Green Commercial Space and Sustainable Architecture
Commercial buildings contain everything from apartments to department stores, hotels to office space, doughnut shops to medical clinics, and sprawl over more than 80 billion square feet in the U.S. In green-speak this means each year commercial buildings are responsible for close to half of all energy consumption in the United States at the cost of over $200 billion per year, more than any other sector of the economy. And of this power consumption, nearly 30% is wasted through inefficient operations. But with measurable historical data and a long-term commitment to sustainability, we can lighten this environmental impact.
Today's progressive commercial building owners are factoring Energy Performance Indicators (EPIs) into their operations costs. By initiating energy benchmarking based on the past two years' energy usage, and by analyzing the data and upgrading inefficient equipment, a commercial building's green reputation can be maintained indefinitely. Not only are unforeseen liabilities addressed in time, but most corrective measures are inexpensive and may receive a financial payback as a bonus.
But the green building trend is not all about energy efficiency or the environment anymore. For American consumers, it means a healthy place to live, with a lifestyle compatible with nature. Sustainable architecture improves a building's resilience to climate change, including flooding, drought, and exhausted energy resources.
Adaptation to a changing climate is critical, but natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, or political actions like terrorism and cyber terrorism, also call for consideration in a resilient design. Each of these challenges can be analyzed not only for data that is historically valuable for benchmarking but also for future projections.
Resilient systems provide for basic human needs, including potable water; a conservation source such as harvested rainwater can be the primary backup. Composting toilets and waterless urinals are options for human waste disposal in the event of a public sanitation breakdown.
To reduce a building's energy dependence, manual overrides should be in place in case of malfunctions or power outages. Elevators, escalators, and stairways should be managed for the mobility of tenants during emergencies. EMT's and firefighters need to access a building under any circumstances. If necessary, breathable air and comfortable temperature and humidity levels can be maintained with vernacular designs commonplace before HVAC systems, such as high transom windows for natural ventilation and light. And a non-perishable food supply could provide residents with adequate staples for a three to six month period.
Scott Henson Architecture integrates aesthetics, financials, and code regulations to design buildings that are both functional and attractive. Sustainability expertise includes vegetated roof systems and solar power systems. Please contact us to review your commercial building's resiliency measures.Read more...
An Overview of Construction Management
Construction management encompasses all aspects of a construction project, from bid through completion, including:
- Quality control/quality assurance
- Drawing preparation
Based on a client’s desired level of control, a skilled construction manager is responsible for, first and foremost, acting as the owner’s representative throughout the course of the project and providing cohesion from bid through delivery. Additional duties include preparing drawings to technical specifications and coordinating and overseeing scope, special conditions, documentation, and pricing considerations. The manager also examines contractor and material supplier pre-qualifications and ensures that projects meet all specifications and requirements.
There are two broad phases involved in construction management in which construction managers involve themselves: pre-construction and construction/delivery.
During the planning, design, and pre-construction phase, the manager works with the client and architect in order to define the project’s scope, budget, and other preparatory factors such as energy efficiency, design, structural integrity, market value, space used, and mechanical and electrical systems before construction begins. The manager also ensures that materials adhere to specifications and fall within the desired budget.
As would be expected, this phase addresses the actual construction based upon the specifications, plans, and budgets discussed in the previous phase. The construction manager coordinates and oversees:
- On-site construction supervision and coordination
- Cost accounting and other financial records
With respect to cost control records, the construction manager is responsible for:
- Evaluating actual versus proposed costs
- Adhering to the budget
- Developing and maintaining the construction schedule
- Monitoring construction progress
- Arranging inspections
- Dealing with any change orders by the owner
- Coordinating product delivery, storage, and security
- Obtaining the necessary equipment
- Assisting the owner with occupancy, systems operations, and any other post-construction concerns.
During and following the project’s completion, quality assurance and control is critical to ensure that the finished product meets the original requirements, specifications, and subsequent performance expectations. Construction managers make sure that the project not only falls within the proposed budget but that the finished project is structurally sound and adheres to all specifications and codes.
For more information about the construction management services we provide, please contact us.