I’ve been very priveledged to work on a few high performance buildings during the past five years of consulting with Serena Sturm Architects in Chicago. My first two projects to seek LEED certification have achieved LEED Platinum, the highest level of green building performance in the United States. I guess this makes me a LEED expert now, but more importantly, the experience is galvanizing an approach to low energy building that addresses the role buildings play in the energy economy. The approach is to minimize the energy loading of the building, provide a super insulated envelope with low infiltration and careful orientation and glazing systems, specify high performance equipment, and add on-site renewable energy. The outline is simple, the execution is a complicated dance. Still, I’m excited to see where the next few projects in the office and in my studios go with this expertise crystallizing.
I have the distinct honor of serving on the jury for the 2013 AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) awards program.
There is an exciting project developing in the Sandhills of Nebraska. I’m calling it “Sand Ranch,” an obvious homage to the wonderful work at Sea Ranch, CA and in particular architect Obie Bowman’s work there, and it is an off-grid residence for a ranching family. Contacted by a college friend through Facebook, we’ve started a client-driven collaboration toward a carbon neutral residence featuring earth berm, super insulated envelop, solar responsive south envelop features, stack induced cross ventilation, geothermal heat exchange, radiant floor and panels, solar hot water and solar well operations, and other juicy combinations of closed-loop strategies. Programmatically, it includes sleeping for the family of 8, a large family gathering space/kitchen/hearth, a contemporary canning kitchen and cellar, and aquaponics/hydroponics greenhouse.
Judson University hosted a symposium of Chicago architects and educators on the topic of the AIA 2030 Commitment. The two day symposium included keynote speaker Bill Browning of Terrapin, and several presentations and discussion. A summary of the symposium and some thoughts of my own about progress and lack thereof in the building industry can be viewed on the Architecture Department vimeo site:
The high school addition at St. Francis is nearing completion.