Institute Hall at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, N.Y.
Chris Cooper Institute Hall at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, N.Y.

Locations: New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
Principals: John Campbell, AIA
Date Founded: 1954
Company Size: 105

What was the biggest lesson you learned from the GlaxoSmithKline headquarters?
This project shows that a good business strategy and a strong design and delivery team can come together to produce a great facility. The completed project also shows that enclosed offices and assigned seating are not necessary to create an inspiring, productive workplace.  

MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, Camden, N.J.
Chris Cooper MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, Camden, N.J.

What insights from this and other sustainable projects would you share with other professionals?
The key insight is that when you challenge the expected at all levels, the result is a workplace that inspires employees to perform at their best. We like to prototype in the development of new solutions, gaining valuable insights from users. This aids in getting the details right in the design and execution of every project. 

Institute Hall at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
Chris Cooper Institute Hall at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY

What is your firm's philosophy on sustainable design?
At Francis Cauffman we believe it is imperative that sustainable design principles be addressed in every project. When creating sustainable buildings, we begin by thinking strategically. This process is about problem-seeking and problem-solving. We realize that architecture is not an end in itself, but a component of a broader solution. We seek to understand the systems that are involved in and affected by our design. These systems, which include natural, political, economic, and cultural elements, create the platform for design exploration and the context for our projects. Our approach is to create a sustainable design that inspires the occupants to perform at their best.

What kinds of sustainable solutions are non-negotiable for your firm? What are the baseline standards your firm aims to meet with every project?
A conservation philosophy permeates our team’s design approach, analysis, material selection, energy use planning, and construction. We integrate numerous sustainable strategies into our buildings, including maximizing natural light provision for occupants, daylight harvesting, passive solar heating, pragmatic building orientation, water harvesting, gray water retrieval, on-site biological treatment systems, use of recycled and reclaimed materials, and reuse of excavated material.  
We emphasize, however, that it is not the individual components, but their successful, practical integration into a larger system that makes them meaningful. We consider each project within the context of its individual environment, evaluating its unique characteristics as we determine the best sustainable design strategies to achieve the goals of the project in the most responsible way possible. 

Saunders Research Building at University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.
Chris Cooper Saunders Research Building at University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.

USM Inc. Headquarters, Norristown, Pa.
Chris Cooper USM Inc. Headquarters, Norristown, Pa.

What are the top energy-saving features you put in your projects?
Collaboration: An integrated team of architects, engineers, building owners and operators, and contractors work together on all of our projects to provide the best and most cohesive energy saving strategies for the building.  
Daylighting and views:  Francis Cauffman seeks design solutions that provide improved distribution of natural light into the building with a reduction in energy consumption by artificial lighting.  Daylighting sensors are included when valuable and occupancy sensors are standard. We also seek to incorporate views to as many work stations as possible, because access to a view is important to individual well-being and improves performance.
Exterior Skin:  We focus on increased light transmission and reduced solar radiation/heat gain. We choose windows with dual pane and low E high performance glass to improve comfort and reduce both heating and cooling demands. We utilize sun control strategies through exterior shading, interior shading, and building orientation.
Air Quality:  We have extensive experience in modifying and designing health care and research buildings to reduce or eliminate internal and entrained lab exhaust contaminants.  These measures not only reduce energy requirements, but also protect neighboring buildings and their occupants.
Energy:  We separate electronic labs from chemical labs to reduce the quantity of 100% outside air supply required.
Healthcare projects - Medical Equipment:  Along with specifying Energy Star equipment in all of our projects, we also review in all of our healthcare projects opportunities to incorporate the most energy efficient pieces of medical equipment available. This has the potential to significantly lower a building’s energy usage, as MRI’s and CT’s have a large draw of power on a building’s systems.

How do you think these types of innovative green solutions, products, and strategies, might become standard?
As more building owners understand the ROI of incorporating innovative sustainable design principles into their projects, the more standard they will become.  Francis Cauffman strives to work with our clients to provide them the tools they need to make the most environmentally and economically responsible decisions for their buildings, campuses, and corporations.