Certainly, we can all agree that Sustainable Design is a worthy goal. It has been said that good design is inherently sustainable design. Departments and Municipalities across the nation are addressing the issue of Sustainable Design. Most are still developing goals and guidelines for their new or renovated facilities. Based on their experiences of incorporating Sustainable Design on recent projects, some departments and municipalities are re-evaluating the requirements that they have put in place over the past decade.
Any professional design firm you work with should be committed to meeting the goals of general sustainability design as well as any Sustainable guidelines that the department or municipality may have.
Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects is well versed in all LEED standards, as well as other Federal, State, and local standards in regard to the design and planning of important facilities. As we continue to meet the needs of our clients, we are constantly enhancing the services we offer, including the oft-requested inclusion of sustainable design elements in projects. When looking at sustainable options for public facilities there are many options. However, below are some of the most common options that our clients consider:
- Sustainable Sites: Construction Activity Control methods can be implemented to control both erosion and sedimentation. This is accomplished by isolating the distributed areas of earth at the construction site and carefully monitoring airborne contaminants that can affect the local microclimate. In addition, we can monitor the waste disposal of the Contractor to minimize the amount of trash sent to landfills.
- Water Efficiency: Opportunities exist to reclaim gray water in cisterns and reuse this resource for certain functions. Also, water-saving may be achieved by deploying waterless urinals and water-controlling faucets. There are also sustainable methods of irrigation for building landscaping, using reclaimed water.
- Energy & Atmosphere: Commissioning mechanical equipment and primary building systems is fundamental to energy management. Here, clients have many options that can be considered to make their facilities energy efficient. For example, using motion sensitive lighting to automatically turn lights on (or off) in rooms, using natural light to reduce the need for artificial lighting, and addressing heating / cooling needs.
- Materials & Resources: Many materials that make up a building can come from recyclable sources. Options include using recycled carpet, furniture that incorporates recycled materials in the manufacturing process, and even the use of fly ash in a building’s concrete slab.
- Indoor Environmental Quality: Using strategically placed Low-E glass will enable energy savings while maximizing daylight and views. The use of occupancy sensors in each space will also allow for better control with energy-consuming lighting while spaces are unoccupied. Also, monitoring CO2 levels is important for occupant health.
In general, we believe all buildings should give back to the environment through carefully employing sustainable design practices. We have a solid understanding of LEED design principals and we can work with you to evaluate your options for including any sustainable components in the planning of your new facility.