Articles Tagged with: sustainable design

Fon Wang to Speak on Historic Preservation and Sustainability

Ballinger Director of Historic Preservation Fon Wang, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C will be presenting tomorrow morning on Sustainability and Historic Preservation from 7:30-9:30 am at Diversified Lighting Associates, an event hosted by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. The Alliance is dedicated to protecting historic places in the Philadelphia region and building programs and opportunities that instill the values of historic preservation throughout the community.

The panel, to include colleagues from Marvin/Super Enterprise, Jefferson University School of Architecture, and the Navy Yard Planning & Development Division of PIDC, will focus on how historic preservation and sustainability are natural partners and how the effective practice of one leads to the other. These experts will also share the benefits, challenges and opportunities inherent to historic preservation and sustainable building practices.

Link to event registration

Ballinger Recognized on List of Top 100 Green Design Firms

Ballinger was recently ranked #44 on Engineering News-Record’s List of Top 100 Green Building Design Firms for 2019. Companies were ranked according to 2018 revenue from projects registered or certified by third-party green building organizations such as the U.S Green Building Council (USGBC). ENR reports on top architectural and engineering design firms and construction companies, as well as projects in the United States and around the world.

At Ballinger we have always felt a professional obligation to incorporate energy efficiency and sustainable design initiatives into our design philosophy. In a world of increasingly valuable and constrained resources, Ballinger’s design process considers initial construction costs, flexibility for future changes, as well as energy and other annual operating costs. Our firm seeks to integrate the latest proven technology with exceptional design.

Link to ENR’s List of Top 100 Green Buildings Design Firms of 2019

Ballinger at AIA Philadelphia’s Forum on Architecture + Design

Ballinger is proud to be participating in this year’s Forum on Architecture + Design, AIA Philadelphia’s regional education conference. The event will be held October 2-4 at Philadelphia’s Convene at 30 South 17th Street, and will include keynote and break-out sessions as well as networking opportunities. Ballinger creators will present at three sessions, covering diverse topics spanning modern approaches to sustainability, the evolution of science building design, and the “secret” to winning national AIA awards.

Ballinger Senior Project Architect David Hincher, AIA, LEED BD+C, along with peers, will present “The AIA COTE® Top Ten Toolkit: Closing the Information Gap” on Thursday, October 3. The panel will discuss the Toolkit, a new design tool created to help make all types of projects more sustainable. The goal of the Committee on the Environment (COTE) Toolkit is to demonstrate how sustainability is a practice that can and should be enacted in all kinds of projects, regardless of scale or intensity.

“Secrets of Success: Stories of our recent AIA National Award Winners” will be presented by Ballinger Senior Principal Eric Swanson, AIA and retired architect Christopher Gray, along with colleagues from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and ISA on Friday, October 4. Moderated by Maureen A. Ward, AIA, Senior Director of Facilities Planning at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, the discussion will analyze recent successful award submissions and outline the “secrets of their success.”

“20 Years of Design Evolution: Exceptional science teaching and research buildings on college campuses and in dense urban areas from 1999 to 2019” will be presented by Ballinger Principal Rob Voss, AIA, LEED AP, Architect Alexa Hansford, RA, and Ajay Prasad, PE of Jensen Hughes on Friday, October 4. The presentation will include an analysis of science building designs, codes, and trends that lead to successful discovery and learning.

Stemmler Hall named Groundbreaker Award finalist

The University of Pennsylvania’s Stemmler Hall was named a Green Building United 2019 Groundbreaker Award project finalist. The Groundbreaker Awards recognize and celebrate green building leadership, innovation, and impact in the Philadelphia area.

Ballinger worked with Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine to transform the 230,000 SF Stemmler Hall, a 1970s era biomedical research and teaching facility in the heart of the campus. Ballinger designed  infrastructure to maximize energy performance and floorplans that enable program and research flexibility. The outcome is an open, flexible 21st century magnet facility.

Winners will be announced at the Groundbreaker Awards Ceremony on September 25th at the Comcast Technology Center. Green Building United promotes the development of buildings that are sustainable, healthy for inhabitants, resilient, and cost effective. Through education, advocacy, and strategic initiatives, Green Building United’s mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated.

Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building at Berea College Awarded LEED Gold

Natual & Health Sciences Building The recently completed Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building (MAC) at Berea College was awarded LEED Gold certification and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Project Certification. Ballinger served as architect and engineer for the highly-visible 125,000 SF new building, designed to prepare students for careers at the intersection of science and health.

Energy consumption in a laboratory is driven by outdoor air requirements, the heating and cooling to condition this air, and high internal heat gains from laboratory equipment. Ballinger designed sustainable systems within MAC to mitigate the energy impact of these drivers. Enthalpy and sensible energy recovery wheels deliver neutral temperature ventilation air. The design decouples ventilation requirements from heating and cooling demands. Active chilled beams provide sensible cooling throughout the building.

