Green Building & Design
gb&d GREEN BUILDING & DESIGN
vol. 1, no. 2 sept 2010
Korea’s Green Gateway
The essential guide for sustainable projects and ideas
“The idea was to create an international hub that could be Korea’s front door to the world.” —Tom Murcott, Gale International
Green Building & Design
gb&d GREEN BUILDING & DESIGN
vol. 1, no. 2 sept 2010
Korea’s Green Gateway
The essential guide for sustainable projects and ideas
“The idea was to create an international hub that could be Korea’s front door to the world.” —Tom Murcott, Gale International
KEEP GROWING Your LEED Professional Credential
As a LEED Green Associate or AP with Specialty, you can transform your practice and your career.
KEEP GROWING Your LEED Professional Credential
As a LEED Green Associate or AP with Specialty, you can transform your practice and your career.
contents profile 18
JEFF ALLSOPP The founder of Allsopp Design, Inc. discusses his new venture in solar-heating technology
gb&d SEPT 2010 vol. 1, no. 2
STEVE BILLINGSLEY Continuing education in the ever-evolving green market is this founder’s key to success
discussion board 21
DELLBROOK CONSTRUCTION The choice to educate its employees and clients pays off
INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, INC. Attorney turned entrepreneur is now sustainability’s biggest advocate
ARC RENEWABLE ENERGY
commodities bookshelf agenda unique spaces
Offering vertical-axis wind turbines that have the power to forever alter the US landscape
BUILD IT GREEN, INC.
11 13 14 15
Full-service contractor builds in shades of green for future generations in Philadelphia
taking shape 28
OCEAN BREEZE PARK & OWL HOLLOW FIELDS Sage & Coombe Architects’ shows its diversity in dual NYC projects
A NEW PLACE OF HOPE
BEYOND BUILDINGS, P. 47
SPG Architects design for social and ecological justice in Rwanda
NEIGHBORING CONCEPTS A new vision for physically and socially challenged communities in the Queen City
inner workings 35
355 11TH STREET Inside an Aidlin Darling design, San Francisco’s first LEED Gold building
HANGAR 25 Shangri-La Construction builds the most sustainable aviation hangar in the world
THE FUTURE IS NOW, p. 52
New Songdo City is a mirror to South Korea’s burgeoning growth as a commercial hub in Northeast Asia and represents a new gateway to the world; it also is the first urban area to seek to LEED certification for an entire city.
MEDITCH MURPHEY ARCHITECTS Luxury homebuilder’s innovative methods hone in on zero-energy designs
Los Angeles-based Griffin Enright Architects avoids intellectual apathy by anchoring itself in the experimental waters of local art schools and universities, seeking to stretch the boundaries of the country’s dialogue on sustainability.
GLASSROCK PROPERTIES, llc Three designs at once, going “beyond LEED standards”
contents spaces 62
SPG ARCHITECTS BRIGGS ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN BENDER CHAFFEY CORPORATION FREDERICK PHILLIPS AND ASSOCIATES IDAHO MOUNTAIN BUILDERS PORARRO ASSOCIATES RUBICON CUSTOM HOMES SIERRA LAND HOMES 80
RECREATION & HOSPITALITY
MECHANICAL CONTRACTING Aire Sheet Metal Inc. LA Lacy Reno Bros. Inc.
LEED CONSULTING Energy Management Labs
PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT Aerarium Group
Seeking a sustainable future informs rural, urban, and wilderness design
CARNEY LOGAN BURKE ARCHITECTS SCHICK CONSTRUCTION OMNIBUILD MEYER, SCHERER & ROCKCASTLE AWBREY COOK MCGILL NOGUCHI MUSEUM RENOVATION ANDERSON BRULÉ ARCHITECTS CCY ARCHITECTS
ROOFING Eco Design Technology, Inc. Division 7 Inc.
Marrying the comfort of home while achieving equilibrium with nature
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Project One Integrated Services
designer to watch 143
DORIS LOZADA On her bold aspirations to integrate her Peruvian heritage into modern remodeling
Sending the message of sustainability through innovative new workspaces
146 STACK DESIGN BUILD CUBE 3 STUDIO ARCHIPLEX GROUP MILLER ARCHITECTS + BUILDERS CASACCIO ARCHITECTS LASLEY BRAHANEY ARCHITECTURE + CONSTRUCTION THE MARCH-WESTIN COMPANY 708 STUDIOS O’DONNELL/SNIDER CONSTRUCTION 124
why yacht Taking sustainable building off land
HEALTHCARE Changing the way patients and practitioners experience healing
THE NEENAN COMPANY MERCER GENERAL WORKS 128
In the July/August issue of gb&d, the architect for
Meeting the larger, more complex challenge of sustainability
Studio City Terrace (p.14) was misprinted as Steve Tohl. Jeff Tohl is the correct architect for this project,
THE AUSTIN COMPANY
not Steve. Our apologies.
architecture â€˘ sustainability â€˘ design services 255 Crossroad Square, Salt Lake City, Utach 84115 P: 801.961.7070 | www.archiplexgroup.com
BREAKING THE MOLD
rban planning and development has always intrigued me, so the idea of seeing a totally sustainable city built from scratch in my lifetime, personally, seems almost unfathomable, but Songdo City in South Korea is
proving what may seem like the impossible, possible.
While many cities around the world are still conceptualizing how to tackle the climate-change crisis, Songdo City’s developers aren’t conceptualizing, they are doing. With Phase 1 completed in 2009, this 1,500-acre development—with an expected population of 65,000 upon completion in 2015—is breaking records as the world’s first city to seek LEED certification and the location for the world’s largest private real-estate venture. In “The Future is Now” (p.52), you will find that Songdo’s design is not only striving to be a leader in green building and technology, but also a global leader in business with it’s strategic location and transportation system. The excitement behind Songdo is one that has the power to permeate through to other developments worldwide—such a theme is what intertwines all of the architects, builders, general contractors, product designers, and consultants and specialists found in each issue of gb&d. Proving that leading by example is the best way to inspire and learn. While not everyone can go and build the world’s most sustainable city, this issue is jam-packed with organizations that are making strides in eco-friendly design in their own ways. In the United States, Los Angeles-based firm Griffin Enright Architects (p.48) is seeking to motivate future generations of designers through its ties with organizations like the South California School of Architecture and the University of Southern California. Aside from its revolutionary green buildings, owners Margaret Griffin and John Enright are taking their creativity off the drafting boards and implementing them into educational and interactive art installations. Another California firm, Shangri-La Construction, has gained a bit of celebrity recognition for its work on Hangar 25 (p.39), the first aviation hangar to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Notably, the cost to achieve this level of sustainability was no greater than the cost to build a non-sustainable hangar—a possible testimony to the evolving green-building market? Only time will tell. As we roll out our second issue of gb&d, I want to personally extend a thank you to all the companies and individuals who have been instrumental in the extraordinary success of this publication. The interest we’ve received upon the creation of this title is awe-inspiring and we look forward to continuing to work with each and every one of you to bring our readers your influential insight into the world of green building and design. Enjoy,
Amie Kesler Managing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
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James Ainscough Blake Burkhart Gavin Coll Mike DiGiovanni Andrew Dimit Chuck Finney Scott Hara Michelle Harris Justin Joseph Rebekah Mayer Christopher Miller Colleen Wall Brendan Wittry Daniel Zierk
Holly Begle Genevieve Bellon Karin Fjellman Jamie Foley Dana Harkness Laura Heidenreich Sean Kasten Ellie Kim John Kuhlman Jessica Lewis Gerald Mathews Heather Matson Will Megson Bronwyn Milliken Jenny Pandl Molly Potnick Andrea Sedlay Allyson Weninger Erin Windle Katie Yost editorial research
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Courtney Weber Subscriptions + Reprints design intern
Printed in South Korea. Reprinting of articles is prohibited without permission of BG+H, LLC. To order reprints, call Karen Tate at 312.450.2129. For a free subscription, please visit gbdmagazine.com/sub Of fices
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Lander Electric is a committed partner with BenderChaffey Corporation to provide innovative approaches and solutions for Built-Green residences in the Puget Sound region. Each custom home has its own unique style and design challenges. Our goal is to provide the perfect blend 8
of energy savings, architectural integrity, and overall value. With over 50 years of experience, Lander Electric is able to provide each of our clients with multiple design options to meet those needs. gbdmagazine.com
For remodel and retrofit contact: For new construction contact: For shading solutions contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-864-2285
Lander Electric has used Lutron products for over twenty years as the foundation of energy savings. Lutron has continually provided cutting edge products for energy savings with both dimming control and shading solutions. Incorporating these products can provide energy savings up to 54% when compared to standard code-required gbdmagazine.com building practices.
Lander Electric provides a turn key solution for our clients including home integration, communications systems, lighting control, and audio-video systems. We also partner with Illumination Innovations to provide comprehensive shading solutions. Contact us for a free consultation on how to incorporate a variety of energy savings ideas in your SEPT 2010 9 building project.
B U I L D I N G C O L L A B O R AT I O N
VAN ACKER CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATES, INC. www.aidlin-darling-design.com
A CONSTRUCTION & MANAGEMENT COMPANY www.vanacker.com
up front 11窶イOMMODITIES 13窶ィOOKSHELF 14窶アGENDA 15窶ザNIQUE SPACES
The patented Light-Transmitting Concrete by LitraCon is an innovative building material with translucent characteristics thanks to a mixture of thousands of optical glass fibers and fine concrete. Due to the parallel arrangement of the glass fibers light shines through without distortion of color and can be transmitted through the concrete to up to 65 feet without significant loss of brightness. Providing load-bearing strength, thermal insulation, and transparency, Light-Transmitting Concrete has the ability to be applied in various sustainable building designs. litracon.hu SEPT 2010
< Immersion & Tetra Contour LED Lighting Systems GE Lighting Solutions is addressing the issues of LED quality and reliability by pushing for a universal set of LED performance standards. The Immersion commercial brand (above) and the new Tetra LED Lighting System Architectural Series from GE offer up to a 50,000-hour rated life and deliver proven LED performance and exceptional energy savings for designs incorporating border lighting, architectural accent lighting, cove and case lighting, and wall washing. The Tetra Contour (left) is a twopart LED system that is 40% more energy efficient than traditional neon and comes in a variety of color options. ge.com
Micro Surfacing Material > Meld USA, Inc.’s newest product offers a pure balance of elegance and sustainability. Micro is a cement-based eco-sensitive surfacing material comprised of up to 75% recycled glass. Qualifying for potential LEED credits within the MR 4 and MR 5 categories, Micro is available in two forms (slab and tailor made) and comes in six standard colors, plus a virtually limitless number of personalized hues. meldUSA.com
< Versawall & Versapanel
Versapanel 1.75” Planked
Versawall 2.75” Striated
Versawall 2.75” Planked
The Cradle-to-Cradle certified Versawall and Versapanel by CENTRIA are insulated metal composite panels that install vertically to create a wall with advanced thermal and moisture protection. Insulated with a rigid, closed-cell, CFC-free foam that is injected between a steel face and liner, these two systems provide unprecedented strength and energysaving benefits. Architects can enjoy the systems’ ability to provide up to 48 feet of long, uninterrupted sight lines. greenworld.centria.com
up front/bookshelf Constance Solar-Panel Façade > The transparent façade element of Germany-based Sunways AG, Constance, is an architectural design element in itself. With integrated solar cells in its design, this product also has an added environmental bonus. This unique solar module is composed of solar cells with a perforated structure providing daylight regulation and visual cover, while also generating electricity. sunways.eu
reshaping the market
Architectural Acoustics: Principles and Practice, 2nd Edition, is a comprehensive reference for all concerned with acoustics in the built environment. This guide addresses fundamentals, design criteria, control strategies, and methods for a wide range of building types. Ethan Salter, LEED AP, contributed an all-new chapter to this edition that comprehensively reviews acoustical design in sustainable buildings and how current and future green-building rating systems address acoustics. (Wiley) Published: 11.09, $125.00
Solar Lily Pads ^ Peter Richardson of Scottish architecture firm ZM Architecture has been gaining international attention since he received the first-place prize for his Solar Lily Pads at the 2008 International Design Awards for the Land and Sea category. Tethered to a riverbed, and equipped with integrated motors to rotate the discs for maximum sunlight exposure, these organic-inspired floating solar panels soak up the sun’s rays to send electricity back to a nearby city’s grid. zmarchitecture.co.uk
There is no denying the transformational role of the computer in the evolution of contemporary architectural practice. Building (in) the Future, edited by Phillip G. Bernstein and Peggy Deamer, examines the fundamental human relationships that characterize contemporary design and construction. Thirty-four contributors examine how contemporary practices of production are reshaping the design and construction process. (Princeton Architectural Press) Published: 06.10, $29.95
SEPT 2010 9.10–13
American Society of Landscape Architects 2010 Annual Meeting
Green REsource Council @ NAR Conferences
Direct Energy Centre, Toronto, ON
Walter E. Washington Convention
9.13–15: Texas Association of REAL-
The newest products, technologies,
Center, Washington, DC
TORS, Hyatt Hotel, Dallas, TX
and techniques are on display at this
A place for landscape architects to
9.16–20: Illinois Association of REAL-
interior-environments event, which in-
attend educational sessions, tours and
TORS, Westin Hotel, Lombard, IL
cludes a large Green Building Festival.
field sessions, award receptions, book
Conference: 9.22–25, Expo: 9.23–24.
signings, and a silent auction—all
The National Association of REALTORS’
under the umbrella theme of Earth Air
special council on green real estate
Water Fire: DESIGN.
focuses on housing and attempts to
Professional Development Forums National Association of Home Builders Build your knowledge base with more than national conferences. Utilize the NAHB’s training courses to enrich your building practices and better market yourself as a leader in the green-home market. nahb.org
bring best practices and contemporary
issues to the nation’s leading real-
for Building Professionals
estate professionals. greenresourcecouncil.org
9.22 Montgomery, AL
Engineering Green Buildings Conference & Expo
West Coast Green
9.28 Houston, TX
Baltimore Convention Center,
Fort Mason Center,
Baltimore Convention Center,
San Francisco, CA
9.28 Tucker, GA 9.29 Metairie, LA
Aims to serve as the nucleus of com-
With building as a core aspect of this
For the technical components of
mercial design on the East Coast. A
conference, this year’s event focuses to
advanced sustainable building design;
two-day conference brings products,
address the intersection of technology
9.12 Baltimore, MD 9.28 Rochester, NY
sessions at the intensive two-day event
people, and new industry ideas, as
and the built environment.
include the implications of a smart grid
well as specific ways to enhance
and practical energy benchmarking for
green building to design professionals.
all building types.
Advanced Green Building:
Installation at NeoCon East 2007. 14
Photo: Brett Gullborg, ASG Architects. SEPT 2010
unique spaces THE MODERN WING The Art Institute of Chicago has had seven major additions to its structure since 1893, with its most recent addition arguably being the museumâ€™s most groundbreaking design yet. The Modern Wing, a 264,000-square-foot addition, opened in May 2009 and in April 2010 was bestowed with a LEED Silver certification. Housing collections of modern art, contemporary art, photography, and architecture and design, the addition was designed by award-winning architect Renzo Piano to interact with the landscape and skyline of Chicago.
up front/unique spaces
The Modern Wing
4. Double curtainwall
Renzo Piano Building
construction insulates the
galleries, while a finely calibrated dimming sys-
architect of record
tem uses photo cells to
measure and adjust for
fluctuations in light levels according to time of day,
engineer of record
season, and weather.
Ove Arup & Partners, London
5. The “flying carpet” canopy captures day-
light and delivers it to
third-floor skylights, pro-
Nichol Ltd., Seattle
viding natural light while also protecting artwork
Jose de Avila and Associates, Oak Park, IL
6. The 620-foot Nichols Bridgeway connects the
third floor of the Modern
Wing with the adjacent
Millennium Park. Also designed by Renzo Piano, the design was inspired by the hull of a
boat with its long, thin structure and rounded bottom. 1. The $294 million Modern Wing design includes an innovative light-filtration system in the form of a “flying carpet” roof designed by Renzo Piano, which works in tandem with an automated dimming system in the galleries to take advantage of as much natural light as possible. 2. New museum gardens and plantings
7. With the new addition, the Art Institute is now the second largest museum in the United States in square footage. 8. Interior design elements of the threestory addition include white-oak flooring, glass, and birch and cherry accents. All photos: Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
around the Modern Wing increase the green space on the city block by 21,075 square feet. 3. Indiana limestone exterior walls create the east and west sides of the building, and a glass-and-steel curtain wall complement the north and south sides, creating a transparency of the northern elevation.
Jeff Allsopp of Allsopp Design, Inc. Taking on a new venture to bring European solar-heating technology to the United States gb&d: What’s the story of how your firm was established? Jeff Allsopp: I formed Allsopp Design, Inc. (ADI) in 1985 while in my final year at Harvard Graduate School of Design. ADI was my first incorporated business, but I’ve been a bit of a serial entrepreneur, having paid my way through college by running a tree company. Prior to Harvard, I studied business at University of Pennsylvania; I also studied horticulture and went to the Boston Architectural Center at night where I discovered how great buildings, and, conversely how really poor buildings, shape space and affect environments. My life goal was always to be a gentleman farmer, so my various educational pursuits and avocations have invariably led me back to working with and caring for the land. ADI is the vehicle to combine these interests. What is your firm’s specialty? ADI specializes in creating distinctive residential and institutional projects—taking them from initial land and conservation planning through architectural and landscape design, permitting, and construction. Recently, your firm established a new branch, Solesqua, centered around solarheating systems. Can you explain how this extension of your firm evolved? As designers based in New England, we enjoy the vernacular of clean, crisp lines, so we have been severely challenged to find ways to incorporate renewable energy systems in a way that meets our aesthetic. But what to do with the solar thermal? I searched for solutions and happened across a VELUX Europe website that depicted, to my mind, a revolutionary solar-thermal panel, one that flushes to the roof just like VELUX’s industryleading skylights—leak free, low profile, and no exposed plumbing. They also have a faceted, specially coated collector plate that
effectively concentrates sunlight, allowing a wider acceptable range of orientation and pitch—brilliant! Problem was they weren’t available in the United States, but we got in on the ground floor, formed Solesqua, and became the first distributor/installer of VELUX in New England. What impact has Solesqua had on your business so far? Solesqua completed its first installation 16 months ago, and last spring was distinguished by seven straight weeks of rain; we’ve really only had one partial installation season. We’re in a miserable recession, and people are really hunkered down. Actually, in spite of all that, sales were remarkably good for a start-up. You say on your website that your firm researches “each project’s natural and human history to better understand its historical context.” What does this entail? The first part is good old due diligence. We always spend a lot of time at the site getting a feel for its opportunities and constraints. This of course includes things like views, breezes, solar orientation, topography, drainage, soils, vegetation, but it also considers what has taken place below the surface, inside the walls, and what cultural influences—zoning, easements and property rights, circulation, and neighboring activities and fabric—might affect its proposed use. I like our projects to always feel like they’re meant to be there, just right.
What is most important to consider in the beginning of a green project? This may sound like heresy, especially in a green-focused magazine, but green should just be there, required by building codes. We are going to get there. So let’s make sure that the desire for green technologies doesn’t overwhelm the perquisites of starting a good design, such as informed client interaction, sensible programming, and site analysis. Can you describe any particular projects that stand out as milestones or turning points in your business? In 1995, we worked with the Essex County Greenbelt Association (ECGA) to come up with a plan for a donor who wanted to gift her
“This may sound like heresy, especially in a green-focused magazine, but green should just be there, required by building codes.” —Jeff Allsopp
What has been one of the most challenging projects you have worked on recently? We recently built a headquarters for the Ipswich River Watershed Association. The property included a small home built by Deck House. The challenge was to re-invent the Deck House as a super energy-efficient headquarters on a very modest budget and with the help of volunteers. The finished project has new high-efficiency, thermal-paned glazing; an R-40 roof made of vented, ridged, insulation panels; a green roof; rain-water recovery; permeable paving; and rain gardens.
profile land to conservation but also wanted to build a house for her retirement. Thirty acres were conserved, and four house sites were created on eight acres with building envelopes and covenants that clustered the homes in the core so that they could not be seen from scenic corridors. The project was a turning point for us and the town in which it was located, because we drafted a new bylaw that made our narrow, unpaved, subdivision road possible.
Steve Billingsley of Billingsley Architecture
The ECGA later hired ADI to create a headquarters for their operations. This was a real watershed project, as it was conceived to be completely green from reusing and salvaging structures through renewable energy. It is also a milestone in that we are pursuing LEED Gold certification—the first certification process for us to complete. What are your specific goals as a firm for the short-term and long-term? In the short-term, I want to develop a more effective marketing outreach to get beyond the obvious limitations of word of mouth. At this point, we are contracted on the design side mainly through attrition, and we are constrained from new hiring by our workload. It’s a real catch-22; just a few more good projects in the pipeline, and we can hire, develop some critical mass, and get some momentum to pursue the type of work we enjoy the most. Solesqua, short-term, has provided good infill work for our crews. Long-term, I want to see the business develop into a completely separate entity that supports its own sales force and installation crews. What’s one unique project you are currently working on? We are currently working on the Center for Agriculture and Sustainability for the Trustees of Reservations, a Massachusetts Conservation Organization. The project is a deep-energy retrofit of an antique farmhouse. The project is slated to be LEED Gold certified and net-zero. I think the biggest challenge we were facing was finding the balance between historic preservation and high-performance sustainability: restore windows or replace; a super energyefficient shell versus period trim details; saving fabric when replacing it; not overlooking ADA accessibility requirements—it is more cost effective. —by Suchi Rudra Vasquez
Celebrating 20 years in business, founder testifies to the need and importance for constant education in an evolving market
“We’ve always incorporated a lot of those early [sustainability] ideas into our designs. But we’ve kept up with today’s green too.” —Steve Billingsley
Steve Billingsley recently installed a “new” green flooring material that he knows was actually quite old. “We have this one project that is in the middle of its LEED certification paperwork,” says Billingsley, founder and LEED AP for Billingsley Architecture. “We put linoleum flooring [known as Marmoleum] in from a lead manufacturer that’s basically made of Linseed oil and paper. It’s something my grandmother would have had in her kitchen 50 years ago. [The material] went away, but it’s back now because it’s made out of renewable resources that everyone wants in their buildings.” With Billingsley putting down a laminate that is a throwback to weekends at Grandma’s, how new, then, is “green”? Well, Billingsley Architecture was 20 years old in May. The company, which is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and licensed in 16 states, employs a total of six people, three of which, including Billingsley, are LEED APs. Billingsley Architecture has in effect grown up with the green movement.
“My intent is always to do everything that we can to give the client the best product...for the money they’re spending.” —Steve Billingsley “When I graduated from college,” he says, “it was in the ’70s when green was new, when passive-solar energy was gaining popularity. We’ve always incorporated a lot of those early ideas into our designs. But we’ve kept up with today’s green too. For example, last year I realized that if I didn’t get LEED accreditation, I’d be behind the ball.” The example points to Billingsley’s ability to grow, a skill that prepares him for new and innovative projects. For example, he recently incorporated a piece in a project that required him to educate himself on a totally new subject. “We’re looking at adding vegetation to a rooftop,” he says. “But in order to do that, we’ll have to do more education, to learn the systems and products.” But Billingsley understands that learning—and then teaching—is all part of the game. “I do educate clients about what’s available,” he notes. New products, better products, tax credits, and what qualifies for what—Billingsley is at times the liaison between the knowledge and the client. “We’ve got a foundation [in Chattanooga] that funds grants to property owners for sustainable projects,” he adds. “So we help them try to navigate that. It expands our role to the client.” Billingsley’s LEED-accreditation process, and the ongoing upkeep of the AP designation, is a learning process in itself. “Having been out of college for a long time, taking a test at this point was unusual,” he says. “It’s a hard process, but it’s a reasonable request. It’s what you have to do—you have to grow with the business. I’m getting education
Steve Billingsley of Billingsley Architecture
even as I’m working. With new stuff like the green roofs, you have to research it, learn it, maybe go somewhere and see what [a colleague] has done with it.” The extra work is paying off; Billingsley Architecture has thrived on word-of-mouth marketing efforts. “Frankly, until recently, I didn’t need advertising,” he admits. “We were busy, and I grew the business at the pace that I wanted to. I like the size of the firm that I have now, and it’s comfortable and manageable. Business fell off a little in the recession—we suffered like anybody else—but we’re very busy right now.” He does advertise very generally, but the materials make sure to note the LEED APs on staff and that the firm is in the process of attaining LEED certification for a building under construction.
“The interest in sustainable building is about 25 percent of potential customers that we’re talking to. Now, we don’t get commitments out of 25 percent of those interested, as there is an offset in the cost,” he notes. “Of course, the value is in the payback, in terms of dollars but also in sustainability and preservation of materials, among other things. “My intent,” Billingsley adds, “is always to do everything that we can to give the client the best product...for the money they’re spending. We really work with the owners and clients to try to keep them happy. It’s never a waste of time to help them get the most out of their project.” That attitude is why Billingsley Architecture has evolved with the market for 20 years and why it likely can look forward to a profitable 20 more. —by Allena R. Tapia
was founded in 1997 taking on complex projects including schools, shopping centers, churches and government buildings. Since then we have hired and maintained employees with skills and strong character who are truly a credit to the companyʼs success. For more info contact our Corporate Ofﬁce: P.O. Box 28053 Chattanooga, TN 37424 Phone: (423) 267-7663 Fax: (423) 265-7347
, INC COMPANY gbdmagazine.com
discussion board staying ahead of the game Discussing with Dellbrook Construction how investing in sustainable features and educating clients and employees has kept them on top
and subcontractors as green-building standards frequently change and improve. Even the LEED-accreditation process has changed and has now implemented training and educational programs to maintain specific accreditations.”
“we have invested a good deal of resources to become LEED accredited and educated in the green-building process,” says Alex Mahegan, project manager of Massachusetts-based Dellbrook Construction. “Many municipalities that are seeking funding for their construction projects today are required to implement the green-building standards in order to receive funding or financing. This has made it extremely important for us to get accredited, understand all aspects of LEED programs—from conceptual design through construction to commissioning and, finally, long-term maintenance of the facility. This allows for added value to our clients when selecting a general contractor to build their projects.”
Dellbrook itself is continually learning, gaining experience with green-building projects, and learning more about LEED-certification changes and updates. Mahegan says that the company is seeing firsthand how these procedures work in the field.
One way Dellbrook accomplishes this is by investing in green technology and education opportunities. For instance, four of Dellbrook’s staff members, including Mahegan, are LEED APs. Its chief estimator is a LEED AP as well, while another estimator is a LEED associate. Mahegan explains that one of Dellbrook’s challenges in the beginning was to ensure they were receiving any green requirements early in the design phase to better manage costs. “The biggest challenge is getting things incorporated early on in the design process and making sure they conform to other aspects of the project,” he says. “We also learned to better educate our suppliers and subcontractors on the new technologies available to ensure the green-building standards were met. It’s a constant, overall educating process with architects, owners,
“As a result, we are trying to adopt the standards that are paying off,” Mahegan says. “For example, while some clients would like a vegetative roof, in many instances the cost is a bit out of reach. So they need to pick and choose which LEED elements provide the most points while still staying within their target budget and meeting the level of certification they’re trying to achieve.” Mahegan points out, however, that as more suppliers and subcontractors begin to adopt green products and practices and learn how to produce green products more cost-effectively, product and labor costs for green standards are coming down. ”Everyone says that green building means green cash—meaning that it’s expensive. What’s actually happening is that more people are doing it now, so the physical cost to implement green-building standards has come down because there’s more of a demand.” Dellbrook Construction plans to implement as many green-building standards as it logically can with competitively bid projects and educated design-build strategies. “From an entity standpoint, everything is about conservation of energy, conservation of resources, and, ultimately, lower building-
“It’s a constant, overall educating process with architects, owners, and subcontractors as greenbuilding standards frequently change and improve.” —Alex Mahegan, Project Manager, Dellbrook Construction
operating costs so that green-building standards become more of the norm,” Mahegan says. “We’re seeing that green-building standards are becoming standards in the construction industry, so we’re trying to incorporate more of this in our own design-build standards. Further, today there are so many energy-rebate programs and tax-incentive programs available it just makes good dollar sense to implement many of these programs and standards.” Heading into the latter part of 2010, Dellbrook is looking to diversify and become more involved in the commercial sector, particularly larger tenant improvement. “The commercial side has been strapped with the economy and there has been more work in residential and senior residential and assisted living because of aging baby boomers. People are living longer and the quality of life after 70-plus has improved substantially,” Mahegan says. “We’ll continue to embrace new technology where we believe fiscally responsible, and it’s something that we are trying to implement in all of our projects and stay on the cutting edge of these requirements.” Building upon a long history, Dellbrook Construction provides a full range of large-scale
“We’re seeing that greenbuilding standards are becoming standards in the construction industry, so we are trying to incorporate more of this in our own design-build standards.” —Alex Mahegan, Project Manager, Dellbrook Construction
residential-construction services throughout the New England area. The Braintree, Massachusetts-based firm is a key component to the EA Fish Companies—along with EA Fish Development and Peabody Properties—providing third-party, general-construction services to a variety of clients. While Dellbrook is involved in the LEED-certification process of green construction and manages the design-build aspects of its projects, EA Fish Development works with townplanning agencies and organizations to provide comprehensive development proposals. Peabody Properties, which has been around for more than 60 years, then manages the development after construction. Established in 2005, Dellbrook Construction has experience with a variety of building types and construction methods in ground-up construction, rehabs, and additions. The Fish family has more than four generations of history in the building industry. While its business model has been grounded in tried-and-tested construction methods and organization processes, it continues to remain on the cutting-edge by searching for new and innovative ways to deliver quality, savings, and scheduling efficiencies to its clients. —by Daniel Casciato
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a changing state of mind Construction-management firm, Integrated Development Services, Inc., launches energy-analysis service to provide cost-effective sustainable solutions in tough economy the agreed-upon basics of life are food and shelter, and if there’s ever a question, Chris Striebeck has shelter covered. A general contractor with 18 years of building experience and a multitude of homes and business facilities make up the notches on Striebeck’s belt. As the building industry moves toward constructing more energy-efficient structures with healthier environments, Striebeck says despite this controversy or that argument, the equation is actually even simpler.
on outdoor conditions, two on-demand water heaters can expend far less energy taking the water up to the necessary temperature. The process uses 30–50 percent less energy than it would if only traditional water-heating methods were used. “I’ve been attempting to quantify how much saving Broad Ripple can expect. Right now we are looking at just under 40 percent savings,” Striebeck says. “And the numbers should improve over the summer.” The system has been estimated to pay for itself in three to four years, and Striebeck says progressive business owners like those at Broad
“Energy is really at the root of everything we do.”
