Sustainability in Practice
In 2007, Johnsrud Architects outgrew the office suite they had leased since 2001. Space to grow the firm and create an atmosphere that supported a creative, collaborative, efficient, and fun working environment would ultimately improve services to our clients. Moving from a tenant space to a stand-alone building provided this opportunity to expand our business operations, but it also presented some unique environmental challenges and possibilities.
Johnsrud Architects' commitment to environmental sustainability began with Charlie Johnsrud, the firm's founder. JA was founded on the premise that architects are knowledgeable, inquisitive, and eager to apply their imagination and judgement to solving problems. While visions of the new office were taking shape, this was an exciting time to explore new advances in green building technology and environmentally responsible design and practices. Owning the building to house the firm offered JA opportunities but more importantly added the perspective of "owner". This has enhanced the services the firm offers since this broader understanding is applied to all design solutions.
This project was literally a major renovation so LEED for New Construction and Major Renovation, Version 2.2 was the applicable certification path. The decision was made to pursue this certification to define and demonstrate our commitment to environmental issues in our community, organization, and industry. Important features of the building renovation included:
- Increased daylighting and views to the outside
- Increased energy efficiency and lighting sensors and controls
- Restroom upgrades with showers and changing facilities
- Water use reduction
- Sustainable specifications for low-emitting and renewable materials
- Preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles
In the years since moving into these offices, Johnsrud Architects has remained committed to maintaining and expanding the good habits that are a vital part of our everyday operations:
- We dress for the season and don't rely entirely on HVAC systems for environmental comfort.
- We recycle everyday items like paper, plastic, cardboard, and other materials.
- We make appropriate arrangements to return samples.
- We deliver equipment and technology for use by others or recycling.
- We strive to keep our meetings "green" by presenting and taking notes digitally.
- We host virtual meetings that not only save on travel and minimize use of cars but also provide a more interactive, collaborative exchange of project information in real time.
- We keep our workflow as electronic as possible. By submitting drawings digitally, either for coordination or review, we substantially limit our internal paper and toner use.
- We encourage individual staff efforts such as composting and reuse of material samples in creative ways. We support educational experiences including lunch and learns, webinars, conferences, and LEED accreditation.
From the time of our founding until now, we have strived to keep ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability practices. Our first-hand experience and the knowledge we gained while documenting our own spaces - and living with those decisions - has positively influenced our clients' projects.