices. The facility also boasts ICF construction, a 30-panel solar-photovoltaic system along with a nine-panel solarthermal system. Beverly also notes that the model home, which earned a HERS rating of 17, is currently saving a conservatively estimated 12 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions annually. 30
“We believe that a tight thermal envelope with proper ventilation is a top priority with enormous environmental-impact possibilities.” —Beverly Stevenart, Owner
Whether it’s a model home or any new home built, Craftsman believes it should have the lightest carbon footprint possible or it should not be built. “We believe that a tight thermal envelope with proper ventilation is a top priority with enormousd environmental-impact possibilities,” Beverly says. “We also focus on maximizing exposure to lessen the energy load.” Although business slowed for them during the first part of 2009, Craftsman saw fresh interest in the year’s second half. That interest is continuing to grow, with many new projects on the horizon for 2010. “With a passion for building high-performance, custom homes combined with the current, renewed awareness and interest toward a more-sustainable energy future, we are more excited than ever about the future of Craftsman Homes and Design,” Beverly says. “We’ll continue to reach higher with new, ever-expanding green-design and green-building goals.” gb&d
A Message from C & M Consulting LLC C & M Consulting LLC is a civil and structural engineering and
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surveying firm in southern Colorado. C & M tailors planning, design, and management services to meet clients’ needs, providing large-firm experience with the personal relationships developed at smaller firms. The professionals at C & M are proud of their 13-year working relationship with Craftsman Homes.
Greenhill Contracting Developer of Green Acres, a 25-lot subdivision, strives to complete the first zero-energy community in New York, and possibly the world
by Anita R. Paul when anthony aebi, president of Greenhill Contracting, learned that he had built the first zero-energy home in the United States, he was floored. How could it be that in 2008, with the wealth of building technology and knowledge available, no one had created a residential structure that produced more energy than it used? “When the Energy Star rater called, he was excited to say that they could not find anything on record at that time that was zero energy,” Aebi says. “I was totally amazed.” In 2000, when Aebi started Greenhill Contracting, he did what most contractors do, constructed stick-built homes. A few years later, he began experimenting with building “tighter” homes. He combined the use of insulated concrete forms (ICFs), insulation under the slab, and as much as 12 inches of spray-foam insulation in the roof to achieve the building envelope he wanted. As the projects evolved, Aebi realized that he was on the cutting edge of green building. However, he doesn’t toss around the word “green.” He says it is misused by builders who claim they are green simply because they recycle a few materials or use bamboo flooring—which he says is not the most practical material for truly green building. “Green building is practical, local, sustainable,” he says. It involves the types of materials used, the way they are transported to the job site, and many other aspects of the construction process.
zero-energy buildings can carry a higher price point upfront, Aebi says that the 15 to 20 percent extra cost can be recouped within seven to fifteen years in lower energy costs, depending on the price of oil. Additionally, most states offer a tax credit to homeowners who incorporate energy-saving elements into their homes. In an average-size home, the tax credit alone could offset the down payment, or it could be the equivalent of an additional mortgage payment. In addition to the cost savings, zero energy homes are built so tightly that they are considered earthquake proof, and they can often withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour. “I’m doing stuff that has been around for years,” Aebi says. “Why someone hasn’t put it together before now is amazing to me.” Perhaps it goes back to what most builders think of as green building. While the trend is to build smaller with the idea of conserving land, space, and energy, Aebi says that larger structures are actually more efficient when it comes to zero energy. “I’ve been able to show, in my other projects in Esopus, New York, that the bigger the structure, the easier it is to build
Below: The first zeroenergy home in Green Acres achieved its first year of occupancy in May 2010. The Green Acres homes are designed to include 10-kW rooftop solar arrays.
In 2008, Aebi started construction on Green Acres, a 25-lot subdivision in New Paltz, New York. From the beginning, he was determined to make it the first zero-energy community in New York, and possibly the world. When the first resident of Green Acres realized the net surplus on energy demands, Aebi knew he had something on his hands. However, gaining widespread acceptance of the zero-energy concept from homeowners has taken some work. “There is a movement of disbelief,” he says, particularly in the Northeast, where heating and cooling needs can be extreme throughout the year. And this, according to Aebi, is the only down side to zero energy—educating the public about the benefits. Although, like most innovative technologies,
“Green building is practical, local, sustainable.” —Anthony Aebi, President
HOME ENERGY PRODUCTION VS. CONSUMPTION
N O TI
A Message From Verdae, Llc
Verdae, LLC, a Rhinebeck, New York, consulting firm, designed
the geothermal HVAC systems for Green Acres and Aebi’s
other homes. Lloyd Hamilton, president of Verdae, specializes
in net-zero-energy construction and is an Association of Energy
Engineers certified Geothermal Designer with more than 30
years of experience in building science and geothermal design.
Hamilton credits his history of field experience, working with
architects, contractors, and owners in his ability to significantly
lower energy consumption while improving indoor-air quality MAY
CUMULATIVE KILLOWATT HOURS (kWh)
Starting in April 2009, the first resident of Green Acres was asked to track the daily energy performance of his 3,000-square-foot home that is equipped with a 10-kilowatt photovoltaic system. The chart below shows his findings.
it sustainable.” What he would like to see is changes in building codes to make zero-energy building the standard. Teaming with local consultants and installers like Verdae, LLC and Hudson Valley Clean Energy, Aebi continuously assesses new technologies to further improve the energy performance of the homes he builds. The benefit, he says, goes beyond the homeowner and actually impacts the community. “The social benefit is that it saves energy for the community and it is cheaper for society,” Aebi says. “These houses will be here for a hundred years, so future generations can use the structure. That’s sustainability.” gb&d
and comfort in his client’s projects. Aebi’s success in achieving net-zero energy at Green Acres is the result of careful design and implementation.
V E R D ae Building & Energy Consultants Net Zero Energy Design Ideal Geothermal Systems™
90 Primrose Hill Road, Rhinebeck, NY 12572 | 845.597.7369 | www.verdaellc.com july/august 2010
Congratulations to Handel Architects We are proud to be part of the design team for 200 West 72nd Street
Mechanical Engineering Electrical Engineering Fire Alarm/Life Safety Engineering Plumbing Engineering Fire Protection Engineering
Technology Cabling Infrastructure Design Data Center Room Design Audio Visual Systems Security Systems we engineer success. New York City â€˘ Long Island 116 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001 p 212.643.9055 f 212.643.0503 www.mgepc.net
cutting-edge designs The companies and designs featured in this section are pushing the envelope with their unique and creative designs that are breaking records and taking sustainable design to a whole new level. The following pages feature some of the newest designs, that are under construction or have recently been completed, utilizing these state-ofthe-art inventiveness.
Handel Architects, LLP Designing buildings, museums, and memorials while remaining focused on the idea that powerful, innovative, affecting architecture begins with the city
ABOVE: Night view of the National 9/11 Memorial parapet. A low wall covered with bronze panels will be inscribed with nearly 3,000 victims’ names. INSET: Aerial view of the eight-acre National 9/11 Memorial in New York City. Renderings: Squared Design Lab.
by Jennifer Kirkland “it’s almost impossible not to be green,” says Gary Handel, lead partner for Handel Architects. “The premium of doing a LEED Silver building has gone down dramatically.” Handel points to several reasons for this change: “In the last decade, the entire supply system has evolved, so getting materials for LEED certification can add no extra cost if materials are intelligently specified. It’s a lot easier to sell our clients on going green. Everyone wants to do the right thing, but they need to be walked through the process and shown that it is feasible.” Handel’s firm is based in New York, with offices in San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Abu Dhabi, and the company has designed many high-profile projects, including both of New York’s Ritz-Carlton Hotels and the National September 11th Memorial at the World Trade
National September 11th Memorial Handel Architects is proud of the many public projects it has undertaken, including the Miami Art Museum (with Herzog & de Meuron), the Boston Conservatory’s Hemenway Building, and the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Natatorium & Ice Rink for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The firm is perhaps most proud of its contributions to the National September 11th Memorial at the World Trade Center, to be completed in 2011. The winning design is by Michael Arad, AIA, LEED AP, partner at Handel Architects. The memorial features two rectangular pools surrounded by falling water and set in a fourteen-acre park. The site will also hold a museum, a visitor center, new subway and PATH train stations, underground access to retail stores, a performing-arts center, and new office towers. The project illustrates Handel Architects’ commitment to fulfilling a memorial’s design potential and the required patience and diplomacy to tackle the many political, design, and engineering challenges the project presented.
design is not just the future, but also the current standard. So we’re incorporating more integrated design.”
Center. Handel believes his firm offers a competitive advantage that will translate into strong growth. He says, “We believe in creating sustainable buildings through intelligent design, and that there are a number of solutions to any given problem. So we look for solutions that realize three key objectives: maximum value to our clients, social benefits for the world, and design potential. We look for clients who believe in the value of social benefits and design potential, and we embark on a process to find the optimum solution. We’re not evangelical. We believe that green makes good sense, but we’re patient when walking our clients through the process. Once we can explain how green design is good business, we can show how it’s good for the world.” Partner Blake Middleton agrees, commenting, “Already, through the natural course of business, the industry is changing. In addition, a number of cities now mandate LEED certification for new buildings. Sustainable
As an urban company, Handel says, “We believe cities are important to the world’s sustainable strategy. The average New Yorker has a carbon footprint of less than 30 percent of the average American.” To Handel and Middleton, integrated design means paying attention to the whole infrastructure, not just individual buildings. Handel continues, “We try to use each project to make the world better, and we’re aware there’s a bigger picture out there.” This holistic approach, Handel believes, “will yield sustainable benefits well beyond individual projects.” The company has a clear goal: carbon-neutral buildings. Handel says, “The way to carbon-neutral buildings is to have net-zero carbon infrastructure. We’re working with top engineering firms and regional and city planners to establish networks that make sense.” The company also has an incentive program to encourage its 90-plus employees to become LEED accredited and weekly seminars to help staff stay abreast of the latest innovations in sustainable design and construction. Handel thinks of every project as an opportunity for education. He says that building the employee-knowledge base allows the company to effectively advocate sustainable building and materials for its clients.
“Sustainable design is not just the future, but the current standard.” —Blake Middleton, FAIA, LEED AP, Partner
A Message fROM Gotham Construction Gotham Construction, one of the largest and oldest contractors in the Northeast, has constructed over 30,000 housing units and over 40 million square feet of space. As construction manager for both 200 West 72nd Street, open as of March 2010, and Millennium Residences, Gotham is one of the leading regional contractors in LEED-certified high-rise construction. A Message fROM Frank Seta & Associates Since 1980, Frank Seta has been involved in numerous residential and commercial projects throughout the United States. Frank Seta & Associates was established in 2006 and has been serving its clients in the United States and overseas ever since. Our
Congratulations Handel Architects and Gotham!
GB+D July/Aug 2010 Handel Architect LLP - Gotham Construction 1/4.indd 3
224 West 30th Street, New York, NY 10001 Tel: 212-465 1600 www.frankseta.com
This innovative architectural design firm is poised to reach its goals, in large part because of the partners’ vision. “We want to be part of the solution with everything we do,” Handel says. “Every project should help others move forward. Every project should make a contribution.” gb&d
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Gary Handel believes that, while government mandates and incentives can spark the initial push toward sustainability, green design makes good economic sense. He says, “Once you look through the lens of green design, you can see an opportunity to do a green design that will provide economic benefits for clients. Our luxury hotel project in Manila is a great example. In a country where electrical service can be unreliable, the client might have spent extra money on generators. Instead, we proposed a co-gen facility with a payback in five to seven years, saving money that would have been thrown away on generators.”
Residential, institutional and CommeRCial ConstRuCtion sinCe 1931
E X T E R I OR WA L L R OOF I N G C ON S UL T A N T S
Some of the company’s recent projects include two sustainable luxury high-rises in New York—Millennium Tower Residences and 200 West 72nd Street—and a brownfield development 50 miles north of Manhattan on the Hudson River called Long Dock Beacon Hotel. Handel Architects has also recently designed LEED-certified projects in the United Arab Emirates, Chile, and the Philippines.
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bloom general contracting Breaking Records with the LaFontaine Automotive Complex, General Motors’ first LEED Gold-certified car dealership by Kelli McElhinny some firms carefully plan their entry into the arena of green building. Bloom General Contracting, Inc. is not one of them. Founded in 1985, Bloom, which had created a niche in managing the construction of automotive dealerships, found itself going green on the fly when a client made a last-minute decision to try for LEED certification for its new construction project. Two days before the new dealership’s foundation was scheduled to be poured, the owners of LaFontaine Buick Pontiac GMC in Highland Township, Michigan, contacted Bloom with their request. The concept was unfamiliar to Bloom, which had to scramble to respond. “We knew nothing about it. We’d never done green building work,” says Gary Laundroche, director of new business development for the Redford, Michigan-based firm. In turn, Laundroche hunkered down with the USGBC manuals and educated himself on the process. His first step was to call the concrete provider to ensure that the foundation would contain enough recycled materials to meet the guidelines. “It was a learn-on-the-go experience and a real challenge,” Laundroche says. A few weeks later, the dealership’s owners upped the ante. Not only did they want LEED certification, they wanted LEED Gold status. “It was such a revolving target,” Laundroche recalls, adding that the experience emphasized the importance of planning for green building from the earliest stages of a project.
LaFontaine Automotive Complex Bloom General Contracting made lemonade out of last-minute lemons in its construction of the LaFontaine Automotive Complex in Highland Township, MI. The dealership features geothermal pumps and a car wash that recycles 85 percent of its water. The 63,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility (above) earned a total of 46 points, surpassing the LEED minimun requirements of 39 points for Gold certification. Photos: Michael Colyer. Architect: Young & Young Architects.
Bloom not only had to educate its own employees, but because of the dealership’s structure, Bloom also had to bring its subcontractors, many of whom were uninformed as well, up to speed. While the subcontractors were initially in the dark, their national suppliers were on board. They knew all of the necessary specs, and many of Bloom’s questions could be answered through the suppliers. “All of the manufacturers out there are in a race to get certified,” Laundroche says. The firm found that attaining LEED status was not always as intimidating as it
Bloom General Contracting
“If you’re not doing green building in the next 10 years, you’re going to be obsolete.” —Gary Laundroche, Director of New Business Development 38
first seemed. “A lot of the points we received, we didn’t have to do anything but documentation.” Ultimately, Bloom—along with the help of architecture firm Young & Young Architects of Bloomfield Hill, Michigan—achieved the goal of LEED certification. By including touches such as geothermal heat, vegetable oil-powered hydraulics for the hoists, and a car-wash system that recycles 85 percent of the water it uses, the new building qualified for LEED Gold and is General Motor’s first LEED Gold-certified dealership. ABOVE: General Motors received positive exposure for its LaFontaine LEED Gold dealership, and the project benefited Bloom General Contracting, as well. The company now
General Motors and Laundroche also attended a conference on green building to share the LaFontaine success story. “The exposure we’ve had has been tremendously valuable,” Laundroche says. Laundroche also says that the firm now looks at opportunities for green building techniques, even on projects that are not striving for LEED certification. He believes it is important for Bloom’s survival.
“But I did a complete 360. I once had a negative attitude toward green building, and now I’m a total proponent.” In fact, Laundroche became so knowledgeable on the subject that he has become a LEED AP. He points out that the certification is beneficial to clients. “We don’t have to hire an outside source to be a LEED consultant on projects,” he says. “We’re saving dollars for our clients.” Laundroche also notes that designing an energyefficient, sustainable building produces a significant return on investment for clients. Since the LaFontaine project, the company now embraces the concept of sustainable building. It has several other environmentally friendly projects on its slate, including a student housing conversion in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a Honda Dealership in Hurricane, West Virginia, that also intends to apply for LEED certification. The Nissan Corporate team has also been consulting with Bloom about incorporating green elements into their dealerships.
embraces the concept of sustainable building, and its director of new business development has become a LEED AP.
Laundroche admits to a certain amount of skepticism at the onset of the LaFontaine project. “I have enough pressures getting a project done on time and within budget without worrying about LEED status,” he says.
“If you’re not doing green building in the next 10 years, you’re going to be obsolete,” Laundroche says. “I now feel like we’re positioned to grow with the future rather than be left behind.” gb&d
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Hanrahan Meyers Architects Bridging the gap between modern-, minimalist-, and sustainable-design principles
LEFT and BELOW: hanrahan Myers designed the Juliana Curran
by Julie Schaeffer finding clients has, in the past, required cutting-edge architecture firm hanrahan Meyers architects to fight the notion that sustainable designers are unsophisticated. As sustainable design has become widely accepted, however, the firm has seen tremendous success. Victoria Meyers and Thomas Hanrahan were Harvard University classmates who went their own ways after graduation in 1982. Meyers worked for London-based Richard Rogers, developing the working drawings for the Patscenter in Princeton, New Jersey, while Hanrahan worked on a number of freelance projects. After several years, however, both realized they wanted more. “We had our own vision of what architecture should be about—cutting edge, sustainable, extremely modernist and minimalist work that put a focus on nature—and we didn’t think there were any firms that shared that vision,” Meyers says.
Terian Pratt Pavillion, a new focal point for the Pratt Institute located in Brooklyn, NY. Photos: Paul Warchol.
Soon after its founding in 1987, hanrahan Meyers architects found itself launched into the public eye with its winning design for the Chattanooga Interpretative Nature Center. The building—which Meyers says “was about having close relationship between the skin of building and the outdoors”—was never constructed. However, Meyers says it would have been the world’s first extremely modernist building whose design was based on applying sustainable technologies in a way that made them the decorative aspects of building. “You walked into the building under a canopy of solar panels,” she explains. Since then, the firm has grown to six employees in addition to the two partners and is working on a number of innovative projects in the New York area. One such project is the Battery Park City Community Center, a 65,000-square-foot facility situated next to Ground Zero in New York City. The building, scheduled for completion in 2010, will seek LEED Platinum certification for its sustainable features, but it also incorporates unique design elements that are purely hanrahan Meyers. Specifically, the firm has commissioned New York Artist Michael Schumacher to write a musical composition for the building’s 550-foot glass facade. The score of the piece, called “WATER,” will be etched into the glass, and three courtyards along the length of the facade will have hidden speakers playing the music. “With fresh water one of world’s scarcest commodities, water is significantly affected by sustainable issues,” Meyers says. “I think Michael’s work is going to be very effective.”
hanrahan Meyers architects
Battery Park City Community Center This 60,000-square-foot facility in New York City is located immediately north of Ground Zero. The LEED Platinum design features an arcade (shown below) through which visitors can walk and enjoy the sounds of Michael Schumacher’s musical composition, “WATER.” The primary architectural feature of this project is the 500-foot-long glass Wall of Light (right).
Won-Buddhist Training Center Located in upstate New York, the Won-Buddhist Training Center is a 48,000-square-foot building on a 550-acre site, 350 acres of which are set aside as a permanent nature preserve. Hanrahan Meyers designed the center, including the meditation-hall entrance and meditation court (left), to be used as a retreat for spiritual reflection and discussion. The design concept of the buildings envokes both the tradition of grass-roofed houses in Korea and a natural disposition of groups of trees placed along the grassy slope. Visitors walk between and among the buildings as if walking between and through clusters of trees. The project includes a field of solar panels to help the center achieve a net-zero status.
hanrahan Meyers architects
Another of the firm’s projects, also under construction, is the Won Buddhist Training Center in upstate New York. The project consists of five buildings—two residential complexes, an administrative building and a meditation center—situated on five acres of land in the middle of a 550-acre site. Hanrahan Meyers is using natural materials that have been sustainably harvested, and is creating a space for the future implementation of passive-solar panels. But the architects also designed the buildings in a way Meyers says relates back to the notion of geometry. “You walk through the connecting courtyards between the buildings in such a way that you create a highly complex mathematical figure, the infinity sign,” she explains. “You don’t really need to understand higher mathematics to appreciate this feature—you become physically engaged in it.”
Higher mathematics seems to unfold in many hanrahan Meyers projects. For example, when designing the Infinity Chapel for their newly designed Christian Science Church near Washington Square Park in Manhattan, the architects created a series of transparent layers based on the notion of a fourth-dimensional hypercube. “You can look through a glass facade to a reading room, which is separated from a chapel with a glass wall,” Meyers says. “The chapel itself, with its bent and curved walls, demonstrates how you can take complex mathematical ideas that affect the way we operate in the 21st century, and apply them to a space. You may not know what a hypercube is or be able to write a mathematical equation to create one, but you can experience one in the Infinity Chapel.” This level of complexity has, in the past, created some obstacles for hanrahan Meyers. “We create extremely sleek and minimalist designs—the kind of work that very sophisticated clients appreciate,” says Meyers. “At the same time, we push an agenda that, in the past, most sophisticated clients haven’t really wanted or expected, because people used to associate sustainable design with unsophisticated hippies who ate granola and wore Birkenstock shoes. For a while that put us in an odd place.”