“Energy is really at the root of everything we do,” —Chris Striebeck, Founder, Integrated says Striebeck, who launched Integrated DeDevelopment Services, Inc. velopment Services, Inc. (IDS) in 2006. The Indianapolis-based consulting and project-management firm provides solution-oriented and energy-saving assessments, products, and services for small to mid-size businesses and residigits dential homeowners. Promoting sustainable construction and renewable energy in Indiana, a state traditionally dominated by the coal industry, has meant a number of firsts. Striebeck says he and his father were the first building contractors in the Indianapolis market to use cement-board siding on a condominium community and the first to install a pervious-concrete driveway. “I attempted to recommend sustainable items to clients back before the green trend caught on,” Striebeck says, noting the challenge then, compared to its growing acceptance now. “I think it’s permanent and has finally caught on.” For Broad Ripple Brew Pub, Indiana’s oldest microbrewery, IDS installed a solar-thermal hot-water system that provides hot water for all the pub’s needs. As water is first heated by the sun and brought to the highest possible temperature, usually 80–160 degrees depending
32,000 LEED projects currently in the works for 2010 (Source: USGBC)
28% GHG target reduction set for all US public buildings by 2020 (Source: USGBC)
$60 million 2010 estimated value of green construction (Source: USGBC)
7% Amount that 2009 energy-related CO2 emissions fell in United States (Source: EIA)
841 billion kWH 2009 electric-power sector generation from natural gas (Source: EIA)
220,000 metric tons CO2 emissions prevented by Energy Star Leaders in 2009 (Source: EPA)
Ripple are paving the way for other businesses to move toward more sustainable practices. As an attorney with a master’s in business administration, Striebeck has gravitated toward freemarket-oriented energy policy and believes changes there could accelerate the movement in the United States. Approaches such as the feed-in tariff concept—an egalitarian energy policy that has been successful in Europe—have encouraged widespread adoption of cost-efficient renewable-energy systems. In the United States, Striebeck says, these approaches could help accelerate the move toward grid parity and prompt more businesses to take steps like Broad Ripple, especially with the use of wind and solar-photovoltaic technologies. As the industry evolves and an economic argument can be made for building green, businesses will naturally move in that direction, Striebeck says. There are plenty of features—proven through IDS’ energy assessments—that can save businesses money. IDS focuses on assessing energy for small to medium-sized businesses that are overlooked by larger engineering firms. There, Striebeck says, he can find opportunities for savings. During an energy audit, he will analyze the last few years of utility data, considering buildingenvelope systems, mechanical systems, lighting systems, and other data to unearth trends in energy use and recommend cost savings. Those often include re-insulating, switching to LED lighting, cool-white re-roofing, or considering forms of renewable-energy generation. Combined with the assessment, IDS will look at all available incentives to put together a plan to improve energy efficiency, generation, and usage with an investment analysis of the cost. It also will manage the installation and completion of the improvements. “In these tough economic times,” Striebeck notes, “it makes even more sense to go green and be more sustainable because there are a variety of cost-effective measures that can be applied.” —by Laura Williams-Tracy
launch pad 10 kW Enviro Energies Turbine height:
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in response to the recent construction slowdown, brothers Gregg, Jeff, and Warren Zysman found a creative way to diversify their New Jersey-based retail-construction company: they branched out into renewable energy. ARC Renewable Energy was born in February of 2009 after Jeff Zysman met the inventor of a magnetic-vertical-axis wind turbine called the Enviro Energies turbine. “We basically got involved,” Warren Zysman explains, “because a lot of our construction clients who have retail storefronts are trying to lower their energy costs. We thought it would be a great addition for them to have, to be able to install a turbine on the roof of their building and generate their own energy.” Unlike traditional horizontal-axis wind turbines, which use wind from only one direction and spin like a windmill, those with vertical axes spin more like a merry-go-round and
produce virtually no noise—thanks to magnetic levitation. Horizontal turbines also create zoning issues because they require towers, but vertical turbines are designed to be mounted on roofs in urban areas. With that said, these vertical turbines are a newer technology and therefore lack the government subsidies of their horizontal peers, making it a challenge to qualify for certain federal rebates and tax credits. “Everybody’s excited about the technology,” Gregg Zysman says. “Fuel prices spiked up a couple years ago, and I think people are all looking for a way to save on their electric bill, so the concept has been embraced across the board. The biggest challenge that we’ve faced is the states that we operate in, because we’re excluded from the existing rebates. Most of them have been geared towards horizontal-access turbines.”
launch pad LEFT: The installation of ARC’s first major turbine, a 10 kW unit on Jay Leno’s world famous Big Dog Garage in Southern California. BELOW: The ARC team at the 2009 Recon trade show in Las Vegas. Left to right: Jeff Zysman, Vito Chesky, Ed Begley Jr., Warren Zysman, and Gregg Zysman.
“That’s fairly common across the board,” Gregg continues. “It’s also one of the windier areas in the country. Up and down the East Coast, there’s plenty of wind but [we don’t have] the subsidies.” He adds that New Jersey does offer rebates for solar panels, but the East Coast has far less solar potential than the West Coast. The situation may change in the future, as the company is working to raise awareness about vertical turbines and hopes the government will take notice. “That’s an uphill battle,” Warren notes. “It’s a matter of getting [the technology] in front of key figures in government. This product has [the ability to have] more of an impact on the economy. [Businesses and consumers] can produce their own electricity, so we’re not depending on a large-scale electric company.” ARC Renewable Energy is working to prove the power of vertical turbines by focusing on specific installations on both coasts. The Planet Green TV channel filmed the company’s first major installation: a 10-kilowatt unit on Jay Leno’s property in Burbank, California. The company now is preparing to install vertical
“The biggest challenge that we’ve faced is the states that we operate in, because we’re excluded from the existing [wind-turbine] rebates. Most of them have been geared towards horizontal-access turbines.”
will be jumping on board. It’s gonna take an installation of this magnitude.” Gregg agrees with his brother’s prediction, adding, “We’ve been actively making people aware of the product, but they want to know ‘Where can I see one? And how do I know it works?’ The way we’re approaching this is getting these beta sites out there. Then we’ll be able to execute on these other deals we’ve been working on.”
—Gregg Zysman, Partner The three brothers anticipate that once the technology behind vertical turbines is proven and states begin offering rebates, it will level the playing field with solar power. turbines for a township on the New Jersey shore, which will hopefully be enough of a catalyst for noticeable change. “Once we get it established, we’ll set up certified monitoring to prove our production numbers,” Jeff says of the New Jersey installation. “That’s going be what we need to get this launched. It’s just coming to market now, so you have a lot of people who want to see some real-world numbers to give them comfort that this is a good alternative. Once we get this up on the East Coast and see it actually working in real time, people
“If you strip away the incentives from solar, it’s a lot more expensive than vertical wind turbines,” Warren says. “A typical solar array costs about $40,000, but the state and federal government is heavily subsidizing. It has taken 30 years for solar power to get there. Vertical-axis wind-turbine technology is catching up. Once people start using it and they see the benefits, the government will follow. It’s basically a matter of educating everyone so they realize the actual benefit as opposed to solar.” —by Susan Johnston
Build It Green, Inc. Two-year-old full-service contractor makes impressive strides towards creating a more sustainable Philadelphia location Clifton Heights, PA founded 2008 employees 10 region covered Delaware Valley in Philadelphia
scott yohe wears many hats: that of president, founder, project manager, chief estimator, and director of operations. He wears all of these in regards to his two-year-old Pennsylvania company Build It Green, Inc.
This 150-year-old candy factory building in Philadelphia was sustainably reincarnated into 12 high-end condos by Build It Green.
Yohe has worked in construction for more than 20 years, but after realizing the positive impact green building could have on communities and young lives—including those of his son and daughters—he founded Build It Green, with the hope of creating a full-service green construction company that would provide sustainable building for both commercial and residential clients. “It’s all about responsibility: showing it, teaching it, introducing it, modeling it, and leading by example,” he says. “We all have children that we wish to give a cleaner, better Earth to.” Build It Green’s mission is to continue facilitating green methods of construction, while promoting new green products. “What we want people to understand is that there are many shades of green within the construction industry. Every new or renovated home or business can incorporate some green features into their projects, without affecting their budgets,” Yohe explains. “There are new methods and products that allow everyone to feel like they have done their part in helping the
BELOW: Interior spiral stairs lead to a personalized rooftop deck in one of The Candy Factor’s condos.
environment—reducing the amount of debris that goes into a landfill, reducing one’s carbon footprint, making a building healthier for an occupant, making a community more sustainable, or leaving behind a healthier planet for their children.” On average, Build It Green and its 10 employees work on about 2–3 projects at a time and10–12 per year. This is a number the company hopes to grow in the near future. Ideally, Build It Green would like to be involved in building entire green communities. “We are actively looking at a few possible developments that would come onto the market in late 2011,” Yohe says. “We envision making ‘green’ more mainstream and more financially accessible.” Though Build It Green still is fairly new and has a relatively thin sustainable portfolio, Yohe has been interested in green building since
“We all have children that we wish to give a cleaner, better Earth to.” —Scott Yohe, President & Founder the late ’90s, when he began participating in USGBC workshops, an organization of which Build It Green is now a member. LEED projects are another future goal, but until then, Yohe is making sure to incorporate green practices into every piece of his work, including one recently finished project: The Candy Factory, a 12-unit condo building converted from a 150year-old candy manufacturing facility. Steve Promislo, owner of The Candy Factory, came to Build It Green after purchasing the building, which was only partially renovated. Yohe explains, “A previous owner had started the conversion to high-end condos...[in] the ‘hot’ area of Northern Liberties. He had a decent vision for the place but hired a lessthan-adequate contractor, whose work was sub-par. The new owner wanted it completed correctly and the sup-par work corrected. The owner carefully listened when we explained certain solutions and even went a step further in asking for some upgrades [rooftop decks] so that he could actively market the units at different price points.” With prime views of the Delaware River and Center City Philadelphia skyline, The Candy Factory’s location was ideal for adding sustainable decking material, made from a composite material that has virtually no maintenance issues. In its next venture Build It Green is joining forces with All Green & Lean, a Pennsylvaniabased sustainable-energy company that currently shares office space with Build It Green. The partnership will be creating an unstoppable super-green-building machine. All Green & Lean works with eco-friendly spray-foam insulation, insulated-roofing foam, and solar PV arrays. “We have several upcoming solar installations that we are very excited about,” Yohe says. “The cost of these solar technologies has slowly been creeping downward and is now within reach of the consumer that has wanted to add solar to his or her project.” With the existing, and new, tax-incentives for solar panels, Build It Green will no doubt be moving onto bigger, greener projects soon. —by Thalia Aurinko-Mostow
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taking shape Ocean Breeze Park & Owl Hollow Fields architect Sage & Coombe Architects location Staten Island, NY story David Hudnall
in 2005, new york city mayor michael Bloomberg signed Local Law 86, requiring all new city buildings to be built to LEED Silver standards. On Earth Day 2007, Bloomberg unveiled PlaNYC, an initiative that seeks to heighten the environmental consciousness of New York City and make the city more sustainable over the next 25 years. Buildings throughout the city now must officially meet energy obligations. Sage & Coombe Architects, a Manhattan-based firm that frequently takes on public and institutional design-build projects across the city, has naturally been affected by these municipal policies; however, the firm is slightly ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability. “We started doing green work around 2000,” says Jennifer Sage, founding
principal. “We did a residence in the Hudson Valley where we installed a geothermal system, and we’ve been involved with green building ever since.” Founded in 1994 by Sage and Peter Coombe, the firm today assumes mostly LEED projects, or projects that are up to a LEED standard of some level. More than three-quarters of its 15-person staff are LEED APs. Though Sage & Coombe handles a variety of residential, commercial, private-institutional, and educational projects, two recent public projects in New York—both located in the borough of Staten Island—might most accurately depict the firm’s increasingly diverse capabilities.
The track-and-field house at the Ocean Breeze Park is raised off the ground to allow for parking beneath, thus reducing the heatisland effect by eliminating the amount of exposed hardscape.
The Ocean Breeze Park field house design features a frit mosaic of a high jumper.
“There’s a sense out there that there’s too high a cost associated with LEED, and we feel that if you can simplify the process and paperwork, it’ll become easier for clients to embrace.” —Jennifer Sage, Founding Principal, Sage & Coombe Architects
Ocean Breeze Park estimated completion: 2012 Done in conjunction with landscape architects MKW Associates, the Ocean Breeze project is part of PlaNYC’s goal to develop open spaces into destination parks. Most of the park is composed of sand dunes and wetlands, and will remain in its natural state. On roughly 10 of the 110 acres, however, land for recreational activities is being developed—that land will hold the 150,000-square-foot track-and-field building that Sage & Coombe is designing. “We’re hoping for [LEED] Gold,” Sage says. “We’ve raised the building to put parking beneath it, which minimizes the footprint on the park and gives the building a bigger view. We’ve also maximized natural ventilation and included a shading frit, the image for which plays off the local species and plants of the park.” In addition, MKW designed an elaborate holding basin for the wetlands, where drainage from the building’s roof will be guided.
SITE PLAN grass lands buffer wetlands
Ocean Breeze Park & Owl Hollow Fields
ABOVE: The first project to be
Owl Hollow Fields
constructed as part of the Fresh Kills
construction begins: 2010
transformation project, the Owl Hollow Comfort Station is to house the park superintendent’s office, restroom facilities, and a covered picnic area. The obvious challenge of the project, its sitting atop a former dumping ground, required an innovative lightweight structure as well as a methane-gas-collection system. BELOW: An example of the owlfeather cladding that sheathes the Comfort Station at Owl Hollow.
In 2006, NYC parks commissioner Adrian Benepe said, “Fresh Kills is to the 21st century as Central Park was to the 19th. It will be the largest park built in the city in more than 100 years.” Four years later, Fresh Kills indeed appears to be on its way, and Sage & Coombe is lending a hand with Owl Hollow Fields, a park building set amid four synthetic-turf soccer fields, a looped pedestrian path, and lawns in the park. The structure will be LEED Gold certified and will include a green roof, geothermal heating and cooling, and will be powered by a wind turbine. “It’s our first wind turbine,” Sage says. “We’re pretty excited about it.” At more than 2,200 acres, Fresh Kills was formerly the world’s largest landfill and once its transformation is complete it will be three times the size of Central Park in New York City. LOOKING AHEAD Other New York City projects for Sage & Coombe include the City and Country School in Greenwich Village and a charter school in Queens. “The Queens school is not sure they can afford LEED, but we’re keeping a parallel conversation going in the event they do,” Sage
says. “Either way, energy codes now all require a certain efficiency, and we’re incorporating a lot of green elements, like low-VOC products, daylighting, natural ventilation—a lot of the LEED standards are things one should be doing regardless.” Looking ahead, the firm plans to increase its sustainability quotient on new projects and make the LEED process more attractive to clients. “There’s a sense out there that there’s too high a cost associated with LEED, and we feel that if you can simplify the process and paperwork, it’ll become easier for clients to embrace,” Sage says. “We’re trying to make it easier for contractors to keep track of everything, and thus eliminate the fear factor and demystify the process.” gb&d
a message from landmark facilities group Landmark Facilities Group is an engineering firm of professionals specializing in design and implementation of energy efficiency and sustainability measures for buildings of all types and sizes. Services include Energy Star benchmarking, Level II energy audits, commissioning, retrocommissioning, and LEED certification.
engaging the impoverished Kageno’s goal is to transform impoverished communities into selfsustaining places of opportunity and hope. Currently working in Kenya and Rwanda, Kageno opened its newest site in Banda Village in 2007. Banda Village has one of the highest population densities in Rwanda,
a new place of hope New York-based SPG Architects creates safe haven for poverty-stricken village
clocking in at approximately 500 people per square kilometer. Prone to extreme poverty and its country’s history of war and genocide, Kageno has achieved many milestones within this village, including: • Constructing a health center and pharmacy for Banda Village and the neighboring communities, which currently serves more than 1,000 individuals a month
seeking social as well as ecological sustainability, Eric Gartner and his partners at SPG Architects designed new community buildings that will provide much-needed health, education, and social services to Banda Village in Rwanda. Approached by Kageno, a non-profit with sustainable development and empowerment projects in Kenya and Rwanda, SPG sought to transform the area into a well-utilized, inspirational public space.
• Constructing a clean-water project that brings clean drinking water to over 5,000 people in Banda Village • Completing construction of the Banda Village Nursery School and Community Center • Initiating income-generating activities in partnership with USAID including soap- and candle-making businesses and an educational village walk where tourists can learn about various traditional practices in the village • Establishing an agricultural program on how to incorporate livestock,
The design included a community center with a library and kitchen, a health center and pharmacy, four classrooms for 300 students, and bungalows for visitors and employees. The 32,000 square feet also serves as safe place for villagers, specifically women and children.
natural pesticides, and composting into their farming practices Source: kageno.org
Banda is in the southwest area of Rwanda, near its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, and it borders the Nyungwe Forest, the largest mid-altitude forest block on the continent. Its preservation has been key to the project as well; SPG used brick and corrugated metal for the structures and worked to incorporate solar power to combat the lack of electricity and preserve water consumption in the development. (For more information on SPG Architects, see p. 60) gb&d
Neighboring Concepts provided architectural decommunity sign for the transit stations along the 12-mile LYNX Blue Line light-rail project in Charlotte, NC. The station design links the historic communities along the route with downtown Charlotte (northern end) and downtown Pineville (southern end) through elegant curves and an antique material palette.
expanding the queen city North Carolina-based Neighboring Concepts focuses on knitting together the fabric of underprivileged communities created by a culturally diverse group of like-minded architects, Neighboring Concepts is a design firm with a solid vision of community. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, the three founding partners—Michael O’Brien (from Charleston, South Carolina), Chris Ogunrinde (from Nigeria) and Darrel Williams (from Baton Rouge, Louisiana) decided to extend the business of architecture beyond its traditional boundaries. It wanted to focus on developing the fabric of communities where it was needed most. The three founding partners had all lived, at one time, in the same neighborhood of downtown Charlotte—one of the least developed
sections of the inner city. Here they helped start a neighborhood association and volunteered to initiate a plan for the area. “I grew up in a community that didn’t have adequate facilities for children,” Williams says, “and it was a challenged neighborhood both physically and socially. So I felt like there was more that I could do. We wanted to do more to help urban neighborhoods and some of the challenges that they have. We knew that a lot of neighborhoods probably needed the same thing.”
that we can continue to work with you as architects and even as real-estate developers. Our diverse practice allows us to survive better than some other firms during these challenging economic times.”
These early efforts became the first of many urban- and community-planning projects for Neighboring Concepts, but the firm has since transitioned into more complex undertakings.
The area in which Neighboring Concepts is located exemplifies the firm’s mission. “We took a 68,000-square-foot dilapidated warehouse right on the interstate and renovated it into office condominiums, which kept those 20 businesses in it from going into greenfield,” Williams points out. “We took an infrastructure and filled it with people. It was an adaptive-reuse project, and there is a tremendous amount of revitalization here.”
“We still do work in neighborhoods,” Williams explains, “but we’ve grown more diverse as a firm with a more balanced portfolio of projects. We can go out as a planner, but we can also say
Williams says that these projects are typical for the firm “in the sense that they are either in a college campus or in the central core of the city. We like to do projects in areas where we can
“We’ve tried to build a collective knowledge, as opposed to having one individual expert. We are very horizontal— knowledge has to be shared, very open, accessible to everyone.” —Luis Tochiki, Principal, Neighboring Concepts
series by outside experts. The firm also regularly hosts college interns and high school students through job shadowing and internship opportunities. “We’ve tried to build a collective knowledge, as opposed to having one individual expert. We are very horizontal—knowledge has to be shared, very open, accessible to everyone,” Tochiki notes. “It allows us to know each associate personally, about their families; it allows us to be more sensitive and more willing to participate.” He also calls the firm’s staff “more generalists than specialists,” a quality that he says allows them to work in various roles and is helping the firm survive the economic downturn. At its core, Neighboring Concepts is about peo-
improve the fabric of the community, projects that positively impact the lives of people, often times in areas that need to be revitalized.” Luis Tochiki, who originally is from Lima, Peru, and joined the firm as a partner through a previous connection with Williams, adds that the firm seeks out clients that have a similar interest in improving the quality of life for students, residents, and businesses, but there have been occasions when the firm has said no to a client. “Like strip mall shopping centers in suburbia— that’s not aligned with our passions, and we shy away from that type of client. I think that there are enough architects that serve that client,” Tochiki explains.
ple, and Williams believes it’s the employees that make the firm stand apart. “Our passion for doing good, sustainable design—I think that carries us a long way,” he says. “We stress the need to help serve the community. The
whole office has been involved in community work.” Leading by example, Williams is extremely active in numerous professional organizations and committees outside the firm. Among other positions, he was elected as a County Commissioner for eight years and served as the first African-American president of AIA Charlotte, on the state’s Community Development Block Grant Study Committee, on the North Carolina Advisory Committee for the US Commission on Civil Rights, and is currently helping to lead the effort to develop a new sustainable headquarters facility in Raleigh for AIA North Carolina, where he also has served on the board. Tochiki also has served on the Board of Directors for the Charlotte Region Chapter of the USGBC and the Charlotte Chapter of the AIA Committee for the Environment and is a mentor for the College of Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. —by Suchi Rudra Vasquez
Neighboring Concepts tends to work in collaboration with other firms, and Williams says that this gives them the opportunity to work on more significant projects and to grow as a firm. The firm is focusing on growing regionally and is actively expanding in other markets in the Southeast. In addition to North Carolina, the firm is licensed to do work in South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama. The work culture at Neighboring Concepts is in itself a strong manifestation of the community-building approach held by the partners. The firm’s 13 employees (7 of whom are LEED APs) participate in frequent, interactive events including weekly educational and topical lunchtime discussions, design critiques and presentation training for younger staff, and a lecture
Environmentally-conscious design saves energy, conserves resources and lowers operating costs. So although design may not ultimately save the world, we’re doing our part to ensure we don’t ruin it.
Green Building & Design
A comprehensive look at the structures and concepts of tomorrow, and the masterminds behind them For your FREE subscription visit gbdmagazine.com gbdmagazine.com
Front façade of 355 11th Street, San Francisco’s first LEED-NC Gold building. The perforated skin allows the passively cooled building to breath while also performing as a solar-shading device.
355 11th street architect Aidlin Darling Design developer/general contractor Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders location San Francisco, CA story Kelli McElhinny
home to professional offices and a leed Platinum restaurant, the 14,000-squarefoot, multi-use building at 355 11th Street in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood has the eye-catching aesthetic that is the trademark of San Francisco-based Aidlin Darling Design’s work. The building was the first in the city to earn LEED Gold status, thanks in part to the firm’s efforts to work around roadblocks—like the original structure’s absence of windows. In order to address such an issue, Aidlin Darling proposed a design that included perforations in the corrugated-zinc siding. The strategy solved multiple problems at once, and it introduced light and airflow while simultaneously providing a solar-shading device. In
addition, the firm designed a conference table crafted from one of the structure’s Douglas fir beams—a move that allowed it to explore another aspect of sustainable design. Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders, a contractor with whom Aidlin Darling had previously collaborated, brought the firm onto the project. Matarozzi Pelsinger was the developer and general contractor for the building and also became a tenant once the project was completed. “It was the first time we were able to pursue design-build with the builder and end-user,” says Joshua Aidlin, one of the firm’s partners. The fast-track construction came together in a year. “They were building while we were drawing. That’s always a challenge,” Aidlin recalls. Aidlin Darling offers a unique approach to
355 11th Street
solar shading passive cooling exterior views
“Our entire premise from the day we started was to cross-pollinate design, art, and architecture.” —Joshua Aidlin, Partner, Aidlin Darling Design
architectural design that incorporates artistic vision with environmental sensibility. The firm’s projects are varied, and include restaurants, wineries, and museums. In pursuing such projects, the firm stays true to its roots in sustainability and high-quality materials.
Aidlin Darling’s portfolio includes buildings in densely populated urban sites and structures on wide swaths of rural farmland. The firm’s client mix is 60 percent residential, 30 percent commercial/retail, and 10 percent institutional. The diverse group of clients and projects is energizing. “We love designing for different programs,” Aidlin says. “We treat every project as an experiment and an exploration.” In addition, the firm has two winery projects that are in the design-development stage.
performance of the perforated corrugatedzinc siding. LEFT: Elevation diagram showing the relationship between the new and old façades of the 11th Street building.
Though many design aspects of the divergent project settings are similar, Aidlin explains one important difference. On larger plots of land, the designer can locate the structure on the site in a way that will allow for the most efficient use of natural resources. For example, the building can leverage trees that might provide sun and wind protection or maximize
inner workings LEFT: View of the entry bridge at 355 11th Street. RIGHT, BELOW: Interior views of 355 11th Street. Originally built in 1912, prior to its renovation by Aidlin Darling Design and Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders the building served as a bottlestorage facility for the adjacent Jackson Brewery.
reuse of rainwater. Wineries, in particular, are large consumers of water, and Aidlin Darling’s clients look for ways to reduce that usage. The firm has been pursuing sustainable projects since Aidlin and his University of Cincinnati classmate, David Darling, founded the company in 1998. Some of the firm’s earliest work involved passively cooled, rammed-earth homes and geothermal systems. However, beyond its desire to incorporate green features, Aidlin Darling’s philosophy emphasizes the convergence of artistic design and architecture. Aidlin, who grew up in a family of artists, has always taken life-drawing classes to further hone his artistic talents. “Our entire premise from the day we started was to cross-pollinate design, art, and architecture,” Aidlin says. Aidlin Darling’s idea of sustainability reaches beyond reclaiming materials and maximizing natural light. The company also strives to use high-quality, sustainable materials in every project. “We’re a very tactile firm,” Aidlin says. “It’s about how you use materials as much as it is what materials you’re using.” Restoring and renovating historical buildings demands the use of high-quality materials, and Aidlin
Darling is planning the conversion of a historic industrial building into a media-arts youth-education center. The company also attempts to create sustainable communities through projects that invest in healthful living and neighborhood involvement. In fact, Aidlin Darling is collaborating on a project that will incorporate an edible schoolyard into a mixed-income housing development. The schoolyard will also serve as a classroom for three nearby elementary schools. “It’s a cultural gathering place for the entire community,” Aidlin says. The firm’s variety of community, building, and mixed-use projects aptly represent its overall mission: to gather and interweave many disciplines in its own work—and the 355 11th Street project is a perfect example of such a mission. gb&d
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Shangri-La’s Hangar 25 is California’s 45th LEED Platinum building. The landscap-
ing at the Hangar incorporates the use of native and drought-tolerant plants with a drip-irrigation system, greatly reducing water use.
Hangar 25 builder Shangri-La Construction location Burbank, CA story Thalia Aurinko-Mostow
hangar 25, located in burbank, california, is the first aviation hangar to be certified LEED Platinum, one of only 45 LEED Platinum buildings in California, and was built for the same cost as a conventional hangar. The $17 million project boasts 51,000 square feet of hangar space, 13,000 square feet of outdoor landscaping, 7 Big Ass Fans (the true brand name) for cooling the hangar in warmer months and circulating the warm air when it’s cooler out, a high-fog fire-suppression system, walk-off grates, a synthetic lawn, and a parking canopy to help reduce the urban heatisland effect. Hangar 25 was the first project for the 23month old Shangri-La Construction, and, though it was a challenge, it set the company
up for greatness and a bit of celebrity recognition; USGBC President Rick Fedrizzi presented them with their LEED certificate at the hangar’s opening, and former US President Bill Clinton hosted an environmental roundtable discussion at the hangar. “Challenging projects tend to limit the competition, making them something to stride for with pride. Challenging and unique projects are what drive our people,” says Andrew Meyers, CEO and founder of Shangri-La. Since its recent inception, Shangri-La Construction has set its sights high with some major projects, including Hangar 25. Meyers comes from a real-estate background, as do his 30 employees. He started by working on highend residential projects in Bel-Air, West Los
1. STRUCTURAL BEAMS The beams supporting the hangar’s basic structure are made out of recycled content to lessen the environmental impact of extracting virgin materials. Thirty-five percent of the building materials for Hangar 25 were made from recycled content, and nearly half were locally harvested or manufactured.
