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passion for sustainability

Adam Heisserer

Flake Radio #01: Resilience

Posted by on 10/12/17 at 05:01am

Click here to listen to Flake Radio Episode #1: Resilience Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. Related to the built environment, it describes the design strategies that can help buildings or communities survive natural or human caused disasters, and to thrive in their aftermath.  In this podcast we reflect on our experiences with hurricanes Harvey and Irma and explore the resilient design strategies that will allow our projects to support their communities during times of crisis. Click to Read More

Lewis McNeel

Congratulations to the Knox project team for delivering the first newly constructed campus facility since the early 70’s and important part of the Knox College commitment to liberal arts education. Click to Read More

Adam Heisserer

Lake Flato R&D: Passive Solar Tracking

Posted by on 6/21/17 at 03:33pm

Architects have always had to deal with the challenges of solar energy, whether providing protection from it, or leveraging it for energy and daylight.  Like many other challenges, we have a habit of throwing brute force technology at it to solve the problem at hand. Building technologies of the past were simple and utilitarian by necessity, and today, we are finally returning to the simplicity of the past with elegant, biomemetic solutions. Lake Flato recently established a research and development program with the goal of providing a framework to promote innovative thinking in the integration of design and sustainability. This is the first in a series of posts documenting the initial round of research projects in the Fall of 2016. My challenge was this: to develop a system that rotates to face the sun throughout the day using nothing but solar heat energy from the sun itself, and no technical equipment. Click to Read More

Heather Gayle Holdridge
I participated in a panel discussion hosted by ARCHITECT Magazine's ARCHITECT Live.

A group of Lake|Flatonians traveled to Orlando, Florida recently to participate in this year’s AIA Conference on Architecture. This year’s theme was “Anticipate” – what it means to anticipate need and change in architecture and design. The profession has encountered challenges around climate change, diversity, and social consciousness in recent history, so it was interesting to overlay those discussions with the conference theme. Perhaps the most anticipated conference event was Michelle Obama in her first public appearance since leaving the White House in January. Her keynote speech was delayed by several minutes due to a postponed flight, and you could sense an almost electric fervor in the audience as everyone eagerly waited for her arrival. Click to Read More

Adam Heisserer

Quality Views Calculator

Posted by on 3/16/17 at 10:07pm

For all of our LEED projects, we calculate the percentage of regularly occupied spaces that have exterior views. By developing this quality views tool in Grasshopper, we can now automate this calculation process and make it possible to analyze large projects that would be difficult to calculate manually. We can also get a better idea of the quality of exterior views in each space in addition to the pass/fail criteria used for LEED. Click to Read More

Corey Squire

The 2030 End Game

Posted by on 2/22/17 at 05:54pm

With the 7th year of reporting for the 2030 commitment underway, it’s worthwhile to pause and think about how the next 13 years might play out. Reporting for the commitment started back in 2011 with a goal of achieving an across the board net-zero energy portfolio by 2030. Initially, the energy reduction target was set at 60% and every five years, the target shifts down 10% until 100% energy reduction is achieved in year 2030. Click to Read More

Corey Squire

Instantly Actionable

Posted by on 1/30/17 at 04:53pm

How can a simulation report (energy model report, daylight model report, etc.) be most useful? This is a question we’ve been focusing on as we revamp and streamline the way we perform in-house simulations. The guiding principle for developing a new report format is ” instantly actionable”. Project teams should see a report and know which parts of the project are doing well and what improvements can be made. With this goal in mind, we identified a few characteristics of a new energy model report: Click to Read More

Adam Heisserer

2016 Energy Calendars

Posted by on 1/20/17 at 08:37pm

These six radial calendars show the energy-use patterns of six Lake Flato projects in 2016. The hourly data we collect from our eMonitors can be plotted into a single graphic with a Grasshopper script and reviewed to understand energy patterns and anomalies that wouldn’t be apparent through numerical data alone.   Click to Read More

Corey Squire

The State of Simulation

Posted by on 1/11/17 at 10:05am

It’s generally agreed that building performance simulation is the best method for realizing a building’s sustainability potential. In theory, a project team will run an energy or daylight simulation to study the hypothetical performance of a design and then use the simulation outcomes to make targeted improvements. This process promises to improve the efficiency, comfort, and all-around performance of a design. In the architecture community, building performance simulation is such a significant component of sustainable design that for 2030 reporting, the metric “percent of floor area modeled” is almost as important as “total energy reduction”. Despite this, building performance simulation has not yet lived up to its promise. The majority of questions that designers might have do not result in a simulation and the majority of simulations do not result in positive changes to the design. This leaves a huge amount of building performance potential on the table. The reason that simulations have failed to deliver widespread improvements is that the state of simulation today is slow and ugly. Most often, Information generated by simulations doesn’t get to the design team in time to be part of design process, and when it does the output is often graphically uninteresting or meaningless to Click to Read More Click to Read More

Heather Gayle Holdridge

We are excited to announce that the Dixon Water Foundation Josey Pavilion has achieved Living Building Challenge certification, making it the first Living Building in the State of Texas and 9th Living Building in the world. The Josey Pavilion physically embodies and reinforces the Dixon Water Foundation’s mission as a fully restorative Living Building and demonstration tool. This case study reveals how the meeting and education center achieves the standards required for certification. Click to Read More