Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
Nic Lehoux Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

Location: New York
Principals: Craig Schwitter (managing principal), Denzil Gallagher (project principal-in-charge)
Date Founded: 1976
Company Size: 1,400
Little-known fact: Ted Happold, the founding partner of Buro Happold, was a practicing Quaker and used the principle of consensus as part of its founding culture.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from the Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Laboratory?
The importance of BIM on a project with a fast-tracked schedule and the benefits include reduction of RFIs and less onsite issues. Also, constant communication and collaborative relationships among team members improves project delivery. Additionally, the coordination meetings between core & shell and tenant fit-out projects were very useful to align project goals and find synergies and opportunities to share and conserve resources.

What insights from this and other sustainable projects would you share with other professionals?
The LEED process can be extensive, but the ROI is evident. Also, project goals need to be defined early (before design) because changes can be costly and impact the schedule.

Genzyme Headquarters, Cambridge, Mass.
Buro Happold New York Genzyme Headquarters, Cambridge, Mass.

What is your firm's philosophy on sustainable design?
Sustainability is not a separate discipline but a core value that informs all sectors of our practice. By incorporating sustainability into every aspect of design, we minimize costs while maximizing performance. We model environmental, technical, and economic forces in order to quantify performance, eliminate risk, and inform decisions at the earliest stages of the design process. Simulation software and research enables us to analyze multiple design options, giving greater choice in the way that environments are designed and ensuring that we are able to offer a range of solutions to meet overall objectives.

What kinds of sustainable solutions are non-negotiable for your firm? What are the baseline standards your firm aims to meet with every project?
With considerable experience in designing low-energy buildings, Buro Happold is recognized worldwide as a leading consultant and resource in the field of sustainable design and implementation.  We were the sustainability consultant on the Energy Lab project at the Hawaii Preparatory Academy which is one of only 4 Living Building Challenge certified buildings. With experience in analyzing all aspects of sustainable design, we are committed to identifying and implementing solutions that are not only energy-efficient but cost effective as well. These solutions need to be evaluated and tailored to project types, programs, climates, etc. Buro Happold is committed to the 2030 Challenge (see information on the AIA website - and we will provide our Operational Action Items, Sustainability Action Plan and Project Performance Tracking in accordance to the AIA schedule.  In addition to our commitment to the 2030 Challenge, we are also in the process of attaining the Sustainable Performance Institute’s (SPI) Organizational Certification - an industry wide recognized certification that confirms our strength and commitment to sustainability from management and operations through project delivery. SPI Certification is a true and measurable qualification that our sustainability practices are reliable and proven; not only in our work, but also in our company culture, systems, processes, and collaborations. In other words, it's important for us to practice what we preach.

Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Laboratory, Kamuela, Hawaii
Matthew Millman Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Laboratory, Kamuela, Hawaii

What are the top energy-saving features you put in your projects?
Design features that reduce the consumption of energy and water have both environmental and cost-reducing benefits. Our engineers are able to assess the needs of the end user, incorporating systems that enable buildings to operate successfully, while limiting energy use where possible. We look at all aspects of the building’s make-up – from the building fabric to the internal systems – to ensure opportunities for solar shading, natural ventilation, and daylighting are maximized. Intelligent building management systems can also be used to monitor local conditions and control energy usage. Benchmarking and comparative analysis of conservation, for both water and energy, enable us to have a dialogue with the project team about options in the context of their architectural, cost and resource savings (energy, water, materials, sf, etc).

How do you think these types of innovative green solutions, products, and strategies, might become standard?
New products, systems, and technologies are constantly emerging in the market. This will always be a dynamic thing and the key is to stay informed as much as possible. What has changed and is now the new standard is integrated design - a new way of collaborating and working to develop a project which enables all stakeholders to be a part of the process.