5 Keys to Sustainable Design

With a few green-minded design tweaks, you could build a home or office that saves energy and money.

Sustainable Design - The Brook Hill Residence

Sustainable Design – The Brook Hill Residence

Earth Day is a great reminder about the importance of taking care of our planet. As our towns and communities continue to grow, they can have damaging effects on Earth and therefore on our future as its inhabitants. The building and design of new businesses andhomes cuts into our supply of natural resources, so as an architecture firm, it’s especially important to us to work on countering this by focusing on sustainable, green design.


Green Building helps to increase the efficiency of the projects we work on. It helps our project sites to save energy, electricity and water, among other things. Those who own sustainably-focused buildings can not only feel good about doing their part to help the environment, they can also enjoy lower electricity,   water and energy bills.


One of our biggest accomplishments in sustainable design was celebrated last year, when we built the county’s first U.S. Green Building Council LEED-certified home: Brook Hill Residence. The 2,800 square foot private residence is owned by SAA President Mark Shermeyer, and incorporates much of the environmentally-friendly design that he (and the rest of our team) are so very passionate about.

You may think that owning a more sustainable home or office is out of your reach. Maybe you know that you want to work toward this goal but you have no idea how to start. There are simple steps that you can take when designing a home or office that may seem little, but that can make a huge difference:

  1. Conserve Water – You can conserve water in a number of ways: install low-flow faucets and showerheads, collect and reuse rain water or build rock trails to help better channel the water’s flow.


  1. Welcome Natural Light – When building, careful consideration of windows, window placement, sky lights, and even the direction that the building will face can make a drastic difference in the amount of electricity you will use. Where you do install lighting, use LED lights, which are more energy efficient than traditional ones.


  1. Start from the Ground Up – Consider using cork flooring rather than traditional wood. Cork is considered a renewable source.


  1. Find your Green Thumb – Seek out space to create a garden and/or compost area in the yard of your home or business. Growing your own produce and herbs or working to make less waste by composting trash can make an incredible difference.


  1. Stick with Solar – Look into solar paneling for your roof. You may be surprised at how much money you can end up saving by putting some extra money out up-front.

When you truly think about it, Earth Day should be an every day thing. Since we only have one planet, if we can do things in a more environmentally-friendly way, then we should. It’s our collective responsibility. We pride ourselves on trying to focus on the green aspects of our industry and would love to help you plan your next sustainably-designed project. Reach out anytime!

Junior Achievement Young Women’s Symposium

The Future is Female

This week, SAA VP Danika Dallam spent the day at the Junior Achievement of South Central PA’s Young Women’s Symposium! She served as a table facilitator along with Katie Clark of Chick-fil-A East York, where they won best design for the “What does an Empowered Woman look like” challenge. 

Danika had a wonderful time listening to Emcee Sarah Small of Local 21 CBS News, WHP Harrisburg and talking with High School students about careers in Architecture & Design. 

Junior Achievement Young Women’s Symposium

Junior Achievement Young Women’s Symposium

Self-Storage Association Conference and Trade Show

All of the details from this amazing event:

We recently returned from the Self-Storage Association Conference in Orlando, Florida where we hosted a booth and had the privilege of hearing Astronaut Captain Mark Kelly speak.

Mark is the husband of Senator Gabby Giffords, who was shot during a constituent meeting and overcame many obstacles to recover from wounds that almost killed her.

A key takeaway

His speech was incredibly inspirational! One of our very favorite takeaways was this quote: “How good you are at the beginning of something is not an indicator of how good you can become.” What an important reminder!

We love self-storage!

One goal of attending the conference was to discuss our broad self-storage facility experience. We are proud to have such in-depth knowledge of this industry niche! If you have self-storage facility architectural needs, contact us at any time!

Self-Storage Association Conference

Our booth, and presenter Mark Kelly

York County Private Residence

Construction is just wrapping on this gorgeous York County residential home project, which has many incredible features. While we love commercial architecture, it’s always amazing to work with clients and help them redesign their dream homes.