3. BAMBOO Bamboo is known as one of the strongest natural building materials in the world as well as the one of the greenest, due its ability to grow to maturity in five years without fertilizers or pesticides. Hangar 25 used Plyboo, bamboo plywood, and veneer to reduce the amount of indoor-air contaminants.
2. SYNLAWN Drought-tolerant plants require little irrigation, and the watering systems the hangar does employ are designed for maximum efficiency. Combined with a synthetic lawn, water use is cut by 50 percent.
4. DIAMOND-POLISHED CONCRETE The high reflectivity of the hangar’s diamond-polished concrete floor helps reduce the amount of artificial light that is needed, thus cutting energy usage and costs. Diamond polishing also eliminates the need for toxic epoxies and floor coverings.
5. FIRE SUPPRESSION A sometimes overlooked element that can earn LEED points, firesuppression systems like Hi-Fog’s water-mist system reduces water use and minimizes waste from fire damage by dissipating heat more rapidly by using no toxic or ozone-depleting chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons.
Hangar 25 wasn’t only built sustainably—the structure is designed for optimal energy efficiency during operation and takes advantage of: • a 240 kW solar array on the roof, producing 110 percent of all power; • solar power—rather than jet fuel—for pre-flight operations, maintenance, and electric tow; • the feeding of extra solar power back into the municipal power grid, reducing strain; and • motion sensors, photo sensors, and localized switches to control the overall energy use in the building and all lighting systems.
“Challenging and unique projects are what drives our people.” —Andrew Meyers, CEO & Founder, Shangri-La Construction
Angeles, and Beverly Hills and gained handson experience in commercial real estate. Shangri-La Construction focuses on sustainable design and construction in several areas: institutional, retrofit, aviation, affordable housing, and public/private partnerships. “Shangri-La Construction creates sustainable, innovative, LEED-certified buildings at a cost equivalent to conventional construction with improved design and aesthetics. We achieve these high standards of green building through the use of our strategic partners to ensure constructability while optimizing operational efficiency,” Meyers explains. The company had no problem accomplishing those aims with Hangar 25.
replacements, ADA upgrades, low-VOC materials, high-performance plumbing fixtures, highperformance wall- and roof-insulation strategies, energy-efficient lighting, and LED exit signs. The company is also upgrading the roof and mechanical systems, in addition to using local and recycled materials, drought-tolerant landscaping, and water-conserving plumbing fixtures. Shangri-La was also able to maintain over 95 percent of the building’s existing walls, floors, and roof—extending the life of the existing building while reducing the overall environmental impact.
Shangri-La Construction has been able to accomplish high-profile projects with a lot of press and huge success in a short amount of time. It has also worked on multiple commercial interiors with more lined up for the future. Although Meyers knows not every project will receive LEED certification, the company’s goal is to make every building more efficient, to reduce operating costs for the owner, and to create a positive impact on the community around it, all by using the latest green-building technologies. gb&d
Though most of their work can be found on the West Coast, Shangri-La is hoping to begin work across the country as soon as possible. Another goal for Shangri-La is to create more green-collar jobs. As their website says, “With each project that Shangri-La Construction begins, we repurpose hundreds of traditional construction jobs to green-collar jobs. Our subcontractors and partners learn new transferable skills and sustainable construction methods to utilize on future projects.” One such future project is Shangri-La’s 302 Carson. Shangri-La began construction on 302 Carson in 2009 and believes it will be one of the most sought-after office buildings in Las Vegas. The company is working directly with the building owners to insure that every tenant will be responsible for maintaining the sustainable efforts it incorporates, as well as retrofitting the building to be both economically and environmentally sound. The company hopes for LEED Gold certification. With concrete floors, the office spaces are designed with an open footprint, creating a loft-like space. 302 Carson’s green features include exposed sandblasted exterior concrete, dual-glaze-system window
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net zero The firm lets its work speak for itself, Meditch says, pointing out that Bethesda Zero was built as a spec house, and during its construction, the project was used as a teaching tool—offering tours and classes to the public and other architects. Meditch explains that the key difference between a typical home and a zero-energy home is insulation. “A typical house has an R-value R-19 in the walls and R-38 in the roof. Our insulation values are R-33 for the walls and R-50 for the roof.” However, Meditch says that the firm is unsure of whether the residence’s energy performance will stay entirely true to its name. It is currently analyzing the home’s monthly energy usage to find out if it will perform according to its design, but this will take at least one year to accurately determine. Meditch adds that user habits are a “big player in whether a house will perform to zero-energy tolerances.”
Meditch Murphey’s Tree House served as a precursor to its zero-energy projects.
minimalism + sustainable design=meditch murphey architects Maryland-based firm designs luxury homes with the ultimate in energy efficiency by Suchi Rudra Vasquez
luxury homes are one aspect of residential design, but environmentally functional luxury homes are quite a different story. Since 2000, the design firm of Meditch Murphey Architects (MMA) has been part of that story, designing many of the sustainable, $1 millionplus homes in the Maryland area, where the firm is based in the city of Chevy Chase. Marcie Meditch, the firm’s cofounder (she established the firm with her husband, John Murphey, an architect) and principal, explains that the firm has grown to become very focused on zeroenergy design, with two recent residential projects, Bethesda Zero and Chesapeake Zero, that stand as examples of their work in this specialty area of sustainable architecture.
Meditch describes the personality of the firm as “simple, minimalist, but with a great attention to detail. Sustainability and energy efficiency are incorporated into all of our designs,” and the firm’s website portrays that. As part of the website, the employees maintain a blog that is dedicated largely to zero-energy, sustainable design. Meditch says that when the firm began to explore zero-energy design, they thought that others might also be interested in their findings and decided to put the information on their site. “We’ve found other blogs really helpful to us, as well, so what goes around comes around. It helps us all learn from each others’ experiences.” Meditch points out that since the 1960s, architectural design has drifted away from passiveenergy design techniques—such as placing doors and windows across from each other— in favor of inexpensive HVAC systems. “Now they’re not, so it’s time to relearn a lot of these methods, but we have much more sophisticated tools and materials at our disposal this time around,” she says. Generally, the firm simultaneously works on three to six projects, most of which are located
Meditch Murphey Architects
major features of the Bethesda Zero project include: • A photovoltaic solar array, solar-
• Water-efficient fixtures
thermal collectors, solar screens and
• Green roof
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• Natural ventilation and ceiling fans
on the East Coast, ranging from Massachusetts to Miami, with one project even located in Jamaica. MMA tends to have a wide variety of clients, ranging from those with strong environmental concerns to those who have a unique aesthetic problem to solve with their homes. Aside from designing zero-energy homes, with a keen interest in affordable housing that incorporates zero-energy methods, MMA also takes on small institutional projects as well as a few commercial-interior projects. Meditch adds that clients also come from a range of income levels and budgets, but “sometimes the
projects with the most restricted budgets end up being the most challenging and interesting.” MMA currently has a few new projects on the boards that are incorporating green-roof and urban-garden designs into residential projects. In fact, MMA is stepping up their innovation in green design to merge sustainable architecture with sustainable agriculture. This idea is manifested largely through creating rooftop gardens that “present a great opportunity for developing green space, growing food, and reducing the heat-island effect, all at the same
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time,” Meditch explains. “We were inspired by roof terraces we visited in Central America and Europe. Roofs are an underutilized space in the United States.” As MMA continues to make their unique contributions to the luxury-home landscape, Meditch says that one of the firm’s goals is to educate its clients about sustainable design. “With 30 percent of carbon emissions coming from the construction field,” she says, “architects have an opportunity to be leaders in changing the way this industry works.” gb&d
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Timothy Brian Barry designer and president of GlassRock Properties
WWW.GLASSROCK.COM / WWW.6W9NYC.COM / WWW.IDEALFOODDRINK.COM gbdmagazine.com
“The design of the GlassRock home is clean, modern, and elegantly simple,” says Timothy Brian Barry of its 0.House, one of three projects that will go “beyond LEED standards.”
GLASSROCK 0.HOUSE FEATURES
ultra-efficient designs GlassRock Properties LLC utilizes off-the-shelf technologies to develop systems capable of achieving new realities in energy efficiency by Peter Fretty from lifelong dreams to supercharged realities, Timothy Brian Barry, president and designer at Glassrock Properties LLC, is spearheading three simultaneous developments—each pushing the envelope within the green-design and -building arenas. As a child growing up during the 1970s energy crisis, Barry was exposed to emerging alternative-energy technologies and began to dream of building green.
• Passive-solar heating and optimal solar orientation • Photovoltaic solar panels • Ultra-energy efficient Daikin Altherma heat-pump heating and cooling system • Radiant stone floors • Heat-exchange ventilators • Super-insulated, triple-pane windows • LED lighting • SIP construction • Smart-home technologies • Conservation of existing indigenous plantings instead of destructive landscaping
“I believe the market is at the right place to embrace these concepts. Energy costs have skyrocketed, and alternative technologies have matured. Now the environment is calling for us to do our part,” Barry explains. “Fortunately, the people I am working with are very creative and are constantly thinking of ways to push the technologies and create new realities—the process of kaizen.” GlassRock is currently developing three key properties—each built to what Barry calls “beyond LEED standards”—that incorporate ultraefficient HVAC and energy-recycling systems, LED lighting, smart-home technologies, and recycled, low-impact building materials. The first project is 6W9, which is a classic Greenwich Village townhome re-imagined as a
rarefied study in elegant simplicity. This project includes raw granite, oiled walnut, and blackened steel organized with an efficient, organic, Zen minimalism. The home is illuminated with natural light and ambient LED fixtures; engineered with state-of-art HVAC, air, and water filtration systems; and also uses A/V, security, and smart-home technologies. The townhouse is being offered as a furnished rental property with full housekeeping services. The second project is the LEED Silver-certified 0.Home—penned as an ultra-modern prototype for a passive house in the Hudson Valley. “Our goal is to develop a true zero-energy house marrying age-old green principles with leading-edge technologies in a beautiful package,” Barry says. “The design of the GlassRock home is clean, modern, and elegantly simple.”
GlassRock Properties LLC Another project is the Ideal Food & Drink restaurant—the true realization of a lifelong dream for Barry. Slated for an October 2010 opening, Ideal will serve as a prototype for a green-designed, organic restaurant chain. Barry is building Ideal in Greenwich Village, and it will focus on delivering delicious, wholesome food sourced locally from the Hudson Valley and beyond—all offered at reasonable prices. The restaurant will feature a prototypical HVAC and refrigeration system designed to capture and recycle all exhaust heat, and, ultimately, it will operate 100 percent more efficiently than traditional systems. In addition to rigorous trash, composting, and fry-oil recycling programs, Ideal will utilize recycled old-growth timbers removed from 6W9 for its tables, chairs, and paneling, and will be lit by custom-made LED fixtures. “We are designing something that has not been tried yet. Refrigeration eats up energy in a restaurant environment and kicks off a tremendous amount of wasted heat and water,” Barry says. “What we have done is create a central
manifold for all our refrigeration and ice-making, running off a scroll compressor with a 4” glycol loop that runs around the building, picks up the discharged heat, and uses it to preheat our domestic hot water. The goal is to save up to 50 percent on our energy cost, which is significant considering we have a 5,000-squarefoot restaurant.” According to Barry, the beauty of all three GlassRock projects has been that, with the
“I’m constantly looking for the sweet spot between ecology, economy, engineering, and design— these three GlassRock properties express what we have discovered thus far.” —Timothy Brian Barry, President & Designer, GlassRock Properties LLC
smart designs of his dream team, GlassRock has the ability to utilize off-the-shelf technologies to develop systems capable of achieving new realities in energy efficiency. The difference is that the team is designing everything to work as a holistic system that fully capitalizes on the efficiencies of each individual component—“like a beautiful machine,” he says. “The ultimate goal in using off-the-shelf technologies is to have the Glassrock 0.House and Ideal Food serve as prototypes to be rolled out nationwide. For me, ecology is the ultimate luxury; if we can demonstrate our ability to build 0.House at a reasonable number, then we are looking at affordable, high-end development that does not ruin the environment,” Barry explains. “The same is true for Ideal Food & Drink, which is a hybrid of the fast-food model yet with a nutritious and delicious slow-food experience. I’m constantly looking for the sweet spot between ecology, economy, engineering, and design—these three GlassRock properties express what we have discovered up to this very moment.” gb&d
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Point Dume Residence Griffin Enright Architects
Completed 2008 Photo by Benny Chan gbdmagazine.com
beyond buildings At Griffin Enright Architects, fusing artistic experimentation with its designs and partnering with local universities is the norm by David Hudnall
rt and academia have a famously uneasy— often contentious—relationship with the business world. The greatest of ideas from the greatest of thinkers sometimes simply cannot be implemented practically and economically in the real world. (The recent healthcare debate provides no shortage of evidence of this.) Perhaps more than other creative professions, architects are required to be aware of how their vision fits into practical financial considerations. And when millions of dollars are at stake, it’s easy to lose sight of the artistry of a project. Philosophies fall by the wayside. Inspiration loses out to projected profits.
Los Angeles-based Griffin Enright Architects maintains strong ties with organizations like Southern California School of Architecture (SCI Arc) and the University of Southern California (USC)—places in which new ideas perpetually germinate—and in doing so, the firm keeps its approach fresh, its ear to the ground. Take “Keep Off The Grass,” a conceptual installation it introduced in a gallery at SCI Arc a few years back. “It was essentially an art piece,” principal John Enright says. “We suspended 1,000 square feet of sod in a gallery space, with the goal of spurring discussion about the negative impact of sod in our world.” At the time, both Enright and his wife, Margaret Griffin—also his partner at the firm—were teaching at the school. “SCI Arc has a program where they invite emerging architects to do an installation, and they give you $6,000 to do it. Margaret and I conceived it, and then we had people from our office helping build it, and students from our courses lending a hand. It was kind of an anti-sod demonstration, I guess,” Enright says, laughing. “Although we tried not to be too serious about it.” Such fusions of artistic experimentation with the built environment are something of a hallmark for the firm. Griffin, for example, is currently spearheading landscape-design efforts on various projects, bringing indigenous plants (which require very little water), gravels, and other permeable surfaces to Griffin Enright’s projects. Enright—who holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Syracuse University and a master’s in architecture from Columbia University—is currently an assistant professor at USC. Griffin, also a Syracuse undergraduate alumna, received her master’s from the University of Virginia and has taught for more than fourteen years at universities like UCLA, Syracuse, USC, and SCI Arc, where she currently holds a post. The couple’s firm focuses on residential, institutional, cultural, and hospitality projects, the bulk of which are located in California, though it has also designed
“[Green design] is so pervasive in the world today. No architect can practice without addressing it in some way.” —John Enright, Principal across the United States and in China. With a staff of seven to ten people, the practice is “still considered a small, emerging office,” Enright says. But its work is gradually becoming larger in scale. A recent mixed-use project in Venice, California, has allowed Griffin Enright to highlight its capabilities, particularly when it comes to its green elements. Positioned in a beach community with small lots, Venice Place includes living, office, and retail space and a church, supplementing the eclectic nature of Abbot Kinney Boulevard and the existing community feathering out from it. Behind the residential space, a walkway—landscaped and leading to the outdoor dining area and sculpture garden—forms a private stretch for work/creative space and access to parking areas. “We’re tracking LEED Silver on it,” Enright says of Venice Place, noting that its series of sustainable elements include rooftop gardens, recycled building materials, solar power, energy-efficient heating and cooling, natural ventilation, and daylighting. The firm also flexed its proverbial green muscles at a recent competition at SCI Arc, when the design of the school’s new café was opened up to faculty proposals. Griffin Enright put together a plan for a multipurpose space that would incorporate a café, kitchen, boardroom, and special event space—all mobile, slowly moving up and down the length of the building. Enright explains, “The building itself is >
Griffin Enright Architects
LEFT: The installation under construction. LOWER RIGHT: At the gallery opening. BOTTOM: Diagram showing the breakdown of how the sod was displayed for patrons to view.
The Keep Off the Grass installation was meant to provide a critique on “Southern Californians’ devotion to their perfectly manicured lawns.”
CONCEPTUAL INSTALLATION The Keep Off The Grass exhibit was an effort by Griffin Enright Architects to spur discussion about the negative impact of sod on the earth. The installation involved the suspension of over 1,000 square feet of sod from the ceiling in an exhibition space. The visual emphasized the extremely thin nature of sod and highlighted its environmentally destructive characteristics. Over the eight-week course of the exhibit, the sod dried and decayed naturally, further illustrating the firm’s thesis. “Sod requires an immense amount of water,” Enright says. “Plus, there’s all these fertilizers and gas from lawn mowers and fertilizers that are being spilled into the environment. So we put statistics up around the wall of the space articulating the negative impacts, and a horizontal line of fluorescent light on the wall, three and a half feet above the floor, that indicated the amount of water required to keep a lawn that size alive for a year.”
volume of gallery wall text above water line describing environmental problems with over use of sod in desert environment 3’–6’
water line was created with line of light
1,000 square feet of hydroponic sod
volume of water required annually for maintainence of 1,000 square feet of sod
Griffin Enright Architects
The southern façade of Venice Place is composed of flexible “Unisolar” shades that filter natural light at the third and second floors while providing electrical energy for the project.
VENICE PLACE The history of Venice, California, began with developer Abbot Kinney, who, like Griffin Enright Architects, was concerned with the environment. Now his legacy, preserved in Abbot Kinney Boulevard, is likewise carried on in Griffin Enright’s nearby mixed-use development. Venice Place utilizes the area’s small beach lots to their full extent with rooftop gardens, a solarshading device, pedestrian walkways, and a front façade that modulates daylight. Combining living, office, and retail space, it seeks to reestablish an interiority of urban life. Its recycled building materials, full array of photovoltaic panels, energy-efficient HVAC, integrated natural ventilation, and use of daylight will help the project reach LEED Silver.
RIGHT: Rendering of Venice Place showcasing Griffin Enright’s full optimization of vertical and horizontal space, as well as green features like easily accessible rooftop gardens.
A F B
A. Rooftop gardens C D
B. Vinyl photovoltaic collectors C. Living area, Unit B, 3rd floor D. Living area Unit A, 2nd floor E. Front façade F. Adjacent commercial building
G. Living room opening
feature architect SKYLIGHTING The renovation for the Benedict Canyon residence in Beverly Hill, CA, utilizes a folded roof for greater daylight. As the main design aspect of this project, the ceiling (shown below) was created with track lighting concealed behind a plywood panel system. The skylights were used to establish a path for internal circulation while reducing the reliance on artificial lighting.
a quarter-mile long and used to be a freight depot. Trains would come in on one side and drop off goods, and trucks would leave on the other side through docks to downtown Los Angeles.” The vehicle for the project would be a standard-size railcar chassis, powered by a hybrid-electric engine fueled by solar energy collected on the skin of the project itself. The firm called it Mobile Exposure and proposed that it serve as both a practical, programmatic solution and a striking, visual beacon for visitors. “It was never implemented,” Enright says. “It was more of a research project, aspects of which we are hoping we can incorporate into real projects down the line.” Griffin Enright has received more than 30 awards for design excellence since it was founded in 2000, including the 2006 American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum. The firm also has been published extensively, in local, national, and international outlets. It recently landed a $12 million project for St. Thomas the Apostle School in Los Angeles, and more projects with a sustainable focus are on the way. “Ninety percent of our clients come in asking for green designs,” Enright says. “Almost everyone is interested in it, and we try to promote it. It’s so pervasive in the world today. No architect can practice without addressing it in some way.” gb&d
The Future is Now story
Jennifer Kirkland & David Hudnall photos and renderings Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates & Gale International (unless otherwise noted)
What is now known as Songdo City barely existed on a map six years ago. Located off the coast of Incheon, the third-largest city in South Korea, Songdo was created from 1,500 acres of reclaimed land in the Yellow Sea. It is the worldâ€™s first city to seek LEED certification with every single building in the development expected to attain LEED certification. Essentially, Songdo is a man-made island, and part of a burgeoning trend in Asia: selecting a geographically convenient location and building a city from scratch, thus avoiding the growing pains and infrastructure difficulties that accompany a cityâ€™s evolution over years, decades, and centuries.
alfway through construction—it’s due for completion in 2015 and already boasts a population of 7,000—Songdo resembles something out of the video game SimCity— exceptionally modern, elaborate, bright, shiny. Tall white and silver buildings frame handsome streets and green spaces, while an elegant suspension bridge curves back to the mainland. Soon, it will be filled with state-of-the-art schools, a high-speed transportation system, and saltwater canals. Fully integrated infrastructure will connect all major information systems—residential, business, medical, etc.—so data can be shared and conveniently maximized; computers will be built into homes, streets, and office buildings. It’s being billed as a “ubiquitous city”—South Korea’s answer to Dubai. Is this the future of urban development?
Aerial view of Songdo, currently under construction. BELOW: Rendering of the completed city, due for completion in 2015.
Shaping Songdo as an environmentally sound development was not part of the original plan. Songdo, which is also known as Songdo International Business District, was born out of the Asian economic crisis of the late ’90s, when the Korean government, inspired by economic dynamos
like Shanghai, set up the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ). The goal was to transform three areas—Songdo, Yeongjong Island, and Cheonga—into hubs for logistics, international business, leisure, and tourism. The vision for Songdo quickly turned into an ambitious one: the canvas was in essence blank, and thus a somewhat unprecedented amount of freedom existed with which to implement a modern, urban, technological utopia. Beyond that, the thinking went, if Songdo could serve as a destination for Korean business and leisure, why not make it a center for international commerce as well? IFEZ’s search for Korean and foreign investors commenced, and two investment firms soon emerged as developers: Gale International of New York, headed by Stanley C. Gale and John B. Hynes, III, and Posco Engineering and Construction of South Korea. World-renowned international architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) came onboard as master planners. In 2001, construction of the city began, and by 2009, $10.5 billion in private capital had been invested in the project, making it currently the largest private real-estate development in history. >
the future is now
“The aim to make this Korea’s green city and also a model for environmental development worldwide picked up steam as we got into the project,” says James von Klemperer, principal at KPF. “Stan Gale got very enthralled with the idea to be more and more ambitious.” As a result, 40 percent of the city is officially designated “green,” including a centralized 100-acre park featuring seven rain cisterns holding more than five million liters of rainwater for use in the park’s irrigation. Songdo will also be the first urban area to aspire to LEEDND certification for an entire city: every single building is expected to attain LEED certification. “Our goal is to export all the green technologies of Songdo to Asia and the rest of the world,” says Tom Murcott, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Gale International. Opportunities Galore Many people involved with the planning and construction of Songdo use the word “opportunity” when discussing it. Murcott says he saw an opportunity to do something that had never been done before. “The idea was to create an international hub that could be Korea’s front door to the world,” Murcott says. “You could land at the airport and in 15 minutes be at an office or hotel in Songdo. It would be a total quality-of-life transformation.”
James von Klemperer
Von Klemperer was skeptical at first about designing a whole city from the ground up, something that had rarely been attempted. “We had to think hard about what makes a city. The models we looked at were cities whose feelings of density and centrality we liked.” Dense urban areas require fewer resources than sprawling suburban areas, so cities like Boston, London, Paris, and Tokyo were obvious choices. The planners had the opportunity to fuse various elements to make a new idea of what a city can be. >
A. Cultural Center
F. Central Park
B. Office Mixed-Use
G. Residential Blocks
C. Saltwater Canal
H. First World Towers
D. Canal Walk
I. Jack Nicklaus
E. International Hospital
As von Klemperer explains, “For streetscapes, we looked
“We had to think hard about what makes a city. The models we looked at were cities whose feelings of density and centrality we liked.”
—James von Klemperer, Principal, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Pedestrian City In Korea, traditional villages were defined by ascending scale neighborhoods called Ma-eul, Dong, or Cheon. Old Seoul was about the same size as Songdo, and each village was approximately 500 meters in diameter, increasing the walkability of the city. In Songdo the same precedent has been applied, residents live within easy walking distance of work, school, stores, entertainment, and transportation. Other aspects include: • An extensive network of pedestrian walkways crisscrosses the city. • Bike storage facilities and a bike rental system encourage low-cost transportation. • Light rail, green buses, water taxis, and underground parking are included throughout most of the city. • Subway connections to Incheon and Seoul are within a half-mile walk from most buildings.
Garden City About one-third of Songdo’s total area is dedicated to green space. • The 100-acre Central Park dominates the center of the city and features outdoor concert and sports facilities. • A Jack Nicklaus championship golf course, one of only a handful in the world, dominates the southwest quadrant of Songdo. A PGA Senior Tournament is scheduled there for September 2010. • The city’s saltwater canals are all lined with parks, and public green space is always within walking range.
• Landscaped streetscapes line residential and commercial areas. • The citywide graywatercollection system greatly reduces water usage, forming a self-irrigating green city. • More urban green space encourages walking, biking, and taking public transportation. • Extensive rooftop gardens and rain-collection gardens further add sustainable aspects to the city.
the future is now
Buildings & Designs SKY HIGH. Songdo is home to the Northeast Asia Trade Tower (NEATT), South Koreaâ€™s tallest skyscraper at 68 stories. The striking, triangular-shaped building was designed by KPF and was created to reduce approximately 6,000 tons of carbon emissions per year by its clever use of advanced shading devices and glazing techniques. Like all of Songdoâ€™s buildings, NEATT relies on hot water purchased from a local, highly efficient cogeneration plant, instead of less efficient electric chillers and natural gas boilers found in conventional towers.
LANDSCAPES. Songdo’s Central Park was officially opened in August 2009. The 100-plus acres are the centerpiece of Songdo’s “garden city” masterplan. The rolling topography designed to pay tribute to Korea’s mountainous coastlines was created by the utilization of excavated fill from neighboring building sites. Central Park also features a mile-long saltwater canal, and in conjunction with a subsurface geotextile system, drainage swales were designed to maximize the harvesting of rainwater.
MIXED-USE LIVING. The North Canal Mixed-Use Development (NCMU) and Canal Walk is a 1.3 million-square-foot neighborhood designed to include retail, residential, and commercial buildings. Each block of the NCMU contains a central cooling and heating plant with two chillers provided on each block to serve both retail and office units. In addition to high-performance glazing, each building will also be equipped with overhangs and louvers, designed to respond to each building’s unique solar orientation.
the future is now
1. The Convensia Convention Center, opened in 2009 as part of the city’s Phase I, has a design that hints at the Sydney Opera House and boasts one of Asia’s largest column-free exhibition spaces.
“The idea was to create an international hub that could be Korea’s front door to the world. You could land at the airport and in 15 minutes be at an office or hotel in Songdo.” —Tom Murcott, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Gale International
at the boulevards of Paris. For shopping zones, we looked at the older streets of Seoul. We wanted water to feature in the city plan, so we looked at Venice and Amsterdam for their canals. For housing, we looked at the Back Bay of Boston, and because we knew Koreans like high-rises, we looked at Vancouver and tried to make a hybrid plan, based on both models.” Bringing in Business Since it’s being financed by private capital, Songdo has also provided economic opportunities. Several financial services industries and information-technology companies are expected to announce office openings within the next year. Cisco Systems has signed on to provide networkbased technologies and real-estate services. Sheraton has opened a hotel. And due to Songdo’s opportune location—a 10-minute drive from Incheon International Airport—the city is attracting a great deal of attention as a northeast Asian business hub. Though Seoul is just 35 miles from the airport, it can take close to two hours to
reach due to daily traffic congestion. Meanwhile, Songdo offers an 80-minute flight to Shanghai, a 90-minute flight to Tokyo and a 3-hour flight to Hong Kong. The city’s core components—Convensia Convention Center, Convention Center Hotel, and Central Park opened as part of Phase I in August 2009. Phase II will include the iconic 65-story Northeast Asia Trade Tower, which will be South Korea’s tallest building, scheduled for completion in early 2011. The International Preparatory School is set to open in September 2010, along with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, which will host the PGA Champions Tour. In addition to the $35 billion build-out costs, the City of Incheon and Korean Government have spent $10 billion in infrastructure for highways and a subway system.
2. The U-Life Complex, housing the entity responsible for the city’s “ubiquitous technology through ubiquitous infrastructure.” 3. & 4. The International School Songdo was
“By engaging all these partners in the planning and design stage from the outset, we can create not only a better city, but better, more integrated, and more sustainable technologies and products-faster and at a better price,” Murcott says.
designed to be the most technologically advanced K–12 school in the world.
Von Klemperer is seeing the results. “Because Songdo has been a successful private enterprise,” he says, “other private developers from other parts of the world, especially India, are coming to us and saying ‘We want something like that.’”
Murcott agrees. “This is a unique, international, privatepublic sector collaboration,” he says. “Songdo is the first, but the world needs many more of these.”
