Sustainable Spaces: A Case Study & Key Considerations

Shivani Patel

Shivani Patel

Architecture, LEED AP

January 18, 2024

As a global community with environmental challenges and the urgency of addressing climate change, an international design standard has emerged as a pivotal force in the fight for a greener future. Steering the way towards sustainability is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED); a globally recognized certification and rating system. LEED has become the defining principle for designing buildings that prioritize sustainability, energy efficiency, and the well-being of both people and the planet. In this article, we’ll dive into the concept of LEED and explore how we can shape modern architecture, showcasing the tremendous impact of sustainable design in one of our most recent projects, Antech Diagnostics Dallas.

 

LEED serves as a comprehensive framework that guides architects, designers, and developers in designing, constructing, and operating environmentally responsible and efficient buildings. There are four levels of LEED achievement: Certified, Silver, Gold, and the highest achievement, Platinum. Antech Diagnostics Dallas will be aiming to achieve LEED Gold.

 

It’s important to note that the impact of this framework goes beyond environmental significance. These standards embody a holistic approach that considers the long-term impacts of the economy, society, government, and the welfare of occupants. Some key principles that LEED projects must adhere to are:

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Sustainable Materials
  • Water Conservation
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Sustainable Site Development
  • Innovation and Design Process

Case study: antech dallas

Project Location: Dallas, Texas

Certification Type: LEED v4.1 ID+C: Commercial Interiors

Size: 19,978 Square Feet

Antech Diagnostics is an international company that specializes in diagnostics and imaging for the veterinary industry and is a division of Mars Petcare. The company encourages economic, environmental, and social growth when designing each Antech space. An example of this is their Dallas location going for LEED Gold certification. This facility will provide access to sustainable forms of urban mobility like bike racks and tram routes nearby, as well as include showers and wellness and mothers’ room all while considering nature (landscape) and acoustics for sound control in the design. This will be the first time an Antech project has achieved a LEED Gold certification. Key features for this case study are finishes, material locality, the reusability, cost, and distance of products from the project location, and a thoughtful MEP design.

Material Reuse and Panorama:

Finding locally sourced materials will help the LEED Gold category of Material and Resource. Doing so brings the transportation costs down and reduces carbon footprints. The former workspace of the Antech Dallas location was used as a primary material supply, providing the design team with ample products to use and repurpose. A few methods that will help us achieve this category:

  • Reusing existing doors to create feature walls at the training area and breakroom.
  • Creating a new space design without removing or replacing any existing exterior walls.
  • Engaging real plants in the design for a relaxing and calming environment, and interior aesthetics.
  • Prioritizing reusing roof top units.

Sustainable and Efficient Operations:

The primary goal in this category is monitoring and analyzing operations to be able to continue improving the spaces carbon outputs. A few methods that will help us achieve this category:

  • Using specialized monitors to collect indoor air quality data, including temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide.
  • Providing the required signage outside of the building for better indoor air quality.
  • Using energy star approved appliances that consume less electricity.

Carbon Footprint and Waste Reduction:

One of the best ways to be greener is to be more efficient. From reducing waste to cutting down delivery costs to reallocating resources more effectively, improving project efficiency not only improves profitability, but also reduces project waste. A few methods that will help us achieve this category:

  • Incorporating demountable walls as a creative element in the design to help reconfigure the area without any waste for future changes. This also reduces the square footage of drywall used (which has no reusability).
  • Using all acoustics from locally manufactured companies within 100 miles of the project location.
  • Using metal walls for not only the purpose of aesthetics, but to reduce the amount of drywall used. This is also a cradle-to-cradle approach, which is going to help reuse the product at the end of its lifecycle within this space.
  • Adding required recycling options like bins for paper, plastic, glass, cardboard, corrugated and metal, batteries and electronic waste, and wet garbage.

The impact of designing for a LEED certified space goes far beyond just environmental. LEED offers cost-saving benefits and economic, governance, human health, and societal rewards. It’s a commitment to a better future by contributing to the broader global effort to mitigate climate change and enhance quality of life. As the demand for environmentally responsible buildings continues to grow, the forefront of a green building revolution will shape the future of architecture and urban development. LEED is a shining example of how design can change the world for the better.

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