Page T1.1 . 16 May 2001                     
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    High-Performance Building Design

    by Ross A. Leventhal

    Digital design tools are essential in the latest efforts toward sustainability in architecture. And they were much in evidence at the April 2001 EnvironDesign conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Steven Winter, FAIA, founder and president of Steven Winter Associates, Inc., and his associate Michael J. Crosbie, Ph.D., RA, gave a presentation called "Lessons Learned from Commercial High-Performance Building Projects."

    As consultants who have worked on many built projects and the New York City High-Performance Building Guidelines, these two shared their depth of experience and some of the tools they use to accomplish their goals.

    What is Green?

    Winter began his presentation with a few ideas that help define "green" buildings, which do more than just conserve energy. To earn this status, green buildings must be economical (requiring less material and maintenance), comfortable, productive, healthy, and good for the city, the region, and the planet.

    Winter listed many ideas that help to create a high-performance building:

  • The whole team is part of process from the start.
  • The whole building is one system.
  • Energy, resources, and materials are used efficiently.
  • The building has a positive effect on its occupants.
  • The building has a positive interaction with its site and neighborhood.
  • The building has a positive interaction with and effect on the natural environment.
  • Economic decisions consider life-cycle costs.
  • Materials and systems are durable, requiring less maintenance, but they are also recyclable.

    Discussing the process of achieving high performance in a building, Winter and Crosbie stressed the importance of setting goals and evaluating strategies by the use of analysis tools.



  • ArchWeek Photo

    Steven Winter Associates uses Algor modeling to visualize heat loss through a wall. The steel shelf angle at the edge of the slab is the main problem; the light blue indicates a potential condensation problem.
    Image: Steven Winter Associates

    ArchWeek Photo

    Algor shows the temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit) inside a wall. Condensation might form under the wall, where the floor short-circuits the insulation, leading to a potential condensation problem.
    Image: Steven Winter Associates


    Click on thumbnail images
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