Written by R. Kirk Johnson, AIA, LEED AP Category TOOLS OF THE TRADE

As designers, we approach effectual architectural design by understanding and interpreting a variety of elements such as the building program, project budget, construction schedule, climate, project context, available materials, aesthetic expression, owner vision, energy impacts, and considerable other elements.  As we build our repertoire of designing ecologically friendly designs, a broader comprehensive perspective of energy influences becomes much more paramount than earlier precedents.  As these energy ingredients are quickly emerging as essential foundations for building analysis, new understandings, reflecting a broader comprehension of building behavior is crucial to our developing appropriate facility designs.  One such elemental methodology is an adoption of Building Performance Modeling into the sustainable design process.

Written by R. Kirk Johnson, AIA, LEED AP Category ENERGY

Numerous proposals for building energy reduction policies have been implemented over the past decade with many others in the waiting.  However, in the next few years a significant number of energy code updates will be issued that will exponentially raise the bar for building energy performance well beyond the standards presently in effect.  These many complimenting standards will be drafted and implemented by leading regulators such as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the International Code Council (ICC).  Other organizations such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the New Buildings Institute (NBI) have formulated recommendations for consideration by the International Code Council in the next release of the International Energy Code.

Written by R. Kirk Johnson, AIA, LEED AP Category BUILDING OPERATIONS

One of the key elements contained within the LEED 2009 for Existing Buildings Rating System, is the relationship between the energy optimization requirements of the standard with the industry leading Energy Star rating measurement program.  LEED 2009 for Existing Buildings uses the Energy Star measurement standard as the entry point into minimum building energy and atmosphere compliance. Energy Star is a program administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) pertaining to building energy consumption.  Many of us are familiar with the brand recognized Energy Star label when purchasing appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, air conditioners, and other similar consumer products.  The same brand is also used to rate building performance through the Energy Star Label program.  LEED requires a minimum score of 69 as an energy and atmosphere pre-requisite.

Written by Betsy del Monte, LEED AP Category POLICY

The headlines these days can’t seem to find enough words to trumpet all the concern about sustainable use of resources.  It seems that everything is “going green” and at multiple levels. There are numerous incentives at various levels that are in existence or are in the process of implementation that encourage sustainable construction activities.  Some of the incentives occur at the national level, while others occur at the state or local level.  Together, they will make a significant impact on the adoption of sustainable building practice.  As we have been hearing from the new administration, environmental concerns are a high priority.  This has been substantiated by the shape of the recently passed stimulus package.

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