Sustainability is one of Lombard Conrad Architect’s (LCA) five tenants. How they achieve sustainability comes in a few different forms that fall into three categories. Efficiency, Resiliency, and the Health and Safety of occupants. Each project begins with a discussion between LCA and the client to discover the client’s sustainability goals. While only a few can achieve LEED certification, others can still find ways to improve their building’s sustainability. LCA starts by looking at how the building will operate as a unit rather than individual parts. Part of that includes bringing in experts who know the goals and requirements of the project.
“It is important to get as many opinions as possible. There will always be more issues than one person, or our design team can consider. When you have a project team where everyone cares, is invested, and is excited about bringing their opportunities to the table, you can check those boxes exponentially faster.”- Ryker Belnap, Architect
LCA often utilizeds the U of I’s Integrated Design Lab (IDL). LCA will send an initial floor plan concept to IDL, who will then run a year-long location and weather simulations on the building. That gives IDL a baseline number of how the building will perform. Then, LCA can try rotating the structure, shifting the windows to the south side, adding shade, etc. to improve that baseline efficiency number. The goal is to balance the initial investment cost with long-term payback.
With an efficient design in place, the next step is sourcing materials for a resilient building. LCA looks for high-performance and innovative materials that are sourced locally and will stretch the lifespan of the building. After considering the mantra, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” LCA chose to “Reduce and Reuse” within their new office by moving into an existing building. Reusing a building is perhaps the most sustainable choice they could have made. Then they reduced the amount of material used to define and isolate rooms by creating a much more minimalistic and flexible environment including movable walls and easily reconfigurable furniture systems.
Health & Safety
The final part of sustainability is providing for human comfort. This encompasses everything from finding the perfect temperature for productivity, creating green spaces within an office, sourcing non-toxic materials, and providing natural views. Employers want efficient and resilient buildings. They also want healthy employees, and LCA is helping employers create both create sustainable buildings and improve the health of employees.
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