“The public perception went from thinking of architects who promote sustainable design as retrograde to thinking of them as cutting edge. It suddenly became very sexy to do sustainable design.” —Victoria Meyers, Founding Partner
But Meyers says all of that is changing. “There was a big sea change in thinking when Al Gore won an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth and later received the Nobel Peace Prize,” she explains. “The public perception went from thinking of architects who promote sustainable design as retrograde to thinking of them as cutting edge. It suddenly became very sexy to do sustainable design.” gb&d
D RE TU M LI AN V U IN F G AC
3 A dvo c at e s tou t m o d u l a r housing as being less c o s t ly a n d m o r e e c o f r i e n d ly, i s i t e n o u g h t o pro pe l t h e U n i t e d Stat e s ou t o f a r e a l- e stat e c r i s i s? by Daniel Casciato
“Our industry is delivering innovation and creativity every day when it comes to building healthy, sustainable environments.” —Cliff Cort, President, Triumph Modular
ue to the sub-prime mortgage crisis, along with oversized and under-quality custom homes, it could take years for some of the most-troubled housing markets in the United States to recover. After what was a promising summer buoyed by low mortgage rates and a home-buyer’s tax credit, home prices flattened again last fall. According to the National Association of Realtors, over 3.2 million new and existing unsold singlefamily homes remained on the market as of December 2009. One bright spot of the housing crisis, however, is that it offers homebuyers a chance to examine how they live and embrace change to improve the quality of their lives. Since affordable housing is becoming more difficult for the average homebuyer to attain, modular construction offers one possible approach that may provide an opportunity; it is also an option that is more suitable for the environment. A modular home is one that is designed to a homebuyer’s needs, built in the controlled environment of a factory, shipped to a site in modules, and affixed to a foundation.
Dispelling Common Misperceptions Of course, modular construction has had its problems over the years, conjuring images of low-quality and cheap productions. Architect John Cameron says typical misconceptions derive from trailer-park applications and demountable buildings used while waiting for a traditional building or home to be completed. “In these examples, low cost is often equated to cheap and nasty,” says Cameron, director of Brisbane, Australia-based John Cameron Architects Pty Ltd., which designs ecofriendly, sustainable homes. “Indeed, a substantial number of these uses are cheap and nasty, even if affordable under the circumstances of their use.” As opposed to traditional, stick-built homes, a modular home is built offsite, shipped in pieces on flatbed trucks, and assembled using cranes. A recent study by the United Kingdom group Waste & Resources Action Programme found that modular construction reduced site waste produced by traditional methods by 90 percent. Photo: New World Homes.
While the stigma against modular building remains,is lessening. For modular builders like New World Home, education is the simplest solution for the perception issue.
This home designed by HUF HAUS, a German manufacturer of luxury homes, is redefining the style of prefabricated homes.
“It’s about teaching everyone involved in the process, from product manufacturers to the homeowners, what modular construction is and why it’s a fundamentally better way to build homes,” says Mark Jupiter, cofounder of the New York-based New World Home. After becoming equally frustrated with the state of the construction industry, Jupiter and his business partner, Tyler Schmetterer, created what they call a New Old Green Modular (NOGM)—historic design converged with state-of-the-art green products and practices such as ultra-efficient heatingand-cooling systems to optional alternativeenergy systems like solar or wind power. “From there, it didn’t take us long to get into a factory setting to construct the homes, just based on the fact that nothing else on the face of the planet of any quality is built outdoors expect for housing,” says Schmetterer. “Getting into the factory setting made all of the sense in the world to us from both a green perspective and efficiency and distribution perspectives as well.” Another misconception about modular construction is that the industry is not very compatible with green design and green-building
Tracking Single-Family Homes Sales, 2000-2009 YEAR
The decrease in modular housing are about the same percentage as the overall housing market. Source: Hallahan Associates and US Census Bureau.
principles. False, says Cliff Cort, president of Triumph Modular, a commercial modular builder located in Littleton, Massachusetts. “Our industry is delivering innovation and creativity every day when it comes to building healthy, sustainable environments,” says Cort, noting that modular has a much smaller construction footprint than traditional construction. For example, modular builders can reduce the number of trucks shipping products since they don’t have to make several back-and-forth trips, thus reducing their carbon emissions. Modular construction also produces less waste. The USGBC estimates that United States commercial buildings alone consume 40 percent of the world’s natural resources; account for 65 percent of all landfill waste; compose 72 percent of global-electricity consumption; create 38 percent of global carbondioxide emissions; and manufacture 30 percent of global-waste output (136 million tons annually). A recent study by the United Kingdom group Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found that modular construction reduced site waste produced by
traditional methods by 90 percent. The Modular Building Institute (MBI) has commissioned a similar study in North America that is expected to be complete later this year. These statistics are not a surprise to Maura McCarthy. “We see three to four huge dumpster loads of waste get taken away during the course of a traditional-house build,” says McCarthy, VP of sales and marketing, and cofounder of Waltham, Massachusetts-based Blu Homes. “With a modular home, there’s about 1/20 of waste because it’s factory-built. All the little pieces that are side cuts are usually reused by getting nailed on a building to give it structural support.”
McCarthy also points out that modular homes are slightly overbuilt to reinforce their structure during long-distance shipping. The extra material added to a modular home or building produces a tighter envelope, meaning less draft-prone cracks and crevices, making it much more energy efficient. Her claims are backed by a report produced in December 1992, by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which conducted a study of buildings and homes in the wake of Hurricane Andrew and found that modular homes were sturdier than stick-built homes. According to the report, “Overall, relatively minimal structural damage was noted in modular housing developments. The module-to-module combination of the units appears to have provided an inherently rigid system that performed much better than conventional residential framing.” There are health benefits to modular homes as well. The sustainable design elements that go into modular construction now encompass the entire lifespan of the building. In addition, modular homes are not exposed to weather conditions during construction, preventing mold and other allergen buildups. “We use materials with no- or low-volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde,”
McCarthy says. “We also use higher-efficiency windows, HVAC systems with radiant heat, which is more efficient than hot air, and spray-foam insulation, the most energy-efficient product you can use.” Because modular builders use more ecofriendly materials like the ones McCarthy describes, they buy them in bulk and therefore have better purchasing power than traditional homebuilders. While constructing a stick-built house seems simple, McCarthy calls the process painfully slow and inconvenient. Traditional construction ends up costing homebuyers both time and money. “There are a lot of cost overruns,” she says. “While 60 percent of your costs are guaranteed with a traditionally built home, Blu Homes offers you 80 percent.” Because a modular house or building is built offsite in a factory, site work can begin and run simultaneously. This means a project can be completed in as little as half
“Virtually every other major industry has been automated in the last 100 years, except construction. Imagine ordering a car, and having thousands of parts delivered to your driveway, from hundreds of suppliers, for onsite assembly. This happens in construction every day.” —Tim McDonald, President & CEO, BLOX: Sustainable Building System
Green Pavilion Fort Worth, TX Completely powered by wind and solar energy, and including a living roof adapted to the north Texas climate, the Green Pavilion was unveiled at the Crowne Plaza Invitational in May of 2009. As an entirely portable structure, the module was designed and launched by the Texas Christian University’s Institute for Environmental Studies and served as a shelter for spectators at the tournament. Photo: Glen E. Ellman. By the Numbers 2 number of stories 9.3 tons weight of the steel structure 40 feet the length of the Pavilion 55 days time it took to create the Pavilion after the idea’s inception ≈1.6180339887 the Golden Ratio—the mathematical and natural principle upon which the Pavilion was planned
the time of traditional on-site construction. While some traditional construction companies can take up to three years to build a home, modular builders like the aforementioned New World Home can produce, transport, erect, and finish a new home in 60 to 90 days from the time the production process is initiated.
Evolution of the Modular Industry Modular building is a viable approach to both residential and commercial construction, especially if it continues to evolve at the pace of previous years. Tim McDonald, president and CEO of BLOX: Sustainable Building Systems in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, likens the modular-building industry to the automobile industry. In 1908, Henry Ford revolutionized the production of the automobile by introducing the efficiencies of assembly-line manufacturing. “Virtually every other major industry has been automated in the last 100 years, except construction,” McDonald says. “Imagine ordering a car, and having thousands of parts delivered to your driveway, from hundreds of suppliers, for onsite assembly. This happens in construction every day.” For a long time, Cort explains, there was no innovation in modular construction. “There was no change,” he says. “The same windows, same doors, same roofs. It was antiquated and old school, like an auto company never introducing a new model. But in the last five years, companies like ours have been innovating with our high-quality, relocatable modular buildings as well as the new developments in permanent modular.” Today, Cort says that everybody is discovering that you can get all of the advantages of modular such as speed to occupancy, less materials waste, better control over budget, and state-of-the art green design and construction. “You can’t tell them from stick built,” he says. “The opportunity for modular to replace or be a much more-common alternative to stick-built or site-built construction, that’s the big discovery. That’s the mind blower.”
SMARTHOUSE MOBILE HOUSE
AWARDS Honourable Mention Red Dot Award: Product Design 2009
An innovation by German manufacturer SmartHouse GmbH, the SmartHouse housing cube expresses the dream of mobile living through six different-sized, combinable modules, uniting functional aesthetics with a high degree of comfort. From the creative mind of SmartHouse’s in-house designer Kai Dunker, the modules can be arranged on top of each other or side by side, allowing for flexible customization. Each features natural-wood building materials along with innovative building systems (solar panels, heat pumps, and pellet heating) to create high-quality residences with low energy costs.
The Future of Modular Construction Whether modular construction can ease the real-estate crisis remains to be seen. To date, it has only captured a tiny fraction of both the commercial and residential real-estate market. According to MBI, 1 percent of United States buildings are built in a factory setting, while the Modular Building Systems Association (MBSA), representing the modular housing industry, states that 2 percent of homes are modular. Although Alexander Kolbe, head of United States operations for HUF HAUS, which builds components of luxury homes in a factory setting, extols the benefits of this type of construction, he’s not sure it’s
the cure for the recession. In fact, factorybuilt homes have suffered along with all kinds of homebuilders. “I don’t know if it’s the answer,” he says. “For us, it’s never been a question of whether it’s good for the marketplace because that’s our specialty. We want the best possible quality, and you can’t reach that degree of quality if you build outside in the mud where everything gets wet and is exposed to the weather. That’s why we do that in a factory.” Kolbe says homeowners are becoming more aware of value for their money so quality has become extremely important. “We learned in the bubble burst that investing and hoping for great return doesn’t really help. You need lasting quality.”
Mithun Prototype Modules Seattle, WA Seattle-based architecture firm Mithun built prototype modules on a roof plaza in downtown Seattle to determine if prefab was a viable urban-development model. The prototypes allowed Mithun to explore assembly and transportation techniques, develop a design language, and gain experience with local and state permitting challenges. The prototypes are prominently displayed on a roof plaza in downtown Seattle, and tours of the units are offered to solicit public response to this new model of living.
“We’re launching a new era of home manufacturing, and we predict within 50 years, a majority of homes will be built in a factory..” —David Wax, Cofounder of FreeGreen, Inc.
Tom Hardiman, executive director of MBI, agrees. “The economy has caused people to take a second look at the construction industry as whole and realize some of the inefficiencies in it and consider some of alternatives like modular,” he says. Modular construction has the potential to be a growth sector that can supplant the traditional housing-delivery systems. “There are potential efficiencies in offsite fabrication, including better quality control, greater material and labor efficiency, wastestream management, recycling, and, if built indoors, fewer weather delays,” Cameron says. “The potential downside is the transport and installation process. The factory
should be close to the site to reduce transport costs and emissions.” That’s the next evolution in the modular industry, according to David Wax, a cofounder of FreeGreen, Inc., based in Charlestown, Massachusetts, which offers homebuyers online house plans. FreeGreen is a spin-off company of ZeroEnergy Design, a residential-architecture and engineering firm that works with modular builders. “Factory building makes sense and drives costs down, but since you have to compete with the land developers, you’ll need to get into the land business,” he says. “I think we’ll see modular companies set up temporary
factories near the land and sell a better product at a better price. The best solution is for modular companies to get into the production business to deliver their homes through better methods.” While there needs to be more acceptance from the housing and commercial markets, the ongoing marriage between sustainable building and modular construction bodes well for the future. Modular construction offers great potential for more sustainable and affordable homes and facilities for schools, hospitals, workplaces, and communities. Schmetterer has a rosy outlook for his industry. “One hundred years later, we see where the car industry is,” he says. “Millions of cars produced annually in a mechanized and efficient factorized setting at a price people can afford. We’re launching a new era of home manufacturing, and we predict within 50 years, a majority of homes will be built in a factory.” gb&d
Fostering a Collaborative Culture Seattle-based architect, Mithun, creates unrivaled designs with a uniqueness that starts in the workspace by Perrin Carrell
hen it comes to urban green design, Mithun wrote the book. In the early 2000s, Mithun, an architecture firm based out of Seattle, Washington, was commissioned by the Seattle-based Urban Environmental Institute to create a guide for sustainable development in urban areas. “It raised very important points about the beginning of the movement beyond green building to broader spaces like neighborhoods or campuses,” says Bert Gregory, president and CEO of Mithun. Established in 1949 by Omer Mithun, professor of architecture at the University of Washington, Mithun’s early success can be chalked up to a unique, academic approach. Gregory notes that the firm’s founder had a keen interest in research and technology that set a precedent for a constantly evolving, innovative practice. “Omer’s efforts were also that of an early integrated designer; he did a lot of planning work as well as architectural work, which was somewhat unusual for architectural practices in the ’50s and ’60s.” Perhaps because of this, Mithun boasts a number of projects from that era that show a clear respect for the natural world before the emerging social and political trends of sustainability had taken hold in the market.
The result is a vision that revolves around true integrated design, which means Mithun employs the gamut of design professionals: architects, urban designers, planners, landscape architects, interior designers, and graphic designers. It’s a full roster that allows the firm to focus on its overall mission. “We are focused on ethics in both the natural and built environment,” Gregory says. “We work with our clients to help reach their goals, but we are also interested in building great
Project Green Client type: Public-private partnership Location: Austin, TX Started: 2008 Status: Under construction Size: 2.6 million square feet Project Green is a key project for Mithun—when complete, it will be the largest single development in downtown Austin, Texas. On the site of a decommissioned water-treatment plant, the firm has designed a transit-oriented and diverse neighborhood featuring 2.6 million square feet of office, hotel, residential, and retail space. The neighborhood is slated to achieve water and carbon neutrality, an homage to the site’s previous function of delivering a cleaner environment. Mithun performed its signature CulturalAudit for this project, soliciting input from individuals in the local community in order to design a neighborhood that best serves the region and its culture. Rendering: Mithun.
LEFT: Offering environmental quality as an urban lifestyle choice, Mosler Lofts promotes
communities. We are focused on the issues [clients] are facing now and will be facing in the future and how to produce positive outcomes for both people and the environment.”
downtown Seattle’s transition to a 24/7 live and work community. Photo: Benjamin Benschneider. RIGHT: As a groundbreaking retail experience, REI is one of the top 5 tourist destinations in Seattle, drawing more than 1.3
Mithun moved to Seattle in 1990, where it took on several exciting commissions, including a challenging project from Recreational Equipment, Inc. to build a new flagship store in Seattle. The project opened as the firm’s first AIA Top 10 Green Building Award in 1996. Mithun has done subsequent work with REI, including a historic preservation and renovation project in Denver, which won the firm’s second AIA Top 10 Green Building Award, as well as a National Trust for Historic Preservation honor.
million visitors annually. This project opened as one of the firm’s first AIA bulding awards. Photo: Robert Pisano.
The Denver renovation project commenced a tradition of working with historical sites and applying complex, adaptive reuse. Leading by example, Mithun moved its own home to the Seattle waterfront, recycling an old, industrial pier. “We used it as a laboratory for our efforts,” Gregory says. The team eliminated the need for airconditioning from the 35,000-square-foot upper-floor office space by using efficient windows and a computational fluid-dynamic model to manage the airflow and make sure the space was comfortable in the summertime.
The building also features high-efficiency materials like natural-fiber flooring, wheat-board furniture, reclaimed lumber, and recycled carpet. “It is something of a Seattle landmark now. It was a very complex adaptive remodel,” Gregory says. Other buildings, such as IslandWood, an environmental learning center completed in 2002 that uses wood from solar meadows and simultaneously preserves wetlands, streams, earthen dams, salmon habitats, and ponds in the area, add to the firm’s resume of LEED Gold-certified structures. Other green projects include Zoomazium, a play area and exhibit space in the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle that incorporates natural lighting, natural ventilation, and a green roof; High Point, a 120-acre development that is home to 1,600 Built Green threestar market-rated, affordable and low-income housing units; and the Kitsap Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) project, a campus for clean energy and technology organizations. There are a number of exciting projects currently on the docket for Mithun as well. Project Green, for example, is a 2.5 million-square-foot, carbon-neutral neighborhood in Austin, Texas, built in the shadow of a decommissioned water-treatment plant that features residential,
ABOVE: A contemporary building in a historic Seattle neighborhood, 200 Occidental’s diverse program reflects its urban char-
“We are focused on the issues we are facing now and will be facing in the future and how to produce positive outcomes for both people and the environment.”
acter with a modern, sustainable design featuring office space, residential apartments, and an internal parking system.
—Bert Gregory, President & CEO 51
office, and retail space all connected by public transit. The firm is also working on a framework master plan for The Ohio State University to identify synergistic solutions to create a more sustainable campus. “This is a significant, challenging era for everyone. But we are doing the kinds of projects people are seeking right now,” Gregory says. “We’re finding that, even in the context of the recent economic downturn, every one of our current projects has very ambitious environmental goals.” Exciting news for Mithun, Gregory says, who also notes there has been an attitude shift toward sustainable design, featuring more ambitious goals, more robust inquiries, and a more positive outlook, which is due to the overall increased visibility of the long-term cost effectiveness of green design. Mithun has won two national AIA awards for its in-house education system, a testament to its commitment to leadership and education. “One of our biggest responsibilities is to inform people about the possibilities of sustainable design—both our clients and our colleagues. We think it’s also important to operate our company with strategies that allow it to remain carbon neutral,” Gregory says. “We’d like to share some of the benefits of our success by providing resources for sustainable design.” gb&d
CROSS ENGINEERS, INC.
AREAS OF DESIGN SPECIALIZATION • Lighting Architectural & LEED® 3-D Modeling Libraries Specialty Controls Sports Fields & Parks Marine Terminals • Telecommunications Telephone/Data Video, CCTV Nurse Call Homeland Security Process System Controls • Power Overhead/Underground Medium Voltage up to 35KV Low Voltage up to 600V 24V DC Bus • Building Information Management (BIM) Revit MEP Bentley • Life Safety Systems • Generator: Diesel, Natural Gas, Propane • Fire Alarm/Mass Notiﬁcation Systems
2407 North 31st Street, Ste. 100 Ph: 253.759.0118 Tacoma, WA 98407 Fax: 253.759.1879 www.crossengineers.com gbdmagazine.com
one space at a time In the United States, buildings account for 72 percent of electricity consumption and 38 percent of all carbon-dioxide emissions; to combat the environmental effects of commercial, institutional, and residential buildings throughout the country, the following companies are changing their practices and adopting a sustainable approach to projects in every building sector. The Spaces community & recreation Arq Architects, p. 53 Daniels & Daniels Construction Company, p. 57
Williams Architects, Ltd., p. 68
Barry Price Architecture, p. 80
Mackey Mitchell Architects, p. 96
Cord Construction Company, p. 70
Fortune-Johnson, p. 84
Cotter Ryan Construction, p. 100
Birdseye Building Company, p. 86
Breslin Builders, p. 102
Buck Oâ€™Neil Builders, Inc., p. 88
Spacesmith LLC, p. 105
ASA Architects, p. 72
Benchmark Building Contractors, p. 59
Cornerstone Architecture Incorporated, p. 75
Facility Development Company, p. 61
Burleson Construction Company, Inc., p. 78
P & P Construction, p. 91 Faust Contracting Company, p. 93
Adams + Associates Architecture, p. 64 Fox Construction, p. 66
Arq Architects Sustainable design is an extension of social responsibility for designers known for animalcare facilities
by Julie Schaeffer for arq architects, sustainable design is a natural extension of social responsibility—something to which the firm has been committed since its founding. Paul Bonacci and Lucinda Schlaffer met while working at a San Francisco architecture firm in the early 1980s. After working on a number of low-income housing projects and buildings for non-profit groups, the two decided to venture out on their own. In 1985, they created ARQ Architects. The company was new, but the focus was the same: “We wanted to continue designing high-quality buildings for non-profit groups and institutional clients on a budget,” Schlaffer says.
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54 The architects’ first major project was an animal shelter for the San Francisco SPCA, completed in 1998. “The project was a paradigm shift in that it essentially transformed the San Francisco SPCA from a dog pound to a community adoption center that promoted the health and well being of animals,” Schlaffer Says.
ABOVE: The new building for the Potter
The building was also energy efficient, which Schlaffer says was a given due to the architects’ backgrounds. “Our first jobs coincided with California’s energy code, Title 24, so from early in our careers, we were conscious of energy efficiency,” she explains. “That led us naturally into environmentally sustainable building practices.”
