As public and institutional concern over energy costs and environmental preservation grows, how we design, construct, and maintain our built environment must change. The field of architectural design now includes an ever-expanding set of strategies and tools to increase resource efficiency and reduce a structure’s impact on its surroundings.
The most comprehensive guide to resource-efficient architecture is the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. The LEED system measures the extent to which buildings are designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
Our LEED Accredited Professionals focus on several aspects of designing and building infrastructure:
Occupancy sensors, effective use of heat mirror insulated glazing, and careful selection of lighting and electrical fixtures can dramatically reduce energy costs. Solar shading devices, solar heating methods, and photovoltaics, as well as thermal massing and insulation systems, can even produce surplus energy that may be returned to the local power utility for credit in areas with net metering provisions.
Some building materials are more demanding on the Earth’s environment than others. Some are downright toxic. We present options to use building materials that are resource-efficient, taking into account their cradle-to-grave effect on the environment and preferring locally-produced materials when possible. We also seek to maximize the recycling of construction waste.
The ideal form of a building reflects not just the building’s purpose, but also the adjacent landscape, vegetation, and climate patterns. A building in harmony with its surroundings will not only look at home, but can also easily include recycling facilities, reduced flow water fixtures, and indoor planting areas, raising its environmental profile.
The decision to seek LEED certification for a structure rests with the client, but we make the benefits of resource-efficient architecture available to each project effort. Thoughtful design, attention to detail, and use of quality materials and building systems result in facilities that are much easier to sustain and provide more future value to owners. Hazen and Sawyer can provide this additional value to your next water engineering project.
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