Sustainable or "Green" municipal and community design responds to the local as well as broader community to which it belongs. It is responsive and responsible: a good neighbor and citizen. Municipal and community sustainable design will often focus on public infrastructure and transit system design as well as the design of buildings themselves.
Properly designed Green design is increasingly understood to be a sound long-term investment in municipal and community design. Too often the initial cost to simply buy, or construct, a building is considered as being the main cost. Often it is the sole focus of construction decision making. However when the costs to own, operate, and manage a building are also considered, the advantages of Green design become clear.
Buildings influence people's lives: Green designed buildings improve employee productivity and sense of wellbeing, reduce energy use, and improve public image.
What is important is that energy efficiency decisions be made wisely, with respect to long term value. These can range from building orientation decisions, which need not add cost yet can be most important in terms of long term energy use. Appropriate window placement, orientation, and sizing, can also create energy efficiencies while actually reducing cost.
Too often it is assumed that Sustainable design simply adds cost. The cost of Green design is often overestimated: According to many analyses, it generally adds from 2% to 6% to the cost of a building. One can design an energy inefficient yet expensive building just as one can design a cost effective and energy efficient building. Being economical does not mean that a building is guzzling energy. Nor does being expensive does not mean that a building meets green standards.
Cordogan, Clark & Associates focuses first on the least cost, highest yield building passive design strategies. Substantial performance improvements are achieved through optimal building orientation and integration of passive solar and sustainable practices. Renewable energy producing systems such as solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, geothermal, and wind energy have a higher initial cost but if done correctly can pay for themselves in reasonable timeframes.
The true cost benefits over the life of a sustainably designed Green building are often many times greater than the initial construction cost adds. These result from:
- Lower energy costs to operate, lower water bills
- Often lower maintenance costs
- Lower future equipment replacement costs (if, for example, a smaller air conditioning system is installed due to improvements in building envelope efficiency, the system can have lower initial as well as lower replacement cost)
- Space savings when less space devoted to heating / cooling systems
- Ongoing savings for owner due to lower heating and cooling bills (which can pay for initial Green design costs many times over)
- Lower employee turnover due to improved environmental conditions
- Reduced heat island effect (which has community benefits but also, and for the same reasons, should lower cooling bills for the specific building)
Cordogan, Clark & Associates is committed to designing Green municipal and community architecture that makes good economic sense for its owners. When intelligent Green design decisions are made, the longer term benefits are clear. The long term economic benefits due to energy savings of owning a better designed Green building can far outweigh its initial costs. There is also greater satisfaction in owning, and working in, a better designed Green building.
Read about the LEED Gold certification for the new Aurora Police Headquarters here.