League for Animals includes a vegetative roof, slate cladding, and a permeable parking lot. LEFT: The Dog GetAcquainted space at
It also led to national recognition as a sustainable-design firm. “We’ve always considered not just energy savings, but also water use and indoor air quality and materials,” Bonacci notes. “And that fit the LEED program, which is why, as a small firm, we’ve been able to achieve four LEED projects.”
the Potter League for Animals, designed by ARQ Architects, is flooded with daylight and is used to help dogs meet their new owners.
The first LEED-certified project for the architects—who are both LEED APs—was the Tompkins County SPCA Adoption Center in Ithaca, New York. Completed in 2004, it was the first animal-care-and-adoption center in the country to receive LEED Silver certification. “That started us on the path of providing unique, sustainable
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“It’s exciting when architecture can help transform an area, when a building can be a catalyst for change. And we have been lucky to be at the forefront of that trend.” —Lucinda Schlaffer, Partner
design for groups on a very low budget,” Schlaffer says. “And because we’ve created this niche, we’ve been lucky to continue to be sought after by organizations located all over the country.” Case in point: in 2008 and 2009, ARQ Architects was responsible for three more LEED projects. The Potter League for Animals in Middletown, Rhode Island, was the first animal-care-and-adoption center in the country to obtain LEED Gold certification. The ASPCA offices in New York City then obtained LEED Gold, and the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover obtained LEED Silver. Bonacci and Schlaffer say that the most rewarding part of their work is how it leads to social transformation. The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, for example—built at a low cost of $2.4 million—increased its visitors from 80,000 a year to 120,000 a year (the highest tourism rate of any not-for-profit in the state). “The building has proven itself to be a welcoming space, and a lot of that has to do with its sustainable design features, such as sunlight and natural ventilation,” Schlaffer says.
ABOVE: The central clerestory at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, designed by ARQ Architects, houses the new Build It, Fly It exhibit. BELOW: A quick pencil study demonstrates daylighting strategies and the new clerestory for the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.
Similarly, after opening its new adoption center, which Schlaffer says provided “a healthier and more stress-free environment for animals,” the Potter League for Animals saw adoption rates double. That allowed the organization to avoid euthanizing 91 percent of its animals. Today, ARQ Architects is taking its expertise in socially responsible and sustainable design to a new level. Currently, it is consulting with the city of Newark on a community center. “The city is trying to make a difference in a blighted neighborhood,” Schlaffer explains. “It’s exciting when architecture can help transform an area, when a building can be a catalyst for change. And we have been lucky to be at the forefront of that trend.” gb&d
Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo,NY
Pyrok Inc. Tel. 914-777-7070, 919-277-5135 www.starsilent.com
by Pyrok Inc.
“Pyrok StarSilent is a smooth, seamless sound-absorbing plaster system. This unique system, consisting of a rigid sound board made of 96% post consumer recycled crushed glass and sound permeable plasters, combines the look of monolithic gypsum board with high sound absorbing performance.”
GBD Pyrok Inc. 1-2 Page.indd 1
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Commercial & Residential
of Goldsboro Inc.
380 Washington Street, Pikeville, NC 27863 Phone: (919) 242-8256 | Fax (919) 242-8302
www.ldigoldsboro.com july/august 2010
Landscape Design of Goldsboro, Inc. offers complete landscape services consisting of plans and designs, installation of lawn irrigation systems, seeding, and laying sod for lawns. Landscape Design of Goldsboro, Inc. delivers mulch, pine straw, topsoil, synthetic pine straw, and other landscaping materials to many locations. We also offer full landscape installations, including water features, nitescaping, retaining walls, walkways, and patios. If you are looking for large shade trees, Landscape Design is the company to call. We offer installation of large shade trees to compliment our other landscape features. All our plant and lawn installations are warrantied for one year. gbdmagazine.com
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Daniels & Daniels Construction Company Civil War-era fort’s new visitor center is a green jewel for second-generation builders
by Thalia Aurinko-Mostow in 2007, the bid on north carolina’s Fort Macon Coastal Education and Visitor’s Center was won by USGBC-member Daniels & Daniels Construction Company (D&D), a second-generation builder with more than 45 years under its belt. The Fort Macon project would turn out to be D&D’s first LEED Gold structure and—as Damon J. Jones, director of business development, puts it—“a jewel in our corporate résumé.” Jim Daniels and his brother, Benjamin, started D&D in 1962. Now, it’s Jim’s sons, Jim Jr. and Jeff, who manage the business. When D&D began, its focus was on custom homes, but the company is now a commercial builder. However, Jones says that part of what sets the business apart from other construction companies is those residential roots. “We believe the heritage of building individuals’ homes has instilled a drive to quality and detail that is often missing in the commercial
marketplace,” he says. “Our business is a family, and we all take great pride in our company and the product that we construct.”
ABOVE: Skylight detail
Since becoming a green business, the company’s 50 employees have worked to complete seven LEED projects, including one Silver and one Gold. They have won a Certificate of Merit for Superior Professional Services from the North Carolina State Building Commission, two Master Builder Awards from STAR Building Systems, two CCASS awards, and numerous safety awards from the Carolinas Chapter of Associated General Contractors.
of North Carolina’s Fort Macon Coastal Education and Visitor’s
William D. Royall, vice president of project management, says that D&D has been deserving of every honor it has been given and traces the success back to its close work with its clients. “Daniels & Daniels excels at customer
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Daniels & Daniels Connstruction Company
“We believe the heritage of building individuals’ homes has instilled a drive to quality and detail that is often missing in the commercial marketplace.” —Damon J. Jones, Director of Business Development
satisfaction,” he asserts. “We achieve this through the attention that we pay to the project from conception to completion. It doesn’t matter whether the customer is dealing with the staff in business development, estimating, or project management, it is our priority to produce a quality end product and leave the customer feeling that they made the right choice.”
The company’s attention to detail and commitment to quality are evident in the aforementioned Fort Macon Visitor’s Center. After receiving the bid, construction began in early 2008 and lasted for 18 months. “Fort Macon is a Civil War-era fort and is the most visited state park in North Carolina,” Jones says. “We saw the project as an opportunity to highlight Daniels & Daniels. That the project was going to be a LEED project only fueled our excitement.” The 22,000-square-foot fort is located on the Atlantic coast near the Port of Morehead City, which presented challenges due to the potential for severe weather, as the area is notorious for severe hurricanes. Jones explains that part of the difficulty was in keeping the fort authentic. “We had to build a new building with modern materials and systems, while making it feel and appear appropriate with a military fort constructed almost 200 years ago,” he says. “The designer borrowed many of the aspects of the fort and recreated them within the new building.” The building is made up of staff offices, conference
rooms, a bookstore, a library, and exhibition rooms that highlight both local history and the history of the fort, as well as the LEED processes that were incorporated into the building’s design. D&D recently received confirmation that the project will be receiving LEED Gold status. For Jones and Royall, taking D&D to the next level means a variety of things. The firm plans on sending its entire project-management and business-development staff to training in order to obtain LEED accreditation. Efficiency is important in more ways than energy. The company also plans on upgrading many of its software programs to become much more efficient with its internal processes. It also has a plan to take advantage of North Carolina’s massive military-construction market in the works. To this end, it is establishing a mentor-protégé joint venture with other firms in North Carolina, seeking to build partnerships that will garner the builder more work in that sector. In the immediate future, Daniels & Daniels Construction Company plans on completing more LEED projects, staying flexible in response to the current market, and coming up with new ways to remain cost-effective to its clients. For a building company with 80 percent of its business coming from repeat customers or referrals, the final goal is nothing new, but rather a tried-and-true method of client retention. gb&d
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Benchmark Building Contractors Through experimentation and commitment to cost-effective building methods, firm creates first LEED-focused design for fastfood chain restaurant
by Susan Johnston in the construction industry, clients often have to choose whether they want something done quickly, cheaply, or well—two are often doable, but, much of the time, contractors find it impossible to provide all three. Calvin Jones, founder and president of Benchmark Building Contractors, Inc. in Suwanee, Georgia, disagrees. Jones’ company handles construction for major chain restaurants like McDonald’s, IHOP, and Zaxby’s, and it has managed to reduce the average construction time while balancing quality and cost efficiency. “When I first started [at a different construction company in 1979], the average time for building fast-food restaurants was about 166 days,” Jones explains. “I worked closely with those guys on generating cost and time efficiency. We got that average down to a 42-day period. We want to get the stores open quickly, so they can quickly obtain cash flow.” Working with large chain restaurants poses additional challenges, such as coordinating space for the large food-preparation equipment required and ensuring that the restaurant feels like a coherent part of the company’s brand. According to Jones, “it is a meticulous puzzle because everything has to match up with all [a client’s] equipment. All this has to be done quickly because, when a client buys the property, they want to be selling products as quickly as they can.”
“We are seeing an interest in greater efficiency from all of our corporate clients, including Chick-fil-A, Zaxby’s, McDonald’s, Olive Garden, and Darden Restaurants, Inc., which operates Longhorn, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster restaurants,” Jones says. “All of the corporate folks seem to be experimenting with LEED construction practices as long as the initial cost impact is balanced by the operating cost savings.”
Jones explains that the company name, Benchmark Building Contractors, stands for their commitment to maintaining the highest standards. “Our standard of quality, time, and cost efficiency is our benchmark,” he adds.
Of course, energy conservation also translates to cost savings for clients over time. As Jones puts it, “energy efficiency is an important part of operating a restaurant because it helps keep overhead costs down. We’re constantly experimenting with different types of light fixtures and air-conditioning systems. The air-conditioning system is a big source of energy because of air-balance requirements for a restaurant. We try to be as efficient as we can, because it allows them to save money on utility bills.”
Helping clients conserve energy is increasingly becoming an important part of the equation for Benchmark, and Jones anticipates beginning the company’s first LEEDfocused project with Chick-fil-A later this year. Benchmark currently has three green associates and recently joined the USGBC.
In addition, Benchmark’s remodeling and re-imaging program is a cost-saving, efficient way for clients to update their building without starting from scratch. “Generally, it’s a facelift, where they’ll reimage the outside of their building, dining rooms, and kitchens,” Jones explains. “They’ll pick a building that’s 15 years old or
ABOVE: Benchmark completed the clocktower and bridge enhancements for the Lake Lanier Island Resort in Georgia.
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48$/,7<,62850,66,21 :HDUHSURXGWRKDYHSDUWQHUHGZLWK%HQFKPDUN%XLOGLQJ&RQWUDFWRUV,QF RQPDQ\VXFFHVVIXOSURMHFWV&RQJUDWXODWLRQVRQ\RXUUHFRJQLWLRQ
â€œWe are seeing an interest in greater efficiency from all of our corporate clients, including Chick-fil-A, Zaxbyâ€™s, McDonaldâ€™s, Olive Garden, and Darden Restaurants, Inc., which operates Longhorn, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster restaurants.â€? â€”Calvin Jones, Owner & President
)RU QHDUO\ \HDUV &+5,'$1 (QWHUSULVHV //& KDV EHHQ UHFRJQL]HGIRUWKHKLJKHVWTXDOLW\RI6WXFFR(,)6DQG6WRQH LQVWDOODWLRQV 7KURXJKRXW WKH \HDUV ZHÂˇYH WUDYHOHG DOO RYHU WKH (DVWHUQ 8QLWHG 6WDWHV IRU FRPPHUFLDO DQG UHVLGHQWLDO SURMHFWV 'XULQJ WKLV WLPH ZH KDYH GHYHORSHG D UHSXWDWLRQ RI KLJK TXDOLW\ FUDIWVPDQVKLS ZKLFK KDV EHHQ UHFRJQL]HG QRW RQO\ E\ RXU FXVWRPHUV EXW E\ RXU FRPSHWLWRUV DV ZHOO $WNLQVRQ5G6XLWH /DZUHQFHYLOOH*$ 3KRQH )D[ (PDLOOLG\DP#DROFRP Our mission at North Coast Concrete, Inc. is to provide our customers with outstanding customer service, quality product and competitive pricing. TEAMWORK: Through teamwork and intense dedication, we provide a superior level of confidence to our customers assuring unqualified project success!
so and bring it up to date. When they do that, they may incorporate higher-efficiency light fixtures and other green materials without having to completely tear the building down.â€? While 2009 was a leaner period for Benchmark, as it was for many general contractors across the country; Jones sees things picking up in 2010â€”particularly in the green building arena. He adds that Benchmarkâ€™s client base is strong (in an average year, the company completes about 50 projects across the Southeast), and he envisions expanding to more states as the economy continues to recover. Currently, Benchmark is certified in 16 states and does projects as far north as Maryland.
INTEGRITY: Here at North Coast Concrete, Inc., we strive to provide our customers with quality construction at a fair price. We take pride in all of our projects and perform the necessary tasks to assure our customers are left with a completed project everyone takes pride in. SERVICE: We deliver beyond the contract! Whether our customer needs budget prices, value engineering ideas, or help on site with difficult field issues, we are there to help!
Cotati, CA 94931 â—? 707.665.9349 www.northcoastconcreteinc.com Contractor's License #878848
â€œI think weâ€™re going to stay with what weâ€™re doing,â€? Jones says. â€œI donâ€™t anticipate any significant changes, but we may spread out in other areas and grow from a geographic standpoint.â€? gb&d
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Facility Development Corporation Creating award-winning winery designs for the Trinchero Estates Winery by Suchi Rudra Vasquez the facility development corporation (FDC) of Santa Rosa, California, has been in the business of building for almost 38 years, and the firm’s president, Steve Kilgannon, has been witness to much transition in the construction industry. “Litigation was less prevalent. Too many people have migrated to the construction industry, in my opinion, making it unsustainable. Design-build has become a means of finding the clients earlier on, and thus being able to control our own destiny, rather than be controlled by architects and owner’s agents,” Kilgannon explains. Yet FDC has found ways to change with the times, developing aggressive marketing strategies to obtain projects in a contractor-heavy industry; finding “a nucleus of young, bright, energetic, and wise project managers has been a key component to our success. The kind of employee that comes along 10 times in 100 years,” Kilgannon adds.
One thing that FDC hasn’t changed over the years is its focus on sustainability, which Kilgannon claims the firm has applied “since day one. Much of what we know today about sustainable practices is really just common sense, and being aware of your actions and how they affect the environment—like orientation of a building to get good ventilation and lighting, like benching buildings into the sides of hills or mountains in order to control the temperature inside.” A significant turning point for FDC came with their decision to venture to start building geothermal-power plants, which led them to design, entitle, and construct recycling facilities for Waste Management, Solano Garbage Company, Richmond Sanitary Services, and other clients. “Creating those relationships has allowed us to do a tremendous amount of repeat business throughout our career,” Kilgannon says. Preventing industry boredom is another reason for FDC to seek out new and diverse project types to “grow and stay alive and active,” Kilgannon points out. “You have to be somewhat diverse to survive the economic cycles.”
ABOVE: The landscape art at the Trinchero Estates Winery was made out of driftwood, collected, designed, and created by a local artist.
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Facility Development Corporation
Unique Design The Trinchero Estates Winery in St. Helena, CA, a Facility Development Corporation project, features a 22,500square-foot tank-and-barrel storage facility (above) and a 8,500-square-foot hospitality center. The hospitality center design is divided into lounges, meeting rooms, dining areas, patios, and an ultra-premium culinary kitchen to entertain clients and friends. Recycled steel and rebar were used throughout the buildings, along with low- or non-VOC paints and flooring. Other sustainable features include: state-of-the-art light and mechanical controls to monitor room efficiencies; all stone was harvested from a local quarry within 25 miles of the site; and specially selected, decorative finishes was used to reduce the amount of water needed for cleaning.
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“We love it when we can design a project that allows passers-by to see well into the heart of our building, and that allows workers or visitors inside a building to see out.” —Steve Kilgannon, President
Kilgannon says that FDC’s philosophy, however, centers on finding commonalities within a project’s immediate surroundings so as to blend in with the facility’s neighbors and neighborhood. By repeating certain existing landscape and color themes, FDC is better able to accomplish its design intent. Kilgannon adds that the outside of a project is as important as the inside. “We love it when we can design a project that allows passers-by to see well into the heart of our building, and that allows workers or visitors inside a building to see out,” he explains, adding that Facility Development projects tend to feature specimen trees in large windows and are liberal in bringing natural light indoors. Among the company’s more recent projects is the Trinchero Estates Winery, which was named the 2009 American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine. Kilgannon says that one of the most challenging design issues in the project—which took two years to plan and two years to construct—involved sinking the production winery into the hillside to take advantage of thermal mass and to ensure that the winery fermentation and barrel rooms would maintain a consistent temperature and reduce the usage of the mechanical system. Though the winery is not LEED certified, sustainable materials and practices were utilized. The production facility includes a 22,000-square-foot tank-and-barrel storage that has been cut into the
hillside to reduce visual impact. An 8,500-square-foot hospitality center is divided into lounges, meeting rooms, dining areas, patios, and an ultra-premium kitchen to entertain clients and friends. The tasting room, a 7,500square-foot, single-story building, consists of private tasting rooms, event spaces, a tasting bar, offices, and covered patios overlooking the valley. BAR Architects of San Francisco was a key player during the design and construction of the winery.
Special attention was paid to achieve a clean and userfriendly look to the facility’s infrastructure by hiding the piping and mechanical systems, yet keeping them accessible enough for maintenance. There were challenges to overcome throughout the building process, Kilgannon adds, such as keeping the surrounding landscaping intact. However, during the whole course of construction, the tasting room remained open, and two temporary parking lots were added to ensure undisrupted traffic flow. As FDC moves ahead with each new project, Kilgannon says that the firm’s employees continue to be inspired by the clients, by one another, and by the act of building as an “optimistic endeavor as compared to tearing something down, fighting, or being critical without being constructive and helpful. If you aren’t part of the solution, you are missing the point of living.” gb&d
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Adams + Associates Architecture Creating a green shopping experience and helping to save the environment while stimulating the economy by Thalia Aurinko-Mostow as one of the premier retail-outlet architecture firms in the country, Adams + Associates Architecture (A+AA) has its hands full. The firm’s recent work on the Tanger Outlets in Deer Park, New York, is not only LEED certified, but will be the largest retail project to achieve a LEED Core and Shell certification in the nation. With more than 540,000 square feet of sustainable space, the project is a small percentage of the 11 million square feet of retail space A+AA has designed throughout the years—700,000 square feet of which has been LEED certified. That’s a lot of work for the 14-person company, but they’ve come out of every project more successful than when they began it. 64
A+AA currently employs seven registered architects, four of whom are LEED APs; they also have seven additional employees who compose the support staff and interns. For the past 15 years, A+AA has designed retail, office buildings, churches, schools, and restaurants, one of which was the nation’s first LEED Gold-certified McDonald’s.
Martin, AIA, LEED AP, and project manager, explains, “BDG was the local developer who had the expertise and local knowledge to build on Long Island, New York; Apollo brought their expertise in real estate; and Tanger brought their name, client base, and would operate the center after it opened.” Getting the site plan approved took the combined efforts of all three partners, the local municipalities and politicians, and the public’s support, which, unfortunately, was not easy to gain.
Eighty-five percent of the firm’s business is from repeat clients, which comes as no surprise to David Anderson, LEED AP, and designer and project manager, who has been with the firm for six years. “Our president, Ross Adams, and all of our associates at Adams + Associates Architecture dedicate themselves to serving their clients. Mr. Adams relies on more than 25 years of hands-on experience when advocating long-standing client-firm relationships with great success,” Anderson says. He also admits that staying relevant means pushing beyond client relationships. “While our service to our clients is the most important focus of our business, our success in incorporating sustainable strategies to retail development may be the most unique aspect of our company,” Anderson states.
Martin explains part of the reason for the slow-moving decision. “One of the biggest factors of getting this project approved was the fact that the local municipality was in the middle of getting a green incentive together to make all new projects LEED certified. We were asked if we’d consider building this project green even though it wasn’t mandated at the time. When the team outlined the costs associated with this effort, it was determined that we could build green; this was one of the major turning points that helped get this project approved and the public support we needed to move forward. Without building green, this project probably would not have moved forward.”
In 2004, the company began work on Tanger at the Arches in Deer Park; the site plan for the project was not approved until 2006. Tanger New York was a joint venture between Tanger Outlet Centers, Blumenfeld Development Group (BDG), and Apollo Realty. As John
ABOVE: Schematic design for the off-thegrid LEED Platinum shopping center.
The project opened in October of 2008 after two years of construction, and after one more year of LEED documentation. A+AA has already broken ground for another Tanger Outlet, a pre-certified, 160,000-square-foot LEED-CS project, this time a redevelopment in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Adams + Associates Architecture
For John Martin, who is very excited to serve as the LEED Administrator on Tanger Hilton Head, the smartest way to continue such victories is to look into the future. “We are continuously looking for new ways to bring energy efficiencies into retail projects. One of the programs we are looking into moving forward is the Green Globe Program. Another way we will be moving forward is to continue to educate ourselves on building green,” he notes. As for Anderson’s hopes for the future, “I’d like to build our client base and look to expand our sustainable efforts to bring in a non-retail green project to add to our portfolio.”