The project also received the Forest Stewardship Council’s Full Project Certification. This certification requires a full audit of all wood products used in construction and verification that they were sourced with ecological responsibility. Low-tech horse-logging techniques were used to sustainably harvest timber from ash trees at risk by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer beetle. Once the timber was milled, Berea College Woodcraft students designed and constructed the native-ash panels that now sheathe the building’s atrium. Berea is now home to five of eight FSC certified projects in the US and one of only 85 worldwide.

Closing the information gap with the COTE Top Ten Toolkit

Ballinger’s David Hincher, AIA and HKS’s Julie Hiromoto, AIA led a group discussion at the Committee on the Environment (COTE) Open Forum at the national AIA Conference on Architecture. Participants engaged in small group discussions focused on aspects of the new AIA COTE Top Ten Toolkit. As a member of the working group that developed the Toolkit, David shared insight about how this resource assists everyone to craft profoundly sustainable solutions. Launched in 2018, the Top Ten Toolkit is a collection of best practices, high-impact solutions, case studies, and resources that guides teams through the process of designing high-performance, equitable, beautiful buildings.

The Open Forum addressed the theme of this year’s Conference on Architecture, “Blueprint for a Better Future,” providing strategies and best practices for sustainable architecture.

Read more about the COTE Top Ten Toolkit

Ballinger to present at Green Building United Sustainability Symposium

In December 2018, the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) released a new sustainable design tool – the COTE Top Ten Toolkit – along with an easy to use, interactive “Super Spreadsheet.” The tool draws from the collective wisdom of over 20 years of exemplary projects in the COTE Top Ten Award program and gives project teams the resources to create high performing, sustainable designs for all projects.

Ballinger’s David Hincher, AIA, LEED BD+C served on the AIA COTE Top Ten Toolkit Committee, and will be co-presenting a talk about it at the Green Building United 2019 Sustainability Symposium. Architects from small to large firms will demonstrate how the toolkit integrates into a design practice and elevates sustainability.

The event will be held Friday, May 3rd at Penn State at The Navy Yard.

Design for Penn’s “Evans Building Centennial Renaissance” Achieves LEED Gold

In May 2018, the University of Pennsylvania’s recently renovated Evans Building was awarded LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The building is home to Penn’s School of Dental Medicine and the Leon Levy Dental Medicine Library.

Anticipating the structure’s 100th anniversary in 2015, Penn commissioned Ballinger to program, plan, and redesign the historic building for their “Evans Building Centennial Renaissance” initiative. With the goal of bringing the School of Dental Medicine into the 21st century, the space was re-envisioned to optimize patient care, expand academic and clinical spaces, and improve circulation flows.

Ballinger’s designers, engineers, and historic preservation team were tasked with preserving the building’s historic character while also modernizing infrastructure and systems to improve occupant comfort and operating efficiencies. USGBC awarded the LEED Gold certification based on the building’s optimized energy performance, green power, enhanced commissioning, reduced water usage, and innovative design.

Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital Expansion Steel Topping Out

A “topping out” ceremony was hosted on Tuesday for the expansion project at Chester County Hospital. The event marks the completion of steel work for the largest expansion in the hospital’s 125-year history.

A topping out ceremony is one of the oldest customs in the construction industry. It is celebrated when the last beam is placed at the top of a new building and traditionally involves placing an evergreen tree and U.S. flag on top of the structure, along with the final piece of steel. Chester County Hospital’s final beam was signed by hundreds of employees, leadership, and tradesmen.

Ballinger provided architecture and interior design services for the building, which, when completed, will feature a new main entry, procedural platform, emergency department, parking garage, green roof, and bed tower. The 250,000 SF expansion is scheduled for completion in 2019.­

Pennovation Center Achieves LEED Gold

Pennovation Center, a groundbreaking incubator space developed by the University of Pennsylvania, was certified LEED Gold by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Ballinger served as structural and MEP engineer of record for the project.  Working hand-in-hand with design architect HWKN and architect-of-record KSS, Ballinger engineers helped transform a former DuPoint paint testing facility into the centerpiece of Pennovation Works, Penn’s innovation district.

View of room at PennovationThe design of the energy systems is high performance, but with a start-up developer’s sensibility.  A rooftop Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) unit with dual energy recovery wheels delivers dehumidified neutral air (63 degrees Fahrenheit) for ventilation of wet lab, dry lab and office work space without requiring any reheat.  Cooling is provided via Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) units in each space, and heating is via perimeter radiation powered by a prefabricated condensing boiler plant on the roof. According to Ballinger Principal Jonathan Friedan, PE, LEED AP, “The system minimizes pre-investment – VRF units can be added as needed.  It is also extremely flexible and able to accommodate a wide range of space uses without costly system modification or additions.” Sustainability and flexibility align with the project goal: to create an atmosphere for collaboration and creativity, with a “cool factor” to attract innovators from diverse disciplines.

