BOKA Powell Sustainability/Green Design
Our team is well-versed in developing sustainable designs and green building alternatives using the fundamentals of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system.
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Indoor environmental quality is key to achieving this goal on our commercial, mixed-use and residential projects. Our approach for delivering spaces with high indoor environmental quality focuses on providing the building occupant with the most comfortable conditions possible. This typically includes increased outdoor ventilation, CO2 monitoring for regularly occupied spaces, and careful control of secondhand smoke. Individual occupant controls for lighting levels and air distribution are also typically considered, with under floor air and task lighting being primary methods for accomplishing these objectives. Allowing daylight deep into the spaces and allowing views to the outside for most of the floor area are also considered important to the quality of the work and/or learning environment, and are typically achieved by eliminating full height office walls or by locating these offices to the interior of the building. Air quality standards are addressed by careful selection of HVAC components and by specification of low-VOC-emitting components such as carpet, paint, sealants, wood, plastic, and other building materials which could off-gas and create an unhealthy environment for the building occupant.
Our team is well-versed in developing sustainable designs and green building alternatives using the fundamentals of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system. We understand that each project type requires a different set of criteria, and our on-staff LEED Accredited Professionals (LEED AP) know the success of a LEED certified project lies not only in fulfilling the specific credit requirements outlined by the USGBC, but by honoring the intent of the LEED system in creating environments which have a lower impact on our natural resources and support healthier, happier, and more productive building occupants. BOKA Powell is the lead designer and Architect of Record for over 455,000 square feet of LEED® Silver, new office construction at the Victory Park district in Uptown Dallas. BOKA Powell is also the architect of record for the 1,100,000 square foot Block 21/W Hotel high-rise mixed use project pursuing LEED Certification in Austin. We take a holistic approach to LEED design. Every point in the LEED system is evaluated against the potential budget or schedule impact for that project to determine the best potential path to certification in the context of the client’s requirements. While LEED is arguably the most nationally-recognized green building certification program, BOKA Powell also strives to meet a number of other green building qualifiers, such as Austin Energy’s Green Building Program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star and many other local programs. BOKA Powell has designed more than 3,000,000 square feet that now bear the EPA’s Energy Star Label.
While it may sometimes be a no-brainer to design green for traditional buildings, BOKA Powell has taken on the challenge to do so for a number of non-traditional spaces, such as parking garages, where the opportunities for environmentally-friendly design are fewer, but the demand is just as high. We are innovative in our green design process for parking structures because we understand the lack of opportunities – such as no need for floor coverings or wall paint which might otherwise help a building in the LEED scoring process. By being inventive with our approach, we identify opportunities with the design, water treatment, lighting, equipment, fixtures and materials to still achieve sustainability. By locating garages near mass transit hubs, and incorporating preferred parking spaces for fuel-efficient vehicles and carpoolers, commuters are encouraged to use alternative means of transportation. By maximizing the efficiency of the parking layout, the building footprint can be reduced while still maintaining an acceptable level of service for users – all of which reduce the heat island effect when coupled with roof reflectivity. By treating and detaining stormwater prior to discharge, it minimizes any environmental impact associated with the project. Efficient landscaping can minimize site disturbances while reducing or eliminating the use of potable water for irrigation. By maximizing the amount of daylight received at all points within a garage, it reduces the amount of artificial light required during daytime hours and solar panels, which provide shade on the top floor, store energy to light the building at night. By providing an open layout, it also ensures that natural ventilation is possible, thereby decreasing the need for mechanical fans and ultimately electricity use.
In our effort to design environmentally-responsible buildings, BOKA Powell continually strives to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. It can prove challenging to determine what parts of a company’s operations need to be greened, but even more so to implement those changes successfully. However, BOKA Powell has taken a calculated approach to reducing our overall footprint on the environment. In everything from paper consumption to travel to energy, BOKA Powell strives to find ways to eliminate waste that is so common amongst traditional businesses. In our traditional team approach, BOKA Powell’s staff works together to find ways to benefit our environment, while still maintaining successful business operations and employee satisfaction. Encouraging employees to carpool and take the stairs seems like a small thing, but it’s just the first step in a better overall office environment. Our lights are run by motion detectors and timers, our kitchen products are made from natural materials and are compostable, and we recycle everything from soda cans to printer cartridges, but most importantly, we make greening a company-wide project and endeavor to make the entire office more economical, healthier and more productive.