  1. This particular home was an A frame from the 1980’s, and it certainly got a facelift!
    York County residential home - interior photos

    York County residential home – interior photos

With a focus on natural design, the home has many elements that help showcase the natural beauty of wood and stone. Large windows allow for a tremendous amount of natural light, and one-of-a-kind features make the home unique to its owners.

Project Highlights:

  • 1050 GSF addition for spacious master bedroom suite, loft, living room and storage
  • Complete renovation of exterior finishes, from siding and roofing to cleaning and eprinting stones
  • Complete renovation/reconfiguration of 2 bathrooms
  • Custom built-ins
  • Private Enclosure of exterior patio

Ribbon Cutting – TrueNorth Wellness Services’ Amazing Kids Club

On Friday night we excitedly attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at TrueNorth Wellness Services’ Amazing Kids Club. Maybe the best highlight of the night, though, was getting to speak with a parent who had requested to meet the designer and who thanked us for the thoughtful detail of our design for the kids.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - TrueNorth Wellness Services’ Amazing Kids Club

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – TrueNorth Wellness Services’ Amazing Kids Club

TrueNorth Wellness Services’ Amazing Kids Club – Update

Our TrueNorth Wellness Services’ Amazing Kids Club project is looking wonderful, and we were recently able to get some beautiful indoor photos to share with you! We’re so excited about the important counseling and therapy services this building will offer to many local children. Check it out!

TrueNorth Wellness Services’ Amazing Kids Club

TrueNorth Wellness Services’ Amazing Kids Club


Project Update: Penn Center East Complex

Our Penn Center East Complex project is nearing completion! The building, which was once a Sears, was built in 1964 and is comprised of 160,000 square feet of space. The transformation it has been undergoing is amazing, and the finished project will offer both retail and self-storage spaces to clients. It is fully anticipated that construction will finish and occupancy will take place in mid-to-late January 2018.

We have partnered with CJL Engineering, CEC Engineering and AES engineering to work on this job and are getting very excited to see the final project so soon!

Penn Center East

The Eldorado Project

The Eldorado Project recently celebrate its completion during a ribbon cutting ceremony. This project was constructed by Conewago Enterprises, Inc. for owner Atapco Properties and their tenant Eldorado Stone, LLC. The 432,000 SF building was constructed with tile-up concrete panels and a super steel structure. The large facility will be used by Eldorado Stone to both manufacture and warehouse/ship their products.

The interior of the building hosts three assembly lines that will produce the stone products as well as a large batch plant that is built both inside and outside the facility that will process the raw material. The building also hosts three large curing rooms to dry the products in a controlled environment and a spacious research and testing department. See our project rendering below. We wish the Eldorado Project wonderful success!

The Eldorado Project

The Eldorado Project

Project Highlight: Riverview Residence

The Riverview Residence is an 8,000 SF custom-designed home located in a beautiful meadow that overlooks the Susquehanna River. The home’s position and configuration were all developed to maximize the gorgeous site views from any and all areas of the house.

Special features include many custom offerings: lofts above the children’s bedrooms offering a quiet escape, a custom beverage bar near the great room, specially-designed stair railings spanning both sides of the double staircase, a covered porch and outdoor kitchen which boasts a pizza oven beside a swimming pool and fire pit.

Throughout the home, large expanses of windows allow bright natural light and beautiful views throughout the year from all directions and all rooms.

The Riverview Residence

The Riverview Residence


Project Highlight: The Concours at Carlisle

Excited to have provided concept design for the developers of a new, unique and exciting project: The Concours at Carlisle.
The Concours at Carlisle will feature a 22-unit gated community in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. These luxury condos have been dubbed ‘auto condos’ as they will feature some very unique design concepts.
Much thanks to abSketches who assisted with the rendering services! We look forward to seeing this project progress, and will be sure to keep you updated.

The Concours at Carlisle

The Concours at Carlisle


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