Columbia University: The lab side was accepted as a “high energy’’ environment with complex mechanical VAV and control systems. The office side was designed as a “low energy’’ structure with operable windows and individual fan coil units. This strategy enabled overall airflow in the building to be reduced by 36% from the project’s all-VAV baseline design.

While the occurrence of thermal bridges in commercial wall assemblies is a widely understood phenomenon, the few research studies that have been conducted show that thermal bridges can reduce assembly R-values by up to 45% or more. Our ongoing in-house research, which is being supported by an AIA Upjohn Research Grant, suggests that thermal bridging may have an even larger impact than that.

Sustainable Action Plan

As part of joining the AIA 2030 Commitment, we have developed a Sustainable Action Plan for Payette aimed at reducing the environmental impact of our projects and operations, as well as increasing staff literacy around the issues of building performance.

The design philosophy for our projects is one of rigorous exploration. They are tuned to the uniqueness of each client’s program and problem.

A key element to achieving the target of a 60% reduction in predicted energy usage for all of our projects is to provide a feedback loop during the design process and to capitalize on the knowledge acquired from past projects regarding energy-saving strategies.