5 Keys to Sustainable Design

April 22, 2018
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Sustainable Design – The Brook Hill Residence

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

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.

What is green building?

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.

Brook hill residence

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.
  2. 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.
  3. Start from the Ground Up – Consider using cork flooring rather than traditional wood. Cork is considered a renewable source.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!