Spotlight on Sustainability

Performance design and sustainability are integral parts of BWBR’s design process, whether it is optimizing the project’s use of energy and water resources, reducing the operational and embodied carbon footprint, achieving industry recognized sustainability standards, or meeting financial and wellbeing goals. Together with design engineers, BWBR has successfully evaluated energy and carbon reduction strategies using energy modeling and life cycle analysis on numerous projects.

Recognizing the multiple, urgent forces happening in the world today — and the opportunity the built environment can have in these areas — BWBR implemented a Performance Baseline based on the AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence. The Framework is built around 10 measures touching on many aspects of life and allowing a holistic view of a project. BWBR uses these measures tied with metrics (Energy Use Intensity (EUI), water consumption, carbon tracking, etc.) to determine priorities and performance goals for each project.

A section diagram of reduction in stormwater run-off rate.
Minnesota Senate Building | Meets Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines (B3)

Designing for Equity + Wellness

Many designs now emphasize the meaning of a facility in the sense of people, culture, and everyday experiences. Designing for building comfort and equity brings value because it can make occupants feel comfortable and safe in their spaces, which can lead to increased productivity, satisfaction, recruitment, and retention.

Building comfort can be enhanced by integrating aspects of the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL Building Standard. This standard examines how design, operations, and behaviors within a space can be optimized for health and wellbeing. Developed over years through scientific and medical research and literature on environmental health, behavioral factors, and demographic risk factors that affect health, the standards examine the air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, community, and innovation aspects of a building.

Exterior elevation of the Hennepin Healthcare Clinic & Specialty Center at dusk.
Hennepin Healthcare Clinic & Specialty Center | LEED Gold
Fortune 500 Company Research & Development Building
Fortune 500 Company Research & Development Building | LEED Silver
Carroll University Doug and Nancy Hastad Hall
Carroll University Doug and Nancy Hastad Hall | LEED Silver

Case Study:

University of Minnesota, Microbiology Research Facility

Meets Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines (B3)

Graphics developed in collaboration with Salas O’Brien (formerly MEP Associates).

Sustainability Strategies:

  • Heat recovery chiller
  • Condensing boilers
  • Decoupled distribution: chilled beams and fan coil units
  • Laboratory Standard 6 ACH reduced to 2 ACH
  • 120-degree hot water
  • Perimeter radiation for envelope heating loads
  • Daylight harvesting
University of Minnesota Microbiology Research Facility
University of Minnesota Microbiology Research Facility
A labeled aerial diagram into the Microbiology Research Facility that shows the airflow journey
University of Minnesota's Microbiology Research Facility Smart Labs Design

Ready to explore your sustainability and performance design options?

Get in touch with our team today!

Sara Goenner Curlee headshot

Sara Goenner Curlee, AIA, LEED AP

Key Manager of Performance Design and Senior Project Architect

Sara is a leading sustainability advocate within the industry. She has contributed to performance design services that have helped clients achieve LEED certification or custom sustainability goals for cutting edge projects. She is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Minnesota Chapter and received the chapter’s Circle of Excellence Volunteer Recognition Award. Click here to read more about her role as Key Manager of Performance Design.

e: scurlee@bwbr.com

p: 651.290.1861