Complementary Services Sustainability & Energy Efficiency
For global, local, ecological, business reasons, sustainability and energy efficiency are top priorities for new and existing buildings. Each presents opportunities and challenges for an energy strategy. Many opportunities exist to lower energy use, increase occupant comfort and lower energy bills–which in turn can have a dramatic impact on cash flow. This is interrelated to the Cost/Benefit analysis of current or projected energy use, the mechanical system and the relative costs of potential energy improvements considered. Our guiding principles are:
- ‘Old’ energy is precious, reclaim it
Maine downtowns and village centers, where citizens, commerce and culture intersect, are defined by thousands of historic buildings. Rehabilitating them, is an important part of a larger sustainability initiative. Every historic building stores a tremendous amount of ‘old’ energy, that physical material and human effort already spent and therefore stored in it. Repurposing these buildings, as an alternative to building anew, reclaims this energy, and is a powerful commitment to sustainability. With every project, we strive to reduce energy consumption and utilize sustainable practices–without compromising historic integrity. Accomplishing these goals (which can converge and sometimes diverge) requires thoughtful approaches to find mutually beneficial solutions.
- ‘New’ energy is precious, use it efficiently
Efficiency is imperative, and features such as insulation, mechanical systems to reduce air infiltration and heat loss and efficient lighting all work together to save precious ‘new’ energy and minimize costs. After heating and cooling, electric lighting systems are one of the most energy–intensive components of buildings. To maximize efficiency, electric lighting should be treated as a supplement to, not a replacement for, daylight. An efficient electrical lighting system complements daylighting by providing adequate ambient light levels (not too much), and producing that light through efficient fixtures.
- Enduring is sustainable
Sustainability is about designing now for the future. Another powerful commitment to sustainability is for buildings, their systems and spaces (comfortable, functional well organized) to be enduring and stand up to the test of time–for at least a century.