High Performance Buildings

Less Harm Than Conventional Building Methods By:
  • Heightening the efficiency of operations and maintenance
  • Reducing energy and water demand
  • Minimizing carbon and GGH (greenhouse gas) emissions
  • Lessening construction waste

Their design coordinates high-efficiency equipment with the building shell, orientation, insulation, and ventilation to create a high performance built environment. A major benefit of high-performance design is the significant savings in operations costs that accumulate throughout the lifetime of a building.

Building Material Selection

Appropriate building material is critical to creating a high performing building. Consideration to the embodied energy consumed by all of the processes associated with building construction is complex, but a significant factor in high performance building design.  The most impactful opportunity to reduce the embodied energy of materials occurs when one material is replaced with a more ecological material.  For example, natural materials such as timber and cut stone tend to be lower in embodied energy than metals as they run through fewer manufacturing processes. Choosing locally sourced and processed materials substantially reduces the embodied energy of a building and maintains a larger percentage of construction costs in the local economy.

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Madison Fire Station #13

The planning team for the new Madison Fire Station 13 deliberately embraced sustainable best practices in their approach from the beginning. The plumbing, fire protection and landscape irrigation systems all are intended to align with LEED water conservation targets. Estimated water use reduction is 30% less water than the baseline with low-flow showers and sinks. Landscaping was finished with native, drought tolerant plants to eliminate the need for an irrigation system. This fire station also includes geothermal heat for both air and water. In addition to the inherent on-site renewable energy embodied in the geothermal heat exchange, the station supports photovoltaic cells which provide 20% of the electrical energy demand. The lighting design for the proposed Fire Station 13 is deliberately laid out to take advantage of the daylight coming in through the windows. Lighting was designed to use approximately 20% less energy than what is allowed by the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 energy code and allows light to occupy 75% of the occupied spaces.

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Johnson Controls – Brengel Technology Center

At the time of completion, Johnson Controls’ Brengel Technology Center was noted for being one of 10 buildings to achieve LEED (Leadership in Engineering + Environmental Design) Green Building rating status. Now, the Brengel Technology Center has been rated Silver by the LEED rating system. The building features numerous sustainable aspects including Personal Environments which allows all occupants to individually adjust temperature, lighting, background noise, and air flow. It also features energy sub-metering, load profiling, and cost report generation to identify savings opportunities.

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Lac Lawrann Nature Conservancy Visitor Education Center

This nearly Net-Zero conservancy visitor education center is part of a 136-acre nature preserve in West Bend, Wisconsin. The site is home to expansive landscapes of water, wetlands, native hardwood forest, red pine plantation, tall grass prairie, and glacier-carved land. The Conservancy allows its visitors to experience and participate in a variety of public programs including hiking, skiing, and guided tours.

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Madison College Health Education Building

This 170,000 s.f. Health Education Building for Madison College houses 14 health programs. The building has a geothermal heating and cooling system with a heat recovery HVAC system. The roof holds a 13,300 s.f. green space. Numerous other key features which make this building LEED Silver certified include LED lighting, high efficiency, waterless plumbing, and solar hot water. All features were carefully thought out when it comes to this health science building, from the locally sourced limestone to the water collection aesthetic feature. Together, the building creates a healthy experience and healthy environment for both students and the local community.

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Paul A. Olsen Elementary School

The school was designed with sustainability at the forefront. It is now LEED Silver Certified with numerous sustainable features. These include a reflective roof, a geothermal heating and cooling system, solar panels, and locally sourced building materials. Throughout the construction process, 72% of waste was eliminated from going to a landfill by being recycled into manufacturing processes. The school is 24.7% more efficient than a conventional school which translates to a total annual energy savings of $21,827. The building is fitted with low-flow plumbing which decreases water usage by 48%.

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06_Sustainable Cities Collective Carbon Footprint Diagram
Qarout, Layla 2016