Location: Washington, D.C.

Firm principals: Michael E. Hickok, FAIA, senior principal; Yolanda Cole, AIA, senior principal

Date founded: 1988

Company size: 85

Little-known fact: “We have happy hour every Friday at 5:00, and it’s billable! There is a project in our accounting system called 'Happy Hour' and everyone bills one hour per week to that number. It is a reflection of our commitment to making HCA a Great Place to Work.”

What was the biggest lesson you learned from NPR's new Washington, D.C. offices?

For large building projects, the quantity of condensate water can be significant, and it is a great source of water for irrigation and other supplemental non-potable uses.

What insights from this and other sustainable projects would you share with other professionals?

Rain gardens are a simple and attractive way to help storm water management for both quality and quantity.  However, the inclusion of a rain garden in urban projects is usually outside the property line and therefore won’t qualify for LEED credits.  We would encourage other professionals to still consider the use of rain gardens even though they may not receive LEED credit.

What is your firm's philosophy on sustainable design?

Hickok Cole Architects’ philosophy of sustainable design reflects an increased commitment to the principles of environmental stewardship and conservation. Hickok Cole considers sustainable design to be an integral part of the design process.  The goal is to design a facility for which overall quality is higher; life-cycle costs are lower; sustainability concepts and principles are incorporated to the greatest extent possible.

What kinds of sustainable solutions are non-negotiable for your firm? What are the baseline standards your firm aims to meet with every project?

High-performance glazing is used in all of our projects.

What are the top energy-saving features you put in your projects?

High performance, low-E glazing significantly reduced energy requirements for the mechanical system.