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“Being a green business means we have the knowledge and the expertise to help educate and provide a service to our clients to address sustainable principles and energy efficiencies.” —John Martin, Project Manager
It is clear that building green has not just become a practice for A+AA, but a passion. As Martin says, “Being a green business means we have the knowledge and the expertise to help educate and provide a service to our clients to address sustainable principles and energy efficiencies.” Anderson adds that the most important part of green building is, “Being good stewards of our resources and improving the built environment.” It is this desire to educate and improve that keeps their clients coming back, and with projects already built in 33 states, Japan, and Guam, it looks like there’s no limit for these green builders. gb&d
WATERFRONT & LAND USE PLANNING
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Fox Construction Second-generation, family-owned business implements sustainable techniques and achieves first LEED-certified building in northwest Colorado
by Julie Schaeffer fox construction has definitely faced more obstacles than most construction companies in an attempt to be green, but that has not stopped it from pursuing its goals. Today, it can boast the first LEED-certified building in northwest Colorado. Tom Fox founded Fox Construction in 1980 as a remodeling and home-improvement business. Over the years, he slowly transitioned the company’s focus to high-end residential and commercial construction. Although conservation and recycling were always important to Fox, it wasn’t until the next generation came on board that the company truly started focusing on sustainable construction.
ABOVE: Fifty percent of the wood used to build the Steamboat Springs Community Center is FSC certified.
Fox’s daughter, Sarah, received a bachelor’s degree in construction management from Colorado State University in 2005—right about the time the USGBC was becoming well known. “I learned a lot about green building, so when I graduated and joined the family business, I took some more courses about LEED certification and became a LEED-accredited professional myself,” Sarah says. “Now I’ve begun adding LEED features to all of the projects we work on.”
The company’s first LEED-certified building was the Steamboat Springs Community Center, completed in January 2008. The 8,400-square-foot building was the first LEED-certified building in northwest Colorado, something on which Fox congratulates the city of Steamboat Springs. “I give kudos to the city council for being willing to spend the extra money to get LEED certification, because the building is definitely an example for our community,” Sarah says. “People from all over the region have come to see the building or attend a tour which explains the green elements.” The Steamboat Springs Community Center was such a success that the city hired Fox Construction to build another facility using similar green components. The building—a regional-transit facility completed in December 2008—provided a warm place for people commuting between Steamboat Springs and Craig, Colorado, to wait for buses. The building was also constructed to be energy-efficient, and green products, such as SIPs, were used throughout. “The city didn’t seek LEED certification due to the cost, but the building uses similar elements as the Steamboat Springs Community Center, so it’s green,” Sarah says.
“I learned a lot about green building [in college], so when I graduated and joined the family business, I took some more courses about LEED certification and became a LEEDaccredited professional myself. ” —Sarah Fox, Vice President
We are a full service landscape company based in Steamboat Springs since 1999. One obstacle Fox Construction has faced is getting subcontractors to adapt to sustainable products and practices. When it comes to products, Colorado’s cold climate has been a challenge. “There are certain products that work well in cold weather, and certain products that don’t,” Sarah says. “As a result, over the years, contractors and subcontractors in the area have found products they like to use and become somewhat attached to them. Getting subcontractors to explore different products because they’re green has been an uphill battle. We’ve had to encourage everyone to be open-minded and do research on different green products to make sure they work here.”
We offer landscape design, installation, and service as well as irrigation service and Irrigation installation.
Located at: 2550 S Copper Frontage Rd Steamboat Springs, CO 80487 Contact us: 970.879.7236 Email us at: email@example.com
When it comes to practices, getting subcontractors on board with job-site recycling has been the challenge. Fox Construction starts by sending the owners of all subcontracting firms a letter, then following up with a phone call. “We say from now on this is how we’re going to operate, so if you plan on working on a project for us, you have to educate your employees about recycling on the job,” Sarah explains. “We then ensure that signage throughout a construction site clearly indicates what should be recycled and what should be placed in the dumpster. And these signs are in both English and Spanish, so everyone understands what is supposed to be put where.” As it turns out, even that was not enough, so Fox Construction found a novel way to provide even more encouragement. “We actually put the dumpsters farther away than the recycling bins so workers have to walk farther to not recycle,” Sarah explains. Even then, the firm regularly finds garbage in the recycling bins because workers don’t want to walk the additional feet to the dumpster. That hasn’t stopped Fox, however. “Our foremen actually sort through the recycling bins every night, make note of what isn’t supposed to be in there, and let the crew know the next day on the job site,” she says. “That way, we hold each sub accountable, and everyone learns that we aren’t going to let it go.” gb&d
JOHNSON EXCAVATION, INC. -Family owned since 1972-
high end residential and commercial projects // Chad M. Johnson Vice President P) 970.879.0982 F) 970.879.9652 firstname.lastname@example.org P.O. Box 773689 SteamboatSprings,CO 80477
Williams Architects, Ltd. Working with municipalities to develop environmentally sustainable parks and recreation facilities
by Julie Schaeffer williams architects, ltd. is proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. The Chicago-area architecture firm has as 35-year history, but, in recent years, has become committed to green design and building. Originally founded in 1974 under the name Williams Pollock, the firm reorganized as Williams Architects in 1994. Together with its affiliate, Williams Construction Management, the company serves many Chicago-area public and private clients.
Since its inception, Williams Architects has maintained a diverse practice. Its portfolio includes single- and multi-family residences in addition to office, retail, and commercial projects. However, it is particularly well known for its recreational facilities, including parks. The Wheaton Community Center and Rice Pool & Water Park, constructed in the 1980s, was a springboard for the firm’s success in public recreational facilities. Since then, the firm has designed more than 160 parks, private clubs, and YMCAs. Mark Bushhouse, a principal of the firm, says that the firm’s work has “revolutionized the way millions of Americans experience public recreation by breaking the mold of the recreation center as a functional monolith.” The firm’s work with park districts also led to its interest in sustainable design and building. “Park districts have always been very pro-environmental,” says Tom LaLonde, principal. “Our first green project was the Skokie Park District in 1996. The client was so interested in building sustainably that we went to New York to tour the new EPA building, which had been designed as an example of what could be done.” Since then, a focus on being green has spread throughout the firm, and today, 11 of Williams Architects’ 24 professional staff members have earned LEED accreditation. “Our firm embraces green-architecture objectives, and having staff members who are knowledgeable about the concept and its application is an important aspect of our business plan,” Bushhouse says.
To Williams Architects and its clients, being green typically takes the form of driving down the cost of operations. “Our clients want to be responsible to their communities, so energy efficiency is always high on their list of priorities; we thus tend to focus on geothermal heating and cooling, daylighting and building a tight envelope,” Bushhouse says. “For parks, keeping the cost of operations low also involves rain capture to eliminate the need for daily watering, and native species to keep maintenance requirements minimal.” Bushhouse says the firm’s clients also want facilities that stand the test of time, so the firm pays careful attention to the longevity of finishes. One of the firm’s more recent projects is the St. Charles Nature Center, a 12,000-square-foot environmentaleducation center. Williams Architects is seeking at least LEED Silver certification for the building, and hopes for Gold. The client also plans to use the design and construction of the building as an educational tool in sustainable design. Another recent project is the McHenry County Conservation District Visitor Center, a building that has transitioned from residence to lodge to conference center to visitor center, and sits on a 2,000-acre glacial park. Williams Architects hopes to see it also achieve LEED Silver certification. One major challenge the firm faces is municipalities’ reluctance to consider green principles. “Most municipalities, through right-of-way agreements with utilities, receive electricity and gas free, so there’s no financial incentive for them to install geothermal heating and cooling, which is a cornerstone of our sustainable designs,” Bushhouse says. Another challenge the firm has faced is the expense of LEED certification. “Municipalities have a difficult time explaining to their constituents why they would spend the extra time and money getting LEED
Williams Architects, Ltd.
LEFT: The St. Charles Environmental Education Center located in St. Charles, IL, is scheduled to be completed by June of 2010. Sustainable elements such as natural stone, wood, and glass were incorporated into the design that also allow the facility to blend with the natural surroundings.
“[Our work has] revolutionized the way millions of Americans experience public recreation by breaking the mold of the recreation center as a functional monolith.” —Mark Bushhouse, Principal
certification; they call it ‘an expensive plaque on the wall,’” Bushhouse says. This has, at times, led to a building that was designed and built to LEED standards, but was never LEED certified. “Central Park in Carmel, Indiana—which we began in 2001—implemented all of the LEED principles, but the client passed on certification due to the cost,” explains Tom Poulos, principal.
At the same time, Bushhouse says most of the company’s clients welcome green features. “They know we’re green architects, and kind of wink at us in acknowledgement that we’re going to slip in as many green features as possible, such as heavy insulation, energy recapturing, and automatic triggers on lights,” he says, adding, “We call these features ‘best practices.’” gb&d
A Message from MTI Construction Services MTI Construction Services is a 98-year-old construction-management firm specializing in municipal, industrial, and commercial projects. From preconstruction beyond closeout, MTI is committed to providing cost-effective solutions for complex design and construction needs. MTI provides a single-source solution of responsibility, ensuring personal attention to every project.
Municipal Industrial Commercial Office Police Stations Fire Stations Park & Rec Forest Preserve Public Works Manufacturing Distribution Fleet Facilities Auto Dealerships
CONSTRUCTION SERVICES 2585 Millennium Drive, Suite E Elgin, IL 60124 847.742.7200 office 847.742.7203 fax www.mticsi.com Photograph taken by HNK Photography, Inc. Copyright © 2009
Cord Construction Company Equipping Midwestern schools with the latest green technology
by Zipporah Porton robert stroup and craig erdmier founded Cord Construction Company in 1979, and both principals continue to be active in the everyday operation of the firm. Originally a start-up operation with just three employees, Cord Construction has continually grown over the years, and now its 23 employees help bring in an average annual volume of $45–50 million.
Erdmier, president of Cord Construction, describes the firm as a diverse general contractor that works with clients and consultants to form an integrated team dedicated to bringing the project to successful completion. “Careful planning, monitoring, and managing of each phase of construction consistently ensures the highest standards of quality, scheduling, and cost effectiveness,” Erdmier says. “Client satisfaction is our ultimate goal, and our high volume of repeat business is an indication that we successfully and consistently achieve that goal.”
middle school is currently in the process of LEED Silver certification.
ABOVE: Cord Con-
Up next in the sustainable realm, as a part of the design and development phase requirement, Cord Construction is helping budget and schedule a project for an estimated $25 million for the Rock Valley College math- and science-department facility. The facility will have low-emitting materials, a construction-waste-management plan, and a geothermal system, and will be located on a publictransportation route.
with daylighting and
struction enhances its school buildings
With most of its clients in Illinois, 80 percent of Cord Construction’s business comes from repeat or referred clients. The firm also serves Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana, and it is looking to expand further into any area the client may want. “Our business plan includes being regional, which involves finding new markets that are sustainable,” Erdmier says. While sustainability has recently come into play for others, Cord Construction has always focused on the environment in a variety of ways. “Cord has always sought the most efficient solutions for our clients’ needs both in the near and far terms,” Erdmier says. “Years ago, we did not know that these practices were green; we just did them because they seemed like the right thing to do. Nowadays, we call these solutions green-friendly.” Though the Midwest area in which Cord Construction operates has been slower to embrace the concept of sustainability—in part due to the economy—Cord still tries to incorporate sustainable concepts into as many aspects of its building projects as possible. Willowbrook Middle School in South Beloit, Illinois was the company’s first official LEED project, and it was completed in the spring of 2009. The 82,000-square-foot
geothermal HVAC systems to benefit the community and those in the classrooms.
Although Cord Construction has always been environmentally focused, as soon as the LEED movement became more prominent, the management team decided to commit to educating the staff on becoming LEED accredited. There are currently two LEED APs on staff—Jim Kutz, director of sustainability, who is also a member of the steering committee for the Northern Illinois Branch of the USGBC, and Jake Dykstra, the operations manager—and four project managers and three superintendents are in the process of acquiring LEED accreditation. Cord Construction is a member of the USGBC and has sponsored several USGBC events in the last year. “Our area is not yet on the green bandwagon,” Erdmier says. “That being said, we know that LEED and
Cord Construction Company
“Years ago, we did not know that these practices were green; we just did them because they seemed like the right thing to do. Nowadays, we call these solutions green-friendly.” —Craig Erdmier, President
sustainable, or green-friendly, practices will soon be more widely accepted locally. Therefore, Cord is positioning itself to be the leader in green building in our area so as to be the go-to contractor for clients desiring these features.” In addition to being able to provide sustainable solutions to those that are interested, Erdmier believes that Cord Construction’s ability to please its clients has helped lead to more than 30 years of a successful business that continues to thrive. “We always try to read and react to the market and then deliver what the customers want, which ultimately leads to success,” Erdmier says. gb&d
Designing for the Students After seeking input from the local community for the Willow Brook Middle School, the school board became fully committed to building green. Some sustainable features that can be found at Willowbrook include: • a zero-runoff, zero-irrigation site complete with restored prairie • a geothermal HVAC, an automatically controlled lighting system, a solar water-heating system, and a super-insulated building envelope • extensive daylighting and occupant-controlled heating and cooling featuring increased fresh air • a large percentage of locally sourced building materials made from recycled materials • more than 83% of the construction waste recycled locally
Singley Construction, Inc. is a second generation union contractor specializing in:
Foundations, Flatwork, & Both Colored and Stamped Concrete Miller Engineering engages in the remodeling and new construction phases of the Residential, Commercial and Industrial markets, serving Rockford and its surrounding areas.
HVAC | Electric | Plumbing | Design Build Sheet Metal | Refrigeration 1616 South Main St. • Rockford, Illinois 61102 1-800-367-0054 • 815-963-4878 gbdmagazine.com
*Certified ACI Concrete Flatwork Technician *Certified NRMCA Pervious Concrete Technician Singley Construction, Inc. 1737 N. Union Road, P.O. Box 323 | Polo, IL 61064 Phone: (815) 946-4136 | Fax: (815) 946-4137 www.singleyconstruction.com july/august 2010
ASA Architects Geography dictates use of daylighting for firm focused on shedding light on institutional design
By Jennifer Hogeland sometimes designing sustainably isn’t a matter of choice. Located in the Southwest desert region, ASA Architects has always been challenged to incorporate the environment into their designs. For instance, with 350 days of sunshine each year, considering the sun’s effects is absolutely necessary. “We have to worry about protecting ourselves from the sun in the summer and taking advantage of it in the winter,” says Ted Shelton, president and principal officer of ASA. “A building’s orientation is considered, and taking advantage of solar angles has been a necessity, not...a trend.”
ABOVE: Located inside the Anson Mills building in downtown El Paso, TX, the El Paso Community Foundation offices feature
ASA was founded in 1968 in Roswell, New Mexico, and soon established an office in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Ownership changed several times throughout the years; an El Paso, Texas, office was opened in the 1990s, and the headquarters was moved to Las Cruces. The firm works with various industry sectors, primarily designing buildings for schools, universities, municipalities, and public institutions.
daylighting techniques, flooding the space in natural light.
ASA was a natural fit into the green movement because it has been creating sustainable designs for decades. Early
in their practice, firm architects employed passive-solar, adobe design work through thermal mass and building orientation. Although public awareness is just now growing, daylighting has always been a key design tenet—natural lighting in classroom spaces and public structures has always been in fashion. “What we do now is measure it,” Shelton says. “We calculate the effects of daylighting and maximize the efficiencies of electric lighting that is used to support it.” The regional firm has completed more than $150 million in projects over the past three years. One notable project is New Mexico State University’s Center for the Arts. ASA was the associate architect on the project, partnering with Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture in New York. The center’s design consists of massive stonewall construction for thermal mass and energy storage. Photovoltaics contribute to the energy conservation. “It is going to have daylighting throughout the building where occupied spaces demand it,” Shelton says, adding that a highly efficient, mechanical heating-and-cooling system will be installed using displacement ventilation.
RIGHT: New Mexico State University’s Center for the Arts in Las Cruces, NM.
Another project, the design of the Horizon Regional Municipal Utility District building in east El Paso is slated to be ASA’s first LEED Gold project. An adaptive-reuse job, the design added more than 2,500 square feet of area, designed to wrap around the existing building. Relying heavily on daylighting, a new structural system was inserted into the existing shell, and a two-layer hip roof with a clerestory-ribbon window was incorporated into the building. “The entire core of the building is exposed to direct daylight without the glare of direct sunshine,” explains Bill Helm, project manager in ASA’s El Paso office. “That makes a more pleasant working environment, and it also offsets electricity usage.” Additionally, design strategies were utilized to greatly reduce water usage—ASA expects a 40-percent reduction in utilities. While ASA has invested in LEED certification—5 of its 22 architectural staff members are LEED APs—some of its sustainable projects choose not to pursue the USGBC rating. Shelton explains, “The public school system in New Mexico has its own process for identifying how energy efficient or sustainable a school project is; with state support comes certain requirements.” ASA completed the first renovation project funded by the state that required the new standards. Now the firm is working on the largest such project in the state of New Mexico with the design of Las Cruces High School.
“A building’s orientation is considered, and taking advantage of solar angles has been a necessity, not...a trend.” —Ted Shelton, President & Principal Officer 73
Phil Robinet, P.E. President LEED® A. P. email@example.com www.robinet-ramos.com 3214 E. Yandell, Suite A El Paso, Texas 79903
Phone: (915) 562-5225 Fax: (915) 562-5226
Though sustainable design is a cornerstone of the firm’s philosophy, ASA also prides itself on personal service. “It’s simple,” Shelton says. “When our clients need us, we get in the car and drive there.” gb&d
Mills Bldg. El Paso, Texas - Concept Drawing july/august 2010
Four LEED Projects to date Canada’s first HPNC project Nine LEED AP’s on staff
. . . . . . .
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Bronnenco Construction Ltd., has operated in Southwestern Ontario serving clients in the institutional, industrial, and commercial sectors since1977.
We are Team Builders, proud to work with Cornerstone Architecture. 74
www.mckaycocker.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org London: 519‐451‐5270 . Toronto: 905‐890‐9193
5625 Egremont Road, Ilderton, Ontario, N0M 2A0 Tel 519.666.2777 Fax 519.666.2650 Email email@example.com www.bronnenco.com
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60 Years of Leadership and Innovation
Permacon is proud to have worked with Cornerstone Architecture on many of their landmark structures that enhance our community. William DeGraaf july/august 2010
Sales Representative, Permacon London Office 519.453.9501 d firstname.lastname@example.org d www.permacon.ca
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the harmony of space gbdmagazine.com 2/15/10 1:05:33 AM
Cornerstone Architecture Incorporated Residence for Sisters of St. Joseph leads architect down path of sustainably focused projects
by Julie Schaeffer after spending seven years implementing someone else’s vision, Richard Hammond was ready to pursue his own—and today, he can say he succeeded. In 1991, Hammond, who had been practicing architecture since 1984, was ready to make a change; the timing was fortuitous— Hammond’s friend, Alison Hannay, was graduating from the University of Waterloo. As Hammond explains, “We pulled together a small staff and called ourselves Cornerstone Architecture, and things just took off from there.” From its inception, Cornerstone’s focus has been on one-of-a kind buildings for children and seniors, such as schools, retirement homes, and community centers; that focus has led the firm to take a unique approach. Specifically, Hammond and Hannay involve clients in the entire process, from conceptual design to construction details. “Some clients consider architecture a transactional relationship; they have certain requirements, and just want to get the drawings done and the building constructed,” Hammond says. “But that’s not the ideal client relationship for us. Most of our clients have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish and how the building needs to contribute to that, but they’re just not sure how to go about it.” Hammond says his goal is for clients to feel that they have been co-creators of the final design. “We want clients to understand the choices they’re making and how things work, and we really enjoy having a relationship whereby they literally help us design their buildings,” he says. Although this type of collaboration is time-consuming for the client, Hammond says it’s worth it. “Clients who make the commitment to collaborate with us find that it’s really rewarding. They’re creating something that is exactly what they want, and is going to be around for a long time.” In fact, as time passed, Cornerstone’s clients became so vocal about how much they appreciated the firm’s
collaborative philosophy that Hammond and Hannay developed a number of techniques to facilitate architectclient interaction. Today, that system is trademarked under the name Cornerstone Collaborative Design System. The design system is not the firm’s only innovation, however; in 2005, with the design of a new residence for the Sisters of St. Joseph, it launched what would become a commitment to sustainable design. The building, Hammond explains, uses a number of sophisticated green features, including a green roof, a cistern that collects rainwater for use in flushing toilets, and one of the largest geothermal-heating and -cooling systems in Ontario. It also has an advanced system that tracks electrical, gas, and water usage in real time and reports performance data. “The building beat our modeled energy-savings predictions by 25 percent, and we were already expecting a 50-percent savings compared to a typical new building,” Hammond says.
Perhaps most inspiring, Hammond says, was that the Sisters of St. Joseph were committed to creating the most environmentally sound building they could, regardless of LEED certification. “They wanted to employ as many green-building principles as they could for their own sake,” Hammond says. “But they weren’t concerned about receiving any recognition for it.” That all changed, however, when Canada’s version of LEED was launched in 2005. “The Sisters realized that this would be the first project of its kind in our area, and receiving LEED certification would help show people that building sustainably is not hard to do,” Hammond says. To that end, the Sisters wanted to be sure the building only used green elements that were practical and affordable. They thus nixed the idea of installing expensive photovoltaic panels on the building’s roof until recently, when Ontario began offering incentives for using the technology.
