San Antonio, Texas Commercial Real Estate: June 2011

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What is Sustainability and How Does it Effect My Bottom-Line?

What is Sustainability and How Does it Effect My Bottom-Line?

June 29, 2011

Alfred R. Brice, AIA, NCARB, LEED BD+C
Principle at Brice Architecture + Design
Architect and Designer at Marmon Mok Architecture

1762 Heavens Peak, San Antonio, TX 78258
Office: 210.270.2256 Cell: 210.373.2656
alfredbrice@hotmail.com

How do we define sustainability - Some have called it an environmental issue, but sustainability is more than an environmental issue, it's a social and economic issue.  Saving energy, water, resources, health and wellbeing of employees saves money and gives your business long term competitiveness.  It has come to define new and cutting edge technology through reduced resources, but it can be as simple as using less lights through occupancy sensors and reduced wattage per square foot through daylight harvesting and increased and more efficient glass  and exterior window shading. These simple solutions allow us to target the greatest energy consumption within your building and are fundamental to what "going green" is all about. It's not only about saving the environment it's about competing better and putting more money in your pocket. Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword; it is mainstream and here to stay.

In the simplest terms a sustainable building is one that is more efficient, lasts longer and performs better. The products that went into producing the building have been thought of in terms of lifecycle cost vs. first cost. At its best, the materials used to create it are safer, made well and produced in a responsible way. After all waste equals waste and it can not do anyone any good to be wasteful. In this economy, the stakes are too high as the global economy transitions into a low-carbon economy.  The new business strategy, followed by such giants as Wal-mart is to dramatically reduce their overhead in terms of wasted energy costs, which turns out is good for the environment and making them a global leader in sustainable business practices. At the Kyle Public Works Administration building, a new 15,000 square foot office building, I created a successful product by looking at the value of underutilized land and leveraging it to produce a building that will return less energy consumption by using sustainable local materials, maximizing day lighting, collecting water from the roofs and HVAC condensate to produce a successful sustainable design for the City of Kyle. The building's construction is not just a matter of reducing the impact of existing products, but rather rethinking how to deliver the equivalent value in new ways and reducing the City's carbon footprint while keeping more money in city funds.

Architecture is at the forefront of sustainable design and is pivotal to business practice. How the building, even residences, are designed, assembled, through material selection (raw and recycled), the amount of embodied energy within the design, all leads back to Architecture and agreements made by owner and the Architect to either build sustainably or not. It makes financial sense in every facet of business to build and produce sustainably, as Wal-mart who has turned their market around has said "Waste equals waste" Simple and yet we continue to build our homes and businesses in unsustainable ways that further cripples your ability to grow your business and your life at home.

At Brice Architecture  we look at the business in four, chronologically ordered pieces: strategy, design, implementation, and operation. Before we design anything we define the issues, and identify the opportunities. Becoming environment-friendly lowers costs by reducing the inputs you use. The process generates additional revenues from better products or enables your company to create new businesses. In fact, because those are the goals of corporate innovation, I'm finding that the best companies now treat sustainability as innovation's new frontier.

Alfred R. Brice, AIA, NCARB, LEED BD+C
Principle at Brice Architecture + Design
Architect and Designer at Marmon Mok Architecture

1762 Heavens Peak, San Antonio, TX 78258
Office: 210.270.22536 Cell: 210.373.2656
alfredbrice@hotmail.com

Comment balloon 0 commentsLink LeGrand • June 29 2011 10:01AM
What is Sustainability and How Does it Effect My Bottom-Line?
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