Johns Hopkins University Undergraduate Teaching Labs Achieves LEED Platinum

We are pleased to announce that Johns Hopkins University’s Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory (UTL) was recently awarded LEED Platinum by the United States Green Building Council (USCBC). Platinum is USGBC’s highest level of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which serves as the foremost standard in sustainable building and design.

Ballinger provided architecture, programming, planning, and engineering services in the development of this light-filled learning and research facility that supports Johns Hopkins University’s biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and biophysics departments. The design addressed a 2009 JHU President’s Task Force on Climate Change Report, which called for an aggressive 51% reduction in carbon emissions.

A multitude of sustainability features were woven into the building’s framework. Ballinger’s design placed emphasis on energy efficiency, sustainable site development, and interior environmental quality. The facility is designed to use 50% less energy than similar lab buildings, by employing decoupled neutral air systems, chilled beams, occupancy sensors, high-performance fume hoods, and dual energy wheels that recover heat and moisture from exhaust air.  As a result, the project has been recognized with sustainability awards as well as design awards.

As an integrated architecture and engineering firm, Ballinger is proud to be recognized as a leader in sustainable design. This month, Ballinger Associate Principal Brad Crowley will accept a 1st place Technology Award from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers at the Annual ASHRAE Winter Conference for the advanced energy-efficient solutions utilized in this building.

Johns Hopkins University Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories Wins Top ASHRAE Technology Award

Ballinger’s design for the new Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories at Johns Hopkins University won first place from the 35th annual ASHRAE Technology Awards in the category of New Educational Facility. Each year, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers recognizes firms whose innovative designs have provided solutions to the comfort, air quality, and energy efficiency goals of their clients.09024_00_n60_medium

The Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories serves as an active learning and research facility for Johns Hopkins University’s biology, chemistry, neuroscience and biophysics departments. In addition to developing light-filled and open learning spaces that engage a tree-filled garden alongside the building, Ballinger’s design addressed a 2009 JHU President’s Task Force on Climate Change Final Report, which called for a 51% reduction in carbon emissions. By employing numerous innovative strategies for diminishing energy consumption, including decoupled neutral air systems, chilled beams, occupancy sensors, high-performance fume hoods, and energy wheels that recover heat and moisture from exhaust air, the facility achieved an over 50% reduction in energy consumption over LEED baseline and a LEED Platinum certification is anticipated.

Ballinger Principal Engineer on the project, Jonathan Friedan, LEED AP, said of the project, “I am proud to have collaborated with Brad Crowley who engineered this project, which has changed significantly the way we think about creating high-performance physical environments for learning, teaching, investigation, and collaboration.”

Brad Crowley will be accepting the award from the Society at their Annual Winter Conference January 28 – February 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV.  In March, the project will be the cover story of the ASHRAE Journal

Click here for more information about the 2017 Awardees.




Ballinger Celebrates Earth Day and A Sustainable Practice

Environmental stewardship is an enduring core value of our practice. As an integrated architectural and engineering practice, we view sustainability and design as inseparable. We seek collaborations with our clients to collectively inspire sustainable innovations. Many of our projects are seeking or have achieved certification via the U.S. Green Building Council LEED rating program. Ballinger was recently named Green Partner of the Year by Johns Hopkins University for the design of a new science teaching building that is anticipating LEED Platinum Certification. Our LEED Gold science building at Furman University was honored with an AIA Committee on the Environment Award for its innovative sustainability approaches.  The USGBC bestowed not only LEED Gold certification upon our Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, but also its annual Innovation in Green Building of the Year Award. These significant acknowledgements of innovation honor our commitment as a firm to the environment and to our client stewardship.

Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, Location: Madison WI, Architect: Ballinger Architects

Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, Location: Madison WI, Architect: Ballinger Architects

We approach sustainability in a holistic manner and seek synergistic solutions between the various components of the design, integrating architecture and landscape with high performance systems.  All recommendations are evaluated against the return on investment and take into account the ongoing challenges of operating and maintaining building systems with limited staff and reduced operational budgets.  It is also important to establish goals that are not only qualitative, such as the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), but also quantitative.