Cornerstone Architecture Incorporated
“We want clients to understand the choices they’re making and how things work, and we really enjoy having a relationship whereby they literally help us design their buildings.” —Richard Hammond, President 76
LEFT: Alison Hannay and Richard Hammond, principals at Cornerstone Architecture. ABOVE: The green roof at the Sisters of St. Joseph residence.
Ultimately, the building received LEED Gold certification, and the Sisters of St. Joseph used it not just as a home, but also as an educational facility. “They offered tours and encouraged people to discuss what worked and what didn’t,” Hammond says. That was just the beginning for Cornerstone Architecture. Today, the firm has completed a number of LEED projects including the first LEED-certified buildings for both the University of Western Ontario and the city of London. It has also completed a number of projects that use Green Globes standards, which brands itself as a more practical green-building standard, in part because it has a web-based interface to facilitate effective decision making.
This project features one of the largest geothermal-heating and -cooling systems in Ontario.
A Message from McKay-Cocker In business for 65 years, McKay-Cocker focuses on construction management and design-build. LEED is of primary interest and we have been involved in four LEED contracts. Awards include the Canadian Design-Build Institute’s Award of Excellence for the OPG NSB Office Building and this February, we won first place in all categories nominated—Industrial, Commercial,
Hammond, however, isn’t resting on his laurels. Recently, he enrolled in a graduate program at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. “It’s really helped me to learn how to evaluate sustainable products so I can help our clients make good choices about how to spend their money,” Hammond says. “I have a lot more questions to ask product suppliers than I used to. Now, when someone asks, ‘Will it improve performance of the building or not?’ I can answer more effectively.” gb&d
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Burleson Construction Company, Inc. Wellness center and new children’s hospital propel 65-year-old company’s focus on sustainability and indoor-air quality
by Julie Schaeffer burleson construction company, inc. is proof that you’re never too old to change. Although the 65-yearold company has remained true to its founding principles, in 2008 it developed a new focus on sustainable building and hasn’t looked back. J.R. Burleson and his sons Reno and Grover founded Burleson Construction in 1945. Today, the company is in its third generation of family ownership with J.R.’s grandsons, Thomas Burleson and Grover “Skip” Burleson, in charge. 78
Although the company got its start in residential construction, it quickly expanded its focus to include commercial construction. Today, the majority of its projects are commercial design-build projects. It has long specialized in projects that have strict guidelines for indoor-air quality, such as hospitals and nursing homes. As it turns out, that focus on air quality was prescient; today, Burleson Construction has a related focus—sustainable construction and design-build. The company’s focus on sustainable construction began when an industry association Thomas Burleson presides over—the Associated General Contractors of America Education and Research Foundation— awarded a research grant to Michigan State University to develop a workbook about how contractors fit into the LEED process. “I attended the kickoff seminar for that project in 2008, and got so interested in it I became a LEED-accredited professional,” Burleson says. The company’s first LEED-certified project is Milligan College’s Gilliam Wellness Center, a student recreational facility that opened in January 2010. Randy Christiansen, Building Information Modeling (BIM) manager, says Gilliam Wellness Center is unique in two significant ways. First, almost every square foot of the building has a direct view to the outdoors, creating
a unique indoor-outdoor environment. Additionally, instead of flushing out the entire building for indoor air quality before occupancy, Burleson Construction completed exhaustive air testing to ensure air pollutants from construction were reduced or eliminated.
ABOVE: The Milligan College Gilliam Wellness Center includes windows that offer daylight and outside views to almost every square
“We initially just wanted a LEED-certified building, but it quickly became clear that we could achieve LEED Silver, and now we’re going for LEED Gold,” says Chad Brown, a project manager at Burleson. “We’ve exceeded LEED standards and have the opportunity to apply for three of five exemplary-performance credits we have achieved. We hit almost 100 percent for daylighting and views, 82 percent for waste diversion, and 42 percent for regional materials. We maximized open space, and protected and restored the existing space habitat. We also achieved 34 percent for energy savings.”
foot of the facility.
Another notable Burleson Construction project is Johnson City’s Niswonger Children’s Hospital, a 75,000-square-foot facility opened in March 2009, which the company built in conjunction with Pepper Construction. “The owner had no desire to have the building LEED-certified, but we incorporated a lot of what we call our best practices,” says Burleson. “Those included daylighting, waste diversion, use of low-VOC materials, and high indoor-air quality.”
Burleson Construction Company, Inc.
“Spreading the word has been a challenge, because subcontractors often aren’t familiar with LEED. But we’re trying to educate them, letting them know what we’re trying to achieve and why we’re trying to achieve it.” —Thomas Burleson, President
ABOVE: Floorplan of the Milligan College Gilliam Wellness Center.
Burleson acknowledges that the struggling economy and lack of knowledge about sustainable building practices have been obstacles, but he and his staff are working hard to overcome them. To start, Burleson and his crew are trying to learn all they can about sustainable building practices. For example, the company did indoor air-quality tests throughout the Gilliam Wellness Center building process so it could learn how different materials were affecting air quality and implement changes in future projects. “We’ve now started using air scrubbers during construction to keep down dust, and we apply LEED guidelines to cover ductwork when its delivered and stored on site to keep dust from getting in it,” says Christiansen. The company is also working to educate others in the industry about sustainable building practices. “Spreading the word has been a challenge, because subcontractors often aren’t familiar with LEED,” says Brown. “But we’re trying to educate them, letting them know what we’re trying to achieve and why we’re trying to achieve it.” It’s all in keeping with the firm’s goal of staying ahead of the curve, and, if history is any indication, Burleson Construction should succeed. “We’ve always tried to be at the forefront of things that are coming along,” says Burleson. “And I think the amount of repeat work we do for customers speaks volumes. It sets us apart.” gb&d
Transit-Mix Concrete Co. 110 City Garage Rd. - PO BOX 1275 Johnson City, TN 37605-1275 (423) 928-2128 www.tmix.com Transit-Mix Concrete Company would like to thank Burleson Construction Company for their many years of quality construction and service to the region. As our slogan "A Good Mix Since '46" implies, Transit-Mix Concrete Company has served the Tri-Cities, Tennessee area with ready-mixed concrete since 1946. We are engaged in all activities relating to concrete and concrete construction. Visit our website www.tmix.com for more information. We truly believe “Concrete is the Foundation of America.”
Barry Price Architecture Drawing from evolving insulation technology to yield modern, high-performance structures
ABOVE: The northern view of this reconstructed barn house exemplifies how Barry Price seamlessly combines modern function with historical form.
by Peter Fretty like many architects securing their position within the maturing green-design environment, Barry Price’s taste for sustainability has been an evolution. Trained in modern architecture, Price found himself in California early in his career. However, when he moved east to establish his own practice, he noticed the importance of addressing challenging climate issues as a fundamental component of his design. “I have come to embrace a stylistic shift with a vision for the climatic requirements,” says Price, founder and principal of the 16-year-old Bearsville, New Yorkbased Barry Price Architecture. “Achieving this blend, in part through the creative use of today’s technologies, ultimately helped me form my sense of environmental sensibility.”
Barry Price Architecture
Original to Form The living space of the completed barn w and finished within the original barn she architecture was designed by a collabor Russell Krysiak, Ilene Mark, and Barry Pr engineering work was performed by Ros and it was built by Tate Construction. Ph Kendall Photography.
While some of his peers remain enamored with finding ways to integrate the latest renewable-energy solutions into designs, Price takes a different stance. Although he in no way discounts the role of emerging, natural-powergenerating systems, he sees the advances in insulation as both intriguing and empowering as he focuses on designing high-performance structures. “The fact that newer insulation strategies are allowing us to obtain higher R-values without conventional thicknesses means that we can move away from building heavy structures simply to accommodate insulation,” he says. “When the industry moved from 2” x 4” to 2” x 6” to meet the energy code, structures got heavier and walls got thicker—using more wood and larger foundations.” Today, this process can be reversed, Price explains. “We can go back and lighten up structures. If you have a window opening in a 2”x4” rather than 2”x6”, the shallower wall thickness provides views from wider angles. It is subtle, but the differences are interesting,” he notes.
“New insulation technologies also allow us to move away from the limitations of roof shape associated with effective roof ventilation, so we can be more creative with roof forms while increasing performance.” The movement away from cavity insulation and towards SIPs is another example of how insulation technology is enhancing design capability. “In a high-performance house, the sheathing is doing most of the work, which allows us to differentiate the wall-assembly exposed structure on the inside, thermally isolated by continuous insulation on the outside,” he says. This rings true on a Price-designed project currently under construction—a 4,400-square-foot mountain retreat. Nestled into a setting that embraces the site’s natural slope, the house uses SIPs combined with a repetitive structural-steel frame and floating concrete-floor system exposed on the interior of the walls and ceilings of the home. “The steel establishes scale and a proportional
Barry Price Architecture
Eye for Design The Rake House, another of Barry Price Architecture’s projects, includes an articulated roof to accommodate solar-thermal panels. The project’s architecture was designed by a collaboration between Russell Krysiak, Ilene Mark, and Barry Price; the engineering work was performed by Stinemire Engineering; and the home was built by All About Construction and Benson Steel Fabricators. Photos: Florian Holzherr.
rhythm in the same way a timber frame would in a traditional structure,” Price says.
“I have come to embrace a stylistic shift with a vision for the climatic requirements. Achieving this blend, in part through the creative use of today’s technologies, ultimately helped me form my sense of environmental sensibility.” —Barry Price, Principal
The roofing design on this project goes a step further. “Overhangs are a significant component of any sustainable building for numerous reasons, yet with conventional construction we have to work diligently to address thermal bridges at rafter penetrations. Using SIPs addresses this problem but leaves you with heavy-looking overhangs.” Price addresses this issue with a roofing solution that supports itself as an overhang. “By adding a steel plate to a laminated-plywood roof deck above an SIPs’ roof structure, we are able to extend a two-inch thick overhang,” he says. “We eliminate thermal bridging and heavy-looking overhangs at the same time. We can now take advantage of the roofing being a dynamic component that emphasizes the shadow cast by the overhang, rather than the overhang structure itself.” Barry Price and his company prove that homes can be dramatic architectural solutions, emblematic of how the building is made, and go on to show how sustainable innovations are in fact changing the face of modern architecture. gb&d
A Message from Ambiance Systems Ambiance Systems is a proud partner of Barry Price Architecture. Green building goes hand in hand with green living. The ability to control and program everything electronic in a home or office leads to more energy-efficient and responsible lifestyles. Our clients have the ability to make smart and easy-to-use lifestyle choices. A Message from HARBROOK HARBROOK Fine Windows, Doors & Hardware, established in 1955, is a distributor, dealer, and installer of finely crafted windows, doors, and hardware, and is proud of its long-standing relationship with architect Barry Price. With an eye for conservation, aesthetics, and design, Harbrook provides its customers with high-quality, energy efficient products and solutions. www.harbrook.com. John E. Stinemire, P.E.
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Fortune-Johnson Building success means retaining successful client relationships for 2009 EarthCraft Multifamily Builder of the Year
by Suchi Rudra Vasquez when brett fortune was growing up, his summer days were often spent working for his father’s subcontracting business—an experience similar to that of his business partner, Lee Johnson. Fortune-Johnson, a general-contracting company, began in Atlanta in 1991, expanding to a second office in Washington, DC, in 2007.
At first, Fortune-Johnson did small jobs here and there, like tenant renovation and remodeling, “whatever it took to keep the doors open,” Fortune recalls. Even then, the company was already heading toward the residential niche it claims today; when the apartment market experienced a resurgence in 1993, FortuneJohnson’s residential experience landed them several apartment jobs and a proper kick start to the business. Over the years, as going green became more of a priority for communities, Fortune noticed that office buildings and schools were constructed with sustainability in mind, while the surrounding homes and apartments “have been built pretty much the same way for the past 50 to 75 years. It has really only been in the last five years that we have seen the technology, products and sustainable programs—like EarthCraft and LEED— converge at a point that makes large-scale, environmentally responsible housing and apartment communities economically feasible,” he explains. In February 2009, Fortune-Johnson was named EarthCraft MultiFamily Builder of the Year, a recognition that allowed Fortune and his team to see “just how far we have come in a few short years.” Fortune explains that the firm’s work on Glenwood Park, a brownfield redevelopment, in January of 2006, was a wake-up call to the growing trend and demand for environmentally responsible building practices, such as sustainable materials and sites, water and energy efficiency, and indoor-environmental quality. Although the decision to incorporate sustainable design varies from client to client, Fortune mentions a recent client who ultimately “wanted the most bang for the buck,
ABOVE: The Circle at South End Apartment complex, a FortuneJohnson project, is one of the only woodframed complexes in the United States to seek LEED certification.
so going green will depend on how inexpensively we can achieve it, if at all. Others start out knowing they want to achieve a green status, and we try to help them in all aspects.” Currently, Fortune-Johnson has two LEED projects in the certification process, and two Energy Star and EarthCraft completed projects. One of the more recent and challenging projects for Fortune-Johnson was a $49 million, 360-unit residential community, Circle at South End. This project will be one of only several wood-framed apartment structures in the country to seek LEED certification, a
“It has really only been in the last five years that we have seen the technology, products, and sustainable programs—like EarthCraft and LEED—converge at a point that makes large-scale, environmentally responsible housing and apartment communities economically feasible.” —Brett Fortune, Principal
challenge that keeps everyone involved with “handling certain unknowns and uncertainties,” Fortune says. “A lot of folks are also using this project as a bar to decide how feasible going green on apartments is.”
Performance, Durability, and Environmental Stewardship.
As part of the LEED construction process, Fortune and his team had to closely monitor and direct the waste management. “It was a daily reminder to not only have people keep the job site clean, but to also have them discard trash in the proper areas. Minor things like running to Home Depot or Lowe’s to pick up a little extra caulk, glue, paint, or filters was also closely monitored, because we did not want to be disqualified for applying something that wasn’t low-VOC or the wrong MERV rating by accident,” Fortune points out. For Fortune-Johnson, building a successful business means building relationships and “approaching every new project with the mentality of making it the first of many,” Fortune says. “We hope to serve as in-house builder, and this can only happen if the client feels they can trust us.” gb&d
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Birdseye Building Company Huntington, Vermont residential project directs firm to increase research and design of forward-looking sustainability concepts
by Peter Fretty regardless of profession, turning an interest into action within a career often requires an impetus. This was the case for Birdseye Building Company’s principal architect of design, Brian J. Mac, AIA, whose interest in sustainable design received a dramatic boost in 2004 when his firm seized the opportunity to work on researching, designing, and building an ecologically designed, future-looking farm and residence located on 1,300 acres in Huntington, Vermont.
“The Teal Farm project had a heavily laden green program in which everything we did had some hierarchy around sustainability. As a result, we became educated through the project in researching passive-solar design, materials, construction techniques, mechanical systems, and renewable-energy components that reflected this criteria,” Mac explains. “Even though it was only six years ago, at that time, finding appropriate materials, resources, and knowledge was a real adventure. Fortunately, today we are on a different end of the spectrum where we now have to sort through the array of options to find the best fit.” After working on the Teal Farm project and embracing the direct exposure to forward-looking sustainability concepts, Mac remains enthusiastic about incorporating green technologies into his projects. “I have always embraced the concept of passive sustainable design in terms of just approaching design in a way that responds to the environment. The layer on top of that becomes the idea of appropriately integrating sustainable technologies and materials into the projects,” he says. “A lot of how my experience with green has impacted my designs and implementation starts with embracing and ultimately empowering the project through all the characteristics of the site.” A 60-employee, value-added, full-service design-build company, the 26-year-old firm has been a member of USGBC since 2004. Birdseye is a true advocate of green design and primarily focuses on providing clients with
high-performance custom homes in the Northeastern United States. To date, Mac has integrated a wide spectrum of renewable-energy solutions into his designs including: solar-thermal hot-water systems, photovoltaic systems ranging between 15 and 25 kilowatts, wind towers, geothermal heating-and-cooling systems, and micro-hydro systems. Birdseye’s exploration into the use of micro-hydro systems is a prime example of Mac’s belief in localizing sustainable technologies. “In this specific instance, the client had an extraordinary landscape with natural drops in the topography, which offer a unique opportunity for creating energy-generating, moving water,” he explains. “Setting and context dictate what renewable systems are most appropriate. If you do not have sun, PV is not your answer; if you have a steady breeze, a wind tower may work.” Out of the many technologies available, the two areas Mac sees as having the most growth potential are both solar-powered technologies. “There is no question that the sun is the most powerful thing out there. PV is making great strides, and I am sure we will continue to see more adaptive uses as the latest advances reach the mainstream,” he says. “Continued advances in solarthermal hot-water systems are also exciting because you can heat water and the house with the same component.” Birdseye has also seen success salvaging, reclaiming, and reusing materials to avoid unnecessary material consumption, while also incorporating the old with the new in an architecturally pleasing manner. For instance, a recent project involved disassembling a three-story, timber-framed bank barn located in Ryegate, Vermont, and moving it 60 miles. “We then re-cut the frame and built a residence out of the reclaimed materials. By reerecting the structure, we not only saved resources, we also incorporated a piece of history into the project by utilizing the majority of the barn’s materials,” Mac explains.
Birdseye Building Company
Ecological Design The exterior-material palette for the Teal Farm residence consists of reclaimed and resawed redwood clapboard and reclaimed cypress logs. The home’s interior masonry features local granite and soapstone.
“A beautifully designed and executed home that has timeless character is the first step in the direction of sustainability. People will want to maintain it, renovate it, and keep the bones of it going.” —Brian J. Mac, Principal Architect of Design
Birdseye also employs an array of conservation-friendly construction processes ranging from spray-foam polyinsulation to triple-pane glass, when sensible. “When we talk about green building and design, we need to first focus on creating a tight envelope including high R-values in walls and windows and then sensibly factoring in the renewable-energy components,” he says. Going forward, Mac is excited about the momentous swing toward sustainability. “People are realizing that the payback is not only economically feasible, but it also contributes to being socially responsible,” he says. “A lot of what we have done with sustainability has been through architectural design and proven construction practices. A beautifully designed and executed home that has timeless character is the first step in the direction of sustainability. People will want to maintain it, renovate it, and keep the bones of it going.” gb&d
Buck O’Neill Builders, Inc. Embracing the idea of creating a sustainable future and an environment for healthful living by Anita R. Paul most new homeowners do not know much more about green-building practices than what they have researched online or heard about from friends or builders who claim to be green. What Buck O’Neill, president of Buck O’Neill Builders, Inc., gives them is an education. “We enlighten them on new technologies that are alternatives to industry standards,” he says of the clients for whom he builds high-end, sustainable homes. “I don’t sell ‘green.’ I offer sustainable alternatives. If you want to call it green, great.”
O’Neill’s idea of green building includes more than just installing low-flow toilets and recycling wood on the job site. His sustainable practices embrace the idea of creating a sustainable future and an environment for healthful living. Incorporating processes that support sustainability throughout an entire building project is critical to producing what Buck O’Neill Builders considers a green home. These processes range from using low-VOC paints to applying eco-friendly insulation and changing the concrete-mix design to minimize off-gassing. O’Neill explains that there are many different tiers to green building. On one level, there is the actual design and construction of a home. Equally important is the education of the homeowners; after all, they are the key to deciding whether to incorporate sustainable elements into the building. Similarly, the homeowner is responsible for ensuring that their ongoing activities in the home support sustainability. Although there are not many monetary incentives for incorporating green or sustainable elements into new homes in California’s San Francisco Bay Area—where the company is based—O’Neill does what he can to educate people about sustainable alternatives. “People want what they want, but they don’t want to wait five to ten years to recover the cost [of green features],” he says. “I’m a big proponent of small stepping stones; getting everyone more mindful of their day-to-day activities,” O’Neill says, referring not only to his clients, but also to his employees—all of whom are experienced and certified in sustainable building and have seen a lot of waste on other job sites. As a result, they make a conscious effort to incorporate environmentally responsible practices
WELCOME HOME This San Francisco home’s exterior features plaster castings, flex moulding, and low-VOC paints. Inside, prefinished bamboo covers the floor; FSC-certified wood was used for the trim, doors, and framework; and the ceiling trusses are reclaimed wood.
Buck O’Neill Builders, Inc.
