The Sustainable DC Plan, The Climate Action Plan, The Comprehensive Energy Plan, LEED v4, Living Building Challenge all point towards a future of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a larger role for buildings to play in a cleaner future. Global sustainable think tank Sustainia has analyzed the role of buildings in climate change and concluded that “buildings account for 1/3 of humanity’s resource consumption, including 3 billion tons of raw materials each year and 40% of energy usage worldwide.” This is a huge environmental footprint and we want to design buildings that are part of the solution.

Why High Performance and WELL?: As architects and designers we seek to have a positive impact on the world around us both aesthetically and physically. With the success of the designs for The American Geophysical Union we are undertaking an educational and design challenge to create more High Performance and Net Zero structures in the DC area. Using strategies from solar PV arrays, geothermal energy systems, dynamic glazing, active staircases and green walls, we aim to decrease the carbon footprints of our buildings. In addition to building innovation, it is time to seriously consider the health of their occupants. By utilizing pre- and post-occupancy surveys and the tenets of the International WELL Building Institute, we seek to enhance the experience of occupying the buildings we design and improve inhabitants’ productivity. Building health and human health go hand in hand as we continue to build for the future.

Process: In partnership with DPR Construction we created an educational presentation that explains the whys and hows of high-performance design and construction while quantifying cost and productivity savings. At the confluence of policy and environmental drivers, we believe that owner-occupiers stand to capitalize on high-performance buildings now, as well as in the future.

What’s next?: We are currently giving our presentation to developer clients, owner-occupiers, brokers, property manager and tenants.

If you are interested in a presentation, please contact Melanie De Cola.

Research team: Lindsey Falasca, Holly Lennihan, Guil Almeida, Angela Foley, Melanie De Cola
Partners: DPR Construction

AGU neighborhood view Dupont