LPA has made sustainability a part of everything we do, not only in our work, but also within our company culture. With more than two decades of planning and designing green buildings, LPA has developed 10 Sustainable Principles to guide our work and excite clients about the green planning, design, and construction process. These simple tenets help us think more globally about sustainable design, and encourage us to approach sustainability as a design partner, not simply as a score card.
The time for a brighter future through more sustainable facilities is now. The trick is to begin. You will be amazed at where these ideas lead you.
Communication. Collaboration. Cooperation. These three tenets are the essential components of the green planning and design process. Effective and continuous interaction between the architects, landscape architects, engineers, contractors, and the ultimate users and maintenance personnel will ensure a successful design solution.
Not only do you want a positive connection with your design team, but you want that same, constructive connection with your building as well. Our goal as designers is to design environments that work with nature and not against it. You can create these trendy, illuminated spaces that are very energy efficient and green but if the people using the building don't have a connection with it, your design team has missed the mark.
Minimize your environmental footprint. Conserve natural resources, reduce energy and water consumption, generate less pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, design and build simply with less.
To minimize your environmental footprint, ask your architects, engineers, interior designers and landscape architects to design and build with less. Demand that materials are used in an efficient and resourceful manner so that natural resources are preserved, less pollution is generated, and energy consumption is reduced.
What does this look like? Natural ventilation is a prime example. It saves energy, reduces lifetime operations and maintenance costs and provides a healthier environment for building occupants. Exposing structural bearing walls, such as concrete and masonry, in lieu of applying additional finishes saves resources and reduces installation and maintenance costs.
Never assume. Never settle. Never accept the status quo. Keep an open mind and explore.
Working in the sustainable design field, we are constantly surrounded by the best and brightest minds. We challenge ourselves daily to initiate fresh ways of thinking so that when we come to our client, we've brought solutions that are clear, creative and new. During the interview process, be sure to choose a design team that will challenge you in an unpretentious, yet helpful way. Look for teams with a legacy of efficiency because again, efficiency can and should be found in every aspect of a project.
Each building is part of a much larger whole --the surrounding neighborhood, the entire community and its businesses, local higher education institutions, and the environment. The project team must integrate planning, design, construction, and uses into this larger whole.
It is essential to look beyond a building site at the beginning of each project. A macro examination of adjacent buildings, campus and/or district master plans, pedestrian access, roads, communities and environmental effects will facilitate the most efficient solutions. Each structure adds to the fabric of its surroundings, so be sure to request a comprehensive solution for your project.
Each planning and design component is part of a much larger whole. Green the details and you'll green the project.
Understanding the finite workings of each project is vital to its success. Ask your architects, engineers, interior designers and landscape architects to provide you with an analysis that takes a close look at basic program elements and functions. It's paramount that all disciplines participate as a team to provide a truly integrated design solution.
Consider details such as building program, ultimate building users, pedagogical requirements, utilities, code and maintenance requirements, etc. This will get you closer to the holistic design solution you deserve.
Every planning and design choice should have a reason grounded in sustainability, every building or campus component should have a purpose, every detail should be necessary to the entire building or campus.
Building smart also denotes efficiency in the integration of all aspects of a building: architecture, interiors, and landscape, with structural, mechanical and even civil engineering - which addresses how a building touches the earth. This integration, done properly, will reduce your building and maintenance costs and help make the process a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Optimum efficiency is your starting point for timeless, sustainable design. As construction costs vary, it is important that your project team dictate a disciplined design solution for every building. Simple building forms, an efficient structure and elegant detailing can make the most of modest materials.
Green planning and design should enrich the lives of all the building users on a daily basis.
In the end, sustainable buildings improve lives. They provide healthier working environments through the use of non-toxic building materials, efficient mechanical systems and access to day light and views to the outside world. These improvements have been shown to decrease absenteeism, increase productivity, and create spaces that individuals are excited to interact with. One of the most gratifying moments of any project is not when the building is completed. It's a moment that comes months later, when building occupants have been in the space for a while and we get to hear their feedback about a building they are truly excited to be in. Comments like, "I can't wait to come here every day," and "I find it hard to leave at night," and "These classrooms have changed the way we teach" or simply "This place is cool," stay with designers always. A thriving space, filled with people enjoying it, is the ultimate satisfaction and our goal.
The green planning and design process should Create Value for all invested in each project.
Call for your design team to design beyond functional requirements. Expect them to provide you with unique and exciting spaces that will increase the value of the experience your entity provides. A good design team will partner with you to give you a space that contributes to your overall bottom line. It's not enough to produce a functional, healthy building. These buildings must be aesthetically pleasing and inviting for those that use them. Your facility should be a place that leaves a favorable, lasting impression and invites all visitors to stay.
Provide the hard numbers that all business owners, developers, administrators, maintenance staff, taxpayers and students need, about the true costs and benefits of building green.
Good design makes a difference and it's a difference that can and should be measured. Insist on verification for the design concepts you were sold on. Partner with your design team to gather and collect the necessary data. This information will not only give you peace of mind and hard evidence, but it will make for better designers, engineers, and builders as well.
Sustainable design, executed properly, will increase energy efficiency, increase employee productivity, increase attendance, and support more successful retention and recruiting rate.
Stop talking about it and start doing it. The time for energy efficient, green buildings that do more with less is now.
The next generation is counting on us to be a part of the solution and we look forward to the challenge. We believe that the time is now and to focus on both real world solutions for today and look for ways to future-proof our projects.