Buildings account for nearly 40% of the total energy used today. And whether or not we, as designers specifically employ established measuring criteria (LEED, SITES, Energy Star, Envision, etc.), the sustainable choices and decisions they make within their work can significantly impact that energy consumption. A study by the US Department of Energy found that LEED-certified buildings used 25% less energy than the national average. With over 15 years of experience in the field of architecture, Senior Project Architect/Project Manager, Eric Maisch, R.A., LEED AP*, made sure his team at H2M utilized the findings from the US Department of Energy study within their practices.
H2M had the task of modernizing the Westhampton Beach Fire District’s Headquarters facility. The building called for 6 mainline bays (5 of which are drive-thru), district and department administrative spaces, as well as a large multipurpose/meeting room, kitchen, training rooms, and a fitness center.
The 30,000 square foot facility was designed under the LEED 2009 rating system and included such features as a more highly insulated envelope (4 “/R-20 continuous cavity insulation, average R-60 continuous roof insulation), high efficiency HVAC with an underfloor distribution system, daylight harvesting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, as well as incorporating recycled and low-emitting materials. It is expected that the project will attain a LEED Silver certification.
Although energy consumption may seem like something you can only control on a large scale; the experts at H2M affirm that there are small steps at home and in the workplace which can make a big difference. At work it can be as simple as shutting down your computer at night to taking the stairs instead of the elevator. To go above and beyond, you can even reduce the amount you print – this not only lowers energy consumption but helps to eliminate excessive paper use. When it comes to your home, you can switch to LED lighting, eliminate “vampire” power by unplugging idle devices, and even bring in Energy Star options to your home’s appliances.
These changes can aid in making a dent in the problem of energy consumption, but the problem is people don’t often realize how guilty they are in wasting energy. Here’s an interesting link, from National Geographic, that provides a tool for self-assessment of your personal energy use.
* Eric Maisch, R.A., LEED AP, is a Senior Project Architect at H2M architects + engineers and has over 15 years of experience in the field. As a Senior Project Architect/Project Manager, he is responsible for managing and facilitating all phases of design projects, from preliminary design through construction administration. His responsibilities include project scoping, planning and designing, presentation, budgeting, design development, overseeing the preparation of contract documents, preparing governmental agency submissions, document reviews and providing construction administration services. As a LEED Accredited Professional, Mr. Maisch’s responsibilities also include the design of sustainable buildings and systems. His client/project experience includes term contract work; federal, state, and local municipalities, agencies and districts; not-for-profit groups; and the private sector.