All above photos: H.G. Esch.
When completed in 2015, Songdo is projected to be home to 65,000 residents, with an additional 300,000 people commuting in daily as office workers or students. What began as a quest to build a modern utopian city has quite admirably evolved into a quest to build the world’s first fully sustainable city. Hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come. gb&d
SPG Architectâ€™s Casa Torcida in Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.
Briggs Architecture + Design
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/residentialal with a personal predisposition toward environmentalism, it was only natural for the partners of SPG Architects to incorporate sustainability into their design firm’s mission. Caroline (Coty) Sidnam founded SPG Architects in 1980. Eric Gartner began working with her in 1989; in 1993, the two became partners. The architecture firm has always accepted its environmental responsibility through the careful selection of materials and the responsible use of energy resources in its designs. As a mid-size architectural firm based in New York City, SPG serves a full mix of residential, retail, and corporate clients; those most actively interested in environmentalism tend to be the firm’s residential and institutional clients. Though years ago, few clients were interested in environmental responsibility, finding individuals or businesses that have similar concerns today is not difficult. “The idea of sustainability has snowballed, making it easier and easier for us to proactively incorporate well-considered systems and materials into our projects,” Gartner says. SPG is committed to employing material and energy resources to their maximum end use and efficiency in order to limit the impact of their design on the environment. They consider energy sources such as geothermal systems, solar energy, and hydropower as alternatives to fossil fuels. Water reclamation and recycling lessen their use of valuable natural resources, and efficient use of materials and recycling limit the waste entering landfills.
home-grown bamboo For an off-the-grid Costa Rican residence, SPG Architects showcases its skills and principles by using a local concrete company and building materials harvested from the owner’s property by Jennifer Hogeland
The firm recently designed a residence in Leicester, North Carolina, to be as responsibly designed as possible. Functionality and energy efficiency came together through program zoning as well as the selection of materials, fixtures, and fittings. Built into the hillside, the Leicester house features a large geothermal field that serves all the heating and cooling needs for the house; the residence is zoned into two distinct living areas to control energy use. The lower level has a 9,000-square-foot water-collection tank where all the water from the home’s roof is collected. While the water cannot be used for drinking, it can be utilized for the home’s wastewater and landscaping needs. In addition, a green roof is incorporated over the guesthouse to limit water run-off while providing a beautiful outdoor space that merges with the distant view. As Gartner says, “With access to fresh water becoming an increasingly large issue in the world, rainwater collection is an important strategy to help mediate that.” While the Leicester home didn’t pursue LEED certification—in part because LEED for homes was in its infancy at the time design started—it did incorporate responsible
ABOVE, RIGHT: A Greenwich Village penthouse demonstrates SPG’s careful selection of materials and modern style.
design. Gartner reveals that SPG checked the residence status against LEED credits and estimates that the house would fall into the Silver category. “A lot of our schedules are driven by seasonal requirements,” Gartner says. “While homeowners may be interested in LEED, it is hard to convince everyone to slow down and wait for an inspection.”
includes 32,000 square feet of buildings, offers a safe place for villagers, and provides much-needed social services. The site includes a community center that serves as a social gathering area as well as a library and kitchen. A health clinic bounds the community, and classrooms accommodate 300 students.
Another project recently completed is on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. Referred to as the “Caretaker’s House,” it is an off-the-grid structure designed by the firm. One of the local construction industry’s strengths is concrete work, so a concrete and stucco form provides the structural base for a second-level bamboo enclosure; bamboo grown from the owner’s property is combined with the solid base to filter and shield the interior spaces from the sun and elements. Rainwater collection satisfies the light water use, and solar panels serve the home’s power needs.
Kageno hoped for an architecturally impressive design to serve as inspiration for those utilizing the space. “I think the biggest challenge was to balance architectural ambition and realism,” Gartner says. Materials were sourced locally, the local community donated the land, and Rwandans have built and will staff the facilities. The predominate building materials consist of bricks and corrugated metal roofs. “The lo-tech materials were incorporated into a form that is buildable but clean and modern at the same time,” Gartner adds.
With these buildings complete, SPG took on a significant community project in Rwanda. Designed on a pro-bono basis, A New Place of Hope is in Banda, Rwanda. SPG came in to design a modern collection of community buildings for the relief organization Kageno. The space
There is no electricity in the area, and solar power and satellite are incorporated into the community. “It really is a light footprint in terms of energy use and water use. It is sort of meant to be socially sustainable as well as energy sustainable,” Gartner explains.
OPPOSITE: The view from the second-level balcony of SPG’s Casa Torcida in Costa Rica, an off-the-grid home that boasts the country’s largest residential solar array.
The Leicester House, in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, NC, is zoned into two distinct living areas to control energy use. BELOW: SPG Architects partners Coty Sidnam and Eric Gartner.
“We are always going to be the firm that combines really strong design considerations and ideas while being green or sustainable. Those two must go hand-in-hand.” —Eric Gartner, Partner
One of SPG’s most recent and notable design challenges was the completion of a much larger house in Costa Rica. The client had started building the residence on his own more than five years ago; frustrated, he searched for help. Determined that the home needed to be totally self-contained, he called on SPG. Because the homeowner wanted sustainable architecture, the firm insisted that the structure’s frame needed to stay. “We did manipulate the perimeter fairly substantially, but the frame is probably 90 percent of the original,” Sidnam says. The house is 100 percent off the grid, and it is completely energy and water self-sufficient; it incorporates the largest residential solar array in Costa Rica and a 33,000-gallon water tank that provide for the home’s full electrical and water needs. As SPG Architects saves the day with superior sustainable design, they continue to see repeat clients. Sidnam and Gartner intend to keep the firm small, less than 20 employees, to maintain their edge. “We are always going to be the firm that combines really strong design considerations and ideas while being green or sustainable. Those two must go hand-in-hand,” Gartner says. “We aren’t going to do something just for design reasons, just like we aren’t going to do something just for sustainable reasons. In order to advance SPG’s mission, we have to achieve both high design and sustainability.” gb&d
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indigenous, ingenious Briggs Architecture + Design draws deeply from the Ozark region—its design principles and its wealth of natural resources—and well serves the Arkansas motto: The Natural State
by David Hudnall at the university of arkansas in the 1980s, donald Briggs studied under Fay Jones, the famed architect and designer, who himself was an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright. Under Jones’ tutelage, Briggs developed what he describes as an “Ozark” style of architecture— an organic approach that stresses the use of indigenous materials and local resources; one that favors the creation of designs that harmonize with, rather than dominate, the environment. “I want my buildings to have an indigenous quality, to be as suited to their place as the rocks and trees that shape the landscape,” Briggs says. “A building should be of its area, of its region; all structures should have a true sense of place.” Briggs was employed as a corporate architect for Bass Pro Shops until 1993 when he established an architectural practice in Springfield, Missouri. In 2001, he moved the operation to Hamilton, Montana, in order to serve a growing clientele in the Northwest. He maintains his Montana office, although he designs for clients all over the country. His projects, whether in Michigan, Washington, New Mexico, Texas, or the Mid-Atlantic region, are customized to be a timeless and integral part of their environment. Briggs actually received his introduction to green design in architecture school. “We were taught to begin each project with proper site-orientation, which is elemental to energy-efficient design,” he says. Now, some years since those early school days, Briggs is getting the opportunity to go beyond basic orientation and apply a broad array of sustainable elements in his design process. At present, Briggs has an exciting LEED project registered with the USGBC waiting to get off the ground. Recently, a client commissioned him to design a lodge, guesthouse, solar-ray field, and orchards on 160 acres of land in western Montana. “In order to meet his goal to eventually be off the grid energy-wise, we have assembled a team of engineers and specialty consultants to advise us,” Briggs
ABOVE: Reclaimed timbers and low-VOC
says. “Unfortunately, we’re waiting for the economy to pick back up a little before we proceed.”
finishes provide an enduring quality in this Arts & Crafts-inspired interior.
A lagging economy has undoubtedly stalled a number of green design projects, but it has also made clients more aware of costs, a trend that Briggs sees as—when applied to the long view—good news for sustainable design. “The passion for sustainable design has always held an appeal when the incentive is to have buildings that endure without disrupting the environment. Now, potential home owners are embracing the concept for fiscal reasons as well,” he says. “People really appreciate smaller utility bills these days. They are more open to the idea that a bigger home is not necessarily better, that quality can trump quantity. This was not prevalent even three years ago.” Briggs will continue to advocate to his clients the benefits of using local artisans, building with local materials (which keeps transportation costs to a minimum), and reclaiming materials from structures that have already been dismantled. “Now, many clients come to me with a desire for sustainable designs,” he says. “The desirability and feasibility of green have become permanent elements in our building culture.” gb&d
west coast king With the first five-star Built Green certification in King County, Washington, the Bender Chaffey Corporation stands out even in the eco-friendly Pacific Northwest by Yvelette Stines
BELOW: Perched above Meydenbauer Bay on Lake Washington, this house shows off its blend of Northwest, Asian, and contemporary architecture.
when companies are passionate about their purpose, clients, and craft, success is inevitable. Bender Chaffey, located in Kirkland, Washington, has been in business for 28 years. As a company that focuses on building and remodeling high-end homes, they also offer interior design and maintenance services. “We have created over 300 custom-home and remodel projects throughout Bellevue, Kirkland, the Seattle area, and the San Juan Islands,” says Steve Bender, vice president of Bender Chaffey Corporation. Owned by father-and-son team Don and Steve Bender, the company has remained successful despite the economy and understands what it takes to stay consistent. Bender Chaffey led the path toward sustainability long before it was labeled as such. “Before the green industry took off, we used many of the practices because it is smart construction and better for the environment,” explains Henry Wasenmiller, project manager for Bender Chaffey.
Now that sustainability and green building are a common practice within the industry, Bender Chaffey is continuing the concept of sustainability at a higher scale. With the changes in the industry, the company is staying on top of the trends by educating their clients and staff on a regular basis. “We keep our staff educated by monthly staff meetings that touch on new green practices. Upon completion of each project, we have a company walkthrough led by the company manager and superintendent; we also talk about the process, job system, and challenges of the project,” Wasenmiller explains. With consistent communication between clients and employees, there is an extensive amount of trust built with all parties involved. The company is proud of the trust their strong reputation engenders. With over 300 job sites completed, some memorable projects include the Washington Park Seattle Residence. The project included underground stormwater retention that enabled recycling for non-potable and irrigation uses, a vegetative roof, a solar-hot-water system, and exposed steel I-beams throughout the house. In addition, the Issaquah Highland Project attained the first five-star Built Green certification in King County, Washington. “Due to this certification, the county pushed the permit so we could complete the project in a shorter time frame,” Bender says. The Issaquah Highland Project includes advanced framing techniques, staggered studs for thermal insulation, compact-fluorescent lighting, natural carpets, pervious concrete for the
Bender Chaffey Corporation
“Before the green industry took off, we used many of the practices because it is smart construction and better for the environment.” —Henry Wasenmiller, Project Manager
driveway and courtyard, and crawl spaces conditioned to reduce heat loss from ductwork.
LEFT: A floating, curved staircase over the dining room
Always having the environment in mind, the company finds ways to preserve the earth from the inception to the completion of all projects. Bender Chaffey takes pride in recycling its used materials. “We don’t use a waste company. Most materials are recycled and used appropriately,” Bender explains.
makes an impressive entryway. Photo: Gregg Krogstad, Krogstad Photography, Architect: Demetriou Architects.
video and photos from the site, etc. Previously, this was all done using copious amounts of paper,” Bender says. Along with being a company that is taking the lead in green building, the company understands the importance of relationships. It takes pride in its reputation of trust and loyalty with clients, sub contractors, and employees. “Don worked hard to develop and keep a great reputation. Our clients know what they are getting (in terms of product) because of our strong reputation of trust and consistency,” Wasenmiller explains. Employees are no different at the company. “We are lucky that we hired the right people, and they truly care. They are passionate with a positive, can-do attitude,” Bender says. Wasenmiller agrees, “The bottom line is relationships. We are industry people who love what we do, find solutions, and have fun doing it,” he says. As a tight-knit, passionate group of employees, Bender Chaffey wants to stay successful and consistent.
RIGHT: Exposed struc-
Another sustainable practice within the company is a webbased, project-management system. “All of our projects are managed via this web-based system where clients, staff, trade contractors, designers, and managers can use tools such as a daily log report about the site’s activities, plan files, specifications, communication channels, virtual schedules,
tural I-beams helped this project to achieve a LEED Gold and 5-star Built Green rating. Architect: Stuart Silk Architects.
In the future, the company would like to continue on its path towards consistency. “We are not looking to grow,” Bender says. “We are a midsize company of 22-plus employees with a very hands-on, flexible approach. We want to continue to give personal attention to each project but have the continued flexibility to handle big projects.” gb&d
save the family farm Frederick Phillips and Associates melds urban and rural interests with an award-winning Chicago residence and a sustainable community built on the Phillips family’s dairy farm by Sheryl Nance-Nash
BELOW: Floor-to-ceiling windows visually expand the space and provide wide views of Chicago to the southeast.
rick phillips doesn’t think big is necessarily better, and he founded Frederick Phillips and Associates on the concept of quality, rather than quantity. “Some companies are focused on sales, gross receipts, and are volume-oriented. They focus on quantity at the expense of quality—that’s not who we are. If we were selling widgets that might be okay, but when it comes to design, quality is a form of distinction,” he says.
The specialized, boutique firm is involved in site planning, architecture, and interior design in the United States and abroad. The firm handles all phases of a project, from feasibility studies, programming, and design, to construction documents, bidding, and construction observation. Completed projects include club facilities, performing-arts centers, commercial offices, retail stores, showrooms, sound studios, equestrian buildings, and many others. The firm has extensive experience in the renovation and new construction of steel frames, poured-concrete foundations, masonry, and heavy timber-and-frame buildings. Frederick Phillips and Associates has won numerous Distinguished Building Awards from the American Institute of Architects, Record House Awards from Architectural Record, a Grand Award from Residential Architect, an American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum, and various other local and national awards. The firm’s work has been extensively published and exhibited nationally and
“Some companies are focused on sales, gross receipts, and are volume-oriented. They focus on quantity at the expense of quality— that’s not who we are. If we were selling widgets that might be okay, but when it comes to design, quality is a form of distinction.” —Rick Phillips, Founder & Principal
Frederick Phillips and Associates
OPPOSITE: To maximize stunning views of Chicago’s skyline, the principle outdoor space is on the 4thlevel roof terrace with the living, dining, and kitchen spaces on the 3rd. Bedrooms are on the 2nd level, with parking and main entry on the ground.
internationally. Of the many awards the firm has received, one that stands out is its 2006 National Housing Award for a less-than 1,200-square-foot home in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. To minimize the home’s footprint on its small, triangular site, the firm built the entire house with six steel columns laterally braced by a 10-foot–square, masonry stair tower for support. In addition, retractable sunshades protect the roof from heat gain in the warmer months. Why is it special? “It was small. It re-enforces the value system that we promote: small—not volume, but quality. To get recognized for it, with a lot of competition from around the country, that was an honor,” Phillips says. A decade ago the Phillips family was faced with a dilemma—to sell, or develop, the 200-acre, former dairy farm and country retreat that had been in the family for 80 years. As an architect, Phillips saw an opportunity. “I wanted to make it a quality development. From the beginning, I established several goals: that the area would maintain its original character and feeling of a dairy farm, that open spaces would be preserved, fields would be restored back to prairies, and we would do all this without sacrificing financial return,” Phillips recalls of the Deerpath Farm project in Mettawa, Illinois. The dream project has offered many challenges. “It’s been a lengthy process because of the regulations governing the development,” Phillips says. The team worked with the National Army Core of Engineers, Lake County Stormwater Management, Illinois Historic Resources, and the Illinois Department of Transportation during the five years it took to get the required 13 permits. The firm put in roads five years ago, and the construction of homes began in 2005 with the first home being completed in 2006. Today, there are eight homes, and more are on the way. The Deerpath Farm project is the firm’s first significant green project. There are many sustainable characteristics—two-thirds of the original 200 acres are placed in a conservation easement; prairies, wetlands, and oak and hickory forests are completely restored; two miles of
drain tile has been removed; water management of the development is engineered to restore indigenous wildlife in the area; conservancy areas are established surrounding building sites; and road area and width are kept to a minimum to reduce hard-surface runoff. Green elements are also included in the architecture. Homes have geothermal HVACs; energy-efficient furnaces, water heaters, and appliances; insulated windows with argon-filled e-glass; extra insulation in walls and roofs; and metal roofs and fiber-cement-board siding. In addition, driveway areas are minimized to reduce hardsurface runoff, winter-sun gain is maximized through south-facing glass, sunscreens protect the homes from solar heat gain, and stormwater is returned to the land. Phillips says he is sold on green building and that the firm, “will absolutely get greener.” He explains that, for the first time in a long time, the architecture world is focused on a substantive issue—instead of superficial design values based on design clichés and bandwagon fashion statements. “How can we provide an example of stewardship? How do we do what’s needed by everyone to save our planet? We have to think of the broader impact of what we do, the impact on energy, materials, disposal, and recycling—every little decision counts when you multiply it by billions—it has a major impact.” gb&d
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ski-town LEED Idaho Mountain Builders takes an environmentally conscious background, a beautiful resort area, and a new market for green building and churns out LEEDcertified spec homes
by Julie Schaeffer joe marx and tim carter were friends and—technically—competition, as self-employed builders in the same area. But then they saw an opportunity to create something bigger. “We were both building our own homes, and had the opportunity to bid on a home for someone else, so we decided if we won the contract we’d form our own company and build it together,” Marx says. Marx and Carter did win the project, and in 2004, they founded Idaho Mountain Builders, a custom-home builder working in and around the Idaho ski town of Sun Valley, located adjacent to the Sawtooth National Forest. “Because we live in an expensive restort town, initially our vision was to simply make a solid living to support our families,” Marx says. “To that end, early projects consisted largely of remodeling, and we gradually expanded into new construction.” But then the market changed. “Our approach worked when the housing market was booming, but then the market slowed, and we realized we’d have to find a niche,” Marx notes. “So we came up with an idea to build spec homes. It started as a ‘what-if’ conversation, but it quickly progressed into a house scheduled for completion in the spring of 2009. We found an investor and formed Deep Powder LLC [its project management arm].” It was then that the firm decided to go green. Sustanability wasn’t a stretch for the duo: Marx says he “grew up in the woods with activist parents,” then graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. Carter grew up on the side of a ski hill in Connecticut and is passionate about two things: efficient building and growing jalapeños. “Before the building process began, we met with Vital Spec Inc., a consulting company, and the local LEED and Energy Star raters, to determine the steps required for certification,” Marx says of the spec home. “We then drew up the plans ourselves.”
ABOVE: The entryway to 410 River Run Drive, Ketchum, Idaho’s first LEED-certified home.
Today, the finished product—a 2,566-square-foot residence whose green features include solar panels for power and hot water—is complete, on the market, and certified LEED Gold. Idaho Mountain Builders is already on to its next project. “We’ve been retained to act as construction managment on a new 4,000-square-foot modern home in Eagle [Idaho],” Marx says. “The house, which will be finished in the fall, will be an Energy Star home and will be LEED certified.” The builders are also taking their interest in sustainability in a new direction. “We’ve diversified our business by creating a new division called Home Performance Systems,” he explains. “We go into existing homes and analyze the physical health of the building’s air quality and energy consumption using a number of different tests. The initial consultation is free, then we charge the client for specs on how the house performs and what it would take to fix it. [The spec] can be presented to any general contractor to implement. So far we have generated work from 95 percent of our visits.” “Building a spec home to LEED standards taught us a lot about the market and the techniques needed to survive and grow our business,” Marx continues. “Our client list is growing daily, and so is our business. We’re hiring people.” gb&d
great clients think alike When Porraro Associates was approached by a heating-and-cooling professional to design his family’s new home, the two were in the familiar territory of energy efficiency
by David Hudnall if greg porraro has one piece of advice for builders considering a LEED project, it is: don’t fear the process. “It’s not scary, and when you realize how not scary it is, it opens your eyes to how much you can do—with very little effort put forward—to have a smaller carbon footprint and a more sustainable way of living,” he says. “Anybody on the fence should know it’s a fun process.”
ABOVE: Recycled-copper was used for the roof of the Sheeleigh Home, a country town house aimed at LEED certification.
The topic is fresh in the mind of Porraro, who founded North Branch, New Jersey’s Porraro Associates, Inc. (PAI) in 1989 with his brother, Matt. PAI just wrapped up the first LEED project in its history: a country townhouse in Harding Township, New Jersey. The clients, Matt and Kathy Sheeleigh, came to PAI in 2007 with their plans. At first, they weren’t interested in LEED. PAI designed a traditional home with a copper roof, bluestone terracing, and brandnew materials. After the design was complete, however, the
Sheeleighs decided they wanted to go for LEED certification, at which point PAI began incorporating green elements into the traditional design. “Matt Sheeleigh has a heating- and cooling-products business here in New Jersey, and he’d been moving toward high-efficiency products for a while,” Porraro says. “He figured he should run his household the same way he runs his business.” Shoehorning those features into the design was challenging, but it was ultimately a success: the 7,000-square-foot home is on track for at least LEED Silver, and possibly Gold status, with certification likely before the end of the year. “Already we’ve earned points in places we weren’t sure we were going to get them,” Porraro says optimistically. Minimizing what actually gets hauled off to the dump is another way Porraro greens his approach. “We’ve taken three 30-yard containers of waste from the job site, two of which were 100-percent recycled, while the other was 90-percent recycled,” he says. “By comparison, the house next door has sent 17 containers of the same size out.” The town of Harding seems to have embraced Porraro’s approach as well. Some of the home’s recycled items were sent to local schools for use in art courses, and he notes that all the vendors PAI used on the project were eager to help find sustainable products. Still, Porraro says he doesn’t feel that green building and design have reached the tipping point yet in his region,
“When you approach one of these projects and decide beforehand that you’re going to be open to everything and ready to embrace change, then the process becomes much easier and more pleasant.” —Greg Porraro, Owner & CEO
Sustainable Elements of the Sheeleigh Home but he feels that in May 2011—when between 12,000 and 18,000 people will walk through the Sheeleigh home as part of a sustainability tour—“awareness will really explode. I think it will be a big eye-opener about green building,” he says. PAI is already establishing new guidelines with craftsmen and clients and making them aware that the company is heading in a greener direction. “Anybody who comes through the door, we’re going to talk about it,” Porraro says. “Sooner or later, people will realize how important it is. And they’ll realize the benefits, too.
• Low-VOC adhesives and caulks • Recycled steel for the rebar • Four geothermal loops • Noritz water heaters • Spray-foam insulation • 100% recycled drywall • Reclaimed hardwood flooring • FSC-approved lumber • Windows with high R- and U-values • A recycled-copper roof • Dual-flush toilets • Reflective Solatubes, which diffuse daylight by channeling light from the roof into spaces without windows • Two energy-recovering ventilators • A rainwater-reclamation system for non-potable uses, with overflow running into a rain garden full of native plants
“When you approach one of these projects and you decide beforehand that you’re going to be open to everything and ready to embrace change, then the process becomes much easier and more pleasant,” he continues. “Don’t fight it. Learn about it, make it happen, contribute to the greater good.” gb&d 1-4Page GBD ColorAdLUG:Layout 1 2/15/10 11:52 AM Page 1
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Fimbel ADS has been at the forefront of innovation, manufacturing custom overhead carriage house doors and specialty commercial overhead door products since 1924. We focus our 85-plus years of expertise into building environmentally friendly doors, using materials like our Dur-A-Tek Hardwood Composite and our new Enviro-Green Composite. Our goal is to provide you with a beautiful, durable overhead door you can rest easy owning for years to come. Fimbel ADS is a proud member of U.S.G.B.C., and our overhead doors qualify for LEED credits.
Every kitchen that we build at Premier starts with a wish. For some, that might mean a more efficient workspace. For others, it means a dazzling showpiece or maybe a quiet haven.
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C U S T O M
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Compliant with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards. SEPT 2010
an eponymous project Rubicon Custom Homes constructs a modern, sophisticated mixed-use building called The Rubicon, just two blocks from Indiana University, to alter the streetscape and the mindset toward green building
by Julie Schaeffer rubicon custom homes wasn’t founded with the vision of being a sustainable-construction company, but it quickly ended up one, thanks to its founders’ ability to identify and capitalize on opportunities in the housing market.
BELOW: The Rubicon, in downtown Bloomington, IN, houses 5,000 square feet of commercial space and nine luxury apartments.
Michael Eaton, Kevin R. Powell, and Stephen M. Powell initially founded a property-investment company, Rubicon Investments in 1993. Through that company, they owned and serviced a number of rental properties. In 2004, however, the partners realized that they needed construction-related assistance and, instead of outsourcing it, decided to do it themselves. “We bought another small construction company in 2005—bringing their entire staff and equipment on board—renamed it Rubicon Custom Homes, and started
growing,” Eaton says. The timing wasn’t the best, but that didn’t stop them. “Early on, we realized that we were coming in on the tail end of a housing-market boom and needed to establish a market presence quickly and at same time diversify into new market segments,” Eaton says. The identification of a promising market segment came fairly easily, Eaton says, because the friends had long been committed to sustainability. “Because all of Rubicon Investments’ properties were rentals, we were very interested in being energy efficient and using sustainable products,” he says. “So we determined that the market segment we would focus on was green construction.” Eaton and the Powells began educating themselves about the industry and were among the first graduates of the National Association of Home Builders’ Certified Green Professionals program, which offers builders, remodelers, developers, and other home-building professionals a variety of experiences to help them learn about, incorporate, and market green building. “We started targeting energy-efficient and thermally tight homes,” Eaton says. “Today, we design and build homes to meet Energy Star recommendations— with effective insulation, high-performance windows, tight constructions and ducts, efficient heating and cooling equipment, and Energy Star lighting and appliances.”
“There are so many different green options from which to choose, and from an economic standpoint, it’s important to decide which ones are truly going to be green.” —Michael Eaton, Principal & Business Officer
The company’s first planned LEED project, currently under construction, is The Rubicon at 422 East Kirkwood Avenue in downtown Bloomington, Indiana. Located just two blocks from the west entrance of Indiana University, The Rubicon offers almost 5,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor and nine luxury rental apartments, broken up into four apartments on the second floor, four apartments on the third, and a penthouse suite on the fourth. Green-design elements include low-consumptionengineered mechanical systems, energy-efficient sprayfoam insulation within wall cavities, recycled materials, and bamboo flooring in the entryway, kitchen, living room, and hallways of all apartments. The Rubicon, which is set to be completed in 2010, is also unique in that it has an urban feel. “It’s definitely going to change the streetscape, which is currently a mix of older buildings and new construction, by giving it a fresh contemporary look,” Eaton explains. “We think it will definitely appeal to students and young professionals as well as the businesses that cater to them.” The transition is not without challenges. An issue for Rubicon Custom Homes is selecting the right products. “There are so many different green options from which to choose, and from an economic standpoint, it’s important to decide which ones are truly going to be green,” Eaton says. “Just because something comes from a local source and is stamped green doesn’t make it green. It has to work.” To face that challenge, Eaton says education is important. “Kevin, Michael, and I want to make sure that we and our staff are aware of new products and are using those that really do have a positive impact and get us closer to a cost-efficient, net-zero building,” he says. Eaton is sure the company will succeed despite the challenges. “We feel being green is how we should continually design and build,” he says. “USGBC and NAHB standards provide us benchmarks to facilitate how we choose and use materials, develop and make site selection, [and] decrease total energy consumption. After all, the choice to preserve and protect resources for future generations is imperative.”
“Our goal is to exceed expectations every time, with every customer!” Rubicon Construction specializes in custom home building, renovations and remodels, general contracting and project management using earth friendly building materials and technologies to conserve energy and protect the environment. No matter what you are looking for in a construction company our goal is to “Exceed Expectations” every time, with every customer. Whether you are interested in a custom home or a simple remodel you will receive the highest level of dedication, quality and customer service with Rubicon Construction. We believe that your home building experience should be enjoyable and with a knowledgeable, detail oriented approach we will ensure you and your family get exactly what you need.
Allison Drive in Incline Village A 6,700-square-foot property designed for the maximum use of green technology includes: • Triple-pane windows • Passive solar through site orientation, photovoltaic solar for the electrical system, and thermal solar for hot water and radiant heat with a connected HVAC system • Bio-based foam insulation • Reclaimed elm flooring • Pre-wiring for electric-car plugins • Low- or zero-VOC paint and water-based lacquer finishes • High-output gas fireplaces • Automated blinds • Controlled run-off using underground Rainstore systems
sustainable and stable In the Lake Tahoe area, projects like Sierra Land Homes’ Allison Drive are subject to green-building rubrics as well as engineering requirements due to seismic activity
by Joyce Finn in the resort community of incline village on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, the general contracting firm, Sierra Land Homes, has been building custom homes to rival the beauty of the lake and the sturdiness of the surrounding mountains. As Jeff Aaron, president and CEO, says, “For the past decade, we intentionally stayed small so that we can closely control the quality of the homes we build. We focus primarily on one large job at a time and don’t take on more than we can handle.” In addition, Aaron spends time helping the owner with selections and options. Sierra Land, with 11 employees and a contingent of long-term, experienced, green-building subcontractors, focuses mainly on new construction and has been incorporating green features for years. The average size home the company constructs is between 6,000 and 11,000 square feet and costs from $2–5.5 million. As for the current recession, Aaron says, “We’ve been very fortunate to have a number of good-sized jobs that were already lined up that have taken us through the past few years.”
