With most of our staff of architects and designers LEED-accredited, our office is fully versed in the standards first established by the United States Green Building Council in 1998 to design buildings that use strategies to 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 outcome of the development process, but rather a representation of critical analysis, research, and design that is part of a sustainable society. 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 scientific data continues to confirm climate change and the direct impact of building construction and operations on the world’s 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. 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 create environments that promote resource stewardship and provide our clients with healthy, beautiful buildings and spaces.