On Thursday, April 23rd, Greg Burchard and I spoke to Jana Dengler's Facilities Management class at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. Jana is the Director of Facilities and Security for the ICA, and Greg was project manager on the ICA for PDRP Architects.
The topic was “The Role of the Architect in Energy Efficient Design”. We had a great conversation with students about energy efficiency, benchmarking tools, site constraints and opportunities, responsive building envelopes, and building systems. It was an opportunity to test our office’s sustainable design ethic against an audience of young, energetic students. They had visited some “green” buildings around Boston over the course of their semester. They liked the buildings, and in some cases felt their “green” aspects contributed mightily to the way the students experienced them. But in general they felt that the buildings were indistinguishable from their “less green” counterparts. This led to a stimulating discussion about the balance of sustainable design in the face of program, site, user request, O&M regimens, and the host of other design issues that influence the outcome of a project. On the way back to the office Greg and I continued the discussion. As designers, we feel sustainable design should be our foremost concern--but not at the expense of other relevant issues. Whether sustainable design is demonstrable in a project or not should depend on its unique circumstances.
- Rick Jones | Senior Associate, AIA, LEED AP