Aaron is a member of the USGBC, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the Builders Association of Western Nevada (BAWN). As for how many LEED features go into each property, he says, “It largely depends on the owners. Some are very interested, some are somewhat interested, and some don’t care.” Building in the Tahoe area brings its own set of problems. “Because we’re in a mountain area with a lot of snow, we do additional features such as heated eaves, gutters, and downspouts to help control the snow and ice,” Aaron says. “We design these with an eye to the fact that a lot of these homeowners aren’t here all the time.” The Tahoe Regional Planning Authority (TRPA) controls many aspects of the building processes around the lake and permits can take up to a year to be approved. The TRPA stipulates dirt cannot be moved from October 15th to May 1st, so the earthwork must be completed by October. “We’re also in an active seismic zone, which impacts the engineering requirements and construction,” Aaron explains. “Our homes are very substantial. We all joke that if there’s a nuclear attack we’re going to go to the house we’ve been working on. It has over ninety tons of steel and massive amounts of concrete.” One such home is Allison Drive in Incline Village, owned by Mike and Mary Alber, completed in April 2010. Although Allison Drive qualifies for LEED Silver certification, the owners have chosen not to apply for the designation. Aaron predicts that, like in Allison Drive, builders will be installing more green features in new construction and for remodeled older homes as homeowners demand more healthful homes and automated features. gb&d
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LSR Preserve Center Moose, Wyoming
QUALITY CUSTOM HOMES
The Laurance S. Rockefeller (LSR) Preserve Visitor Center is a place to experience nature in a natural setting, as well as learn how the Rockefeller family, in part with the National Park Service, donated the land to establish Grand Teton National Park. The buildings are composed of 85% recycled content. LSR Preserve is the first building in Wyoming, as well as in the National Park system, to achieve LEED速 Platinum certification.
At Sierra Land, we design, develop, build, and remodel some of the finest homes in the beautiful Lake Tahoe region. With over a decade of experience, our clients are not only able to say we provide the highest quality craftsmanship, but also that our professional management and customer service is unparalleled in the building industry.
(775) 832-3008 | www.sierralandhomes.com gbdmagazine.com
Jackson | Denver | Colorado Springs www.gejohnson.com
/recreation & hospitality
modern western wilderness John Carney first visited Wyoming as a boy; now his firm, Carney Logan Burke Architects, is responsible for the stateâ€™s first LEED Platinum building in the midst of a donated nature preserve by Zipporah Porton
when john carney moved to jackson, wyoming, in 1992 he had no idea what to expect. He went to enjoy the scenery and start his own architecture firm. Eighteen years later, the company has expanded from 5 to 16 employees, and is responsible for creating the first LEED Platinum building in Wyoming: The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center. With a masterâ€™s degree in architecture from Harvard, Carney worked at a number of firms before heading to Wyoming in 1992 and forming Carney Architects. In 2006, Eric Logan and Kevin Burke became partners, and in early 2010 the name was changed to Carney Logan Burke Architects (CLBA). The firm focuses on a variety of projects, such as community facilities, commercial buildings, resorts, homes, and mixed-use complexes.
spaces/recreation & hospitality
InterpretivE DESIGN. The Preserve’s mission is to inspire appreciation and reverence for the beauty and diversity of the natural world, to demonstrate the importance of protecting the land while providing public access, and to foster individual responsibility for conservation stewardship. Laurance Rockefeller challenged CLBA’s design team to make the Preserve a model of environmental stewardship within the National Park System that could be emulated throughout the country. The buildings were constructed using 69 percent FSC-certified wood products. Other sustainable materials include ICF walls, SIP roof panels, zinc roofing and siding, and high-performance glazing. Photo: Nic Lehoux.
“We’ve enjoyed being able to do a range of building types and coming up with creative ways to reinterpret and expand the architectural language of the region,” Carney says. The founding principal has a long-standing interest in both nature and the West, born, in part, by summer vacations to Wyoming during his childhood, which was spent in Beverly Hills. The same interest drew him into sustainability. “My first visit to Wyoming as a kid made a huge impression,” Carney says. “I was captivated by the old barns, log lodges, and ranch sheds—the practical, vernacular forms that fit so comfortably in the vast landscape.” Graduating from Harvard in 1977, Carney was one of numerous progressives already committed to sustainable practices in what was a booming era for holistic design—and
the precedent for the green movement. “We’ve always had a commitment to passive-solar design to take advantage of sitting, orientation, daylighting, and natural ventilation,” Carney explains. It was a natural evolution for the firm to move in a sustainable direction as clients became more environmentally aware. But despite an understanding of environmental issues and this subtle evolution, it wasn’t until 2001 that Carney began work on his first LEED project in the Rockefeller Preserve. The concept began with Laurance Rockefeller himself, who decided to donate his family ranch to the National Park Service after removing the 35-building compound from the shores of Phelps Lake and creating a network of trails on the 1,100-acre property. The new vision for the land included a 7,700-square-foot interpretive and educational center that would focus on stewardship, conservation, and the power of nature. The notion of going for LEED status evolved during the first two years of the design process. Since the project was going to be taken over by the National Park Service upon completion and there was a mandate to make all new park buildings sustainable, the client embraced the idea and directed the team to go for the highest level possible.
spaces/recreation & hospitality
Carney Logan Burke Architects
“We’ve enjoyed being able to do a range of building types and coming up with creative ways to reinterpret and expand the architectural language of the region.” —John Carney, Principal LEFT, BELOW: The sheltering roof of the interpretive center provides protection from the elements and monitors daylight for naturally lit interior exhibit spaces. The carefully detailed and expressive structural system supports generous overhangs and adds texture, scale and character to the building. Photos: Nic Lehoux
The environmental efforts began immediately, in the earliest design stages. 3D drawings were shared over computer interfaces, greatly reducing the amount of necessary paper. Collaboration was required at every turn, such as reconciling the exhibit designer’s request for “black-box” spaces with the architect’s desire to use natural daylighting. To reach LEED Platinum status, sustainable features were implemented throughout the entire complex—composting toilets, FSC-certified lumber for almost 70 percent of all wood products, a photovoltaic system that harnesses energy from the sun and provides 45 percent of the building’s electricity needs. It was a building deserving of its environment. “We thought of the building as a chapel that would prepare you for the experience of hiking the trails that lead to the shores of Phelps Lake,” Carney says. “The building was meant to heighten the awareness of our connection to nature, preparing the heart and mind for what was to come.” Work began on the center in 2001 and was completed in 2008. The project, which did earn the LEED Platinum distinction, reassured Carney that this was just the beginning of his firm’s involvement in sustainability. Up next, CLBA will tackle a welcome center in Jackson and again target LEED certification. The town has committed to reducing its carbon footprint through the Jackson Hole Sustainability Project, and Carney feels that a high-profile public building must set a strong example. The firm is also working on a number of sustainable residential projects. Working in a smaller community like Jackson might make it harder to find consistent work, but CLBA has been fortunate to see the practice grow and evolve even throughout its short history. “I think we are seen as a collaborative firm whose work reflects a synthesis of our clients’ goals with the stunning landscape we inhabit,” says Carney of the firm’s success. “We’ve been able to attract and keep good people, allowing the practice to build on our body of work. We’ve created a studio atmosphere that seems to produce great results, and we’re having fun.” gb&d
spaces/recreation & hospitality
hollywood nightlife A former nightclub owner, the president of Schick Construction Inc. focuses his knowledge of green building to create premier clubs and jazz lounges in the Los Angeles area
BELOW: The Monsoon Monica, CA, uses exotic woods, antique
“As the economy turns around, we are poised to be a significant player in making facilities greener,” Schick says, whose firm also handles multi-unit residential developments.
nightclubs and restaurants in southern california focus on creating a certain kind of energy, which, if produced well enough, keeps patrons coming back. Ben Schick, a former nightclub owner who now builds and consults on entertainment venues, understands the importance of this energy, but is currently focusing on energy reduction.
Few of Schick’s clients actually want to spend the time or money to attain a LEED certification, which includes documenting energy usage and materials selections to earn points. Instead, clients are usually under a tight deadline, hoping to quickly open their new restaurants or clubs in order to begin generating revenue. Schick, however, is skilled at helping clients understand that making the right selections during the building process can benefit the environment and their operating costs.
Schick became a LEED AP three years ago, earning the USGBC accreditation on top of his 30 years of experience. President of Schick Construction Inc., a Long Beach-based general contracting firm that specializes in tenant improvements for the restaurant and nightclub industries, Schick
Schick understands the pressures of business because he has felt them too. “I know what it’s like to be on the owner side of things,” Schick says. “I know what the bottom line needs to be, and I can get operations up quickly with a design that works.”
by Laura Williams-Tracy
Jazz Lounge in Santa
takes his in-depth understanding of both construction and hospitality and applies it to helping developers and owners become greener.
architectural elements, and an abundant amount of bamboo to create an authentic Southeast Asian atmosphere.
spaces/recreation & hospitality
Schick Construction Inc.
“As the economy turns around, we are poised to be a significant player in making facilities greener.”
clients, Schick installs sub-meters in apartment buildings to encourage water conservation. “It’s really making a big effect [through] a lot of small things,” Schick says.
—Ben Schick, President
Schick worked as an electrician to put himself through school 33 years ago and was considering studying to become a veterinarian at the time. But the more he worked in construction, the clearer his career path became. He founded Schick Construction, at first focusing on residential work and later joining with an experienced commercial builder, Howard Friedman, to launch Friedman-Schick Construction. The pair built large commercial buildings and shopping centers throughout the region. Eventually, the business transitioned back to Schick Construction, and Schick began building his resume in top-flight restaurants and hospitality projects in Southern California.
Married to a Grammy-nominated jazz singer, the contractor has owned and operated three Southern California nightclubs and built dozens of similar establishments, including: • Gonpachi, a high-end, authentic Japanese restaurant in Beverly Hills, which utilized Japanese craftsmanship and exotic woods; • Hollywood Athletic Club, the renovation of a Southern California landmark that included construction of a music venue with a stage, sound equipment, and lighting; • Monsoon Jazz Lounge, a 12,000-square-foot themed restaurant in Santa Monica that uses bamboo for an authentic Southeast Asian ambiance. Schick guides clients through selecting materials and designs that make their operations more efficient and environmentally friendly, including touchless systems in public restrooms that cut energy use and the need to purchase paper towels. He introduces clients to new products like Japanese-made plaster wall coverings, which absorb moisture and contaminants in public restrooms. For residential
ABOVE: The 12,000square-foot Monsoon Jazz Lounge and restaurant located in Santa Monica, CA.
Schick likes to keep his business at a size where he can intimately know the details of each job and share his insider’s knowledge of the industry. He currently has six employees. “I like coming on board a project not solely as a contractor trying to get the bid but as a consultant as significant as the architect or designer, who can give advice and guide the client on how they can contribute to a healthier environment,” Schick says, noting that certain clients are more his taste. “I really like the restaurant and nightclub market. I find that world exciting.” gb&d
General Contractors • LEED Certiﬁed Utility Consultants
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spaces/recreation & hospitality
new york hospitality With sustainability in its DNA, Omnibuild LLC is built on New York’s hotels and restaurants, including the new Pizza by Cer Té, which is the city’s first restaurant to achieve LEED Gold
by Allena R. Tapia slow food, local food—these trends abound in New York City. But Pizza by Cer Té went one better, choosing to house its environmentally responsible fare in an equally green building, spending close to $600,000 to pursue LEED Gold Certification. Omnibuild LLC, based in NYC, acted as the construction manager on the project, and LEED AP Bassam Tarazi, assembled the puzzle of teamwork and cooperation that pulled the pizzeria together in time for the mayor-attended grand opening in spring 2010. “Gold certification is a hell of an accomplishment.” Tarazi is frank. “On this particular project, we [were] the construction manager, but with our theoretical knowledge and having done the LEED consulting before, we were able to work with the engineer and architect. We were able to work as a team, and now it’s the first LEED-certified restaurant in New York City.” But Tarazi and Omnibuild aren’t complacent, even with this illustrious “first.” In fact, when gb&d first contacted Tarazi for an interview, he and fellow Omnibuild execs were in Haiti, working on a combined farming/orphanage/school project. “The reason [Omnibuild] got involved in Haiti is because [the client] wants to build a sustainable, new orphanage— they want to grow their own crops, they want to use solar energy, to be as self-sustaining as possible. We’re trying to get involved and see how we can help,” Tarazi explains. “It’s a new project, just coming into fruition. We just assessed the site.” The work in Haiti seems to be a bit different from the type of project for which Omnibuild is more generally known— Omnibuild’s website features photos of glossy, polished Manhattan properties, and the company focuses on the hospitality industry. But Tarazi, who is one of seven LEED APs and also functions as the company’s carbon-reduction manager, says that building in the hospitality industry prepares the team for many different projects.
“Our bread and butter is the hospitality market—hotels, restaurants. But with the orphanage, we feel we’re still able to handle a job like that, because when you’re working with hotels and restaurants, they’re occupied 24 hours a day—you have a load all day long, there are people in and out, it’s constantly occupied. We feel that if you can build a hotel, you can build anything.” And they do. In fact, the men and women at Omnibuild managed to keep busy during recent hard economic times. “We didn’t have to lay anybody off; even in the down market, we were able to sustain,” Tarazi says. “Business is definitely increasing over the last six months. More calls are coming in and [Mayor] Bloomberg is pushing sustainability. We hired a new director of marketing and another marketing professional, so we have a dedicated marketing team. We are very proud of what we do, we think we do a good job and word of mouth really helped us in the down economy, but we’re staying aggressive. You have to keep putting your name out there.” The new hires will definitely have a solid framework and company value system to fit into; Tarazi was clear about the direction and beliefs of Omnibuild. “Our culture is one of ‘let’s build responsibly,’” he says, “even in our acronym: Organization and Management of New Innovative Building.” And although a majority of their projects are still traditional builds, they bring this responsibility to every project. “It’s in our DNA, it’s how we build,” he says. “If there’s an alternative that we find is more efficient or ‘green,’ it’s something that we would hope to choose anyway, and we would bring it up to the owner. “That’s who and what we are as a team; that’s what we’re made of,” Tarazi continues. “Integrity and accountability are very important here. If we have ways that we can improve ourselves, we want people to let us know, and since we’re small, we’re able to evolve and adapt in whatever the market ends up to be.” gb&d
A MESSAGE FROM PRESTIGE PLUMBING & HEATING INC. Prestige Plumbing & Heating Inc. began its relationship with Omnibuild in late 2008. Since that time they have worked closely with Omnibuild’s experienced project managers, architects, and engineers, providing plumbing and fire-suppression solutions at several NYC hotels including the Paramount, Park Central, Double Tree Metropolitan, and Double Tree Times Square.
“When you’re working with hotels and restaurants, they’re occupied 24 hours a day—you have a load all day long, there are people in and out, it’s constantly occupied. We feel that if you can build a hotel, you can build anything.” —Bassam Tarazi, Carbon Reduction Manager, LEED AP
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spaces/recreation & hospitality
in pursuit of the future Through nature-preserve centers, libraries, and university buildings, architecture firm Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle isn’t waiting for future to arrive—it’s designing as if it were already here
by Jennifer Kirkland “people have been drawn to this site physically, emotionally, and spiritually for more than 8,000 years,” says Sean Wagner, AIA, LEED AP, describing the location of the Schaar’s Bluff Gathering Center in Dakota County, Minnesota, one of the greenest buildings in the United States. “So we wanted the multipurpose park building we were commissioned to create to be a truly unique place of gathering.” BELOW: The Schaar’s Bluff Gathering Center sits lightly on its historic wilderness site, surrounded by a restored prairie and sited to take advantage of passive solar energy. Photo: Pete Sieger.
Wagner is director of sustainability at Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle (MS&R), a Minneapolis-based architectural- and interior-design firm that is a leader of green innovation in the Midwest. He describes an early meeting for the Schaar’s Bluff project: “Bruce Blair, the Dakota County Facility and Natural Resource Development manager, challenged our team to create not the last building of this generation, but the first building of the next generation.”
Wagner is always open to challenges, and this can-do spirit permeates MS&R. Like many of the leaders in the firm, he grew up in the Midwest and understands the importance of responsible land stewardship. “We all had grandparents who lived through the Dust Bowl,” he says, “so we’ve seen what happens when you don’t respect the land.” MS&R’s design philosophy is symbolized in the idea of creating “enduring architecture,” where its work finds balance in four key concepts: culture, society, economics, and environment. Coincidentally, when Dakota County challenged the firm to think big at Schaar’s Bluff, architect/activist Ed Mazria had just issued the 2030 Challenge. “We thought, why wait?” Wagner says. “Why not design a 2030 building now?” The Schaar’s Bluff site revealed a pattern of land use that showed the last 250 years of settlement had done the most damage, so added to the carbon goals of the 2030 Challenge was the goal of restoring the ecology of the site, using permaculture design principles. “The Gathering Center feeds on the natural energy of the site, using passive solar and a 32–kilowatt wind turbine that provides 84 percent of the building’s energy needs,” Wagner notes. The firm learned a lot about meeting the 2030 Challenge and about “designing buildings that are restorative,” Wagner adds.
spaces/recreation & hospitality
Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle LEFT, BELOW: Inside, materials include wood from Dakota County Parks’ selective-harvesting program, as well as locally manufactured and recycled choices. Externally, a cantilevered scupper captures rainwater and directs it to the underground irrigation system; shade walls support edible vegetation for wildlife. Photos: Pete Sieger. OPPOSITE: Visitors are welcomed by a carefully considered mix of old and new— the renovated historic building now includes modern detailing and sustainable materials. Photo: MS&R.
“I liken [the sustainable-building movement] to President Kennedy’s challenge to go to the moon. It’s a cultural imperative; there simply isn’t any choice.” —Sean Wagner, Director of Sustainability
MS&R’s innovation and inspiration especially come alive in the firm’s design for the University of Minnesota-Morris Gateway Center. “This project was a ‘perfect storm’ for us,” Wagner says, “because we had an engaged client with a sincere commitment to the environment, and we were doing innovative things with a historic building.” One obvious goal was to reduce the size and energy demands of the building’s mechanical systems. “I’ve always been fascinated by the technology lag between the United States and Europe. Morris is the first project in the Midwest to use the European active-chilled-beam system,” Wagner says. “This amazing technology allowed us to reduce the physical infrastructure needed to heat and cool the building by half, allowing us to create a more compact building.” The Morris Gateway Center serves as an educational and recruiting tool, and it is the first building prospective students and their parents will see when they visit the campus. The
spaces/recreation & hospitality
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building also embodies MS&R’s philosophy of responsible design that fits into the social, economic, and environmental context of its site. “We have a responsibility to achieve carbon-neutral buildings in the next 20 years,” Wagner says, but reaching that goal will require commitment not only from the design community, but from clients as well. Educating the public about the benefits of sustainability is an important task. “I liken it to President Kennedy’s challenge to go to the moon,” Wagner says. “It’s a cultural imperative; there simply isn’t any choice.” MS&R is beginning to set aside a percentage of construction budgets for energy performance and innovation, “so if you budget for performance from the beginning, you’re not breaking the budget when you get to the end of the project.” They also create an energy budget for the building so that clients can see the tangible benefits of lower energy costs. One of the best ways to spread the word is through designing libraries, an area of specialty for MS&R since the firm was founded in the 1980s. “Libraries are unique animals,” Wagner says. “They are cultural and educational focal points for communities that don’t change for four or five generations.” He tells the story of how the firm’s Fayetteville Public Library project was on the forefront of sustainable buildings in the state. The project has become a cornerstone for a new environmental policy for northwest Arkansas. “When the project started in 2001, people thought of sustainability as a goofy idea,” Wagner says, but almost 10 years later, green buildings are flourishing throughout the state. gb&d
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spaces/recreation & hospitality
green garden inn When a new Hilton hotel in Virginia fell under a countywide adoption of the LEED system, it gave Awbrey Cook McGill the perfect opportunity to sink its teeth into green design
by Julie Schaeffer a virginia county’s building codes were awbrey Cook McGill’s entry into green design—but now that project is complete, the firm isn’t looking back.
• Heating and cooling: The energy cost of the building will be 20 percent less than normally required by ASHRAE 90.1–2004. “This was achieved by introducing a new HVAC system for the hotel rooms,” McGill says. “Normally a PTAC unit would be installed in each of the guest rooms, but, instead, we are installing a more efficient city-multi unit by Mitsubishi.” • Lighting: “The hotel’s lighting system was designed so that the wattage per square foot was reduced to 22 percent less than what is required by 2003 IECC, further saving additional energy consumption,” McGill says.
Tom Awbrey, Clifford Cook, and Scot McGill, all of whom worked together at another firm for almost two decades, founded Awbrey Cook McGill in 2002. “Some of our clients, especially in the hospitality field, were encouraging us to go on our own, so we saw an opportunity to make our own vision of what an architectural firm should be a reality,” McGill says. “We wanted a more inclusive business environment. We’re all owners in the firm, and the communication between us and our clients is very open.” Today, the firm has 14 employees. While most of its work is on the West Coast, it has completed projects across the country. An interest in being green stemmed naturally from Awbrey Cook McGill’s desire to stay competitive in the architectural field, and its first LEED project was the result of building codes in Arlington County, Virginia—home to the Hilton Garden Inn in the village of Shirlington.
Other green features include: • Water: “Only native plants are used, so there is no need for irrigation; through the combination of low-flow fixtures and low-flow showerheads, the hotel will save 286,625 gallons of potable water each year,” McGill says.
• Low-VOC materials: Only low-emitting materials were used for adhesives, paints, and carpet. • Cleaning Progam: Another innovative strategy used to make the management of the hotel more sustainable is a green-cleaning program. “The Hilton Garden Inn was designed in accordance with all of the facets of sustainability,” McGill says. “It is a hotel that not only is environmentally efficient, but it is a place that promotes the welfare of the community, employees, and guests.” BELOW, RIGHT: Renderings of Columbia
The firm plans to continue with its green efforts. Today, 5 of its 14 employees are LEED-accredited professionals.
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Arlington County adopted the LEED-rating system as a way to measure the energy and environmental performance of buildings in the county. Each project must include a LEED-accredited professional as part of the project team, and a LEED scorecard must be submitted as part of the site-plan application. Additionally, projects must prepare and implement a construction-waste management plan, and, for multi-family residential projects, appliances and fixtures must meet the EPA’s Energy Star standards. All site plan projects that do not receive LEED certification from the USGBC must make a contribution to the County’s Green Building Fund, calculated at a rate of $0.03 per square foot.
which features a green
“Sustainability is responsible design to begin with, but we also saw the trend coming; it’s something we want to push LEED Gold certification. from a business standpoint as well,” McGill says. gb&d
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McGill says he hopes the six-story, 142-room hotel will receive LEED Silver for its many green features—one of the major sustainable elements of the project is its location. “A transportation-management plan has been created to promote the use of several environmentally friendly modes of transportation that are available in the area,” he says.
“Sustainability is responsible design to begin with, but we also saw the trend coming; it’s something we want to push from a business standpoint as well.” —Scot McGill, Partner
spaces/recreation & hospitality
NOGUCHI MUSEUM RENOVATION architect Sage & Coombe Architects location Long Island, NY size 37,400 square feet completion Phase I, 2004 Phase II, 2009 yearly visitors 500,000 Originally opened in 1985, the Noguchi Museum underwent a facelift with the assistance of Sage & Coombe Architects in 2004, and then again in 2009. The $13.5 million renovation continues to reflect the ideals of Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi by creating an intimate and simple setting for visitors to view his art. The museum’s two parts were suffering from a lack of ventilation but now, through the renovation, have been joined and are able to remain open year round with the help of an HVAC system. After its re-opening in June 2004, the museum now includes an education center, a new café and shop, and adequate handicap accessibility.
1. View from the inside entry pavilion with skylight. 2. View through an opening looking into the second floor humidity-controlled gallery space. In the foreground is a ramp that connects this gallery to the adjacent gallery space. 3. The covered openair sculpture gallery. A tree grows in the corner and is visible from the street.
In honor of the artist’s use of natural materials in his sculptures—which include stone, wood, and clay, in addition to his work as a landscape architect—Sage & Coombe’s design of the 25-year-old museum employed several sustainable features. Building materials included autoclaved-cellular and recycled concrete, and the windows are triple glazed. The museum also now houses a green roof atop its converted-factory structure. Because the renovation allows for year-round visitors, attendance is expected to nearly double, yet the museum’s current director, Jenny Dixon, says that the renovation was not seen as an expansion, but rather a preservation and redefinition of the experience visitors had when the museum first opened. (For more on projects by Sage & Coombe Architects, see p.28) gb&d
spaces/recreation & hospitality
interpretive innovation Anderson Brulé Architects’ Redwood Shores Community Library is more than a sustainably built house for books—it is an educational addition to the city that actively promotes environmental understanding by Matt Petrusek most kids are fascinated by space in a final-frontier kind of way. But Brad Cox recalls his interest in space as something else. “As a kid I learned about the importance of space, and about the importance of having a place to be comfortable,” he says of this intuitive, gut feeling.
BELOW: The Redwood Shores Community
He carried this incredibly mature insight into junior high and high school—both offered design classes—through university, and all the way, eventually, to Anderson Brulé Architects (ABA). The destination was not a coincidence. ABA not only shared Cox’s intuition about the importance of creating welcoming spaces but gave him the support to explore what the idea of space might mean in a broader design context.
Library is connected to the surrounding natural habitat along a levee path where a second entrance meets the slough-side traffic.
In 1984, Pamela Anderson-Brulé and Pierre Brulé created a firm that would grow a regional reputation for inviting and functional facilities. It worked in the areas of civil, educational, health-and-wellness, and custom-residential design. Yet since its inception, the firm has also distinguished itself
by creating designs with something inclusive of, but greater than, the client’s immediate goals and interests—the wellbeing of the community. “A founding component of the firm was that it was committed to building structures that would support healthy communities,” Cox says. This commitment has always encompassed the belief that healthy, non-polluting buildings are essential to creating and fostering strong communities, a belief that grew throughout the ’70s. It wasn’t until the mid ’90s, however, that green concepts—and the subsequent, now ubiquitous vocabulary—really began taking root. In that context, the firm began explicitly including sustainability as an integral part of its approach to architecture. “Before we had a more passive approach,” Cox says. “But it started to become more intentional, and we saw it as an element that that deserved its own place in the design process.” Since then, sustainability has more than earned its own place at the firm; it is perhaps the major influence within ABA’s approach to its projects. Most emblematic of this change is the firm’s creation of an in-house electronic and hard-copy library that is meant to serve as a foundational resource for making design decisions. As architects research a project, the firm asks them to read through the literature with what Cox calls a “green filter,” adapted from ABA’s vision statement. The filter supplies the criteria for determining a project’s overall impact and includes four categories of needs: 1) human, 2) social, 3) economic, and 4) environmental. This list is not hierarchical—every
spaces/recreation & hospitality project must consider all four elements. Taken together, the library underlines the firm’s commitment to comprehensive and integrated architecture. “Excellent design is holistic, finding the right balance to help clients make decisions,” Cox states. “We try to understand the whole problem and see the whole picture.” The Redwood Shores Community Library aptly demonstrates these principles at work. The building is located immediately next to a protected slough, which gave the firm additional impetus to make the facility’s footprint as light as possible. The design thus incorporates green essentials like comprehensive daylighting, a tight energy envelope, eco-friendly and recycled materials, and highefficiency HVAC and ductwork systems that slowly release conditioned air through the floor—all of which, when considering lifecycle and operational costs, had minimal impact on the project’s overall budget. ABA also added a bus turnout and bike racks to encourage alternative transportation and took advantage of the facility’s unique location by incorporating a wetland interpretive center within the library itself. The building’s drainage design itself demonstrates how wetlands are created and maintained when it rains.
ABA’s pride comes from both what it builds and how it builds it. The firm worked with the Redwood Shores community in a collaborative process, answering questions and addressing individuals’ concerns years before construction even started. Cox went as far as facilitating focus groups with area third graders. When the project finally broke ground, there was no doubt that the community was on board. “I’m proud of how green this project is, but also the community process we went through to build it,” Cox says. The library would go on to win an American Public Works Association Award for community involvement. This and numerous other ABA projects—including a LEED Gold student-housing facility for Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo—demonstrate how the firm has come to incorporate green thinking and action at the heart of its mission. But ultimately, Cox stresses, ABA will always see sustainability as encompassing more than protecting the natural environment. It’s about pursuing and instantiating balance among all the components of a healthy community—that is, the kind of space someone can truly feel comfortable in. “I think we define good design differently than most firms,” Cox says. “Our commitment to sustainable communities in its broader definition is very important.” gb&d
“Green has to reach beyond a building and affect the mindset of the people who use it,” Cox says. “The building itself educates.”
