Spotlight on Sustainability

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

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 ten measures touching on many aspects of life and allowing a holistic view of a project. We use these measures tied with metrics (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 and Wellness

One thing that has become more prevalent in design is an emphasis on what a facility means to people in the sense of 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.

One way of achieving building comfort is implementing 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
University of Minnesota Microbiology Research Facility
University of Minnesota Microbiology Research Facility | Meets Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines (B3)

Ready to explore your sustainability and performance design options?

Get in touch with our team today!

Sara Goenner Curlee

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