There are several organizations devoted to benchmarking and tracking sustainable design; US Green Building Services’ LEED certification, the Living Building Challenge, the Natural Step, AIA’s Committee on the Environment are just a few. We actively participate in those organizations and are continually researching methods and materials to improve our sustainable design.
CHA incorporated sustainable design principles into our projects long before the current “green” certifications were en vogue. Primarily, sustainability is one of our core values, which guides our projects. Sustainability just makes sense for our client base, largely comprised of non-profit organizations. Project goals revolve around keeping energy costs low, finishes durable and low maintenance, landscaping attractive but not maintenance and dollar intensive, and providing housing near transportation options. Our courtyard housing designs contribute to all three goals of the triple bottom line sustainable theory, and create a nurturing community environment for the residents.
Awarded the 1,000 Friends of Oregon 2002 Development of the Year, the Hacienda Community Development Corporation Cully/Killingworth Neighborhood Development exemplifies smart growth and sustainable design principles. This unsolicited award was based on representatives from 1000 Friends traveling throughout the state carefully examining and evaluating new developments. In 1993 we created a master plan and have been implementing buildings since. The Hacienda community is a catalyst for strengthening neighborhood stability and safety. The mixed-use neighborhood integrates a community center and multi-family affordable housing, efficient land-use, reliance on a major public transit reducing auto dependency and parking requirements. Sustainable elements include indoor/outdoor spaces, day lighting, passive solar, recycling of construction materials and on-site storm water treatment as well as extensive collaborative partnership with other agencies and groups.
The Alberta Center is another example of the firm’s commitment to a balanced approach to design. This project is striving for LEEDs Gold Certification. Key sustainable elements of the design include rainwater collection and reuse for non-potable uses in the building; natural ventilation and day-lighting in all offices; electronically controlled lighting systems to conserve energy and make efficient use of natural daylight; exterior sunshades on east, south, and west elevations, optimizing each face of the building to reduce thermal heat gain and glare while preserving occupant views; recycling of construction and demolition waste; and use of recycled, certified, and natural products in all facets of the project.
Our commitment to sustainability is not just a benchmark for our projects, it is also something we practice daily in our own office. We are centrally located allowing our employees to practice green transportation alternatives including the Max, buses, bicycling, walking and carpooling. On nice days we turn off the mechanical systems, open the big garage door to the North Park Blocks and enjoy the day. Our large windows and skylights allow us at times to not even turn on the electric lights. We are continually working towards being more resource efficient – reduce, reuse and recycle is a way of life for us.