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spaces/recreation & hospitality
reluctant landmark The construction of Aspen’s ‘new’ Limelight Lodge provides a number of hurdles, but CCY Architects Ltd., determined to turn the new hotel into a beacon of sustainability, clears them all by Peter Fretty
BELOW: The building’s forms relate to Aspen’s
since its 1970 formation, the basalt, coloradobased Cottle Carr Yaw Architects Ltd. (CCY), has built a dual reputation for itself. Not only has the award-winning firm demonstrated its ability to creatively deploy alternative-energy technologies (e.g. extensive solar strategies at the Aspen Pitkin County Airport), it has also become well known for accommodating what people do with their leisure time through its impressive work on an array of second homes, resort communities, and hospitality venues.
downtown buildings; the south and east facing lobby windows connect up to Aspen Mountain and a park across the street. Photo: Robert Millman.
Although seemingly contradictory on the surface, CCY Principal John Cottle welcomes the challenge. “Its true that vacation properties start with a negative carbon footprint, but we really like the idea of moving sustainability forward on unconventional fronts,” he says. “These individuals often possess significant influence, so helping them understand
sustainability in a more complete light can have a magnified sustainable impact far beyond our projects.” Cottle sees CCY’s role as educators to help people understand the impact of design and lifestyle. “Our overarching philosophy has always been about creating great places, and sustainability needs to fit within that—not the other way around,” Cottle says. “If people do not love a place, if it does not pull at their heartstrings, it won’t be embraced, and it probably won’t stand the test of time.” The vast majority of the firm’s clients would like to embrace sustainable concepts, but they usually need some education before proceeding, Cottle explains. “No one is going to do something because we tell them to do it. But people will make good decisions more often than bad when given the choice upfront,” he says. “However, the practitioners who say sustainability is ‘easy’ or ‘free’ are doing an injustice to the movement; on many projects that is simply not true. Setting reasonable expectations as they enter a project is essential: sustainability will probably take more effort and may cost more money—and it’s worth it.” Of course, even though CCY has enjoyed continued success employing sustainable concepts, it still faces its share of challenges. The 125-room Limelight Lodge, which opened in December 2008, is a prime example.
spaces/recreation & hospitality
CCY Architects Ltd.
RIGHT: Brasada Ranch outside of Bend, OR, was awarded Builder’s Choice 2007 Sustainable Community of the Year award. All the community core buildings were designed to LEED Gold standards.
“Our overarching philosophy has always been about creating great places, and sustainability needs to fit within that—not the other way around.” —John Cottle, Principal “We started with a ground-source heat pump on the project. It would work and was a natural. The initial thought was to embrace an open-loop system using the water in the old silver mines until it was discovered that the water was actually private property,” he explains. “This led to the design of a closed-loop system under the footprint of the hotel. The contractor realized that it would mean additional construction time and the owners could not afford to wait to re-open their hotel for an additional three months. It was frustrating that we had to abandon this component, especially since everyone was onboard, but the owner’s reasons were sound.” The next big sustainable feature involved a solar array on the roof, which required additional city approvals. And although Cottle was willing to handle the approval process pro bono, the owners unfortunately decided against the upfront costs. “Fortunately,” he notes, “we did provide sleeves because we knew it would happen in the future, but
we did not provide tanks, knowing it would be easy enough to retrofit later.” Fast forward to 2010—the original owners sell the lodge to the Aspen Skiing Co., a longtime CCY client and avid proponents of sustainability. “They are now going through and doing many of the things we discussed during the initial design,” Cottle says. “For instance, they are now putting up a PV array on the roof, and they are adding motion sensors in the garage and hallways for lighting systems. It’s exciting because it will change the energy performance for this landmark hotel at a mid-point price structure.” According to Cottle, the key has always been to learn from the challenges and apply the lessons to future projects. As a result, the firm decided to embrace the opportunity to reinvest in a certain project. “Since we get a lot of requests to do large second homes,” he says, “we saw this as an ideal opportunity to design a net-zero 5,750-square-foot house using an in-house competition.” “The project is a prime example of thinking of a project in totality, from site planning to the materials to the way that the owners will use it.” he says. “We are excited about using this as an educational tool to talk with potential clients as well.” gb&d
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The four cantilevered containers and canopy create dynamic forms that lend motion to what could otherwise be a staid set of stacked rectangles. Photo: Glenn Turner Photography.
Stack Design Build’s innovative Box Office repurposed shipping containers as a 12-unit office building; now it seeks to replicate the process for prefab clinics that could improve global healthcare
by Zipporah Porton with experience in large-scale commercial contracting, Stack Design Build founders and principals Andrew Keating and Joshua Brandt had a wealth of knowledge when they started the company in the spring of 2008. By combining stellar customer service with a low-overhead cost, Stack Design Build doubled its revenue from 2008 to 2009 and is on track to double it yet again in 2010. Though the origin of the company’s name is a heavily guarded secret, the fact that they focus on sustainable projects is not. “Addressing energy usage overall is one of the most—if not the most—important question facing the world today,” Brandt says. “Buildings are responsible for the vast majority of the world’s energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions. It was important to us, made business sense, and was the right thing to do to make sustainability a part of our business practice.” Ninety percent of the projects the firm takes on have sustainable features, varying from a few minor details to a complete green overhaul. “Sometimes, we’re engaged because a client wants a green building, and they know we have a lot of expertise,” Brandt says. “Other times there is a softer interest. There are a lot of simple things that can be done that don’t cost a lot and increase energy efficiency. We’re always trying to bring those to the table even when sustainability isn’t the client’s top priority.” The first project that Stack Design Build ever completed was a residence in Little Compton, Rhode Island. The clients involved in the gut renovation and addition to an existing home had a specific budget in mind, creating a challenge for the company. “In order to stay within the budget they set we had to raise the bar in terms of what we could do energy efficient-wise based on what was available,” Brandt says.
Stack Design Build
“The Box Office was exactly the type of innovative project that we had always wanted to do. Larger and more established companies would have run away from the idea, but we viewed it as a fantastic opportunity to do something original.” —Joshua Brandt, Principal
The project that Brandt predicts will put Stack Design Build on the map is an office building in Providence made completely out of used shipping containers, known as the Box Office. Construction began July 2009 and will be completed in 2010. “The Box Office was exactly the type of innovative project that we had always wanted to do,” Brandt says. “Larger and more established companies would have run away from the idea, but we viewed it as a fantastic opportunity to do something original.” Brandt and Keating plan to move their own offices into the Box Office when it is complete.
ABOVE: The completed spaces in Stack Design Build’s Box Office will blend traditional
The 12,000-square-foot Box Office contains 12 small units, ranging from 640 to 1,600 square feet in size, and will use 25 to 30 percent less energy than the typical office building. The building incorporates several sustainable innovations: • It is built out of 35 used shipping containers. • The company recycled 160 tons of steel and 50,000 board-feet of rigid insulation during the construction process. • During construction, the thermal envelope was prioritized by a sustainable selection of windows and insulation strategies. • Energy-recovery ventilators were installed to balance indoor-air quality with energy efficiency. • Storm-water runoff was reduced by 65 percent through the use of vegetation to capture and treat it.
the world,” Brandt says. The prototype will soon head to Haiti to assist with earthquake-recovery efforts.
finishes with container structure. Rendering: Tim Nelson 3D.
In addition to providing sustainable building solutions, Brandt believes his firm’s success can be attributed to offering a unique level of customer service. “One of our founding concepts was that, in the traditional world, the design and construction processes were too far removed from one another,” says Brandt. “What we’re able to do is have one foot in both worlds the way few other builders can, allowing us to communicate better with our clients.” gb&d
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Up next, Stack Design Build is working with a nonprofit group called Containers to Clinics, and has designed and fabricated a prototype medical clinic out of shipping containers. “The idea is to use the portability and scalability of a container clinic to deliver healthcare around
the exterior metal shell of the containers reaching temperatures in excess of 150 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months, high-efficiency insulation is a necessity.” Utilizing spray-applied closed-cell foam insulation addressed the massive delta-T while air sealing and managing moisture.
developing new sectors CUBE 3 Studio works to find cost-effective sustainable solutions and bring green building to untapped markets; one client, exposed to LEED, is now pursuing a number of sustainable projects
by Julie Schaeffer a unique developer-oriented business model has brought challenges to CUBE 3 Studio—a nationally recognized architecture, interior design, and planning firm working in 17 states—but it has also brought rewards.
BELOW: The Bridge Connector from the parking garage to the main staff entry, CVS Retail Pharmacy Customer Care Center, Cumberland, RI.
“We do a lot of work for developers,” says founding partner Nik Middleton. “As a result, we have to contain costs, and we often take on development risk, meaning that if a developer doesn’t have upfront capital, we’ll structure the contract so we get paid on the back end, when financing is in place. That may be six or eight months later, so our fee is higher. As a result, we have not seen a slowdown over the past two years when most firms have.”
CUBE 3 Studio was founded in 2003, when Middleton and co-founder Brian O’Connor left a large Boston-based architectural firm. From the beginning, their goal was to expand their horizons. In part, that meant working with developers. “The firm we were working for was restrictive in terms of its client base,” Middleton says. “We wanted to work more with developers who look at speculative opportunities or work in conjunction with an end-user client to deliver a building, then lease it out.” Expanding also meant having more flexibility in regard to partners’ roles on projects. “Larger firms tend to be less nimble in regard to the way they do things, and we wanted to ensure our level of involvement in our projects,” O’Connor says. Today, the firm does some work for end-user clients, but the bulk of its business is for developers building multi-family and student housing as well as large healthcare facilities. As a result, it focuses more on cost control than traditional architectural firms do. “We’re different from most architecture firms because for us, the cost is as important a component of the project as the design,” O’Connor says. Although cost is CUBE 3 Studio’s main concern, it is also a leader in green design—75 percent of its buildings are sustainable or LEED certified, and the company wants every
CUBE 3 Studio
RIGHT: The CVS Center main entry. As a client of CUBE 3, CVS is now pursuing numerous LEED projects.
“We work hard to get new sectors into the green economy. We try to get clients who are doing more traditional construction to think outside the box a little, to think about what they’re doing and see the long-term cost advantages of going green.” —Brian O’Connor, Cofounder
professional staff member to be LEED accredited in 2010. “Green has always been an important aspect of everything we do, even before LEED became popular,” says Middleton, who is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, which has long been a proponent of sustainable design. Traditionally, green and cost-effective have not gone handin-hand, but Middleton says that is changing. “In the early days, getting clients onboard was difficult, because there was a common perception that being green increased costs,” he says. “But today, it’s a totally different situation. The availability of green products has increased, driving down the costs, and there are many credits available from government agencies. Then there are the long-term cost savings a client realizes by being green. So in today’s world, it’s a lot easier to get clients on board with sustainable design than it used to be.”
certified, and a call center, completed in November 2009, which received LEED Silver. CUBE 3 Studio is currently working on a number of other projects for CVS Caremark that will seek LEED Silver or Gold ratings. “We work hard to get new sectors into the green economy,” says O’Connor, who points to a large off-campus student housing complex for Emory University and a pilot program for LEED neighborhood development in Bedford, Massachusetts, as examples. “We try to get clients who are doing more traditional construction to think outside the box a little, to think about what they’re doing and see the longterm cost advantages of going green.” By all measurements, CUBE 3 Studio is succeeding. In 2009, Inc. 500 gave CUBE 3 Studio a number 104 overall ranking and a number 3 ranking in the architecture and construction sector. gb&d
a message from ALLEN & MAJOR ASSOCIATES, INC. Allen & Major Associates provides our clients with a single source for their project design and development needs by offering in-house services covering civil and structural engineering, land surveying, environmental consulting, landscape architecture, and LEED certification. We help our clients see the bigger picture of a potential site by utilizing state-of-the-art means and methods to lower project costs, eliminate schedule delays and anticipate site opportunities and constraints. A belief in minimiz-
In fact, one of the firm’s major clients, CVS Caremark, just completed its first two LEED buildings: a marketing support center completed in December 2008, which was LEED
ing environmental impacts drives our design approach and allows us to incorporate sustainable practices into the aesthetics as well as the nuts and bolts of engineering design.
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shared experiences A strong building community, as exhibited by one Utah project, is in line with Archiplex Group’s goals, which sees projects and client communication as new ways to share knowledge by Kelsey Higginbotham
archiplex group provides professional, quality architecture, planning, and design services, combined with a commitment to service. The firm has specific technical expertise in many aspects of the design and building industry, including sustainable design, master planning, building remodels, facility expansions, ground-up new designs, and owner representation services. What sets this firm apart from the crowd is that it takes the time to actively listen to the needs and aspirations of each and every client. According to Ralph Stanislaw, principal, “We’re a young firm, but we’ve always had a focus on being green. From a personal standpoint, I have recycled from my home for over 20 years—my philosophy has been part of our firm philosophy. In the early nineties, in my home designs, I was using low-e glass, 2x6 exterior walls with blown-in insulation, and high-efficiency mechanical units.” The firm follows in his footsteps. In fact, the Archiplex recently purchased an older building and transformed it into its office building; to showcase their capabilities to their clients the firm completely gutted the building.
Stanislaw explains from where the push toward sustainability originated, “People are realizing more and more that many of the things that we take for granted—like putting gas in our cars—are not renewable resources. Perhaps the conflicts in the Middle East have focused our attention to the fact that not only is oil a commodity that will not be around forever, but so is water.” This firm demonstrates its commitment to sustainability through its work with LEED certification. “Our firm has not only had the opportunity to work on LEED and sustainable buildings, but we re-purposed a 1960s truck-detailing shop into a state-of-the-art green design. We are currently applying for our LEED certification on that project,” Stanislaw says. The Archiplex Group not only designed the building, it also involved its employees in the selection of materials and other options so that the entire company could have a hands-on experience with green design. Stanislaw explains the firm’s standpoint on LEED, “We do not look only at what helps our clients gain LEED points, but also what might be unique contextual opportunities.”
The firm’s sustainable endeavors have given it the opportunity to work internationally. “Currently, we have vacation homes under design in Mexico—these individual villas will be able to function off the grid and feature not only solar and wind energy, but also water-conservation features designed for high-end homes in the American market,” Stanislaw explains. He also comments on Mexico’s acceptance of green principles. “Mexico seems to be open to these ideas, perhaps because, in the area that I am dealing with, power and water are scarce, and the expectation is that architects look for creative solutions.”
OPPOSITE: The front entry of the Archiplex’s AGC of Utah’s office building. ABOVE: For the AGC’s front-lobby interior, Archiplex included custom light fixtures and saw-cut concrete flooring. All photos: Tom Bear Photography
Archiplex Group believes that the United States is following suit with its drive toward sustainability—catching up to green initiatives already popular internationally. “Not only is the US becoming more open to green design, it is being legislated in various municipalities as we see the benefits of sustainable design, including lowered energy costs and healthier indoor environments. In my state, Utah, most new state buildings are required to be LEED Silver or better, and many localities are requiring LEED Gold for their new
“I have the sense that we are turning the corner where LEED or other rating systems are not exotic solutions, but are becoming much more mainstream.” —Ralph Stanislaw, Principal
municipal buildings,” Stanislaw states. Salt Lake County requires all of its new buildings to be LEED Gold, and Salt Lake City requires LEED Silver. “I have the sense that we are turning the corner where LEED or other rating systems are not exotic solutions, but are becoming much more mainstream,” Stanislaw says.
ABOVE: AGC’s office building, showcases pervious concrete covered with protective sheeting. RIGHT: A constructionworker mural is
Although working with sustainability is a lot of work, it does have proven benefits. “It is in the early stages of design where the opportunities can be realized the most. Offering transportation alternatives has helped us—my office is within one-third of a mile of a light rail station; in addition, we offer bike racks and a shower so employees can exercise as they come to work,” Stanislaw says. “Recycling can be effective; the easier it is for the employees, the more they use effective practices.” Every workstation in the firm’s office has a recycle bin, and there are several placed strategically around the building. Daylighting can also be effective in
reducing the cost of artificial lighting. These are just a few of the ways Archiplex Group practices what it preaches.
mounted in the AGC’s large training room.
The firm also focuses on education: sharing what it has learned—and is learning—with its clients. Stanislaw explains, “Our greatest education for our clients is also our most subtle—we invite them into our offices for a start-up meeting. Everyone is first struck by the exposed denim ceiling insulation; this inevitably leads to a discussion of what we did in our remodel, and we can show them the reception desk made out of 100% recycled paper, point out the no-VOC paint, the pint urinal, the fans that reduce the use of the HVAC system, and the cubicles made from wheatboard.” The Archiplex Group’s approach to sustainability is fact-based and non-confrontational. Its clients seem surprised at how much can be achieved with carefully considered decisions made at the right time in the building process. gb&d
dramatic downsizing There are just as many employees, but the new Cold Spring Granite headquarters, by Miller Architects + Builders, is 30% smaller than the former site, one of many efficient features that earned it LEED Gold
by David Hudnall
BELOW: The Cold Spring Granite building utilized stone from its own quarries. Use of regional materials was a major factor in its LEED Gold distinction.
current ceo dan miller represents the fifth generation of family leadership at St. Cloud, Minnesota-area Miller Architects + Builders The firm has existed since 1874, and, over the years, it has performed every variety of construction from commercial and residential to barn straightening. It incorporated in the 1960s, and, since the 1970s, it has been primarily a commercial contractor in the St. Cloud area. In the mid-1980s, Miller added an architectural staff. “We were a bit of a pioneer in the field of design-build,” says David TeBrake, executive vice president.
Today, ninety-five percent of the firm’s work is designbuild projects, largely for four industries: religious, healthcare, elderly housing, and commercial. Over the course of the past five years, Miller has gradually been refining its specifications to accommodate a new approach: green building. “Each year, we’re putting more emphasis on sustainability,” TeBrake says. In 2009, Miller completed its first LEED building—the headquarters for Cold Spring Granite (CSG), a quarrier and fabricator based in nearby Cold Spring, Minnesota. The 22,500-square-foot corporate headquarters—which is 31 percent smaller than the previous building but accommodates the same number of employees—received LEED Gold certification, making Cold Spring Granite one of the first private-sector companies in central Minnesota to reach that level. “The owner of the company wanted to show the industry that [CSG is] environmentally conscious and committed to its products contributing to a more sustainable world,” says Miller president Joe Seifert. All stone for the project was extracted from Cold Spring Granite’s own quarries, which are all within 250 miles of the project site. Overall, use of regional materials exceeded 46 percent, which was key to the LEED Gold achievement. In addition to using limestone and granite from the company’s
“Every client we’ve had in the past few years has asked questions about green design. People are aware, and they’ll only become more aware as time goes by.” —David TeBrake, Executive Vice President
own quarries, the headquarters also incorporates historical structural elements from its previous industrial site. The new building’s front entryway, for example, includes truss columns that formerly held up the old building’s exterior crane beams. As a result of the Cold Spring Granite project—and some other jobs that featured sustainable elements but were not LEED certified—Miller has taken steps to make all its projects greener. “We routinely incorporate daylight harvesting, stormwater filtration, Energy Star appliances, and on-site recycling into our designs,” says Stuart Bailey, an architect with Miller. “And specifying high-efficiency mechanical and electrical equipment has resulted in immediate available rebates from various utilities.” The clients that are financially equipped to take advantage of Miller’s green building and design capabilities tend to vary by industry. “Churches and parishes don’t tend to have a whole lot of money to throw around, so the cost investment often isn’t worth it—if they can get three more classrooms for the same price of being slightly more sustainable, they’ll go with the classrooms,” TeBrake says. “But medical and healthcare clients are more likely to have more disposable funds, and they understand that an investment today means a payback down the road.
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“But every client we’ve had in the past few years has asked questions about green design,” he continues. “People are aware, and they’ll only become more aware as time goes by.” gb&d
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natural introspection A design philosophy that holds sustainability as second nature informed Casaccio Architects on its own office renovation and its design of a new Boys & Girls Club rec center by Susan Johnston “mission-driven design;” the tagline of pennsylvania-based Casaccio Architects. “Our architecture expresses the traditions, stories, and dreams of our clients,” says Lee A. Casaccio, senior principal and son of the firm’s founder. The depth of this statement and its implications for design does not circumvent the need to also look ahead, even far into the future. ABOVE: Casaccio Architects’ headquarters in Havertown, PA. All photos: Barry Halkin.
In fact, sustainability is a natural extension of the firm’s focus on mission-oriented buildings. “All the sustainability aspects of our designs, Casaccio continues, “are a very important strategic component in our ability to serve and express our clients’ mission.”
The company has designed libraries, churches, schools, and other institutional buildings, as well as corporate/ commercial structures throughout the tri-state area and in several other states. Although the firm’s niche has been affected by the recession, Casaccio says many of its missionbased clients have continued developing projects even if they are unable to build immediately. Because of this, he predicts a promising numbers within the year and says his team has used the extra time to educate clients on the long-term benefits of sustainability. Increasingly, though, these clients are already aware of the need for energy efficiency and adaptable design. The firm is working to design a new firehouse for a nearby community and sustainable elements were a client priority from the very beginning. In buildings that hold employees, clients often request ample daylighting, because it creates a more welcoming environment and boosts productivity. George Yu, AIA, an architect who has collaborated with Casaccio Architects for many years, says, “In my community, many people are driving the Prius because of peer pressure to be green. That attitude in itself would be wonderful when it applies to buildings.”
spaces/office LEFT: The entire design of Casaccio’s new office building is centered on a daylit “Collaboration Area.”
“Our architecture expresses the traditions, stories, and dreams of our clients.” —Lee A. Casaccio, Senior Principal
The attitude certainly applies to the firm’s own offices. “Part of being a friend to the environment is practicing what you preach,” says Kevin Whitney, a project manager who joined the company in 2006. “Our headquarters are a sustainable facility. We’ve situated work stations with natural light from above so we reduce glare and introduce an abundance of natural light. We’ve added recycle stations throughout the office. We’re even providing operable window units at each person’s workstation. You have to live it yourself before you can encourage others to accept the way.” Recent projects include a new Boys & Girls Club recreation center in nearby Chester, Pennsylvania. “This new project has a heavy hand in sustainable elements: natural daylighting, flexible floor plans, and recycled content. This one had a tight budget, so we worked hard to get products that were locally manufactured,” Whitney continues. “There are so many materials that are trekked across the country, so you almost pay as much for transportation as you do for the materials.”
With fuel costs on the rise, Whitney predicts that locally produced materials will become more than a green element—it will be a necessity. “Buildings are going to be built more [with methods] going back to the early days,” he explains. “Stone here in Pennsylvania where there’s an abundance of stone; wood where there’s an abundance of wood.” In recent years, manufacturers have claimed an abundance of so-called green products, but Yu points out that this approach has back-fired. “We must be careful during this transitional stage where every manufacturer wants to call their product green,” he explains. “We don’t want to get caught up with this ‘greenwash’ marketing ploy, which sometimes can give the true sustainable architecture a bad name.” In time, though, Yu sees a return to true environmental principles and an understanding that sustainability is about more than regulations and certifications. He points to a building the firm designed in association with a firm in Japan. “Over there, you don’t need a set of rules,” he says. “It’s just common sense. Being an island nation, they know it’s important. Our culture is changing now. In the future it will be a natural instinct to make our buildings and environment sustainable.” Casaccio agrees. “In the very near future,” he says, “this whole green, sustainable design will be second nature, like breathing.” gb&d
green guinea pig To fully sort the latest environmentally friendly methods from the madness, Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction renovated its own office in a full-blown, hands-on redesign
by Matt Petrusek janet lasley and marc brahaney were working on a joint project in the mid 1990s—Lasley as a builder, Brahaney as an architect—when an unexpected benefit emerged from their collaboration: the two fell in love and decided to marry. It turned out to be a beautiful union, in more ways than one. “When we got married, we found clients interested in both design and construction [services] and realized that could be the basis for a business,” Brahaney says. “It led us to merge our operations and come up with a coherent design-build process.”
BELOW: Lasley Brahaney’s new eco-friendly office space in Princeton, NJ, is awaiting LEED certification.
That merger has since produced one of Princeton, New Jersey’s preeminent design-build firms, now officially called Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction (LBAC). Lasley and Brahaney specialize in doing custom-residential design, construction, and remodeling with an emphasis on preserving vintage homes’ unique characteristics. Clients have the
choice of contracting LBAC for only construction or only design, but the greatest value and efficiency comes in combining services. “Our design-build process is great because it creates an economy of scale,” Brahaney notes. In addition to streamlining the building process, part of their approach is, and always has been, thinking about each project within its greater environmental context. Indeed, a sustainability-driven disposition comes naturally to Lasley, who grew up in a modernist home with passive solar design, a flat roof, and cross ventilation long before “green” meant anything but a color. “It’s always been hard for me to understand living in a house that doesn’t take the environment into account,” she says. Brahaney, too, has long been interested in smart home design and construction but didn’t start engaging green ideas until he and his wife had the opportunity to personally test them out. “The turning point for going green was doing our own office building,” he recalls. LBAC’s office, a complete renovation of an existing structure, thoroughly demonstrates core sustainable principles at work. Outside, the site is landscaped with self-sustaining native plants, and inside dual-flush toilets and lowflow faucets ensure minimal water consumption. This emphasis on conservation and efficiency carries throughout the interior: from a super-high-efficiency HVAC-and-ventilation system, to blown-in insulation, to workspaces naturally lit through low-e glass windows, to light sensors and
“[Our office] gave us the opportunity to look [at] what it really means to do green design and construction—and to put our money where our mouth is.” —Marc Brahaney, Co-owner
small renovation jobs than they would like, the two have learned to make the best of a challenging business environment by leveraging their eco-friendly know-how to produce substantial cost savings. “[The economy] has helped us to promote anything that will save money in the long run,” Lasley says. “We kind of thank it for that.” It’s thus no surprise that Lasley’s and Brahaney’s clients have come to appreciate the value of sustainability, given their tireless advocacy of its environmental and financial benefits. But the pair has also gone the extra mile by acting as a source of green information and advice even after the job is finished. “One thing I do that makes me really happy is that I can be a source of information and resources for clients,” Lasley says. These efforts do not go unacknowledged; one such piece of advice recently resulted in an enthusiastic thank-you hug after Lasley connected a client to a state program that helped replace her old furnace with a high-efficiency one.
automatic power shut-offs for non-essential systems, Lasley and Brahaney have taken exceptional care to ensure their building leads by example.
Crews also have just finished installing solar panels that will pay for themselves and begin providing income within five years thanks to government subsidies. Overall, the project not only produced an exceptionally eco-friendly workspace—the building is soon to receive LEED certification—it also supplied the firm with invaluable experience and credibility for doing future green projects. “[Our office] gave us the opportunity to look [at] what it really means to do green design and construction—and to put our money where our mouth is,” Brahaney says.
Moments like these motivate the couple to continue strengthening its commitment to sustainability, even when the times are tough. Seeing satisfied clients and knowing they occupy safe, healthy, eco-friendly homes provides the conjugal team with more than enough fuel to keep the green flame alive. “You do things because they’re personally important to you,” Lasley says, “and for clients, you do the same thing.” gb&d
Since completing LBAC’s headquarters, Lasley and Brahaney have focused on applying the knowledge they gained to their many ongoing design and construction projects. Although the weak economy has led them to accept more
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encouraging leadership The March-Westin Company seeks to remain a leader in green building, and through its work on Allegheny Energy’s new transmission building, it applauds the utility company for doing the same
by Kelli McElhinny
ABOVE: The expansive green roof topping West Virginia University’s Brooks Hall.
in the quarter-century since it was founded, The March-Westin Company has developed into West Virginia’s largest general contractor, developing repeat customers out of major entities like West Virginia University, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and Mylan Pharmaceuticals. More recently, the firm’s work has presented the opportunity to explore sustainable-building strategies.
Through repeat clients like WVU, MarchWestin demonstrates its leadership role in green building.
