Sustainable Design - Process and Strategies

Wilson Architects’ projects are highly sustainable and energy efficient. We are deeply committed to energy efficiency and carbon emissions reductions, as evidenced by our AIA 2030 Commitment (see our section on “Energy”). We also believe in a holistic approach to sustainable design; addressing building location; landscape design; water efficiency; embodied carbon; responsible waste diversion; occupant health; and public outreach and education.

Wilson Architects has a strong portfolio of LEED projects. In 2015/2016, 75% of our projects (by GSF) were LEED registered and tracking “silver or better” achievement. Another 15% were “designed to” exceed LEED Silver, according to the City of Cambridge, MA zoning bylaws. WA has 8 LEED Gold certified projects, several more rated Silver, and even more under design and construction.

LEED v4 brings a host of new challenges and opportunities to a design project. This refresh and tightening of requirements drives us to dig deeper to achieve similar results to LEED v3. It makes our solutions better and “truer” to sustainable ideals.

Such adherence requires a new level of strategizing. New site design credits differ from the old rules; New energy efficiency credits are much stricter; And new materials transparency, analysis, and optimization credits require extra work and produce unique results. Wilson Architects has been tracking LEED v4’s development over the past few years, recognizing its value and utilizing its practices to inspire our design.

Beyond LEED, other sustainable design programs such as SITES, WELL, Passive House, Fitwel, and the Living Building Challenge (LBC) are crucial to today’s design process. These programs share common goals and strategies while varying in focus and difficulty level. Many building owners are adopting these standards to enhance public relations and deliver greater sustainability and resilience.