“This is not a learning company; I only hire seasoned veterans who know how to do this kind of work.” —Buck O’Neill, President 89
such as reusing building materials, using local vendors to minimize a project’s carbon footprint, seeking sustainable alternatives from suppliers and subcontractors, and encouraging waste reduction on the job site and in the office. “We’re all tree huggers to an extent,” O’Neill says of his full-time staff, who all bring varied and valuable skills and interests to the job site. Experienced in modern design, Victorian restoration, solar-panel technology, and sustainable design, every one of the professionals at Buck O’Neill Builders understands the detail and expertise that goes into building or renovating a high-end sustainable residence. O’Neill has seen a decline in work since the downward shift in the economy. However, he says his company has thrived by staying small and relying on the experience of his staff. “This is not a learning company,” he says. “I only hire seasoned veterans who know how to do this kind of work.” Consequently, while other builders are scaling down, Buck O’Neill Builders expects more business. “We actually listen and we call back,” O’Neill explains. A simple and somewhat basic business principle, but one that often goes overlooked, even in good times. Despite what economic indicators might suggest, the
demand for luxury homes still exists, and the market is more aware than ever about the need for and the benefits of incorporating sustainable elements into a home. Fortunately for O’Neill, he is well positioned to take the market by storm. On schedule to complete three projects in 2011, one of the company’s newest prize homes is nearly a dream come true. With the owner opting for all green options, Buck O’Neill Builders has installed a vegetative roof, a rainwater-harvesting system, greywater recycling, xeriscape landscaping, and eco-friendly Aircrete insulation, among other green elements. During construction, the crew used reclaimed wood for truss designs throughout the house, certified wood for the entire framing package, and environmentally friendly sealants, caulks, and glues. When the project is complete, O’Neill anticipates it will earn LEED Silver certification at the minimum. Admittedly, O’Neill has experienced a learning curve as he educates clients about how to build to LEED standards, but he says it is all worth it. “Some would consider it a niche. I consider it good building,” he says. “It’s the way I was brought up in the trade.” gb&d
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1518 Pennsylvania Ave. SE (rear) Washington, D.C. 20003 gbdmagazine.com [p] 202.548.0404 [f] 202.548.0166 [m] firstname.lastname@example.org [w] www.pandpbuilders.com
P & P Construction Emphasizing renovations to reuse resources and create sustainable, healthful homes
by Thalia Aurinko-Mostow based out of the dc metro area, P & P Construction has been building toward the future and focusing on green design for six years. After years of work with the New York Police Department and as a special agent in the United States Secret Service, Nino Perrotta, owner and founder of P&P Construction, started working for his father-in-law’s business, Padula Construction, in 2003; he managed several multiunit building projects and he was hooked. In 2004, he opened P&P, which currently does about $3 million of business each year. For Perrotta and everyone at P&P, clients come first. Kelly Davies, design and project coordinator, believes that it is their desire to please their customers that keeps them busy and makes P&P one of the fastest growing businesses on Capitol Hill. “P&P’s best qualities are our customer service, strong attention to detail, and work ethic. We want to always make sure our clients know what they are getting in the end, and to make that happen we make many samples and vignettes of the finished product,” she explains. P&P is also known to take full days to walk their clients through showrooms, knowing that they can provide a greater level of satisfaction if their clients have felt and seen the items and materials in person. They also make a point to keep up daily correspondence by phone and email. As Davies says, “We always take a hand-holding approach.” Perrotta echoes this idea; for him, it’s about going above and beyond. “If we give the client a seven-month estimate, my goal will be to have it done by month six,” he says. “We try to be sensitive to our clients’ budgetary needs, give them realistic estimates, and then work within those budgets.” It is clear that Perrotta takes equally good care of his nine employees. Davies, who only joined P&P about a year ago, fresh out of her Masters program at Catholic University, really appreciates that Perrotta sends his employees to classes to continue their green education. “We are very privileged to have a boss who advocates for us to go to seminars and take classes to learn and become certified in all aspects of the business,” she explains.
ABOVE: Millwork designed by P&P often utilizes renewable bamboo—the firm’s kitchen designs also include eco-friendly countertops and Energy Star appliances.
It was Davies’ green education and prior experience that led Perrotta to bring her into the P&P family, and her experience made her an asset on their recent LEED Home project, The Gwilliam Residence, also known as the Eastern Market row home. The Gwilliam Residence is registered with the USGBC and is aiming for LEED Silver certification. The idea of making it a LEED home began with the client’s need for a healthful home—health issues from household mold, mildew, and
P & P Construction
“We love additions, because these types of projects incorporate both the old and the new. And, as a true believer in sustainable living as well as reducing our overall carbon footprint, this type of build out has a reasonable balance.” —Nino Perrotta, Owner & Founder
LEFT: This Washington, DC, residence features a bamboo kitchen made in P&P’s millshop, along with bamboo floors, eco-friendly
poor air circulation plagued the homeowner. In addition, the location, materials, and design also needed updating. “It was so bad the owner had to move out of the house a year before the renovation began,” Davies adds. This became a major motivation for P&P, who would eventually gut the entire home, leaving only the historic façade. “This house had so many major factors leading toward a sustainable renovation that P&P felt we should push to become LEED certified. With the help of a LEED Home Provider, Steven Winter Associates’ David Kaiser, we were able to meet and discuss the home in full detail and our initial review led us to qualifying for LEED Silver!”
countertops, and Energy Star appliances. RIGHT: Designed and built by P&P, this bathroom features
The Gwilliam Home isn’t the only LEED home project on P&P’s plate. They are also currently at work on another residence that has solar-electrical and geothermal heat sources as components to the home.
recycled-glass tile and high-efficiency, low-flow fixtures and fittings.
Of all the work they do, Perrotta prefers add-ons the best. “We love additions, because these types of projects incorporate both the old and the new. And, as a true believer
in sustainable living as well as reducing our overall carbon footprint, this type of build out has a reasonable balance,” he says. For him, having the ability to work with what is already there rather than “tearing down acres of land to build cookie cutters” is the most important part of his business and one of his favorite aspects of green building. Davies also enjoys additions, but, for her, kitchens are the real thrill. P&P has their own mill where they can build custom cabinets for their clients, meaning they are able to utilize every last bit of space. “We really get our clients the best bang for their buck this way. I love making use of space that is non-functional—which there is a lot of in Capitol Hill homes, townhouses, and other homes with small footprints.” There are only big things in P&P Construction’s future. With numerous NARI and National Chrysalis Awards, a Silver Custom Builder Award of Excellence, appearances on HGTV, and numerous mentions in The Washington Post, P&P can make quite a difference with their green building and their great drive. As Perrotta says, “I don’t believe in the words no, impossible, or tomorrow.” gb&d
Faust Contracting Company Using green-building principles to emphasize quality workmanship and design in 1970s, colonial-style home by Jamie Morgan being green is a simple concept turned hi-tech for business. In a world where debates about which windows to use and what insulation works best prevail, sometimes the importance of being green gets lost in an argument. However, all of the advances in energy efficiency were created for one purpose: to prevent waste and to conserve energy, heat, and money. In that manner, the green movement does not seem hi-tech; instead, it is a relatively established approach. Joe Jackson, owner of New Jersey-based Faust Contracting (FC2), comes from a long line of carpenters. His grandfather, father, and uncle were all professional contractors. Jackson and his wife started their business in 1985, and he’s applied the same simple values he learned as a child to his own work—whether a new home, a renovation, or a commercial project. “The whole concept of being green, and the reason that I enjoy it so much, is because it really is the fundamental way I was trained to build,” he says. “I was taught to always make the most out of materials.” Jackson has done exactly that on two of his most recent projects. In June of 2009, the company completed a project for a repeat client who wanted a major facelift for a 1970s, colonial-style home. The owners wanted a design that would expand the kitchen, overhaul the master-bedroom suite, and add a garden room, all while bringing in a flood of natural light and utilizing sustainable practices. Once plans were drawn, it was up to FC2 to deliver. Although the house was, as Jackson says, “chock full of mediocre construction and lighting,” he knew the job was perfect for his company.
ABOVE: Faust Contracting remodeled this home, originally built in the 1990s, to include a new, efficient insulation system. RIGHT: The master bathroom of the Chappel house looks out over the garden room and features custom cabinetry and locally made, concrete vanity tops and sinks.
FC2 created cove lighting to give the house a soft and inviting feel. It also fabricated custom-concrete countertops with integrated sinks and recycled-glass inserts. The concrete was locally made and mixed with collected rainwater, fly ash, and recycled glass—all of which made it less harsh for the environment. “The end result was a smashing success, and the owners love their new home. The process not only gave the home new life, but it also addressed some 35-year-old problems and minimized its impact on the environment in the process.”
Another recent project into which FC2 incorporated green design was a 9,500-square-foot commercial office space purchased by Jackson and James Monteforte, AIA. The building was in a great location, but needed work. The renovation included a new, efficient HVAC system, R-40 spray-foam insulation on the ceilings, and updated and energy-efficient lighting. They also used zero-percent-VOC finishes, FSC-certified plywood for
“The whole concept of being green, and the reason that I enjoy it so much, is because it really is the fundamental way I was trained to build. I was taught to always make the most out of materials.” —Joe Jackson, Owner
custom cabinetry, and flooring made with recycled materials. They also designed a rainwater-collection system used for irrigation. “We know that what was put into this renovation will pay off over the years,” says Jackson. “And hopefully it will inspire other builders who visit Jim’s office to always try and build as green as they can.” Whether or not others follow his lead, Jackson says he will always be committed to the building standards he was taught as a child. With every project, his workers look for ways to eliminate waste. Meticulously removing doors, cabinets, countertops, wood and metal studs, or anything else that can be refurbished and reused is common practice at his company. Jackson says his company stays true to the principles that have kept Faust Contracting in business for over two decades. “I think that the industry is at the point where there’s constantly going to be all kinds of newer and better products,” he says. “But a lot of this still gets back to the basics, which is good workmanship and good design, and that is the essence of building green.” gb&d
Some Things Never Go Out of Style Service, Selection, Knowledge & Savings
A Message from Builders’ General Supply Faust Contracting Company has been a customer of Builders’ General Supply for more than 20 years. Faust Contracting is one of our most loyal customers, and Builders’ General Supply has watched this company grow into one of the most reputable builders in the Monmouth County area. We are proud to have our name displayed at job sites associated with Faust Contract-
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ing. Faust purchases lumber, windows, and miscellaneous products from Builders’ General Supply. We only supply the best materials available, which is what Faust puts into every one of its projects.
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“The LEED-Platinum certified Alberici building is a phenomenal example of green design and a tribute to the spirit and intent of the LEED building-rating system. This iconic building will serve as a model for future generations of environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work.” —Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO, & Founding Chairman of the USGBC
Mackey Mitchell Architects Corporate headquarters project puts firm on the sustainability map, now extending eco-friendly designs to college campuses
by Sarah Lozanova for more than 40 years, Mackey Mitchell Architects (MMA) has been shaped by the guiding values created by Gene Mackey and Dan Mitchell: collaboration, responsiveness, curiosity, mutual trust, and lifelong learning. A commitment to these values has helped the company grow, innovate, and attract talent as greenbuilding innovators. Recently, the company took a trip to Peerless Landfill, a local construction-debris landfill in Valley Park, Missouri. Merrilee Hertlein, sustainability initiatives coordinator, describes the visit as eye-opening. What used to be productive farmland is now a mountain of trash more than 500 feet tall. “It was an opportunity to ask, ‘As architects and engineers, is this really the best we can do?’” she says.
ABOVE: At the time of certification in 2003, the Alberici Corporate Headquarters was the highest-scoring LEED Platinum building.
A fresh, innovative perspective is evident in MMA projects. Although its first energy-efficient project was completed in 1970, it was the LEED Platinum Alberici
Mackey Mitchell Architects
Corporate Headquarters that put MMA on the sustainability map in 2003. The project was the highest-scoring LEED Platinum building at the time, and it received a BusinessWeek/Architectural Record Good Design is Good Business award, which honors projects that exemplify innovative design while helping clients achieve strategic business goals. One of the most noteworthy effects of the Alberici project was its impact on its company culture. After occupying the building for several years, Alberici’s CEO reported that absenteeism was down by 50 percent, which represents a huge savings. Alberici’s new, open offices maximize natural daylight, thus creating a more collaborative environment. Hertlein also believes that green-building techniques create a ripple effect when they are evident to building occupants. “People who have never been exposed to sustainability or environmental issues are so impressed
by what they experience, and they take home with them what they learn. There’s an impact on a broader scale with employees and visitors,” she says. “Sustainable design generates an enthusiasm for the tangible solutions for environmental problems that exist, and each person can make a difference. “ Sustainable design can also have a huge impact on college campuses, where MMA has designed facilities for numerous universities, including Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Evansville, the University of Notre Dame, Emory University, University of Colorado–Boulder, the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point and –Madison, and the University of Rhode Island. These projects are particularly important because the current college generation is faced with solving urgent environmental problems. “These students are the policy makers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” Herlein says. “Students who would never be exposed to green buildings are now becoming familiar
Mackey Mitchell Architects
HEALTHIER WORKPLACES The design of the Alberici Corporate Headquarters features new, open offices that maximize natural daylight and creates a more collaborative environment. After Alberici employees occupied the space designed by Mackey Mitchell Architects for a number of years, it was reported that absenteeism was down by 50 percent.
with them on campus.” When MMA works on university projects, they often encourage students to save energy through residence-hall competitions. These experiences help raise awareness and encourage students to practice energy efficiency beyond the campus setting.
ABOVE: In keeping with Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville’s desire to become an environmentally friendly campus, the new Student Success Center features a 20,000-square-foot green roof.
MMA creates an environmental scorecard for every project, highlighting easily obtainable LEED points. This, combined with the firm’s guidebook, Think Green: 25 Ways to Green Your Project, encourages owners to make well-informed choices, which creates a ripple effect, with MMA as the green-building catalyst. Because the firm is involved in strategic meetings at the beginning of each project, it is in a position to encourage sustainable approaches and educate colleagues and clients on the longterm benefits over the life of a project.
Photography Courtesy of Fentress Photography
“These students are the policy makers, business minds, and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Students who may never be exposed to green buildings are now becoming familiar with them on campus.” —Merrilee Hertlein, Sustainability Initiatives Coordinator
Although construction costs are finite, operating costs continue for the life of a project. The Architecture 2030 campaign recently issued the 2030 Challenge, asking global architects and contractors to adopt targets for slowing the growth rate of greenhouse gases. Rising to the challenge, MMA is exploring opportunities to minimize and eliminate carbon-based, greenhouse-gas emissions, and the design of net-zero energy buildings. The firm is particularly interested in investigating and applying high-performance solutions across its portfolio of student-life and institutional clients.
The Value of Integration Form I Function I Fusion
Design Integration. The blending of architecture, engineering and technology design all working together to create a beautiful, functional, environmentally responsive space. Ross & Baruzzini’s commitment to design integration distinguishes us from the competition and offers true long term value to our clients. 99
Engineering Planning, Design & Consulting
MMA applies its sustainable-design philosophy to all projects, and it consistently promotes the education of its staff. Half the staff is LEED accredited, and MMA’s sustainability committee consistently reviews internal processes, from registering projects for LEED certification to exploring ways of reducing office waste. The company has been diligent about implementing new technologies in the architectural-design process to reduce its environmental footprint. “As designers,” Hertlein says, “it’s our responsibility to be good environmental stewards and lead the charge on how we affect the environment. We believe in leading by example.” gb&d A Message from Ross & Baruzzini Ross & Baruzzini has a long history of providing energy-efficient and sustainable-design options to our clients nationwide. This commitment to sustainability is rooted in our integrated approach to design and it is exemplified by the collaborative culture it has encouraged within our practices for over 50 years.
Cotter Ryan Construction Redefining commercial-construction traditions through a focus on sustainability with a new office and inner-departmental changes
by Jennifer Kirkland will turner, director of operations and LEED AP at Cotter Ryan Construction (CRC), enjoys his role as developer of green-building innovations and as someone who works to educate his industry about the benefits of sustainable construction. “It’s been a really fun process,” he says, “because as developer and contractor, we can make our own decisions to build things the right way, spend money on what will sell, and not waste resources on what doesn’t work.” Sustainable construction has been the focus at CRC for the past five years, but as Turner explains, “We are a traditional general contractor in an industry that is often slow to change.” CRC, based in Longwood, Florida, and founded in 1993, originally specialized in small commercial build-outs, but the small company of six employees has expanded to larger projects: 10,000- to 50,000square-foot commercial and retail buildings, medicaloffice buildings, schools, and multifamily-residential projects. As Turner points out, “One challenge in the traditional model is that it is difficult to introduce green concepts because the bidding process often forces us to stick with pre-existing plans. Green construction must
be part of the plan from the start. As much as possible, we now design and build our own green elements, which are easier to introduce during the design phase.”
ABOVE: Savannah Park, Cotter Ryan’s new office location in Lake Mary-Heathrow,
CRC’s green-building philosophy is best seen in the company’s Savannah Park office building in Lake MaryHeathrow, Florida—a 20,000-square-foot, mixed-use project that will not only house CRC’s own headquarters, but that has also been sustainably developed by the company from the beginning. Turner is proud not only of the many sustainable elements in the project, but also of the overwhelmingly positive public reaction to the handsome building. Sustainable construction materials and techniques were used during every phase of the development.
Florida, is one of the many steps Cotter Ryan has taken to increase its company’s sustainability efforts. Photo: Christina M. Turner.
Turner and CRC have been instrumental in fostering the development and growth of green construction in central Florida. “I’m most proud of how we use the construction process as a platform to educate our subcontractors on green processes,” he explains. “Most of them are so in the daily grind that new concepts tend to stay off their desks. But we’ve been able to get the word out. For example, as a contract requirement, we make our
“Because of our strong relationships with our clients, occupants gain the most. We add value to a project by thinking creatively and getting the best finished product available.” —Will Turner, Director of Operations
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Breslin Builders One-stop, design-build firm adds LEED certification and accreditation to resume with two-story Las Vegas office building
by Julie Schaeffer when it comes to one-stop shopping, Breslin Builders knows what it’s doing. For years, the Nevada general contractor has given its clients the option of having their buildings designed, estimated, and constructed by one team. Now, however, the company has taken that idea one step further: design, estimate, build, and obtain LEED certification.
Jack Breslin, a framer by trade, founded Breslin Builders in 1980 when he saw an opportunity to expand into larger projects. Today, the 35-person general-contracting business does private-sector work of all types in Nevada. “Anything you can imagine, we’ve build it,” says Todd McBrayer, director of design. “Radio communication towers, convenience stores, high-rise condominium buildings, office building, medical facilities.” The size of the company’s projects often varies; however, while Breslin is ideally suited for larger projects, McBrayer explains that it’s not afraid to take on smaller ones. “We’ll build an office building, then also go inside and do the tenant build outs,” he says. Breslin Builders’ design-build approach makes it unique. “Design-build typically means you have an architect and a contractor who come together to develop projects, but we take it a step further,” McBrayer explains. “We’re a onestop design-build shop. A client can come to us, and from the initial meeting all the way though construction— sometimes even through post-project maintenance—we handle everything in-house. Designers, estimators, and project managers are all onboard from the get-go.” The benefit, McBrayer says, is saved time and money. “Typically a client will get a set of plans from an architect, get a bid on those plans from a contractor, find out he or she can’t afford the building, then go back to the architect, who charges more to value engineer the project,” McBrayer explains. “We do all of that along the way. When I’m designing a building, I’m also bouncing ideas off the estimator and project manager to be sure I’m not going in a direction I shouldn’t from budget standpoint. I’m value engineering the project along the way.”
In 2004, the company began thinking about adding sustainable design and construction to its one-stop experience. At the time, it was working on a number of high-rise condominium projects in downtown Las Vegas, including Soho Lofts and Newport Lofts, and discussions arose about the possibility of getting them LEED certified.
ABOVE: The west exterior façade of the Durango Commons Office Building Two, a registered LEED-CS Silver v2.0 project, designed, constructed, and LEED administered
Although those projects did not gain LEED certification, Breslin Builders realized that to stay competitive in the industry, it would have to start offering sustainable services. “Being green today is like using CAD was a few years ago: if you didn’t learn it, you were left behind,” McBrayer says. “We view the green industry the same way. Right now, it gives us an advantage over our competitors, but in a few years will be a necessity.”
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The company’s first LEED project, currently near completion, is a 50,000-square-foot, two-story office building located on South Durango Drive in Las Vegas. The building, called Durango Commons Office Building Two, is a registered LEED for Core and Shell version 2.0 project, and Breslin Builders anticipates a LEED Silver rating.
LEFT: Breslin Builders oversaw design and provided construction services for the Soho Lofts Condominium project in downtown Las Vegas, NV. BELOW: The Third Street Promenade in downtown Las Vegas, for which Bresline provided design-build services, including the façade design for different restaurants and clubs along the street.
