The Biggest Architecture, Engineering & Construction Firms

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center, Virginia Beach, Va., is only the eleventh building to earn Living Building Challenge status. It generated 83% more energy than it used over the past year.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center, Virginia Beach, Va., is only the eleventh building to earn Living Building Challenge status. It generated 83% more energy than it used over the past year.

For the 40th consecutive year, the editors of Building Design+Construction have ranked the nation’s largest architectural, engineering and construction firms as part of their “Giants 300 report”.  AEC firms are ranked by discipline, specialty and sector with 22 building sectors covered — from airport terminals to healthcare and educational facilities, hotels and sports arenas. Over 50 design firms and their latest innovations are showcased including Green Building firms who are focusing on technology and occupant health to maintain their edge in sustainability. Turner Construction was ranked #1 out of 90 Green Construction Firms with revenues of $5.7 billion and Gensler, not surprisingly, was at the top of most of the architectural lists.


PACE Spurs Building Upgrades for Energy Savings

Now there's financing available to cut energy waste in buildings of all types and sizes.

Now there's financing available to cut energy waste in buildings of all types and sizes.

PACE, which stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy, is a simple and effective mechanism for financing energy-efficiency retrofits and renewable energy upgrades that might not otherwise be affordable for commercial, residential, industrial, and agricultural buildings. PACE financing overcomes the upfront cost barrier these upgrades can pose by providing 100% of the financing for such projects.

The financing is paid back via property tax assessments that can stretch as long as 20 years. In most instances, the related energy savings more than pay for the assessment. Through the use of innovative PACE funding, new energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, insulation, solar and lighting improvements can be immediately rendered cash flow positive.

PACE funding has soared, as owners recognize the opportunity to increase their bottom line by reducing energy costs, to enhance the value of their property and do their part to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Since three quarters of the electricity generated in America is used to heat, cool, illuminate, and otherwise operate buildings, it’s not surprising that Scientific American magazine named PACE one of 20 “world changing” ideas.


Can Green Buildings Make Us Smarter?

Green is good -- outside or inside an occupied building.

Green is good -- outside or inside an occupied building.

A recent study published by Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) suggests that Green Buildings create optimized conditions for health and productivity. In a series of experiments, indoor environmental quality (IEQ) factors for both “green” and “conventional” buildings were simulated in a controlled environment that included office workers, and the researchers measured variables such as carbon dioxide variation, ventilation and exposure to volatile organic compounds in the building atmosphere.

The results? On average, cognitive scores for the two groups of workers were 61% higher for those working in a building with green features than with conventional construction.  In other words, green building can potentially deliver a smarter workforce.


New Boys and Girls Club Showcases Sto EIFS

EIFS projects

The newly-completed Boys & Girls Club is a handsome new community asset in Hobbs, New Mexico.

The recently completed Boys & Girls Club of America in Hobbs, New Mexico was built with a continuous insulation system that combines energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal. The attractive 28,000-square-foot project is a study in green technology thanks to the use of StoTherm ci Essence, a water-drainage system that includes an air and moisture barrier beneath it.

The full system consists of six components: air and moisture barrier, adhesive, continuous insulation, reinforcing mesh, base coat and finish coat. The project was recently featured as an “EIFS in the Spotlight” posted by the EIFS Industry Members Association (EIMA), demonstrating that even community-based non-profits can benefit from a quality exterior insulation and finish system!

Here’s a cool video that provides a virtual tour of the design for the new Club.


Brazil’s Architecture a Backdrop for Summer Olympic Games

Brazil architecture

The Cidade das Artes complex was designed in 2012 by the French architect Christian de Portzamparc and imagined as a small city contained in one large structure.

Rio de Janeiro is in full construction mode as Brazil ramps up for the 2016 Summer Olympics. The city is racing to complete the required venue renovations and infrastructure necessary to support the 500,000 visitors who will soon be arriving, prompting us to look at the city’s rich architectural history — particularly the modernist architecture that compliments Rio’s tropical landscape.

From European-inspired 19th century buildings to the work of architect and city planner Lúcio Costa and legendary modernist Oscar Niemeyer, Rio is an architectural showcase, which will serve as a dramatic backdrop for this summer’s contests.


Architizer Site Now a Resource for Architects and Builders

Medical library in Dusseldorf, Germany displaying Sto Façade & Glazing materials.

Medical library in Dusseldorf, Germany displaying Sto Façade & Glazing materials.

Launched in 2009, Architizer has become the largest business-to-business data resource online for architects, builders and materials suppliers. The site enables design professionals to post images of their projects along with related lists of vendors who provided the building materials required to construct them. Today, the database encompasses the work of 40,000 architecture firms and more than $4 trillion worth of projects.

Architizer thus provides a clever form of “endorsement marketing” in which fellow architects and designers can shop for ideas among the posted projects, which can turn into referrals for suppliers. The site has become a powerful tool for design industry leaders to not only showcase their products, but to learn more about the tremendous range of architectural materials available from suppliers worldwide. For example, there are 47 projects from around the globe that illustrate what can be created using products from Sto. It’s an eye-opener.


Energy Efficient Buildings Key to Combating Climate Change

energy efficient building

Renovating the Federal Building in Portland, Oregon cut energy usage by 45% and water consumption by 60%.

A new report from the U.S. Green Building Council and the American Sustainable Business Council concludes that energy-efficient buildings are one of the most effective and economical ways to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint in response to global warming. That’s because buildings account for more greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. than any other source, including transportation and industry. The report probes the economics of green buildings and their value in mitigating greenhouse gas production, suggesting that brick and mortar solutions to the climate challenge make for good economics in the long run.