MULTIDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION AND INTELLECTUAL CROSS POLLINATION GENERATES NEW SOLUTIONS
As the requirements for sustainable building and development become increasingly complex, integrated building and site design are becoming a standard in the building and development industry. An integrated design is a process in which multiple disciplines and seemingly unrelated aspects of design are integrated in a manner that permits synergistic and unlikely benefits to be realized. Integrated design allows for a cross pollination of disciplines which will likely generate innovative ideas and outcomes. Significant savings are often realized through such a process because the final project will be much more than the sum of its parts.
(Source: US Department of Energy)
A key to successful integrated building design is the participation of people from different specialties of design: general architecture, structural engineering, civil engineering, ecological engineering, landscape architecture, HVAC, energy consultants including solar and wind, specialty lighting and electrical, and interior design. By working together at crucial junctures in the design process, specialty firms can often create innovative solutions that may not have emerged in a more traditional design process.
(Source: US Department of Energy)
Integrated building design strategies should be considered for all aspects of green design: improving energy efficiency, planning a sustainable site, water master planning, creating healthy indoor environments, and using environmentally preferable materials. An integrated design team will address all major design issues and develop a statement of work plan early in the design process. Often a master plan will be developed in preliminary design charrettes. This master plan will guide crucial decisions in the preliminary, schematic and final design stages.
The benefits of such a process are substantial. Because the building and development industries have recognized the importance of sustainable and green design there are a variety of third party certifications available. The LEED certification is the most readily recognized. The LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures. All certified projects receive a LEED plaque, which is the nationally recognized symbol demonstrating that a building is environmentally responsible, profitable and a healthy place to live and work. A certification such as LEED has both environmental and fiscal benefits.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED-certified buildings:
- Lower operating costs and increased asset value.
- Reduce waste sent to landfills.
- Conserve energy and water.
- Create Healthier and safer conditions for occupants.
- Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
- Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities.
- Demonstrate an owner’s commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
Many of the LEED certified projects designed and built in the last several years were the result of integrated design processes. NSI often participates as one member of an integrated design team. A complete list of LEED projecs can be found in the LEED experience section of the website.