“Being green today is like using CAD was a few years ago: if you didn’t learn it, you were left behind. We view the green industry the same way.” —Todd McBrayer, Director of Design
If the firm’s experience on Durango Commons is any indication, it shouldn’t have trouble with future LEED projects. “The owner didn’t decide he wanted to go for LEED certification until we were halfway through the design, but we didn’t have to change much to obtain LEED Silver,” McBrayer says. “In fact, we just added a few small features, such as a bike rack.” That, McBrayer says, is because Breslin Builders always tries to design with the environment in mind. “We try to give our clients the most energy-efficient building we can within their budget, regardless of whether they’re seeking LEED certification,” he explains. gb&d
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Spacesmith LLC Firm’s focus on sustainability informed by urban context, reciprocated through design work for the public sector
by Chris Allsop jane smith, founding principal of Spacesmith, decided that her company’s name would reflect the fundamental principles underlying its work. “The name demonstrates that we’re engaged with the idea of craftsmanship and the master builder being a master of space,” Smith says. “And, coming from that place where the product is more precious than the builder’s ego, we think about the things that matter, such as attention to detail, sustainability, and the environment.” Prior to founding Spacesmith, Smith received a BA in architecture from Arizona State University and an MBA from the Stern School of Business in New York. She professionally cut her teeth working for a number of large corporate entities and a major architecture firm throughout the early 1980s. These experiences led to involvement in a lot of overseas projects, which required Smith to travel to various destinations worldwide—all at a relatively young age. In 1987, Smith decided to strike out on her own. “I realized early on that I had an entrepreneurial spirit,” she explains, “and I wanted to be in control and working on the kind of projects that I was interested in.” If one takes even a brief look at Spacesmith’s portfolio, it is more than clear that Smith and her team’s interests aren’t narrow. There is a breadth to the projects that the firm has completed. More than half of the company’s business to date has been composed of corporate interiors for Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, a feat not surprising for a company located in the center of New York City. “We have a lot of product situated where we are,” she says. “I think that is the wonderful thing about the urban environment—there is a sustainable element inherent in the cityscape.” The remainder of Spacesmith’s work is divided up between schools, both private and public, and the public sector. Following 9/11, Spacesmith was selected by the state for an ongoing contract to build all the space for local-government agencies in the five boroughs of Manhattan. “It was a great thing to be involved in helping to rebuild lower Manhattan,” Smith recalls, noting that since then, Spacesmith has continued to work in the public sector. Most recently, the company has worked with the New York Police Department, for which Spacesmith was contracted to design its Internal Affairs office.
ABOVE: Spacesmith designed MTV’s New York City headquarters. The design was inspired by the youth culture of the company.
Another of Spacesmith’s NYPD projects currently in design development is the 10,000-square-foot NYPD Auto
BIG CITY LIVING The conference room and elevator lobby at the MTV headquarters in Times Square. Modifications to the New York City space were kept to a minimum, yet the space was built to support an open and flexible working environment.
“I think that is the wonderful thing about the urban environment—there is a sustainable element inherent in the cityscape.” —Jane Smith, Founding Principal
Impound Facility at JFK Airport. Required to achieve LEED Silver—per the city’s directives—Spacesmith intends to utilize low-flow plumbing fixtures, white PVC roofing, FSC-certified wood products, gas-fired condensing boilers, recyclable metal siding (itself made from high-recycled content), and concrete imbued with flyash content. These measures should ensure that the firm meets the rigorous sustainability target. It’s a target Spacesmith knows it can hit, especially since the company is on track to receive LEED Gold for its work with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. The Brooklyn Tow Operations Building, an 11,000square-foot site completed in June of last year, included details such as low-VOC paints, adhesives, and finishes throughout, as well as a high-efficiency mechanical system to substantially reduce energy consumption. The final feature was important, because the structure is a facility that never sleeps. Alongside these environmentally friendly measures, Spacesmith also maximized daylight and views to the outdoors from public areas and workspaces and improved occupant comfort with operable windows within reach of every employee.
Though guidelines dictate that these measures be implemented—in the case of these two projects, and other LEED targets—Spacesmith’s environmental awareness is woven into the fabric of its company ethics, as demonstrated in 2009 when Spacesmith moved into new, self-built offices designed and constructed to its own sustainable guidelines. LEED-targeted projects are not the only ones that receive Spacesmith’s experienced attention, as highlighted by its work with one particular client: Part Of The Solution (POTS).
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POTS contracted Spacesmith to build its 15,000-squarefoot community pantry and soup kitchen in New York. The project, which is slated to begin construction in 2010, has a number of sustainable initiatives integrated into its design, including the reuse of salvaged wood from demolition, green-label plus carpets with high recycled content, and the adaptive reuse of the existing building shell. “What we do for a living,” Smith says, “impacts the health and well being of people. Beyond that, the product that we buy and put into a building, how that product gets to the site, its longevity and so forth, has an impact on the world. We don’t think there’s really a choice today on whether or not to be sustainable—it’s absolutely essential.” gb&d
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behind the buildings While responsible building is a focus for many homeowners and construction firms, the methods behind sustainability are often approached on a strict cost-benefit basis. These renewable technologies, however, make green design possibleâ€”the following companies push past the bottom line and create a culture of sustainability within and without the buildings in which they install their systems.
The Solutions MECHANICAL CONTRACTING Bay Mountain Air, p. 109 Harris Mechanical, p. 111 Energy Chicago Energy Solutions, p. 113 RECYCLING Frank Road Recycling Solutions, p. 116 Rain Harvesting FreeRain, p. 118
solutions: mechanical contracting
Bay mountain air HVAC specialist utilizes partnership and streamline processes to make energy savings more attractive to clients
By Kelli McElhinny in northern and central california, many homeowners and businesses are eligible for rebates and tax credits when they install more efficient heating-andcooling systems. Bay Mountain Air, a Campbell-based HVAC and mechanical design-build company, is helping its customers take advantage of that opportunity.
some 40 percent of a building’s costs are related to heating and cooling. The Eagle Oak Ranch, in Paso Robles, California, provides one such example of a serious reduction in its energy expenses. The ranch had been spending upwards of $265,000 in propane to supply energy to the irrigation wells that water the green pastures in which the ranch’s thoroughbred racing horses spend their days. After Bay Mountain converted the ranch system’s main power source to electricity and supplemented that with solar power, the ranch’s annual power costs dropped to $17,000.
Bay Mountain has developed a partnership with Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), the area’s utility provider, and local equipment suppliers to help clients maximize their savings. The PG&E partnership includes intensive training for Bay Mountain staff. Employees like Claudia Keelan and Phil Dore dedicate time to reviewing proposals for potential energy efficiency, energy savings, and rebates. Bay Mountain also includes the necessary re- “For the customer, it was a huge savings,” Lee says. He bate paperwork in its warranty package. adds that the ranch’s owners will recover their investment in just two or three years because of the massive Bay Mountain helps make energy-efficient upgrades cost reduction. more attractive to clients, who are often reluctant to commit to such a large initial investment. “PG&E and Another project involved the Rincon Gardens apartment suppliers do a good job of offsetting the cost of high-efficomplex, a local housing development for low-income ciency equipment,” says Frank Lee, Bay Mountain’s vice seniors. The Housing Authority of Santa Clara County, president of business development. “Some of those projwhich operates Rincon Gardens, initiated a project to ects wouldn’t come to fruition otherwise.” renovate the complex so that it would qualify for LEED status. As part of that effort, Bay Mountain equipped the PG&E representatives often accompany Bay Mountain complex with Mitsubishi City Multi air-conditioning personnel to client meetings so that the representatives units. Lee compares the technology to using just one air can provide information directly. conditioner to cool 16 apartments, which still are able to regulate the temperature separately. “You could instantly When biotechnology firm Teknova retained Bay Mounsee the power consumption reduction,” he says. tain to develop a cool-storage unit for its biologicalgrowth-media product, the PG&E and supplier partBay Mountain also offers complete energy audits and nership was put to work. Not only was Bay Mountain evaluations, in addition to implementing the modificaable to develop the unit around the PG&E incentive tions necessary to cut down on energy consumption. program, the company also brought PG&E in to look Although it is small, the company’s size has not been an at Teknova’s electricity rates. PG&E gave Teknova a obstacle to seeking out and securing larger projects. Lee lower per-watt rate that saved the company a significant explains that as a Small Business Association member, amount on its electric bill. Bay Mountain has saved thousands of dollars with incentives on stimulus projects all other the state. Beyond the PG&E incentives and supplier discounts, Bay Mountain’s projects have saved numerous clients “Being a certified small business not only gives us the flexan overwhelming amount of energy costs. Because the ibility for resources like loans, bonding, and insurance,” company addresses HVAC needs, it is poised to reduce Lee notes, “but it also helps customers use savings for building-maintenance expenditures. According to Lee, energy-efficiency goals.” gb&d
Opposite page: Bay Mountain Air employees supervise a crane lift of a high-efficiency commercial HVAC unit.
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solutions: mechanical contracting
Harris Mechanical Forward-thinking CEO pushes for company to embrace sustainability through client work and internal initiatives
by Kelli McElhinny harris mechanical may be a traditional mechanical contractor, but its company philosophy is anything but conventional. Behind the leadership of a forward-thinking CEO and contributions from employees committed to innovation, the St. Paul, Minnesota-based firm has developed a sustainability focus that is unmatched by many competitors. “We’ve shown some successes, and that’s what it takes to change a culture,” says Keela Bakken, service sales manager at Harris. In fact, CEO Greg Hosch made sustainability the company’s goal for 2008—Harris sought out more projects that presented opportunities for increased energy efficiency, and sustainability goals were discussed at every staff meeting. “Every division has changed how they do business and looks for ways to contribute to the sustainability initiative,” Bakken says.
The company has engineered environmentally friendly processes in unexpected venues, like municipal ice arenas. “They’re aging facilities with room to reduce energy consumption,” Bakken points out, adding that those buildings consume massive amounts of water and energy. In 2007, Harris acquired a company called TRAK International, which facilitated its entry into the ice-arena market. The ice-making process creates a significant amount of heat, which can be put back into the earth and reused for heating the facility or for other purposes. In one of Harris’ projects, the heat was redirected through the arena’s metal benches to provide spectator comfort. A piece of Minnesota state legislation has also helped Harris Mechanical develop more business. It established performance contracting, in which the company guarantees the energy savings expected from their work. If the goal is not reached, Harris covers the cost difference on behalf of the client.
ABOVE: Solar-panel installation at St. Joseph’s Catholic School.
Another important area of Harris’ Mechanical’s environmental effort is its biomass business. “We see that as an upcoming market,” says Nick Rosenberry, Harris’ director of sustainability. One biomass project involved developing a process that allowed an ethanol plant to combust a syrup byproduct of the production process and generate heat to create the steam that powers the plant.
RIGHT: TCF Bank Stadium, where Harris Mechanical also installed a solar-panel system. Photo: Steve Bergerson of Bergerson Photography.
“We’re hypocritical if we don’t hold ourselves to the same standards we hold our clients to.” —Nick Rosenberry, Director of Sustainability
Rosenberry said that the plant owner cut about half the natural-gas costs over the past five years thanks to the process, which has been patented by Harris Mechanical.
In all of Harris’ endeavors, client education is an important piece of the company’s success. Rosenberry emphasizes that clients need to take a long-term view of their initial construction investment, which can seem overwhelming at first glance but is recovered over time. “Having clients educated about the bottom line helps their lifecycle costs,” he says. Harris has devoted nearly as much attention to its internal sustainability initiatives as it has to identifying potential clients with green goals. “We’re hypocritical if we don’t hold ourselves to the same standards we hold our clients to,” Rosenberry says. The company took steps to reduce its energy consumption, installing new boilers that are easier to control and using photo sensors on the windows to determine when overhead lights need to be on. These changes will allow Harris to apply for an Energy Star rating and continue to pursue LEED certification. Other internal sustainability efforts include composting waste and encouraging employee recycling. Rosenberry notes that the company reduced waste by 67 percent over a recent four-month period.
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Harris’ employees have also been an important part of the sustainability equation. The company’s structure encourages creativity. “This is a flat organization. If you show initiative and think outside of the box, people will support you to try new things,” Bakken says. Those employees are also encouraged to educate themselves on sustainability. Harris Mechanical has made a concerted effort to increase the number of LEED APs among its staff. Bakken and Rosenberry both have their accreditation—bringing the company total of LEED APs to 41. gb&d
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Chicago Energy Solutions Redefining renewable energy to affordable solutions for public, commercial, and residential clients
by Jennifer Kirkland “i feel like i’m doing something positive when I’m doing these renewable energy projects—I’m contributing to the greater good,” says Nick Patinkin, president of Chicago Energy Solutions (CES). CES is a small, Chicago-based company that specializes in applying sustainable energy technology to increase the energy efficiency and long-term energy savings for public, commercial, and residential clients. The company conducts energy audits, assists clients in energy-risk management, acts as a general contractor for the installation of cleanand renewable-energy systems, and sometimes sells energy-conservation products to clients, such as GreenSwitch outlets and switches, LED-lighting systems, and water-conservation systems. CES’s recent projects include contracts with the Chicago Public Schools to install a 105-panel solar-thermal poolheating system. Solar-thermal systems produce energy for the storage and heating of water and air, and are ideal for cheaply heating large public-swimming pools. CES
installed a four-panel rooftop solar-thermal system at the Chicago Park District’s Willye B. White Community Center on Chicago’s far North Side. This contract led to a design review of several Chicago Park District solarthermal systems, reducing the estimated cost of installation and saving the park district as much as $500,000. The energy savings of CES’s audits and installations are expected to increase annually for the next dozen years. Another public project is at the water-treatment plant in Evanston, Illinois, north of Chicago, where CES is installing a solar-photovoltaic system, which will generate 25 kilowatts of electricity for the facility.
ABOVE: CES recently installed a 105 solarthermal pool-heating system for Chicago Public Schools. This system is ideal for cheaply heating large public-swimming pools.
Patinkin says that most of his company’s recent projects are for public clients, because, in the current recession, that is where the money is and public facilities inherently have a long-term interest in managing their energy costs. “Many of my battles are getting people to think long term,” he explains. Most owners want to see a quick turnaround, “a 50-percent savings in two years
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instead of a more realistic 10-percent savings over 10 or 15 years.” He believes the cheapest way to conserve energy is to do energy audits to improve overall efficiency; if business owners do not see immediate and significant savings, however, they usually are not interested in an audit, and ultimately commit themselves to higher longterm spending. Patinkin has strong opinions about the way energy is managed today and the way it should be managed tomorrow. “I watched President Obama’s State of the Union Address with great interest,” he says. “But I disagree that drilling for more oil is the way to energy security. The US military, China, and all of Europe look at renewable energy not as a climate issue, but as an energy-security and price-control opportunity. In the United States, we spend too much time debating the climate-change aspect, and not nearly enough time talking about energy security and price security. By increasing the first two, the third is pulled along with it. So the idea to drill for more oil is not the solution to long-term energy security, unless we are interested in nationalizing our oil companies like the Chinese and Russians have.”
Patinkin feels that the world’s energy crisis will be solved by the intelligent application of every option. “I’m not a fan of nuclear energy,” he says, “be we should absolutely look at it. The world is yearning for more oil, but if we continue to consume oil at the current rate, it will become exponentially more expensive. So we have to make smart choices.”
“I feel like I’m doing something positive when I’m doing these renewable energy projects—I’m contributing to the greater good.” —Nick Patinkin, President
Patinkin believes his company’s small size, as well as its dynamic relationships with his competitors, gives CES a competitive advantage. “We do things they can’t do, and they do things we can’t do,” he explains, “so this ‘co-op-itition’ benefits us all.” Patinkin also credits his suppliers and subcontractors, saying, “We can bring in top-notch people on a contractual basis to meet the specific needs of our clients.” These relationships foster a high degree of loyalty, not only among CES’s subcontractors, but among its clients as well. All of this bodes well for a bright future for Chicago Energy Solutions. gb&d
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Frank Road Recycling Solutions Innovation and growing acceptance of construction waste reuse means growth for debris-disposal firm By Daniel Duggan when one thinks about construction or demolition sites, “green” usually isn’t the first word that comes to mind. But for Joe Loewendick, who was taught by his father and grandfather that everything has a value, it does. To Loewendick, green “is finding a use that creates value, so that we can reuse or recycle.” Loewendick is one of the owners of Frank Road Recycling Solutions, a construction-and-demolition-debris recycling-and-disposal company with a focus on recycling the materials that are being created by the development in the Columbus area.
Frank Road Recycling is a division of the Loewendick family of companies, a family that has been involved with recycling and waste disposal for more than 80 years. Throughout the past few years Frank Road Recycling has directed its growth efforts to providing services for projects seeking LEED certification. As part of the USGBC’s program, a project gets points toward its level of certification based on recycling materials from the work site. An example is the Lazarus Building Rehab, a LEED Core-and-Shell pilot project for the City of Columbus. Through renovation, the project saved an estimated $25 million. In achieving LEED Gold certification, the development project also boasted its green elements, including the fact that more than 75 percent of all construction waste was recycled. “Every light bulb, every ballast had to be recycled,” Lowendick says, noting that the project is a highlight for the company. Beyond LEED standards, Loewendick gets requests from companies that have a recycling goal in mind. “Companies will say that they want 50 percent, 75 percent recycled,” he says. For instance, the demolition of the Columbus City Center had a goal of recycling more than 80 percent of the materials. “We’re getting a lot more requests, seeing more LEED projects—or projects with specific goals to recycle—especially as the larger contractors and owners are seeking to include
construction-and-demolition recycling on every project,” Loewendick notes.
ABOVE: Frank Road Recycling’s 2009 recycling efforts saved
Frank Road Recycling has been working from its current location since 2002, recycling materials as an alternative to using landfill space.
enough energy to power 750 homes.
In 2009, the company recycled enough material to save the energy to power 750 homes, up from 500 homes in 2007, and enough wood to save 2,000 trees, up from 1,000 in 2007. “We have diverted more material in 2009 than in previous years,” says Mike Dinneen, marketing coordinator for Frank Road Recycling. “But we’ve done this by recycling a larger percentage of the material.” The key to running a successful recycling operation is having long-term relationships with companies who can accept the raw materials after they are diverted from disposal. As the trend to recycle grows, Frank Road Recycling has found it easier to create these relationships as more dealers are interested in accepting raw materials. Some markets such as steel, paper, light bulbs, mechanicals, concrete, and asphalt are stable and have reliability in the market. Some markets may include a cost to recycle materials, but occasionally—in about one quarter of the jobs—prices of materials and costs
Frank Road Recycling Solutions
“We have diverted more material in 2009 than in previous years, but we’ve done this by recycling a larger percentage of the material.” —Mike Dinneen, Marketing Coordinator
make it possible to demolish a structure, truck away the debris, and not charge the client at all. But typically, this only is possible with buildings that are largely made of steel, Loewendick says.
Requests for LEED points is an area where Loewendick expects growth for the firm. Frank Road Recycling has begun business-development efforts in areas outside its home base of Columbus to find LEED projects, since they automatically lend themselves to the company’s expertise. While the recycling of construction waste has recently become a trend for Frank Road Recycling, the family has been recycling in one way or another since 1929. “That’s how my grandfather ran this business,” Loewendick says. “He’d pull a nail out of a board, save the squeak in one hand, and the nail in the other.” gb&d
• Steel is the most recycled material in the US • Steel makers recycle 68%+ of steel produced • Ohio is the second largest steel producing state in the US • Recycling 1 lb. of steel is enough to light a 60-watt bulb for more than one day • Recycling plastics into new products saves about 50% of the energy used to make new products • 1 ton of recycled paper saves 462 gallons of oil 117 Source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Since 1986, Alternative Business Systems, LLC (ABS) has been the Single Source Technology Partner of choice for Frank Road Recycling Solutions, providing Network Infrastructure services as well as partnering with Open Systems, Inc.(OSI) to provide Business Automation, Operations, and Accounting software. Frank Road Recycling Solutions recently upgraded their line of business software to the OSI TRAVERSE product. ABS and OSI provide customer centric solutions to S.G. Loewendick & Sons, Inc. and Central Ohio Contractors, Inc., i.e. - Wrecking/Demolition, Landﬁll, Transfer Station, Rolloff Container Tracking, and Equipment Maintenance with full back-ofﬁce integration, weight scales, and automatic fuel system interface. For more information call 866-447-0060, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the ABS web site at www.altbussys.com/gogreen.
