Sustainability

Sustainability is a key design element we consider from project inception. The project location, site conditions, and constructability influence many of the design decisions we make as we seek to balance our clients' needs with thoughtful, functional, and beautiful design. Integrating sustainable practices into our process consistently results in creating efficient, comfortable, and healthy spaces for people to experience and enjoy.

The increased popularity of sustainable or "green" building practices in recent years has led to the development of benchmarks for quantifying the level of sustainability a building has achieved. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system is the most widely used system in the world for evaluating the sustainability of a building. LEED utilizes a points system to generate a comprehensive score from the following categories:

  1. Innovation & Design Process (ID): Special design methods, unique regional credits, measures not currently addressed in the Rating System, and exemplary performance levels.
  2. Location & Linkages (LL): The placement of homes in socially and environmentally responsible ways in relation to the larger community.
  3. Sustainable Sites (SS): The thoughtful consideration of the entire property so as to minimize the project's impact on the site.
  4. Water Efficiency (WE): Water-efficient practices, both indoor and outdoor.
  5. Energy & Atmosphere (EA): Energy efficiency, particularly in the building envelope and heating and cooling design.
  6. Materials & Resources (MR): Efficient utilization of materials, selection of environmentally preferable materials, and minimization of waste during construction.
  7. Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ): Improvement of indoor air quality by reducing the creation of and exposure to pollutants.
  8. Awareness & Education (AE): The education of homeowner, tenant, and/or building manager about the operation and maintenance of the green features of a LEED home.

This score is then used to determine which level of certification your building will receive based on the following table:

LEED for Homes Certification Levels
  • Certified
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Total available points
Number of LEED for Homes points Required
  • 45-59
  • 60-74
  • 75-89
  • 90-136
  • 136

In addition to reducing the impact on the environment, there are also additional benefits to seeking LEED certification including lowering utility bills and in certain municipalities, earning tax incentives. If you are considering LEED certification for your project or would like to learn more about the benefits, please give us a call at (513) 234-0900.