With most of our staff of architects and designers LEED-accredited, our office is fully versed in design strategies that increase indoor air quality, improve energy performance, reduce harmful emissions, and encourage renewable resources. Many of Loci’s projects directly support resource management by including materials that are harvested in ways that preserve their locations of origin. We specify paints, sealants, coatings, and finish materials that do not off-gas and have fewer toxins. Our designs reduce energy requirements in building systems and give our clients more control over the water and power they use.
However, we do not believe that this is enough. We have started looking closely at how our projects can encourage ecological restoration and integrate with surrounding environmental systems. Buildings should no longer be considered a final, stand alone outcome of the development process, but rather a representation of critical analysis, research, and design that acknowledges our rapidly changing climate. New approaches include Passive House, a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency that reduces a project’s ecological impact and can result in a 60-90% reduction in a building’s heating and cooling costs.
Much has changed in the last two decades as energy modeling continues to confirm the direct impact of building construction and operations on local, regional, and global environmental systems. Green or sustainable design is no longer considered a distinct design approach, but is now at the core of almost everything that is manufactured, fabricated, built, and occupied. Building codes require energy efficiency measures and it is virtually impossible to construct a new building without a component that has been redesigned due to its environmental impact.
As citizens and designers, Loci will continue to share our expertise with our clients and promote resource stewardship. One of our earliest goals was to design healthy, beautiful buildings and spaces; over twenty years later, it continues to be our mission.