TC Architects - News


For centuries, buildings were designed to last for ages. The world's oldest temples, fortresses, and monuments often took several generations to complete, but, as Christopher Wren observed, they expressed permanence. Many of those structures remain in use after hundreds, even thousands, of years.
Obviously, their lifecycle performance can be attributed to the exceptionally durable materials from which they were constructed and the enlightened manner in which they were designed. In some aspects, they are important models of sustainability.
New Concepts
Sustainable design as it is practiced today reaches beyond the mere durability of a building to address a wider range concerns. Modern sustainability theory accounts for the impact of a facility on the environment during the construction and management stages of its lifecycle. 
Essentially, sustainable design minimizes the waste generated during construction and the environmental impact of the facility after it is put into use. Sustainable attributes include:

  • Waste and pollution reduction:

    Construction produces more solid waste than any other human activity.Recycling construction waste is now common practice in today’s waste disposal industry.

    Low-emitting products, like coatings, adhesives, sealants, and composites make the quality of experience inside a building a healthy one.
  • Local products and renewable resources:

    Local materials can cost less to purchase and improve the economic stability of the region.

    Renewable materials may have a positive environmental impact and further stabilize local industries.
  • Optimum energy efficiency:

    Enhanced building envelope technology, lighting, and HVAC systems can save on the cost of construction as well as the cost of owning and operating a building.

    A building designed without significant sustainable attributes will require increased resources to maintain and may be ultimately wasteful because of its foreshortened lifecycle.

The knowledge necessary for designing and constructing a project with high sustainable values requires education, experience, research, and, perhaps most important, the concerted efforts of the project stakeholders. Indeed, teamwork and commitment to sustainability is necessary for its success.

Sustainability Models

The first name in sustainability is the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™).  Through LEED, the USGBC provides education and accreditation programs for design professionals, and sustainability criteria for new buildings as well as renovation and remodeling projects. 
When design and construction teams follow the prescribed principles, a building owner can attain certification of its project.

LEED Environmental Performance Factors

In the LEED sustainability model, a project's environmental performance depends on decisions made during the project design stage and the contractor's execution and documentation of the results. The U.S. Green Building Council certifies projects based on the level of sustainability achieved.
Whereas LEED was conceived and developed as a U.S. program, its influence has spread around the world . The countries with the most LEED certified or registered space now include:

  1. United States (44,270 certified or registered projects)
  2. China (1,156)
  3. United Arab Emirates (808)
  4. Brazil (638)
  5. India (405)
  6. Canada (383)
  7. Mexico (322)
  8. Germany (299)
  9. Turkey (194)
  10. Republic of Korea (188)

In addition to and, perhaps in response to the success of LEED around the world, other well-structured sustainability programs exist that can provide strong incentives for owners to rank sustainability as a primary goal as a project is conceived, designed, and constructed.
In coming issues, we will review the details of LEED and other successful strategies for incorporating sustainable design principles into your future projects.