These goals can include:

  • Set Performance Targets for Annual Energy Usage and Annual Water Usage
  • Target significant reduction below ASHRAE 90.1 requirements and annual BTU/gsf benchmarks
  • Create incentive and awareness programs
  • Institute programs that help create awareness of the impact that the occupants have on the energy use of the building, and formulate incentives that motivate the users to perform in an energy conscious manner
  • Identify opportunities to use new buildings or site interventions as potential didactic tools for sustainable practices

High Performance Science Buildings

While academic buildings may reach a 100+ year life cycle, the mechanical and electrical systems generally require significant renewal every 20 to 30 years.  This is especially important in science and engineering buildings, as they must accommodate ever-changing technologies for analysis, computation, experimentation, fabrication, etc.  Our approach, in both new and renovation work, is to design a core infrastructure that can accommodate a wide range of possible fit-outs as programs evolve, and which can be replaced at the end of a life cycle without major building modification.

Create a building that minimizes systems demands / requirements:

To minimize energy demands, we address the following principles in our design process:

  • Optimize daylighting while minimizing solar gain in cooling season and utilizing solar gain in heating season.
  • Minimize energy loss through high performance wall, roof and glazing assemblies.
  • Consider natural ventilation, or hybrid ventilation, especially for public spaces that can be transitional between outdoor and indoor environments.
New Jersey Institute for Food Nutrition & Health at Rutgers College: New Brunswick, NJ, Architect: Ballinger Architects

New Jersey Institute for Food Nutrition & Health at Rutgers College: New Brunswick, NJ, Architect: Ballinger Architects

Maximize flexibility to accommodate convergent science and engineering:

Systems must be able to easily accommodate intertwined lab/classroom, dry/wet, macro/micro, chemical/biological, science/engineering, multi-discipline collaboration, and student projects.

Make systems adaptable to ever changing science and technology while minimizing preinvestment: 

Providing pathways for future services and space for future equipment may be more prudent than preinvesting in equipment and capacities that may not be utilized in the initial building program.

Minimize resource impact – minimize use of energy and water:

The absolute minimal impact is a net zero energy use building.  This is an aspirational goal for office buildings that can be evaluated during the project formation process.  If net zero is not immediately achievable as is the case presently for most science and healthcare projects, its eventual fulfillment can considered for future implementation.  Water use can be minimized with storm water reclamation for mechanical makeup – to chiller plant cooling towers, toilet flushing and irrigation.  Energy use can be mitigated through alternative ventilation strategies and high performance enclosures.

Science and Engineering Hall at The George Washington University: Washington, DC, Architect: Ballinger Architects

Science and Engineering Hall at The George Washington University: Washington, DC, Architect: Ballinger Architects

Make systems choices that are cost effective:

Both first cost and life cycle costs are important system evaluation criteria.   We will evaluate utility and other operating costs, as well as first costs and replacement costs.


Set energy goals early in the design process:

Using the latest in energy modeling software (IES) which works from a graphic interface (Sketch Up, Rhino or REVIT), we will set up a preliminary simplified energy model at the earliest phase of design to set energy goals and for comparison to recent benchmarks.  We also model highest performance “toward net zero” scenario, which will include all possible energy reduction strategies including natural/hybrid ventilation, active/passive shading, active/passive chilled beams, ground source heating/cooling, etc.  Using progressively more detailed modeling, we will evaluate particular strategies across the range of performance and cost criteria. These will coincide with key milestones for timely decision making as the design evolves.

At Ballinger, we believe that sustainable concepts and systems efficiency are integral to the design process. Happy Earth Day! 

University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Library Achieves LEED Gold

On February 22, 2016, the University of Michigan’s A. Alfred Taubman Health Sciences Library achieved LEED Gold Status.

The new library contains simulation suites, classrooms, collaboration labs, and study areas. Ballinger led the Medical School through a comprehensive project formation and benchmarking effort to determine the most effective design for a 21st century library space. The resulting 137,000-square-foot addition and renovation transformed the building into a light-filled, flexible facility that promotes collaboration and hands-on learning. In addition to programming, Ballinger served as the design architect and worked closely with local architect of record TMP Architecture.

Ballinger’s design rejuvenated the building by replacing the windowless brick walls with nearly 18,000 square feet of low-e glass. Double-height, naturally-lit lounges create an open, transparent environment.

Student and faculty can choose from a wide variety of flexible study and meeting space.   A new café and lounge welcome students and encourage spontaneous inter-disciplinary collaboration. Students hone their skills in THSL’s 30 realistic patient care rooms and by using the Anatomage Table, a life-sized interactive visualization system for anatomy education.

Ballinger Wins Wintergreen Award

The Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories project at the Johns Hopkins University won a Wintergreen Award in the Education Category. The Wintergreen Awards celebrate, promote and recognize excellence in high performance, healthy design and building; environmental stewardship and community impact; and serve to highlight the green building initiatives and achievements of the USGBC Maryland region.