Why Green Building?
Phinney Design Group is:
- Architecture, Interior Design, Land Planning and Green Building Consulting, with a focus on sustainable and environmentally sensitive construction methods.
- Diverse design experience, over 200 projects completed.
- Focus on Residential, Hospitality, Cultural, Retail, Restoration and Reuse.
- 3 LEED accredited professionals on staff, 4 LEED certified projects
- Project Architect of the first LEED certified project in New York State – The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Building in Albany, NY.*
- First United States Green Building Council LEED certified project in the Adirondack Park – the Bio Building at the Natural History Museum in Tupper Lake, NY.
- First certified LEED Platinum home in Saratoga Springs, NY.
- Certified LEED Silver home in Saratoga Springs, NY.
- Regularly guides owners through analysis and funding programs administered by New York State’s Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
- Assists owners in making educated decisions about sustainable design measures within budget constraints.
- We develop integrated sustainable measures into all projects.
- Coordinate LEED process with United States Green Building Council.
Green Buildings are “common sense” buildings.
The building sector currently consumes approximately 50 percent of the world’s natural resources, and building demolition accounts for over 40 percent of the solid waste stream. How building projects are designed, constructed, and operated in today’s environmentally conscientious world, with its limited resources, is becoming more and more important. The emerging field of “green building” technologies and sustainable design is based upon the need to reduce human impacts on the environment.
“Green building” initiatives create the following positive impacts on the environment:
- Changes to the local natural environment are minimized
- Materials installed have less of an impact on the environment
- Less reliance on fossil fuels
- Energy and water resources are more efficiently consumed
- Healthy, ergonomic indoor environments are created
- Less waste is generated and more materials are recycled
- Environmentally friendly procedures in the operations and maintenance of buildings are established
“Green buildings” can:
- Reduce energy costs
- Improve the health and attitude of the building occupants
- Reduce consumption of resources
- Reduce maintenance and operation costs
- Increase flexibility and functionality of space
- Increase productivity and efficiency of the occupants
Phinney Design Group regularly guides owners through the analysis and funding programs administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). NYSERDA has instituted green building programs which have available funding resources that provide rebates and credits to reward building owners who incorporate green building features in their facilities.
How a “green building” becomes LEED certified…
LEED prerequisites for a building to be considered “green” are as follows:
- Meet or exceed building energy performance as required by ASHRAE / IESNA 90.1 2004
- Meet the minimum requirements of Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Quality in accordance with the voluntary consensus standard ASHRAE 62-2004
- Zero use of ozone depleting CFC-based chemicals in refrigeration and fire suppression systems
- Provide facilities for implementing an on site recycling program dedicated to mandatory separation, collection, and storage of recyclable materials; which at minimum would include paper, glass, plastic, and metal
- Prevent exposure of building occupants and systems to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)
- Develop and utilize a basic commissioning plan to insure that the design and operation of the mechanical and electrical systems of the facility are performing to expected levels
- Implement a site sediment and erosion control plan during construction
Other LEED suggested standard features that may be incorporated into a green building include the following:
- Increase energy conservation features which may include the use of a) high efficiency mechanical equipment; b) variable speed motors, operating pumps and fans; c) high performance window glass; d) day lighting; e) increased building envelope insulation; and f) efficient lighting
- Implement a Building Management System (BMS) which provides efficient control of all equipment including heating and air conditioning systems, outdoor air ventilation systems and lighting and also monitors energy consumption
- Increase indoor air quality through the selection of low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emitting materials, adhesives and finishes. Avoid the use of materials or finishes that may contain harmful chemicals
- Incorporate recycled materials, or materials with a large percentage of recycled content, and materials which can be recycled at the end of their useful life
- Incorporate water conserving plumbing fixtures and use of native plant materials to minimize landscape watering requirements
- Incorporate materials from local sources, reducing energy consumed in transportation
- Utilize solar energy for passive space heating/cooling, water heating, and photovoltaic electricity
- Incorporate natural, non-synthetic materials that minimize the need for chemical cleaners and waxes
- Establish a Construction Waste Management Plan and recycling effort during construction
We make it easy to be green…
Through the use of LEED and NYSERDA programs our design team and consultants are leaders in assessing the potential of your project to benefit from green building design and technology. Through detailed payback analysis and life-cycle costing of building products and mechanical equipment, we can evaluate and inform owners of opportunities available to them. Keeping owners aware of emerging technology and how it may benefit both operation and maintenance costs and improve the health and attitude of the inhabitants is something we pride ourselves on.
Knowing each project is unique in program, site selection and budget, we have the ability to recommend green building features that will be cost-effective to owners. Some projects may utilize only the minimum “common sense” approach, while others may choose to pursue green building technology to the greatest extent practicable. In either case, we can work with owners to supply them with the necessary information to make an educated decision when investing in sustainable building practices on any level.
We provide a “whole building approach” forming a team relationship with the owner, builder, engineer, and architect from early conceptual phases through completion to assess where sustainable opportunities within design, construction, and occupancy can be realized.
Michael R. Phinney was responsible for putting into practice the principles of green building design in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Headquarters in Albany*, which was granted national Green Building Certification from the USGBC. The building is the first in the State of New York to gain such recognition, earning a “Silver” rating under the LEED’s version 2.0 Green Building Rating System. Recently, the firm was responsible for the first Certified Green Building in the Adirondack Park under LEED’s version 2.2, the National History Museum “Wild Center” in Tupper Lake, New York.
Detailed analysis and LEED’s certification can require a considerable effort by the design team and the owner. If desired, our team can evaluate the potential of each project and the effort that will be required to meet sustainability goals and certification requirements.
(*while under employment at Woodward Connor Gillies and Seleman Architects)