According to project manager Allison Stawarz, who received LEED accreditation in 2008, many of West Virginia’s new construction projects are relying on environmentally friendly techniques and products. “In West Virginia, we’ve
seen a lot of [green building] in the past five years or so,” Stawarz says. “A lot of the green construction is just basic, good building practice.” She adds that March-Westin first became involved with LEED-rated projects about five years ago, explaining that the federal government has been a proponent of building to LEED standards, with the vast majority of its new construction qualifying for at least LEED Silver certification. “There’s a big push from that regulation,” Stawarz says, adding that one of March-Westin’s recent projects involved the Sabraton General Services Administration Building near Morgantown. The building has 5,700 square feet of windows, maximizing natural light and reducing energy costs. Going green doesn’t just offer energy savings. Companies who choose sustainable buildings also demonstrate their social responsibility, which can be an effective marketing tool. Their employees also tend to be happier and more productive. They also may be able to take advantage of more attractive rates from lenders looking to encourage environmentally friendly construction. One company that intends to capitalize on the benefits of going green is Allegheny Energy, West Virginia’s primary
“I think the biggest service that we can do is be a leader in our industry. It truly has a trickle-down effect for everybody.” —Allison Stawarz, Project Manager
electric-utility company. Allegheny Energy is building a new transmission headquarters in Fairmont, West Virginia, and the structure, scheduled for completion next year, showcases a variety of green features. The building’s design includes water-efficient landscaping, white TPO roofing, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and efficient air-handling units, among other items. Even the bicycle storage and the parking spaces reserved for fuel-efficient vehicles will qualify the building for a number of LEED credits. Allegheny Energy has been an enthusiastic partner in the project, according to Stawarz. “They’re doing a very good job in a leadership role to make sure their building is energy efficient,” she says. As the project’s construction manager, March-Westin has played an instrumental role in ensuring that the client’s sustainable vision comes to fruition. The firm was first brought on board to coordinate the process of pricing the materials, which also happens to be an important piece of the environmental puzzle. Items like paint, windows, and insulation all are considered in the LEED rating. MarchWestin also is focusing on materials manufactured within a 500-mile radius of the work site and those that have a high percentage of recycled content. “As the construction manager, it’s [our] responsibility to make sure those specified products make it on site and are installed,” Stawarz says. She notes that March-Westin is self-performing the trades of the concrete, steel, and carpentry, in addition to other miscellaneous site work. March-Westin takes its responsibility seriously and practices careful construction-waste management. The firm has set up color-coded dumpsters to separate recyclable materials from true waste. Trained personnel have been a vital asset to the project. “It’s useful to have a LEED AP who is also a construction manager, because we know how it’s implemented from a
The March-Westin Company construction standpoint,” Stawarz explains. Although Stawarz is March-Westin’s only LEED AP, many of the firm’s other project managers have extensive experience in green building. Beyond the nuts and bolts, March-Westin takes on a leadership role in projects, linking all of the subcontractors and serving as a resource. That leadership also entails educating subcontractors on unfamiliar aspects of green building. When subcontractors are new to the idea of environmentally friendly construction, March-Westin staff members take the time to explain what is needed and why. That approach helps to overcome hurdles and resistance from partners on the project. March-Westin finds that clients often need to be brought up to speed on the building strategies, as well. Many of the features are accompanied by a higher initial price tag, so clients need to be reassured of the long-term benefits. As West Virginia’s largest general contractor, March-Westin has an opportunity to provide that education for years to come and become a significant advocate for green building. “I think the biggest service that we can do is be a leader in our industry,” Stawarz says. “It truly has a trickle-down effect for everybody.” gb&d
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modular = mobile When Probe Technologies needed an environmentally friendly but transportable redesign, 708 Studios relied on modular technology that could be reconfigured for a future location
by Kelli McElhinny
BELOW: The reception area of Probe Tech-
the two partners—who are also the only two employees—of 708 Studios have been collaborating on architecture projects since their undergraduate studies at Texas A&M in the late 1990s. When they found themselves back in the Dallas-Fort Worth area five years after graduation, they decided to join forces again.
nologies Headquarters in Fort Worth, TX, utilizes locally harvested stone for the walls and cementitious floor systems to achieve a sleek, modern style.
The resulting firm draws on both architects’ strengths and combines divergent areas of expertise—historic preservation/residential design and healthcare/commercial design. “We thought we would merge those two together,” says Clara Carlisle, one of the firm’s two principals. “We complement each other.”
Holly Flake, the other principal and partner, says it’s “as though Clara’s training in master planning and schematic design helps her to think ‘through the forest,’ so to speak, while my experience in minute detailing allows me to ‘examine the trees.’” With increasing overlap between residential and commercial design, 708 Studios stands to benefit. Carlisle pointed out that a recent client came to the firm to make her home’s bathroom ADA compliant, which will involve some commercial strategies. On the flip side, hospitals are trying to make their facilities more home-like to increase patient satisfaction. “We’re starting to see a lot of crossover,” Carlisle says. With such a range of experience for a two-person firm, the venture has proven a profoundly successful one, leading to consistent work for the pair throughout the past four years. The work flow is even more impressive considering that the firm uses very little advertising. One of its newest projects is an office redesign for the Fort Worth-based Probe Technologies. The company wants to spruce up its current space but is not planning to stay in the location long-term—it needs solutions that are mobile and can translate to another space.
spaces/office RIGHT: The productdisplay space features DIRTT modular partitions, custom lighting, and acrylic display systems to maximize a client’s experience.
“[Probe Technologies] appreciates its global contribution to reducing consumption, reusing materials, and in the use of recycled materials.” —Holly Flake, Partner
The project, even considering these special needs, presents multiple opportunities for environmental sensibility. Modular wall panels, made of aluminum and glass, can be set up in multiple configurations to accommodate employee preferences. The structures also can be transported into a new space, saving the organization future demolition and construction costs. Additionally, the glass components will allow natural light to reach the building’s interior. 708 Studios also will recycle the existing carpet, introduce cementitious floors that don’t require carpeting, and make use of recycled-aluminum-component countertops from the Alkemi line. “[Probe Technologies] appreciates its global contribution to reducing consumption, reusing materials, and in the use of recycled materials,” Flake says of the client’s satisfaction. The firm also has received a Live Green Plano award for its design of a garden on the grounds of a residential independent-living facility. The design included gravel
paths that could handle wheelchairs and introduced planter beds that are wheelchair accessible, a few of which are even waist high. Another way in which 708 Studios promotes sustainability in its work is through its material choices. The firm is dedicated to using materials produced within a certain radius of the project, which not only reduces the environmental impact but also cuts costs. “If you have a stone-wall feature, why not choose stone from the local area?” Carlisle asks. She notes that nearly 70 percent of the materials used in any project typically can be purchased in the local area. At the same time, however, the 708 Studios duo chooses materials with a long lifespan. The pair gives samples to its toughest team of testers: “If it holds up to my kids in the backyard, then it’s something that we can present to a client,” Carlisle says. 708 Studios is dedicated to engaging clients in the design process, which gives owners a greater stake in creating a sustainable project. Sometimes, engagement becomes collaborative in surprising ways—the Live Green Plano project originated from the ideas of individual residents. “It really became a community project,” Carlisle notes. With or without help, the goal is the same. “It’s about making the best product, combining our experience and the client’s desires in the form of a conversation-like brainstorm,” Carlisle says. “This is a dialogue. Everyone who works with us loves the process.” gb&d
common, commercial sense Smarter, greener building is both the future and common sense, and a single project for Horizon Wind Energy convinced O’Donnell/Snider Construction of both by Matt Petrusek
BELOW, OPPOSITE: Corporate interiors for clients like Fairfield Industries (opposite) or Horizon Wind Energy, is a specialty of O’Donnell/Snider Construction. The Horizon project, which
trey snider and randy o’donnell were fraternity brothers during their college days, but both headed their separate ways professionally after graduation: Snider into commercial real estate and O’Donnell working to become a developer. Years later, the two found themselves reunited, working at the same development company; soon, they decided to set off on their own. “I went out and bought a computer and set it up on my kitchen table, and we started figuring out where we were going to move,” O’Donnell recalls. “Everyone thought we were crazy.”
firms. The company specializes in building commercial spaces, including healthcare and education facilities, shopping centers, law firms, and corporate interiors. The firm’s three principals—the third is partner Lance Odom—have more than 50 years of cumulative experience providing clients with innovative and functional building solutions. Sustainable thinking has long been a part of the firm insofar as it has always sought to provide the highest quality construction at the most reasonable price. But Snider admits that the onset of LEED at first caused skepticism among clients—though it didn’t take long for the program’s benefits to remove their misconceptions. “At first everyone was afraid of LEED because of the perceived costs,” he says. “But as everyone has become more educated, it’s turned out it’s not more expensive, and customers are now recognizing its long-term benefits.” Indeed, now that the firm has accustomed itself to LEEDdriven thinking, it feels like second nature. “It’s really amazing when you start thinking about all the things that go into LEED points,” Snider says. “Some of them are such common sense.”
was certified LEED Silver, was a turning point in the firm’s green efforts.
The risk of that joint venture paid off. O’Donnell/Snider Construction (OSC), officially founded in 1991, has grown into one of Houston’s premier commercial-construction
The real turning point that solidified the firm’s commitment to sustainability came in its work on a project for Horizon Wind Energy in Houston. OSC partnered with
“It’s really amazing when you start thinking about all the things that go into LEED points. Some of them are such common sense.” —Trey Snider, Vice President
a well-known LEED-accredited architect to renovate the interior of an aged building with the goal of preserving as much of the original structure as possible. Where the firm was forced to demolish and replace (due to the building’s age—the walls were plaster), they made sure to recycle as much material as possible to reduce construction waste and to use local materials as they rebuilt. Once it had a clean slate with which to work, OSC then installed low-density lighting to reduce electrical consumption and low-flow faucets and toilets to reduce water usage. Their efforts ultimately earned the project a LEED Silver designation, as well as the experience and confidence to apply sustainable thinking to future work. “After doing the [Horizon] Wind project we realized that [LEED] was the future of construction,” Snider says. OSC’s dedication to sustainability has also influenced how the firm does business. “We’ve become more conscientious in the operations of our company,” Snider says. That conscientiousness includes using reusable mugs instead of styrofoam, recycling paper and aluminum, and printing their many meeting packets double-sided—small steps, O’Donnell and Snider admit, but it all adds up. Overall, the changes mark a broader cultural shift in the firm to thinking about the welfare of future generations. “It’s time to step up and start looking after the future of our children,” O’Donnell says. Thinking about the future, however, already comes naturally to Snider and O’Donnell; it’s something they’ve been doing in the form of building lasting relationships with their clients since the firm’s inception. “We truly believe we’re building for the long term,” Snider says, “and part of that is our relationship with our customers.” This future-oriented business approach, in the end, has at least two salient benefits: “Clients become friends,” O’Donnell says. And those friends, as well as everyone else, get to live in a healthier, greener world. gb&d
Electrical Contractors Serving Houston, Texas & Surrounding Areas
(281) 447-3426 PO Box 91051, Houston, TX 77291 Fax: (281) 447-0613
all-natural approach Despite obvious parallels between the health of people and that of the planet, The Neenan Company’s health-center designs have won awards for their approach to the environment and wellness by Susan Johnston
traditionally, a hospital is a sterile, sometimes scary, environment where patients undergo treatment for illnesses or injuries. The Neenan Company, a Coloradobased design-build company, however, has a different approach to designing and building healthcare spaces. Annie Lilyblade, a healthcare/medical planner who has worked at Neenan for the past eight years, says, “We want to transform these buildings into a wellness environment.” The Neenan Company’s work on The Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Eugene, Oregon, is one example of its wellness-based philosophy. As the first LEED Gold-certified orthopedic center in the country, the Slocum Center has garnered awards for its sustainability, including its decreased energy usage and healthful work environment.
“If you have a focus around sustainability, you can make [healthcare spaces] more of a healing and wellness environment.” —Annie Lilyblade, Healthcare/Medical Planner
As Lilyblade explains, “If you have a focus around sustainability, you can make [healthcare spaces] more of a healing and wellness environment. One of the big ones is the connection to the environment, bringing in a lot more daylighting and having this connection to the outdoors. It’s important to have local materials that are more natural, less synthetic, because it tends to create a more welcoming or inviting space. It’s more homelike and has a comforting feel.” In addition to medical buildings, the Neenan Company also brings a wellness-based approach to designing and building schools. “Indoor-air quality is a big deal for us,” Lilyblade notes. “We’re dealing with populations that really need a clean environment.” Recent educational design-build projects include additions for the Valley RE-1 School District in Iliff and Sterling, Colorado, which won a Colorado Construction Top Project in 2007. The company also saved the Weld Central School District thousands of dollars in energy and maintenance costs through its designs for a new 1,100-student high school in Keenesburg, Colorado.
OPPOSITE: The Slocum Center at twilight. ABOVE: The Slocum Center’s exam rooms feature daylighting and natural materials to provide a more comforting experience.
The Neenan Company is an integrated design-build company, so architects, planners, consultants, project managers, and field superintendents work under one umbrella company. As Lilyblade puts it, “The focus is on relationships to ensure a quality project and to eliminate waste in both the design and the construction process.” The company uses the term “archistruction” to describe this collaborative approach. An open office configuration with no private offices in its main location maximizes daylight and encourages communication. Testing fixtures and other items in its own offices ensures that the company makes sound product recommendations. “We pilot different strategies within our own office, so we can pass that information onto clients,” Lilyblade says.
“We’ve tried out everything from waterless urinals to a green roof on our own building. We share with them more physical and personal experience rather than just factual data.”
Photos: Ed Lacasse Photography.
Colorado—and specifically Fort Collins—values the outdoors, and that attitude towards the environment has aided the company’s internal efforts. “We’re located on a bike trail, which encourages employees to get out,” Lilyblade adds. “Because the City of Fort Collins has done so many great things in encouraging resources, it’s really become a city effort and increased the efforts that we’ve been able to do. We’re in a nice environment, so we’re able to make the correlation [between our efforts and their impact on the environment].” Although many of the Neenan Company’s employees are invested in environmental conservation, Lilyblade says that changing behaviors is still a challenge. As she explains, “One of the first strategies was to go through a massive recycling program. We had to figure out how to change people’s behaviors, and what we ended up doing was taking everybody’s trash cans away for a week and making recycling bins available.”
spaces/healthcare Going beyond normal, at-will recycling, the Neenan Company instituted an intense policy where 84 percent of the office waste is recycled. In that same period, the company also reduced its paper use by 86 percent through the use of software that minimizes printing and enables printing in a wiser fashion. Neenan hires local subcontractors and uses carpools when travel is necessary. Video conferencing and web technologies have helped reduce the firmâ€™s carbon footprint so they can meet with clients virtually. Going forward, the company is exploring the use of solar panels, hydro-powered faucets, green roofs in collaboration with a local greenhouse, and insulated glass or fiberglass windows in their offices. Lilyblade foresees the sustainable-building movement picking up steam in the years to come. â€œFor us, itâ€™s been a snowball effort,â€? she says. â€œIt seems that once we can accomplish one thing, the next technology or the next big idea is right around the corner. Itâ€™s been exciting for us, and we see more people getting excited about it as well, as they realize some changes are easy to make.â€? gb&d
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new lease on life Mercer General Works, LLC takes a ‘dingy service station’ and transforms it into sustainable, new chiropractic offices—under budget, ahead of schedule, and in the dead of winter
by Thalia Aurinko-Mostow
Meier and his team set out to reach everyone’s green building goals. For both Pennington Chiropractic and MGW this meant ICF walls, radiant heat, low-VOC interior paint, highefficiency air conditioning, and—as wished by Dr. Glenn S. Gabai, owner of Pennington Family Chiropractic—solar panels. “The biggest reward was that the project came in under budget, ahead of schedule, and it was all done in the middle of the winter right in front of the entire community,” Meier notes.
since he was a young boy, ron j. meier, founder and owner of Mercer General Works, LLC (MGW), has been interested in construction; Meier even asked his parents for a tower crane for Christmas when he was five. After graduating from Villanova University with a degree in civil engineering, Meier went to work at Moffat & Nichol in New York City. His next stop was at Sciame, where he honed his skills until 2003, when he left to start Mercer General Works. “It was a peak time in the construction industry when MGW, LLC opened its doors. Many companies were very busy at the time and could not keep up with the demand of phone calls and other daily tasks,” Meier explains. Word of mouth spread quickly because of the company’s efforts and fine customer service; before long, MGW had gained a great reputation and a steady flow of clients. Mercer General Works is a full-service construction company specializing in residential- and commercial-renovation projects, as well as wastewater treatments and pre-construction coordination. MGW is based in Central New Jersey, but its work can be found from New York to Eastern Pennsylvania. Although the company consists of only six people, Meier hopes to further expand within the next five years.
MGW handled the pre-construction and was ultimately responsible for the project from conception to completion. Meier explains, “The technical challenge was to join the existing masonry building to the newly added ICF structure without making it look like they were two halves. An important part of this success was our ability to install a traditional three-coat stucco system during the heart of winter when temps did not break 20 degrees for several weeks during the install.” This was critical to keeping MGW on schedule and within budget, as the practice was under a short lease at a temporary location.
reception desk in Pen-
With more green projects in the future, and a plan to get involved with community outreach programs both locally and abroad, Meier, who has done work with Habitat for Humanity, is working towards building a company that gives back whenever it can. An ex-professor of Meier’s from Villanova is heading a drinking-water treatment program in Central America in 2011 and hopes to bring the expertise of MGW along; they would work as partners, and Meier would supply the materials and labor. Another goal for MGW is to gain recognition from area professionals and the organizations to which they belong: the USGBC, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and Engineers without Borders—an easily managed feat for this dynamic company.
BELOW: Interior of Pennington Family Chiropractic’s custom eight-sided dome skylight above the
Meier has always placed importance on green building, but only recently did MGW join the USGBC. “Being a green business to me means that we advise our clients about the ramifications of their decisions. It may be a one shot deal for them, but for us it is our career and what we do will make a big difference over great, and sometimes short, lengths of time. Primarily for us, the most important part of green building is bringing the unnatural concept of modern construction to an eco-competent existence,” he says. One such project was the recent Pennington Family Chiropractic medical practice, in which the company transformed an “old dingy service station,” as Meier puts it, into a stateof-the-art green office. The project came about, as most of MGW’s projects do, through a referral. MGW walked the clients through its plans and was straightforward about how much the project would cost and the level of difficulty.
accounting for complexity Stringent requirements for projects like a county emergency operations center make The Austin Companyâ€™s ability to incorporate sustainable elements a greater feat by Russ Klettke
it is one thing to design and build residential and commercial structures to LEED specifications, creating a building that utilizes resources in a sustainable way. Arguably, it is quite another challenge to design and build for industrial processes, where power, heat, water, waste treatment, and the handling of raw materials present additional complexities not seen in office projects or new homes. This is par for the course for The Austin Company. The 132-year-old company provides planning, design, engineering, and construction services to clients in a wide variety of industries including aerospace and defense, aviation, broadcasting, education, food and consumer products, general manufacturing, printing and publishing, renewable energy, and other industries. Focusing on manufacturingâ€”with facilities that cover large sitesâ€”designers recognize that these buildings receive more sunlight and accumulate greater storm-water run-off than the typical high-rise office or condo building. How
a site is landscaped and paved and how temperatures are controlled are critical to its environmental impact. The Austin Company even plans for how the buildings will be disposed of at the end of their service lives. “The use of recycled, sustainable, and local materials is evaluated extensively,” says Ken Stone, vice president and director of sales and marketing. “For example, a facility for the Los Alamos National Laboratory was constructed using both structural steel, which contains the greatest post-consumer recycled content of any material used in construction today, and concrete block, which can be easily recycled.” Take one manufacturing-facility type as an example: a bread-baking plant uses prodigious amounts of natural gas and water for its baking process, yet it also must meet green standards to satisfy sustainability initiatives of its customers. Add to that the requirements for food safety, economy, nutrition, and hygiene—all taking place in a large, singlestory building. The Austin Company exists to prove that all parties can be satisfied. Stone works out of the firm’s California office in Irvine, serving a state that has a progressive focus on energy efficiency, which has, in turn, helped them establish sustainability credentials nationwide. The firm also has offices in Cleveland and Atlanta and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kajima USA, part of the Global 500 constructor Kajima Corporation.
“When we have these functions—design, engineering, and construction—all in the same firm, we remove barriers to success. We have a much higher degree of cooperation than you might find otherwise.” —Jim Robinson, Architect & Project Manager
OPPOSITE: The Colgate plant, in Morristown, TN, comprises more than 250,000
With architect and project manager Jim Robinson, the California team recently worked on the Emergency Operations Center for the County of Santa Barbara, designed by The Austin Company and now under construction, with site grading completed in April 2010. The project requires an uninterruptible power-supply system, standby-power generation, redundant cooling in telecommunication spaces, and smoke-filtering ventilation systems. Despite these strict requirements, it also incorporates numerous sustainability features, including reflective concrete and pervious pavements, low-water-use landscaping, roof-mounted photovoltaics, highly reflective roofing, and on-demand water heaters—among others. The building, like many others in the company’s portfolio, employs building mechanics that respond to fluctuating occupancy and other variables. This illustrates a key strength for the company, in how its architects and engineers work with seamless integration. “When we have these functions—design, engineering, and construction—all in the same firm, we remove barriers to success,” Robinson says. “We have a much higher degree of cooperation than you might find otherwise.”
square feet. ABOVE: The Austin Company’s use of energy-monitoring
California’s university system is an added advantage, where future architects and engineers are taught according to the state’s advanced sustainability standards. Once employed by the firm, all employees take part in formal, firm-sponsored educational programs that require everyone to participate as both teacher and student. The firm and its sister companies have more than 100 LEED APs and 23 LEEDcertified projects, including 18 with Silver or Gold honors.
equipment helped earn the Colgate Palmolive manufacturing facility LEED Silver certification.
The firm proved its capabilities with a project for Colgate Palmolive, a client who required a 250,000-square-foot oral-care manufacturing facility in Morristown, Tennessee. The building was already under construction when the client chose to pursue a LEED Silver designation. Fortunately, this mid-project decision was successful because of the company’s “habitual approach to conservation, where the cumulative cost of energy, value engineering, and life-cycle costing drive almost all decisions,” Stone says. For example, computer modeling had already been used to select the most efficient structural system from various alternatives. The ease of that adjustment might seem rare for a company that has been around since the 19th century. But for employees working at The Austin Company today, adaptation and innovation seems to be in their DNA—even to the point of thinking through the entire lifecycle of buildings that could easily outlive the people who design and build them. gb&d
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A living wall at a private residence in India by Eco Design Technology, Inc.
Eco Design Technology, Inc. Improving the prospects of urban renewal, one roof at a time you’re months into winter, the type of day where it feels like spring will never come; a cold air finds it’s way into the cracks of your office window, your wool sweater is irritating your neck, and yet, you’re smiling. One wall of your workspace is a private garden covered in ferns, ivies, sedums, liriope, mondo grasses, and sempervivum. This living wall is helping you breathe better, drowning away outside noises, saving you money, and bringing
you peace—this is reality for a very lucky few working at NYU’s Law School. However, they’re not the only ones; ECO Design Technology, Inc. is growing fast, with upcoming projects for Disney, the US Coast Guard Headquarters, Starwood Hotels, and New York’s famous Shake Shack, as well as others—including residential developments. For four years, ECO Design has served as ELT Easy Green’s (a greenwall and -roof manufacturer) corporate liaison to the United States for living wall systems. ECO Design’s focus is sustainable landscapes, and it’s looking to grow. ECO Design has numerous opportunities for individuals who are interested in the green industry. Other services include rainwater harvesting, eco pavers, native plantscapes, and stormwater management. It is also a dealer of Techo Block ecopavers and Aquascapes water blocks. In 2006, ECO Design grew out of Shields Landscape Contracting,
which has been in business for over 25 years. For Steven Shields, president, and Anthony Sparber, director of operations, creating the company was an easy decision. Sparber clarifies, “Due to my knowledge and experience as a commercial landscaper, there was a natural synergy toward living walls and green roofs. After seeing how some players in the market were handling this technology, I knew I could do it with much greater care, quality, and efficiency.” Shields adds, “Extensive green roofs were a new addition, but intensive rooftop gardens have been in our designs for years.” The huge payback for their clients was clear from the beginning. ECO Design Technology maintains close relationships with architects, engineers, developers, and business owners; it was from of these relationships that the NYU Law School project
“A green business means I can make a profound difference in the world by giving back to the Earth rather than taking it.” —Anthony Sparber, Director of Operations
began. The original site of the law-school offices overlooked Manhattan’s Washington Square Park—a tree-covered oasis for the Village. The new location was a brownstone on Washington Square but without the park views. The brownstone was gutted and redesigned, giving ECO Design a chance to implement the new wall gardens. “We designed private gardens for each office by mimicking the window of each office with a living wall system across from their vantage point,” Shields explains. “Office staff and personnel can enjoy the ever-growing and changing canvas of the living-wall system as it transforms throughout the years and passing season.” However, the project was not without difficulties; the eight-story, ancient-masonry, building facade and light-level differences between the top panels and the lower levels both had to be considered. All in all, the project took five days, no time at all when considering the lifetime of benefits. Steven Shields believes that everyone has a personal responsibility to improve his or her footprint. “If everyone would take part, collectively we would improve a huge amount of space.” Sparber echoes his sentiment, “‘We inherited this land from our forefathers and we are borrowing it from our children.’ This is a favorite quote of mine that’s close to my heart. A green business means that I am able to provide for my family, without damaging the future for my kids. It is a business where I can make a profound difference in the world by giving back to the Earth rather than taking from it.” —by Thalia Aurinko-Mostow
LLC A leader in the commercial design/build landscape arena-living walls, eco-pavers, rainwater harvesting, green roofs, native landscape designs.
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Inc. Roofing and Solar Energy Solutions
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Commercial & Residential Roofing and Solar Energy Solutions.
Serving Long Island and the New York Tri-State area
Call us today for a free estimate at 1.888.SUN.4445
Division 7 Inc. Extensive background in roofing provides access to solar industry when richard ciota was 18 years old, he climbed a ladder onto his first roof. His choice of employment as a roofer was a decision that ultimately would become his lifelong profession. 40 years later, Ciota has worked in many aspects of the industry, including roofing installation, contracting, and design, as well as roofing-product representation. In 1993, Ciota and his wife, Kerry, started Division 7 Inc. to provide roofing, solar technology, and contracting services
A vegetative roof by Division 7 at Columbia University in New York, NY.
to Stony Brook, New York, and the surrounding area. “We are a business that is family owned and operated,” Ciota says, noting that Division 7 has built its clientele primarily by word of mouth. “We have built a strong and quality reputation throughout the years that we’re extremely proud of. We rely heavily on our team of technicians and support staff that provides a combination of experience and dedication.”
GREEN VS. COOL ROOF ENERGY COSTS
“When it comes to installing solar systems on rooftops, most of our competitors are not roofers by trade. Our vast roofing experience offers limitless solutions.” —Bobby Graziose, Director of
Division 7 specializes in a variety of roofing options including green, commercial, residential, single-ply, built-up, modified-bitumen, and metal roofs; roof insulation for energy savings and drainage; vegetative systems; and other services like roof maintenance. The company also conducts free consulting services for new and existing clients. “Our only payback is the opportunity to bid on a project. In this economic environment, you need many irons in the fire,” says Bobby Graziose, director of business development. With more than a decade in roofing experience, the team at Division 7 is highly involved in energy-efficient roofing and design. Both Ciota and his wife saw a large need for change. “Around 2001, we went to [Chicago’s Shedd] aquarium to learn about the soybased roof system on the structure,” Ciota says. “This piqued our interested from an environmental and business aspect. We also
started attending ‘green’ conferences. It was here we gained a wealth of knowledge and incorporated it into our business model.” Division 7 implemented a focus on energy-efficient roofing, having already practically perfected its basic roofing structure. The company included vegetative roofing, white-reflective membranes, and better insulation. As a company that understands the importance of energy efficiency from both environmental and economic standpoints, Division 7’s clients understand the importance as well.
cost per square foot: $10–$25 per square foot reduction in cooling cost: 50%
cool roof cost per square foot: $.50–$6 per square foot reduction in cooling cost: 15–30%
Division 7 also works closely with architects on LEED-certified projects. These projects have collectively included energy-efficient products and renewable energy such as solar-photovoltaic systems. >
solutions Being on the forefront of any technology is not without its challenges. As people become more expectant of energy-efficient building and roofing, clients still need to be educated on the costs, the return on investment, and the rate of return. “Financing a new roof and large [photovoltaic] system can be daunting in this economy. It would be helpful to have more state and local energy tax incentives and rebates on-going, even in the post-ARRA-funded economy,” Graziose explains. “This would create a win-win situation for years to come.” With this challenge in mind, Division 7 offers specific financing options to clients so they can afford energy-efficient roofing and renewable-energy solutions while keeping the long-term economic and environmental advantages in mind. Along with sustainability, Division 7 is one of the few roofing companies that don’t subcontract. The company conducts all of its roofing and solar projects in house. In the future, Division 7 would like to continue on the path that has led to its current success. “We are not looking for recognition—we enjoy sharing our experiences and ideas with others,” Ciota says.
The people at Division 7 are confident that as experienced roofers, they will have considerable success with solar installations, Graziose says. “When it comes to installing solar systems on rooftops, most of our competitors are not roofers by trade,” he notes. “This detail is particularly important because our vast roofing experience offers limitless and progressive solutions to integrate solar into the existing or new rooftop. Also, Division 7 will guarantee any penetrations we do make for five years.” The roofing company is taking the right steps to become a leader in the industry. It understands that quality and consistency is the best policy. It is involved in numerous trade organizations and networking groups while continuously attending conferences to learn about new resources and increase its client base. It is on the path to continued success. —by Yvelette Stines
Aire Sheet Metal Inc. Family-owned HVAC firm lends in-house knowledge to improve project performance as green-building principles continue to take hold across the nation, exciting new technologies surface—many of which focus on tightening up spaces, eliminating waste, maximizing efficiencies, and capitalizing on what the immediate environment has to offer. Though in many instances gadgetry adds flash and draws attention to what the trend offers, the fact remains that few new advances offer the same energy savings as a properly placed, well-designed HVAC configuration.