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solutions: rain harvesting
FreeRain Providing alternative water solutions, saving clients millions of gallons each year
by Zach Baliva
americans use close to 410 billion gallons of water per day, and population demand is a major component of that enormous water demand. North Carolina, where residents use 100–150 gallons per person per day, is ranked sixth for percentage population growth in America. The state is also home to FreeRain, a private company that provides turnkey solutions for rainwater harvesting. FreeRain has its origins in founder Rex Bost’s Bost Custom Homes. Bost, who twenty years ago installed a rainwater-harvesting system at his own home, started offering rain harvesting for his high-end clients in 2000 with the launch of FreeRain. Kevin Cochran, director of business development, says drought conditions, population growth, the green movement, and LEED construction have catalyzed interest with commercial, military, and municipal clients. The company specializes in complete design-build installation of large underground-storage tanks that range in size from 3,000 to 200,000 gallons. Water is collected, filtered, and used for irrigation, flushing toilets, washing, and in the cooling towers of commercial chillers. Cochran says his company sizes each system to reduce a client’s water bill by at least 50 percent. As water costs in some major cities are up by nearly 60 percent over the past three years, many commercial clients are recognizing the need for an alternative, and rainwater harvesting is emerging as a viable option. Although systems are site-specific, FreeRain’s solutions cost between two and five dollars per gallon of water stored. For example, one recent 50,000-gallon solution sold for $148,000.00, or $2.96 per gallon for an installed turnkey solution. In some cases, clients can see a return five to seven years. The factors affecting water supply continue to increase, and Cochran says there may not be an option superior to rainwater harvesting. “Today, water hits the ground, gathers impurities, and runs into our streams and rivers. Then, we spend millions of dollars to purify and pump it throughout the system so that we can flush a toilet with clean water.” Cochran says. “Alternatively, we can install a rainwater harvesting system, catch the
water right there on the property, treat it appropriately, and use it for all non-potable uses. Rainwater harvesting is the only thing that makes sense.” Demand will continue to rise along with the growing population, and Cochran believes it is unrealistic or impossible to find new aquifers and build new treatment facilities quickly enough. Cochran came to FreeRain after working as a realestate developer, and he approaches his work from an owner’s perspective. “I know that an owner wants to explore rainwater harvesting for its marketing and cost-savings properties,” he says, adding that part of his job is educating owners, architects, engineers, and his peers. His goal is to help architects and engineers discover how rainwater harvesting fits into their overall stormwater-management plans. Cochran often meets with individuals and groups such as the USGBC and the Triangle Green Building Council to promote the concept. “Every new development has a stormwater-management plan to treat and detain water. Rainwater harvesting contributes to stormwater quality and quantity control and is an essential element of any new plan,” he says. Although some city- and state-government regulators give owners credit for including rainwater harvesting, FreeRain is pushing for more water-quality divisions to revise their regulations and make rainwater harvesting more attractive to local developers. FreeRain has completed 40 projects in the last 10 years, and Cochran expects that number to rise dramatically as LEED and sustainable projects get approved and pushed forward on a more regular basis. The company recently installed an advanced drainage system for irrigation at a two-acre soccer field at the North Raleigh
“We can install a rainwater-harvesting system, catch the water right there on the property, treat it appropriately, and use it for all non-potable uses.” —Kevin Cochran, Director of Business Development
The Benefits of Rain-Harvesting Solutions
el is c M
typical office building
Water usage in a
Installing rainwater-reclamation systems for both public and domestic buildings can save more than 500 million gallons of water a year. While the technology is becoming increasingly popular, and more than 90 percent of water use is for non-potable purposes, rainwater-reclamation is still a technology little discussed by the general public.
Christian Academy. All water captured on site will go into a 20,000-gallon tank and be the first water used for irrigation. Last year, FreeRain helped one client save $200,000 in water costs with a 22,000-gallon rainwater system. The LEED Silver project consisted of 54 condos in Durham, North Carolina. While original specs called for underground filters and a pond to manage stormwater at a cost of $360,000, FreeRain was able to install its system for much less. Collected rainwater irrigates the site and recharges constructed wetlands. Water conservation issues are here to stay, and FreeRain expects to find more and more customers in the next several years. “If you think water will always cost a half-cent per gallon, you’re dreaming,” Cochran says. “It’s a simple supply-and-demand equation. Everyone needs water every single day, but 90 percent of water used in commercial properties is in applications that do not require potable drinking water. An alternative water source not only helps the environment, it helps a company’s bottom line.” gb&d
Innovation for the future Precast Concrete Rain Harvesting Systems Waste water systems 119 Grease Interceptors Stormwater boxes and Culverts BTS A Green Company
Blackwelder Tank Service, Inc. 121 Stanton Hill Road Carthage, NC 28327 919-718-5181 blackweldertank.com
from the inside out With the inception of LEED for Commercial Interiors, the creation of internal building systems became as important as tight building envelopes, geothermal systems, and solar panelsâ€”and even more visible. Through the use of low-VOC building products, smart interior design, and a focus on aesthetics, the following companies create sustainable interiors that enhance building function.
Brooklyn Interiors, Inc. Creating sustainable, acoustical interiors with a focus on customer involvement
by Jamie Morgan few companies specialize in constructing broadcast studios and sound-production facilities. Out of those that do, there are even fewer that do it well—still fewer that do it with sustainability in mind. Brooklyn Interiors, Inc. is one of the few. Dennis Darcy founded the company in 2000 after running a busy contracting business that managed a range of projects. “In New York City, competition in the field and exposure to a greater public was tough,” he says. “I wasn’t making much money even though I was working consistently.” So, ten years ago Darcy decided to demand top premiums in exchange for his quality work, and, since then, business has been as it should be: busy and profitable.
The gathering area for Democracy Now!, a Brooklyn Interiors project, where TV and radio guests and workers meet and greet before and after the station’s broadcast.
Today, Darcy still works on a variety of commercial projects, but he says 90 percent of his work is in studio building. With each design, Darcy, who is also a LEED AP, incorporates as many green elements as possible. Lighting controls and mechanical systems are scrutinized to weed out inferior products. Often, they will salvage building material or interior items from an old building to be used in its new design. The company also uses low-VOC and recycled-content materials during construction. Recently, the company utilized all of these practices and more in a new broadcast studio for Democracy Now!— an independent, daily, news-radio and television show. “With the help of other companies like HMBA Consultants for the acoustical aspect, Diversified Systems working on wiring and media integration, Copper Mechanical tending to the plumbing and sprinkler systems, and Acoustic Sound taking care of the sound attenuation and fabric walls, Brooklyn Interiors was able to take this former printing house to a state-of-the art studio,” Darcy
Brooklyn Interiors, Inc.
SPACE REVAMP The Democracy Now! break room features bookshelves made from chestnut wood that was reclaimed from a Pennsylvania dairy barn, as well as used and donated furniture and large amounts of natural sunlight.
“I am growing my business by exposing more of my sustainable building practices and letting people know that it does not have to cost more. The effort is only in motivation.”
—Dennis Darcy, Founder
notes. The studio was once a printing house, so the team was able to refurbish and re-source its factory-style windows for office walls, allowing natural light to permeate throughout the building into workspaces. The studio is expected to receive a LEED-CI Platinum certification. However, when construction began, the owners and design team were aiming for a LEED Silver designation. That changed with the use of a tracking system Darcy created. With this system, he was able to upload all documentation into a live Excel sheet that traced exactly what certification level the project had reached at any time. “It helps guide you to know where your efforts need to be concentrated,” says Darcy. “By utilizing the processes we set forth for Democracy Now! we were able to turn a forecasted Silver certification a into Platinum hopeful.” Since the tracking system proved to be such a success for his own project, Darcy decided to start a consulting firm
interiors as well, Green Simple. He describes the firm as a “one stop company for LEED-certified projects.” Along with the live-tracking system, Darcy says companies will have access to the best vendors with the best products available. They will also provide one-on-one consulting to address client’s questions and concerns, helping to guide each owner to the highest possible LEED certification. It’s an open, honest system that keeps customers informed every step of the way, and it’s exactly how Darcy likes to conduct his business. Whether it’s dealing with subcontractors, picking which products to use, or determining the building schedule, Darcy says communicating with his clients is crucial to his business’ success. For example, when it comes to budget concerns, each client can access a project-specific Web site that displays the project’s expenses, quotes, change orders, and time sheets. The customer can see exactly where and how their money is being spent. “In this way, boundaries are removed, and they are replaced with trust,” Darcy says. “With that confidence from the customer, I can manage with greater autonomy which leads to greater efficiency and, many times, projects that come in below budget and under schedule.” With simple and disciplined business practices, Darcy says he has stayed busy even during the recession. In fact, Darcy says that Brooklyn Interiors is becoming a premier acoustical builder in New York, and Green Simple is well on its way to being the go-to company for LEED-certified projects. “I am growing my business by exposing more of my sustainable building practices and letting people know that it does not have to cost more,” he says. “The effort is only in motivation.” gb&d
Turning Old into New Brooklyn Interiors utilized multiple partnerships and a customtracking system to ensure the use of superior, sustainable products in the renovated former printing house that is now the state-of-the art studios for Democracy Now! The 100-percent recycled denim insulation (right) is equal to or better than sound attenuation blankets used normally for sound studios.
173 West 81st St. New York, NY 10024 T: 212-874-0214 F: 212-874-1482 www.hmb-a.com A Message from Copper Mechanical Copper Mechanical has been in business for more than 10 years and is proud of its extensive, working relationship with Brooklyn Interiors. We offer quality work performed in a professional manner. Copper Mechanical seeks to form relationships upon which to build for the future and meet demands of today’s clients. A Message From Acoustic Sound Acoustic Sound Company is an installer of high-quality, highend sound-absorptive panels with stretched fabric to match your every design or color scheme. Each installer is highly trained with over 10 years of experience. Stretched fabric panels are perfect for home theaters, conference rooms or any area, commercial or residential, where sound is an issue.
At Harvey Marshall Berling Associates, you will ﬁnd specialists in Acoustics, Broadcast, Information Technology and Theater Consulting. By offering this unique, highly integrated suite of consulting services in one ﬁrm, we provide the highest level of service, coordination and efﬁciency for projects of any size and complexity. july/august 2010
High Quality Service Meets Environmental Respect
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Copper Mechancial is focused on energy efficiency & water saving technologies. 124
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COM M ERC I A L july/august 2010
RESI D EN T I A L
Bear Construction Company Staying power of sustainable practices entices staff to remain at the forefront of green technology and LEED requirements for commercial interiors
by Zach Baliva three brothers—nick, george, and jim wienold— started Bear Construction Company in 1984. Over the last 26 years, the firm has experienced several periods of rapid growth. Originally a carpentry contractor, the company evolved into a full-service general contractor serving the commercial market. Then, a growing client base required a new office space as the firm ventured into the medical and communications fields. Today, environmentally friendly practices and LEED projects are helping the Illinois business expand once more. Scott Kurinsky, senior vice president, joined Bear Construction in 1987, and has helped the company stay at the forefront of the green-building movement for the past five years. “Prior to 2005, commercial contractors didn’t talk much about green construction unless they were talking to a client with specific needs,” Kurinsky says. “If there were savings that happened to be green then that was great to promote, but the focus in our industry has shifted. Owners are now often actually willing to pay premiums for environmentally friendly practices.” Although the availability of green materials and acceptance of sustainable practices means that the cost of building green are considerably lower than they were five years ago, the LEED process still carries a small premium when it comes to overhead and administration. Kurinsky has found that the added cost is not stopping many of his clients. “We have a lot of commercial and institutional clients with green initiatives, and it’s no longer hard to be a lot more green with methods, procedures, waste disposal, material selections—everything,” he says. “Cost continues to drop because demand is there.” In 2008, workforce-development giant CareerBuilder called upon Bear Construction to help the company’s Chicago headquarters achieve LEED status. The
150,000-square-foot project represents Bear Construction’s largest LEED job to date. CareerBuilder is a fastgrowing company that must stay flexible to accommodate staffing and industry changes on a constant basis. Thus, Kurinsky knew he would have to make the space as flexible as possible. Operable furniture partitions, limited use of drywall, and an innovative raised floor all addressed the issue. The floor, made completely of recycled products, lifts the entire workspace so stations can be moved without new floors or wiring. Kurinsky says that his team handled the job in several phases to minimize disturbances for existing occupants. Work was completed in 10 months despite the challenge of working within an existing building. “When doing a LEED project at an existing building, you’re often limited by components that can’t be changed,” he explains. “We addressed sustainability everywhere we could.” The site features recycled carpet and rubber flooring, local materials, and efficient lighting. Additionally, moveable furniture walls were erected to full height, adjacent to the existing curtain wall to lower noise levels from the passing Chicago ‘L’ trains—lowering decibel levels by roughly 50 percent. Bear Construction has completed several interiors in the downtown area’s Merchandise Mart. In 2007, the 4,000,000-square-foot shopping center received LEED Silver recognition. Now, Bear Construction employees work with the building’s clients to improve on a good foundation. Bear Construction recently completed a LEED Gold job for Merchandise Mart tenant Mohawk
ABOVE: The reception area for Mohawk Group, a Bear Construction project, located in Chicago’s famous Merchandise Mart.
Bear Construction Company
“If you can do something two ways—where one is good for environment and one is not—then why not do it the good way?” —Scott Kurinsky, Senior Vice President
LEFT: The Charles Schwab location on Michigan Avenue in Chicago features a daylight-harvesting design and is the investment corporation’s first LEED-certified office in the United States. RIGHT: Interior of The Mohawk Group showroom in Chicago.
Industries. The 10-week renovation included recycled flooring, low-VOC paints, and local materials. Another high-profile client, Charles Schwab, came to Bear wanting LEED certification and other specific design elements, including a daylight-harvesting system. The project, located on Michigan Avenue, is Schwab’s first LEED building in the United States and was completed in July 2009. Companies like Schwab, Kurinsky says, are calling upon him with increased frequency. “Sustainability is mainstream now,” he says. “If you can do something two ways—where one is good for environment, and one is not—then why not do it the good way?” With nine LEED APs and several other project managers who
have studied LEED manuals, Kurinsky says his team is ready to meet all green-building needs. “We see it as an area of ongoing training,” he adds. “We attend seminars and events all the time, and are active members of the USGBC. This is not a fad that’s going away.” Sustainability’s staying power has made Kurinsky’s job easier—he doesn’t have to convince his employees to receive the additional training. “It’s easy to get our staff motivated because we see green building as the way of the future,” he says. “If you want to be competitive, it’s what you have to do.” Bear Construction is a company that has always grown and changed with the marketplace. As green demand continues to increase, experience and expertise in sustainable construction will help the team grow again. gb&d
architect to watch
of Archi-Tectonics Redefining sustainability as an inherent part of good design
by Jennifer Kirkland growing up in the netherlands, Winka Dubbeldam, founder and principal of Archi-Tectonics, learned that good, sustainable design is a natural outcome of responsible creativity and just the way things should be done. Buildings in Europe are generally designed and constructed with greater care and with higher-quality materials than most American buildings. Dubbeldam saw the difference when she moved to New York in the early 1990s to pursue postgraduate studies at Columbia University. “In New York, in the ’80s, buildings were really taken over by developers who had the idea that you spend the least amount of money and build it as fast as you can,” she explains, “so quality went really down. A lot of buildings were just built out of foam; the maintenance for these buildings was huge; and materials were really cheap, so you could hear everything the neighbors did. No one built this way in Europe.” >
architect to watch
BELOW: The façade of this 11-story, mixed-use building in New York City was custom designed and manufactured with bent glazing. Photo: Floto and Warner. RIGHT: The rear of the Cibani townhouse was a renovation and 500-square-foot extension of an exisiting landmark home. OPPOSITE PAGE: This design green roof-wall continuation won first place in the design competition for A Sustainable Neighborhood, Staten Island.
So when Dubbeldam founded Archi-Tectonics in 1994, she instilled in the firm a natural vision: to design each project in the most responsible way, to create lasting and sustainable buildings with an emphasis on the human environment, and to use natural materials. Her small company of 15 employees soon established its reputation for unique and innovative designs of residential, commercial, and renovation projects. “We’re known for using natural materials and finishes,” she says. “But it’s for the design that we stand out, not just for being green. If you’re a driver who can’t use the gears, you’re not a good driver; and if you can’t design responsibly, you’re not a good architect.” Dubbeldam believes good design is the most important aspect of any project, whether the client is going for LEED certification or not. “It’s important to us that design is part of it,” she explains. “A lot of the time, people think they are building green, but if it’s not part of the design, then they are not.” She takes pride in the fact that all of Archi-Tectonics’s projects are designed and constructed
architect to watch
“We want to make buildings more intelligent. We’ve always been interested in seeing how buildings evolve and how our living environments change.” —Winka Dubbeldam, Founder & Principal
responsibly. “All of them are very well insulated,” she says. “We work with very natural materials, which over time will leak no toxic paint or off-gas. We work in that way, which is the normal way to build. To me, it’s our standard. I always think ‘Don’t build what you don’t want to live in yourself.’” Dubbeldam’s philosophy stands out in all of her projects. The Greenwich Street Project, for example, was a gut renovation of an old six-story warehouse that redefined a traditional commercial design into a modern luxury condo, with a new elevenstory concrete and glass building wrapping around and over it. Dubbeldam realigned the structure’s façade by inserting diagonal surface-folds across the glass façade plane, creating new spaces. The new penthouse uses wood and glass to create stunning views of the Hudson River. Another example of Dubbeldam’s design philosophy is the Vestry Building in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood—a building Dubbeldam describes as one of her pet projects.
This building, which includes seven luxury condos, takes full advantage of its urban location and features a pixelated façade of stone, translucent stone, and glass on the building’s north side. Cantilevered glass sets back the visible plane at three levels, and recessed balconies provide natural shade. The building’s south side features special insulated glass that blocks 60 percent of incoming solar energy during warm months and absorbs solar energy during cold months. Another gut renovation project currently underway is in New York’s Little Italy neighborhood, and it will be the first LEED Gold-certified renovation in Manhattan. The list of Archi-Tectonics’ innovative projects goes on and on. The firm recently designed the Q-tower in Philadelphia, a 14-story, multiuse, residential condo that was designed in cooperation with the MIT Media Lab in Boston. Q-tower is an integrated, sustainable building that features a geothermal-heating and -cooling system and an automated climate-control system that increases energy efficiency. “I want to build
a robotic tower in the future,” Dubbeldam laughs. She is known for using state-of-theart design software, and she designs all of her projects in 3D on computers. Dubbeldam believes her firm’s competitive advantage lies in its small size. “Although we do many large projects, we are right at the cusp between a big, small company or a small, big company,” she says. “We work with large companies as contractors and consultants, but at the same time we give very personal support for our clients.” She also credits her company’s small size with helping it survive the economic recession. The firm recently opened an office in Amsterdam and has projects under construction in Santa Fe, New Mexico; New York; and Israel. “We’ve always been on the forefront,” Dubbeldam says, “and we want to make buildings more intelligent. We’ve always been interested in seeing how buildings evolve and how our living environments change.” gb&d
CITY LIVING Set-up could resemble a trailer park where the unit is owned, but the space is rented and utilities paid for individually. The units for this structure telescope into themselves to allow for easy transport and easy travel. The tower can support six units per floor and could serve as either hotels or private homes. The modular structure allows for expansion according to each city’s skyline.
PORTABLE HOUSING A vertical design by FELIPE CAMPOLINA The densest portions of the world’s city centers have an answer for future population booms and continued urban migration: portable vertical housing. Designed by Brazilian architect Felipe Campolina for the eVolo 2010 skyscraper competition, the design would transform the way we view, buy, and use real estate. A steel frame with ports for separately attachable housing units respond to urban ecological, social, and physical needs. Campolina’s design evokes certain past proponents of portability. His predecessors include Peter Cook, of 1960s avant-garde architectural group Archigram, who designed Plug-In-City; Andrew Maynard, the socio-political contemporary in Australia behind Corb 2.0; and Tim Pyne, one of London’s foremost exhibition designers famous for pop-up hospitality M-Hotel.
FEATURES Campolina’s Portable Elements • Expandable telescope design of unit • Steel-frame structure • Vertical walls and floor in OSB (oriented strand board) • Thermo-acoustic insulation • Tempered-glass windows • Green roofs and walls • Water-recycling system
HigH impact. Low EnErgy. Cost Effective, Environmentally Intelligent Systems Integration
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Viridian, a dynamic, 50 - person company is privileged to work with Handel Architects ENERGY EFFICIENCY CONSULTING Studies include: Whole-building energy simulations Daylight and glare studies Photovoltaic analyses Computational Fluid Dynamics Monitoring & measurements for HVAC Infrared thermography Tracking of ventilation, air movement and infiltration
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Heat flow analyses for walls, roofs, windows: ♦ Reduce heat loss from thermal bridging ♦ Decrease moisture condensation risk ♦ Better estimate of energy use Regulatory compliance assistance: ♦ NYC Local Law 86 ♦ NYS Executive Order 111 ♦ NYC School Construction Authority ♦ Battery Park City ♦ Lower Manhattan Development Corp.
Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi, with Handel Architects 150 Amsterdam Residences with Handel Architects
Financial Incentives: ♦ Federal EPAct 2005 ♦ New York State Green Building Tax Credit ♦ NYSERDA New Construction Program ♦ Connecticut programs, and others
GREEN BUILDING / LEED CONSULTING LEED: ♦ Over 150 projects Certified, Silver, Gold & Platinum ♦ US, Korea, China, Brazil, Italy, Russia, UAE, Mexico ♦ From 10,000 sqft to 2.4 million sqft ♦ LEED for New Construction and Major Renovation, Commercial Interiors, Core and Shell, Schools, Existing Buildings, Neighborhood Development, Laboratories
200 West 72nd Street Residences with Handel Architects
Millennium Tower Residences with Handel Architects
Other green programs: ♦ Green Globes ♦ Green Guide for Healthcare ♦ 2030 Challenge ♦ Living Building Challenge Broad range: ♦ Campus guidelines, corporate programs, government
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Brown University / The Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences Ballinger
Enhanced and Fundamental Commissioning Instrumentation-assisted (meters, test devices, infrared thermography)
Measurement & monitoring: ♦ HVAC ♦ Lighting ♦ Building envelope
DAYLIGHTING STUDIES ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Glare control Luminous comfort Light pollution Energy savings
Hearst Headquarters Norman Foster—Design/ Adamson—AOR
Case Western University Dorms Goody Clancy Architects
50 Washington Street Norwalk, CT 06854 T: 203.299.1411 F: 203.299.1656
106 W. 11th Street, Suite 1600 Kansas City, MO 64105 T: 816.471.3790 F: 816.471.3794
Bank of America Headquarters Cook + Fox Architects
21 W. 38th Street, 16th Floor New York, NY 10018 T: 212.704.9920 F: 212.704.9929