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Urban-Design.jpg
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Form,-Function-&-Aessthetics.jpg
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Building-as-a-System.jpg
Building-Health.jpg
Building-Technologies.jpg
Sustainable-Design.jpg

sustainable design


What does Sustainable design do for me?

There is a bit of hype today about sustainable design. You may ask, what does it do for you? Ideally sustainable design makes the buildings we occupy healthier and more comfortable in addition to helping the earth as we know it stick around for

quite a few more years.

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sustainable design


What does Sustainable design do for me?

There is a bit of hype today about sustainable design. You may ask, what does it do for you? Ideally sustainable design makes the buildings we occupy healthier and more comfortable in addition to helping the earth as we know it stick around for

quite a few more years.

 

GETTING THE BIG PICTURE

The opportunities to go green on your project are endless, so it’s good to take a holistic approach near the beginning of your project and focus on some big ways that you can make a bigger impact. We can help you out with that.  

Embodied Energy - What is it?

All the energy it takes to put your building together is referred to as embodied energy. This includes the extraction of raw materials, manufacturing, and transportation of the material to the site. Materials with lower embodied energy such as brick and wood require less energy to use in a building than steel and plastics. Recycled materials often require less energy to manufacture than raw materials. Material excess and waste on a construction site can add up to a pretty big chunk of change and environmental impact if not addressed properly. In an eco-friendlier project there won’t be much construction material waste and most of the excess material will be recycled. If that is important to you, try to find a contractor who is on the same recycling-friendly page. Embodied energy is an important consideration for sustainable projects, although shouldn’t be the only thing taken into consideration.

Operational Energy - Making Life Comfortable

Now you have your building - it is completely expense free now, right? Ummmm, no. Not really. Building systems that make the space more comfortable such as heating, ventilation, cooling and running water costs also need to be considered. The majority of these operational costs are occupant driven so once systems are in place it is important to educate occupants on how to use systems efficiently and wisely. Operational costs are also determined by which systems you selected in the design. Obviously a more efficient system should cost less and use less energy to run, but it most likely cost more up front. Once you put all these costs together you can use a life cycle cost analysis which takes the initial, operational and replacement costs into account and compares systems apples to apples, dollars to dollars.

Natural materials vs. Synthetic materials

Now throw economics out the window: our health is at stake. Outdoor air quality is a hot topic but it isn’t too often that we talk about indoor air quality which is ironic because we tend to spend quite a bit of time indoors. That being said, we probably should pay more attention to what kind of chemicals and off-gassing we are exposing ourselves to. Natural materials are easier on health and overall provide better living environments. Comfort is important and so is our health.

All in All

We get it. Not all economically-friendly materials are perfect for every application, nor will there ever be a perfect building that doesn’t impact on the environment, and is perfectly healthy and comfortable. But we believe it is important in each project to assess which building materials will do the job most effectively while taking our planet, resources and health into consideration.


 
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urban design


Why should I care about urban design?

urban design


Why should I care about urban design?

 

It’s all about the place

You know those places and landmarks that help you navigate and find your way around unfamiliar (and familiar) neighborhoods? All neighborhoods, districts and cities are defined by the buildings and infrastructure that are in them. Urban design is the thoughtful creation and maintenance of these streets, neighborhoods, areas and cities. As a builder, you have the power to influence the feel of an area because each building contributes to the built environment. 

So, what makes good urban design? Multiple modes of transportation are essential to getting people places, so public infrastructure and on-site amenities such as electric charging stations and bicycle storage are helpful. In addition, mixed-use buildings provide different services for people and encourage more safety and eyes on the street at all times of day.  Mixed-use buildings also provide many services for people within walking distance. Creating useful and attractive outdoor spaces is also a huge bonus. All in all, it goes unspoken that what your neighbor builds is something that you will have to deal with, so it’s nice to be a good neighbor too and create something beautiful that people will enjoy.


 
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acoustical design


What is important about acoustical design?

acoustical design


What is important about acoustical design?

 

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Acoustical design is only important in concert halls and movie theaters, right? Well, it is extremely important in those settings and an acoustical engineer would be hired. But what about apartment buildings? You know, that neighbor that is always cranking the music in the wee hours of the morning or the baby that won’t ever stop crying who lives next door. Good architecture should be aware of those situations and work to minimize them. 

There are two types of sound that good architecture strives to control. First, there is noise transmission control, or the control of sound going from one room to another. These kinds of noise transmissions are usually carried through the building itself. An example of one of the most common sound is hearing someone walk through the room above you. They are also difficult to control because they require insulation and/or air gaps in the walls and floors to significantly reduce the sound going from one area to another. Second, there is sound control within a specific space. Sound is often controlled with wall, floor, and ceiling finishes. For example, if you were standing in a room with a tile floor you would hear much more of an echo than if you were in a room with carpet, and the room with a hard floor would seem louder because the sound is not absorbed quickly. The geometry of the room also affects sound and its reflection, but we’ll save that discussion for another time, another day.


 
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form follows function


What do architects mean by form follows function?

form follows function


What do architects mean by form follows function?

 

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Daylighting-Design.jpg

daylight design


Daylight design, you mean window?

daylight design


Daylight design, you mean window?

 

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Building-as-a-System.jpg

building as a system


building as a system?

building as a system


building as a system?

 

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Building-Health.jpg

building health


building health

building health


building health

 

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Building-Technologies.jpg

building technologies


building technologies

building technologies


building technologies

 

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