For the 40-year-old family-owned Aire Sheet Metal Inc., the evolution toward embracing green-building principles has understandably represented a culture change, especially within the firm’s design and estimation. “It impacts our view. We need to make sure that we are always on the cutting edge of efficient technology as well as the cost and benefits,” says Brian Pyle, PE, LEED AP, and project manager with the Redwood City, California, firm. According to Pyle, as more building owners seek higher-performance solutions, it represents intriguing opportunities for forwardlooking firms like Aire Sheet Metal. “Building owners appreciate the expertise we can bring to a project, often making us a contractor of choice. When clients want to save energy and increase occupancy comfort, people know we can provide solutions,” he says. For projects in which its solutions were implemented, Pyle notes that clients have experienced significantly fewer post-production problems.
Steve Reade, P.E., LEED AP Principal
• Registered Professional Mechanical 1059 Wilmington Ave San Jose, CA 95129 P: 408.865.0124 C: 408.828.1437 F: 408.777.9557 email@example.com
Engineer, California and Arizona • 28 years industry experience • Mechanical Engineer of Record for
As a mid-sized contractor, Aire Sheet Metal has the ability to be flexible and ultimately do whatever is required to satisfy a building owner’s needs. “Being able to lend our in-house expertise; talk about HVAC-system options, efficiency measures, and occupant-
many LEED Certified projects • Founded Reade and Associates
Consulting Engineers, September 1999 gbdmagazine.com
GBD Reade and Associates 1-4 Page.indd 4
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“Being able to lend our inhouse expertise; talk about HVAC system options, efficiency measures, and occupant-comfort measures; as well as the associated costs and benefits—this helps direct development.” —Brian Pyle, Project Manager
comfort measures; as well as the associated costs and benefits—this helps direct development,” Pyle says.
foundation capital office Aire Sheet Metal retrofitted a 50-year-old building for Foundation Capital’s office space. The project’s highlights include:
He’s noticed that HVAC measures have the biggest impact when the company is involved early in the project. “We have a highly experienced internal staff capable of joining project teams as early as the concept phase, when an owner is looking at a piece of property,” he says. “There are significant options available today, and being able to present these early on allows people to meet goals. Trying to fit systems later in the design phase can be quite difficult and often results in compromises that are unnecessary when the HVAC options are known upfront.”
• Installation that did not compromise the
space’s high-end architectural goals • Utilization of operable windows for
ventilation • Implementation that met or exceeded strin-
gent acoustical requirements for exterior equipment and interior environment
To date, Aire Sheet Metal has designed and implemented HVAC systems for two LEED Goldcertified projects, which together amount to 100,000 square feet of LEED Gold space. The company has two additional design-build projects attempting LEED certification currently in the submission and review phases. For one of the two buildings, the most promising feature was a variable-refrigerant-flow system capable of yielding extensive zoning for occupant comfort without using any CFC-based refrigerants. Owned by Foundation Capital, the 20,000-square-foot project was a complete retrofit of a 50-year-old building in Menlo Park, California. “It was unusual because we’re able to come into an older building, design and install a system from scratch, and ultimately contribute significantly to the firm’s LEED points,” Pyle explains.
There is no question that the economy has temporarily put a damper on owner-developer interest in incorporating sustainable high performance measures, Pyle admits. “However,” he continues, “once building owners gain confidence, we will see more building retrofits. I do not think people are ready to abandon this trend to achieve performance.”
Pyle sees incredible value in the work of Aire Sheet Metal, and true promise in variable-refrigerant-flow systems. “They are fantastic for retrofitting buildings where space is tight,” he says. “In the right applications variable-refrigerant systems can consistently yield a 20 to 30 percent savings...over traditional deployments.” —by Peter Fretty
solutions mechanical contracting
la lacy Moving past hard times with historical renovations since 1922, la lacy has been offering plumbing and HVAC services to central Virginia. Incorporated in 1969, it is a mechanical company that earns $12 million per year, and it has been a member of the USGBC since 2006. LA Lacy is inspired by LEED projects and wants to be a part of more work that is green driven. For Daniel Kim, president, this means having a “sense of being in step with the progressive environmental efforts of the construction industry in general.” He adds, “Green building means a significant contribution is being made towards preservation of the environment for future generations.” Most of LA Lacy’s work is commercial or industrial. A significant recent project was the restoration of President James Madison’s home, Montpelier, in Virginia. The project was sent out for general bids, and LA Lacy decided to throw its hat in the ring—knowing that its work with geothermal systems would make them a good fit. The company was selected for the job and began right away. “This was a historical renovation that used a green construction approach,” explains Marlond Allen, COO and vice president. The company’s goal was to preserve the historic facade and elevate it to “national treasure” status. They used a stateof-the-art HVAC system buried 20 feet below the ground in order to maintain the desired conditions and temperature. LA Lacy operated as the prime contractor and installed a system that utilized geothermal wells and watersource heat pumps that would both generate hot water and chill tepid water for the custom air-handling units.
explains. “I am proud to say that, based on comments and letters from the project team, our staff did an outstanding job.” Despite huge successes on projects like the Montpelier restoration, the recession has hit LA Lacy, so work has not been as easy to come by. However, the company has managed to contract sufficient work to weather the storm and is aggressively pursuing more work. One strategy is to pursue more work in the private sector, especially in design-build work where their reputation for customer satisfaction can better serve them. They also acquired a new facility, which has allowed them to start a pipefabrication shop. The economic recovery will be slow, with full recovery not expected until the last quarter of 2011. “We look forward to continued growth in our area. Our goals are to set the standard for environmentally responsible construction, while maintaining viable employment opportunities,” Allen says. While LA Lacy is building a strong foundation for its future, the company is also doing the same for Virginia students. Lacy is the mechanical contractor for the new Orange Middle School Project currently under construction in Wilderness, Virginia. The project aims for LEED Silver certification and represents one of
“Green building means a significant contribution is being made towards preservation of the environment for future generations.” —Daniel Kim, President
the largest projects for LA Lacy to date. Despite a tough winter, LA Lacy has helped keep the project on track and on time. This project includes an energy conscious MEP system, and, of course, sustainable construction practices. A team made up of LA Lacy, Kenbridge Construction, and Mosley Architects, among others, is building the 165,000-square-foot project. LA Lacy hopes to continue to grow not only the size of its business but the amount of green projects it tackles per year. With employees currently in line to take the LEED AP exam and principals enrolled in green-building classes, it shouldn’t prove to be too much of a challenge; LA Lacy has already shown it can pick itself up and successfully come out of any tight spot. —by Thalia Aurinko-Mostow
The LEED Gold-targeted Charlottesville Transit Operations Center is a current project by LA Lacy.
LA Lacy gave itself an 18-month deadline— which it met—and at peak production time had more than 50 workers, from multiple trades, on the site at once. “An added challenge for us was that the mechanical contractor was specified to essentially manage the project. This would entail all of the work that a general contractor would normally perform on a project,” Kim
solutions mechanical contracting
Reno Bros. Inc. For mechanical contractor, equipment maintenance is focal point of green efforts
Plumbing • Radiant Heating • Heating Dehumidification Systems • Air Conditioning Hydronic Piping • Welding Medical Gas • Back FlowCertification
Lacy Lacy Mechanical, Mechanical, Inc. Inc. Commercial • Industrial • Schools • Hospitals • Certified MBE
1809 Broadway Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902 Phone: 434-296-7542 | Fax: 434-293-9073
www.lalacy.com Whether you are in an office or an industrial building, effective insulation can save energy, reduce noise, stop condensation, and provide protection. Quality Insulation Products From The Top Manufacturers
Kirby-Vass Insulation, Inc. 263 Industrial Drive Hollins, VA 24019 Toll Free: (800) 277-6163 Phone: (540) 992-3960 Fax: (540) 992-4796 www.kirby-vassinsulation.com Kirby-Vass Insulation is proud of their relationship with LA Lacy and its people. We would like to congratulate them on their many accomplishments and their recognition in Green Building + Design.
Kirby-Vass Insulation, Inc., specializes in the insulation of pipes, ductwork, and equipment for industrial and commercial needs. Insulation affects you and your company in many ways. The most important benefit that you receive with proper insulation is safety. gbdmagazine.com
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in its field, it is imperative that reno Bros. Inc. keep up with the times, so partner Leo Wolfe Jr. recently became a LEED AP. But the LEED work hasn’t come, partly because of the economy and partly because of the company’s location in the rust belt of Western Pennsylvania. But Wolfe Jr. is confident that the green side of the mechanical-contracting business will grow—and when it does, Reno Bros. will be ready. “Let’s just say we’re ahead of the curve,” he says. Reno Bros. was founded in 1950 by brothers Clyde and Bob Reno, and Wolfe Jr.’s father bought into the company in 1978. “He started out as an apprentice,” Wolfe Jr. says, “and when he was ready to move on and open his own business, Clyde Reno offered him the opportunity to buy into the business. My father worked overtime for shares instead of pay, and in 2002, after all the other owners had moved on or retired, [he] took complete ownership.” Today, as it always has been, Reno Bros. is a comprehensive mechanical-contracting company with two divisions: construction and service. Its service department is 70 percent commercial and 20 percent industrial, with the remaining 10 percent going to residential work that comes in via word-of-mouth referrals. “There’s already a strong residential presence in the area, so we don’t try to compete,” says Wolfe Jr., who has worked at the company since he was 16 and officially became a partner in 2003. “We’ll definitely do the work if people come to us, but we don’t advertise that market.” Wolfe Jr. says Reno Bros. is “an old-school mechanical contractor keeping up with the times.” He recently began looking at how the company could offer more sustainable services. “I know sustainability is coming,” he says. “It’s important, and a lot more people are looking for assistance. So we wanted to be onboard with the green movement as much as possible.”
Reno Bros. Inc.
The Linc Service Network Leo Wolfe Jr. hopes to put his LEED AP status to good use, but for now, he is focused on being green in the area of maintenance—and to that end, Reno Bros. Inc. has become a Linc Service Contractor.
MODANYFALCONE, INC. GENERAL CONTRACTORS
Established in 1979, the Linc Service Network provides preventive HVAC-service and energy solutions to commercial-building owners worldwide via an international network of more than 140 independent and company-owned mechanical contractors.
John A. Modany, Jr. Michael R. Falcone P. O. Box 227 Ambridge, PA 15003 Tel:724-385-0653 Fax: 724-385-0232
“Originally, we never marketed our services; we’d just install a job and have our service manager contact the customer about maintaining the equipment,” Wolfe Jr. says. “But servicing is a profitable area. So we joined Linc Service, and in exchange, the company trained us and gave us all the tools we needed to promote maintenance services, from computer programs to maintenance steps. Thanks to Linc Service, we now know how to better market our services, and we’ve even hired two maintenance-sales people.”
Wolfe Jr. became accredited in May 2009, though that didn’t do the trick by itself. “Our last fiscal year, which ended in September of 2009, was a good year, with more than $8 million in revenues,” he notes. “But the current fiscal year is looking to be more moderate. We’re still strong on the service side, and we’re still profitable, but construction is down in our entire area of the country, so we’ve had to temporarily lay off some people during the winter.” As a result, most of the company’s green efforts to date have focused on maintenance service. “When we do any design-build projects, we of course do as much as we can—within the owner’s budget—to install anything that can save energy, like energy-efficient equipment and zoning systems,” Wolfe Jr. says. “But in today’s economy, with construction down, the majority of our green efforts are in maintenance.” Wolfe Jr. says maintaining equipment instead of just installing it and leaving it alone goes a long way toward being green. “You can save close to 20 percent on energy costs with proper detailed maintenance of your HVAC equipment,” he explains. For now, a little bit is enough. —by Julie Schaeffer
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23 Depew Avenue | Nyack, NY 10960
T: 845.727.7793 F: 6377
EM Labs (Energy Management Labs) is a full service engineering, design and consulting firm focused on sustainability and energy efficiency. Our clients include building owners, building managers, developers, municipalities, non-profits and business owners. We analyze each building component to determine the best way to optimize and reduce energy consumption without disrupting operations. As a result building owner experience better building performance, reduced operating costs and building occupants benefit from increased comfort, productivity, and reduced carbon footprint. gbdmagazine.com
Rendering of a residential development taking advantage of the summer afternoon sun. Exterior finishes include reclaimed cypress and locally quarried stone.
supply, geothermal heating and cooling, rainwater-recycling systems, and rain-capture irrigation systems,” Pilla explains. “The single-family homes are self-sustaining, and the philosophical approach was important to the design phase.” Meanwhile, the consulting firm is also completing a commercial project at 130 William Street in downtown New York City. The building’s owners are renovating it, floor by floor, while it remains occupied. “We are consulting in the design and building, making recommendations on lighting, maintenance, heating and cooling, and general operations,” Dorfman says. “We’re also researching and finding financial incentives for energy-efficient boiler systems.”
Energy Managment Labs Consulting firm finds incentives and reaps the benefits
Dorfman became a builder and property manager before starting EM Labs and pursuing his LEED accreditation. “So many incentives are available, such as rebates, tax incentives, cost sharing, and financing,” Dorfman says. For clients in the commercial realm, EM Labs provides custom energy studies, retrocommisioning, and cost-savings analysis. For residential developers, the consulting firm provides home-energy audits, performance contracting, and LEED consulting work to take advantage of Energy Star programs and local utility incentives.
EM Lab’s overall mission for each of its clients is to analyze each building component to determine the best way to optimize and reduce energy consumption without disrupting occupants or operations. “Also, the need for commissioning or retrocommissioning is more prevalent than ever,” Pilla observes. “Energy systems need to be constantly checked, evaluated, and calibrated. When we design a project, we offer the diligence required to keep systems operating at optimal settings.”
“the term ‘sustainability’ has become A major incentive that Dorfman and Pilla are more popular in recent years, but the concept anticipating in the near future is the federhas been around for a long time,” notes Domal government’s residential program called inic Pilla, co-owner of Energy Management EM Labs is currently completing an anticipatHOMESTAR or Cash for Caulkers. “It’s not a Labs (EM Labs) in Nyack, New York. An archied LEED Gold-certified, residential project near loan,” explains Dorfman. “It’s a direct rebate tect and engineer who operated a private practhe Hamptons. “The endeavor encompassavailable to any homeowner making improvetice for 11 years, Pilla partnered with Jesse es sustainability and implements a full range ments such as doors, windows, insulation, duct Dorfman nearly five years ago to launch their of energy-conservation techniques, including sealing, and heating and cooling.” Under the full-service engineering, design, and consultinsulation, building envelopes, radiant-heat program, consumers will also have the option ing firm specializing in energy efficiency. “As to receive a home-energy audit and plan commore and more project components became foprehensive energy retrofits for substantial, dicused on sustainability, demand increased, so rect rebates. it was a natural progression for my profession,” Pilla explains. “Energy Management Labs is “With the incentives that EM Labs is able to an extension of a service that my firm had been package together for our commercial and resiproviding. We received a rapidly increasing rate dential real-estate clients, they reduce expensof requests for energy efficiency consulting— es and increase value. It’s a win-win,” Dorfman independent of engineering and architectural says. “Sustainability was once a niche market, services in the broader sense—and it became but now it’s becoming mainstream. Today’s clear that we needed to start a new company.” owners are the pioneers, and in the next five Influenced by his grandfather, who built sinyears, more and more will jump on board,” he gle-family homes in New York’s Tri-State Area, predicts. “It’s a domino effect, and it’s coming.” and by his father, who is a real-estate lawyer, —by Jennifer Samuels —Jesse Dorfman, Co-owner
“With the incentives that EM Labs is able to package together for our commercial and residential real-estate clients, they reduce expenses and increase value. It’s a win-win.”
solutions property development
AeraRium Group Design-build developer encourages strategies that leave all successful when steve sperling founded aerarium Group in 1971, there was no rental space available in Barrie, Ontario. The city had some acreage, but it had no one to purchase or develop the land. Aerarium came in and built a large industrial mall on 23 acres. Over the course of the next decade, the company filled out the property, adding a number of impressive developments to its portfolio. “We kept buying and building ever since,” Sperling says. As one of Barrie’s largest and most diverse property developers, Aerarium has been meeting the real-estate and leasing needs of Ontario’s business world for more than 35 years. The firm’s repertoire comprises 50 commercial, office, and industrial locations, and it has a reputation for competitive rates and flexible lease arrangements for its more than 600 tenants. Sperling says that his company tries to be flexible in working with its tenants, many of whom are chain companies. His design-build team works with tenants in establishing site location and then planning, designing, and constructing the premises for their specialized requirements. “Over the years, we have been able to provide expansion space for our tenants, both short-term and long-term,” Sperling says. “During a downturn, we have also been able to provide a tenant with the availability of reducing their space to deal with recessionary periods.” One of the company’s main strategies is to operate in a hands-on fashion. “We’re very consistent and have a control basis with our tenants,” he says. “In other words, we try to keep in touch with our clients on a regular basis and try to provide them with additional markets
that we find for their specific needs. Our main byline is that we want them to succeed…because if they succeed, then we do well.” A successful development company is one that does not only align itself with the green movement but actively incorporates sustainable elements into its building methods. “At this time, we’re changing windows, going to film coverage on our glass, and using state-ofthe-art heating-and-cooling systems,” Sperling says. “We’re also insulating wherever we can on both existing buildings and using upgraded insulation on new facilities that we are going to be building. Wherever we can save money for our tenants it means that we’re making it much easier for them to meet their budgets for energy. The cheaper we can make it for them to exist in today’s expensive energy times, the better it is for everybody.”
“Wherever we can save money for our tenants it means that we’re making it much easier for them to meet their budgets for energy.” —Steve Sperling, President & Founder
Another critical aspect to the company’s means of operating is to give back to the community. So it has been very active in supporting local area hospitals and organizations such as Gilda’s Club. “We feel every year we have to give a certain amount of our profits back to the community, and [we] do it by giving it to community projects like that,” Sperling says.
One recent property to which the company has made nearly $100,000 worth of green upgrades is the Simcoe County Health Unit in Barrie.
Home can mean many things. For Aerarium, it means a home base that still provides room to grow.
“At this facility, we have upgraded the insulation and installed systems to control lighting and heating so that when the building is not occupied, lighting is turned off and heating is turned down,” Sperling says. “We are also adding film on all of the windows. The windows were originally filled with Argon gas, so we upgraded that as well.”
“We have land yet to develop, and we are looking beyond Barrie and Ontario,” Sperling says. “We recently acquired land in Regina, Saskatchewan, for a major development over the next five years. But the Barrie area is still a major growth area for us, and we think over the next 10 years we may build another 200,000 square feet.” —by Daniel Casciato
Q&A with Steve Sperling In terms of sustainability, can you tell the readers how building for chain companies is different from your other clients? In certain areas, they may be asking for things that are very expensive and the question is whether there’ll be an adequate ROI by the landlord, whereas the smaller tenants are happy with what we could do to save them energy without spending too much of their money. What kinds of hoops do you have to jump through to help these companies build sustainably? We have to be able to come up with facts and figures that will show them that they are getting a return on their investment or our investment over a maximum of five or six years. Anything longer than that—they’re not interested. Is it difficult to implement these aspects? While the chains have their own desires in regards to greening, they are not difficult to implement.
CONSULTING GROUP LTD.
PLANNERS ENGINEERS SURVEYORS
Project One provides Project Management and Owner’s Representative Services for building projects, civil/infrastructure and tenant improvements for both public and private sector clients. With more than 150 projects representing nearly $3 billion during the past 10 years we work closely with clients, design professionals and contractors, structuring and managing teams that are committed to delivering projects that maximize value at every turn.
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solutions property management
Project One Integrated Services Offering extensive management services to help clients begin projects and stay on budget there are many instances when a project may get started without proper footing; the budget may be too small, the owner’s list of expectations too high, or the design and construction schedule too conflicting. That’s when a project-management team steps in, such as Englewood, Colorado-based Project One Integrated Services, to alleviate some of the project burdens and ensure that project team members are all speaking the same language and operating on the same timeline. “We describe ourselves as an extension of our client’s staff for a project,” says Tristin Gleason, cofounder of Project One Integrated Services. Gleason and partner Mike Palumbo started their company in 1999 in hopes of bringing their knowledge from working at contracting and construction companies to the project-management side. The company was born, Gleason says, out of a conversation about what makes a project flourish. The pair came to the conclusion, “Successful projects were the ones where the owners made sound, timely, thought-through decisions,” Gleason says. It sounds like common sense, but surprisingly, Gleason says, clients can falter when it comes to basic tasks such as setting up a solid project schedule, and creating a detailed project budget. They are busy doing what they do for a living and, many times, have not taken on a capital improvement before.” Since its onset, Project One has provided a range of services for clients including management leadership, commercial-construction lender resource, and permit administration; its expertise runs the gamut from civil and land development, vertical construction, and tenet finish build-out. In recent years, in keeping with the push toward LEED construction, the
firm has become more green-oriented and now has two LEED APs on its 10-person staff. “It’s becoming more commonplace to have LEED APs,” Gleason admits, “but, at a minimum, it’s allowed us to stay at the forefront, so that we can lead our clients’ teams in the most cost-effective manner because we have LEED APs in our office.” Gleason says that she couldn’t see Project One competing at all without knowledge of green building and design. In the past few years, the project-management firm has been increasingly interfacing with sustainability experts in the field. As of early spring 2010, Project One was undertaking three projects with LEED certification (two Gold and one Platinum). “In the office building world, if you’re not marketable, you can’t lease your space, and you can’t compete today without having certain aspects of green construction and sustainability,” she says. With the economic recession impacting business a bit in 2009, Project One chose to reorient the company toward more public-sector projects, ones with more stability and funding and also a requirement for LEED building and design. In fact, the State of Colorado mandates that its projects meet LEED Gold certification, at a minimum. In the third and fourth Quarters of 2009, Project One landed four sizeable public-funded projects all with a focus on sustainability: a new four-story, 143,000-squarefoot building for Metropolitan State College at Denver’s Auraria Campus; a 100,000-squarefoot expansion of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science; management of a 3.5-mile, 24-inch water line for the City of Thornton; and the management of two facilities for Gunnison
“In the office-building world, you’re not marketable, you can’t lease your space, and you can’t compete today without having certain aspects of green construction and sustainability.” —Tristin Gleason, Cofounder
Monroe Pointe Lobby with concierge service for homeowners.
County: a new jail and a public-works maintenance facility. The Metro State building, still early in the design process, is seeking a very-high level of Gold certification. Project One is anxious to attain a handful of fully completed LEED projects. Gleason says that the experience will undoubtedly help her firm stay better abreast of the changing industry, but it will also help bring ideas to new projects. Gleason anticipates taking green building and design knowledge from former projects and saying to new clients, “We have done the research. Here’s what we are doing here, and it is not adding cost—here’s the long-term payback.” Project One excels, Gleason says, at understanding the big picture while simultaneously managing the details such as scheduling and budget. “At the end of the day, the owners engage various consultants and contractors to perform certain specific tasks, however the ultimate success remains with the owner, therefore they need to manage their projects more today than in the past,” Gleason explains. “You can’t simply rely on the architect’s and contractor’s schedule and budget. You need to manage the entire project schedule and budget so that they can see all the moving pieces and know how they relate.” This responsibility remains with the owner and is where Project One can add value. Gleason says it truly boils down to management and communication. —by Lauren McKay
designer to watch
doris lozada A spiritual approach to modern renovations and remodels by David Hudnall doris lozada spent her early childhood in the high summits of the Andes in Peru. A deep connection with her Peruvian ancestors has instilled in her a love and reverence for mother Earth—or pachamama, as she refers to it—that extends to her current vocation in a number of ways. “As a child, I had the privilege to live sheltered by a sacred mountain and aged trees,” she says, “and those were true sustainable times. Nothing went to waste. Everything was recycled. Even cooking waste we put back on the land as fertilizer. Everything we took from the earth we put back.” Lozada’s uncles ran a carpentry shop where they produced adobe, and it was there that she learned how wood could be transformed into powerful, refined objects. “My childhood was an enriching and enlightening experience in the wonderful art of craftsmanship, informed by Incan culture,” she says. Today, as head of L.D. Home Remodeling Contractors, Inc.—a family-owned residentialremodeling company that specializes in renovations, restorations, high-end interior >
designer to watch
Doris Lozada woodwork, and custom cabinetry—Lozada has held on to that enthusiasm. Since starting the New York City-based company with her family in 1992, Lozada has spearheaded its efforts in custom luxury residences, fine corporate interiors, and high-end retail businesses. In doing so, she aspires to create an integration of her heritage and the modern world. “The Incan empire was one of the most prominent and developed civilizations known, and they were masters in the art of building,” she says. “For centuries, their buildings were based on symmetry, geometry, and harmony with the cosmos, the environment, and the world’s inhabitants. What I hope to do is renovate spaces that can connect with our inner nature and foster our souls. Spaces where my clients can flourish—that are constructed with awareness and responsible ecological actions that ultimately balance our lives.” It is not the fashionable green movement, then, that drives Lozada in her business, but rather a belief in a larger philosophy—one of being
designer to watch
“What I hope to do is renovate spaces that can connect with our inner nature and foster our souls.” —Doris Lozada
in constant harmony and balance with the surroundings. Each time we take something from Mother Earth, the thinking goes, we must return something to replace what was taken. It is for this reason that L.D. Home Remodeling has taken to planting trees for each new project it works on, due to the amount of wood it uses. “The impact is small, but small is better than nothing,” Lozada says. Perhaps, more
significantly, the company is a firm believer in conservation, due in large part to Lozada’s upbringing in Peru. “There, conserving is just part of the lifestyle,” she says. “There’s not as much money to replace things there. Here in the US, it’s so easy to throw something away and replace it, but more people need to approach those things from a waste point of view. Extinction and destruction of natural resources are very real, and we need to face up to those facts and act to continue healthy living on this planet.” On the job, Lozada integrates biodegradable materials, low-VOC products, wood that has chain of custody, water-based products, and natural products like clay and limestone. “I try to encourage people to be conscious consumers, to restore instead of replace, because everything we buy has a direct or indirect impact on our environment. It’s the same as eating healthy. We should be conscious about our indoor air quality and products we use in our home renovations.” gb&d
project Raw loft space
LD [creative renovations]
location Tribeca, NY
Renovating enviRonments that aRe healing to the mind, body, eaRth and soul.
photos Ben Ritter 1. A restored existing wood floor and columns keeps the historic beauty of the building while minimally impacting the environment. 2. A custom marble-slab bath with a double sink and custom-made vanity honor nature by using all-natural products. Stone has the energy of the Earth and sun and connects a person to his or her inner nature, Lozada notes. 3. Restoring a brick wall and wood floor is more efficient because it avoids waste in the landfills and is time and cost efficient.
this stRiking completely Renovated manhattan duplex featuRed natuRal mateRials including mahogany wood paneling, unique multicoloRed glass woRk, stone flooRs and tinted venetian plasteR. photo by: ben RitteR
LD creative renovations inc. teL 718.793.6420 + 646.369.4411 www.LD-nYc.com gbdmagazine.com
3/24/10 1:19:35 PM
a floating luxury island While many companies with a sustainable focus concentrate on initiatives that green our land, WHY wants to build a greener life on the water. With the goal to decrease on-board energy consumption by 50 percent (when compared to traditional yachts), WHY’s 58’ x 38’ yacht design relies solely on renewable energy solutions, focusing on decreasing the reliance on fossil fuels. WHY’s design actually reuses waste-heat and waste-hot water to produce and store electrical energy, providing approximately 10 hours of autonomy for auxiliary services without having to use the on-board thermal generators. The 58’ x 38’ design also uses several methods to create the most energy-efficient model of insulation for the high seas. • In-structure Architecture. As opposed to super-structure architecture, in-structure architecture rearranges the living space in the yacht so that it does not encourage the dispersal of energy through the hull. • Roof-Blade Structure. The yacht’s roof-blade top supports the solarpanel surface. In addition, its retractable, swinging blades protect the yacht from sun, heat, and light. • Insulation. The yacht easily accommodates 40 extra tons of insulation and double- to triple-pane glass panels through its hull-shape-driven loading capacity. All photos: Wally Hermès Yachts.
THE WHY AUXILIARY NATURAL ENERGY SYSTEM SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC PANELS: 900m2 SOLAR THERMAL PANELS: 60m2 RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION: 500 kWh/day LOST THERMAL ENERGY RECOVERED: 1,500 kWh/day ANNUAL NATURAL ENERGY PRODUCTION (up to): 450,000 kWh ANNUAL EQUIVALENT FUEL SAVINGS (average): 160,000 litres
CREaTiNG a GREENER WORLD, ONE BuSiNESS aT a TimE OFFERiNG ThE LaTEST TEChNOLOGY iN ENERGY SaviNGS aND RENEWaBLES R WORLD ENERGY strives on educating our clients on the power of Energy Optimization and Distribution. Each one of our products represents enormous financial electrical savings. Our Company represents “Green Technology”, and certifies our clients as Green Companies, which in turn represents their concern and duty as leaders of the community to help preserve our natural resources.
Be responsible and reduce your consumption Wind/ Solar Renewables Power Conditioning = Kw Reduction of 20% Our duty as Energy Optimization Specialist’s is to continue the leadership in the Green Field Technology, and to strive to educate our clients in the future of our world. Our motto “Creating a Greener World – One Business at a Time” establishes our commitment.
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ECO ENERGY SOLuTiONS LLC.(dba) R WORLD ENERGY 20118 vaLLEY FORGE CiRCLE, KiNG OF PRuSSia, Pa. 19406 C. 610.585.1002 | O. 610.251.0392 www.rworldenergy.com
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