Tag Archive for: upstate NY architect

Want a Healthier Workplace? Try Architecture.

Creating a healthier workplace can cover many topics. Do we mean air quality of the building, employee satisfaction or the business bottom line? Yes, yes, & yes. Read on to learn how LEAP’s designs can holistically improve the health and productivity of your business. 

 

Happiness is a Key Ingredient in Healthier Workplace

If your employees wake up in the morning and think to themselves, “Another day at the fart-factory”, Milton in the basement, a poor example of business health(which is what my father snidely referred to the high school where he taught), maybe your space needs a little moral boost. So what goes into employee moral?

Well, job satisfaction and  purpose are two of the big ones touted regularly. But we have a suspicion that even with all the purpose in the world, if you stick someone down in the window-less basement with Milton, their job satisfaction will be taken away, just as sure as his stapler.

Why should you care about your employees’ happiness? Well, in a 2010 review, Brent D. Rosso, PhD showed that having job purpose increased motivation, engagement, empowerment, career development, job satisfaction, individual performance and personal fulfillment, and decreased absenteeism and stress (Research in Organizational Behavior, 2010). Furthermore, organizations directly benefit from workers who are invested in their jobs, as they are most likely to build new products and services, attract new customers and drive innovation (Gallup, 2013).

Okay, so happy employees need job satisfaction, job purpose, and a great environment. Jane E. Dutton, PhD, a professor at University of Michigan can help your employees find meaning in their work; Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace, 2013.

LEAP Architecture will show you 6 important design concepts, creating spaces where people can’t wait to get to work!

 

LEAP’s 6 Concepts for a Healthier Workplace

healthier workplace - aspects of a healthy building environment

 

Healthier Workplace: Increased Productivity

The 6 concepts above, work together to increase employee productivity and also client satisfaction. When employees feel better, they take fewer sick days and are more excited about their jobs. Did we mention that even Walmart redesigned their stores to incorporate skylights?

Good design reduces workplace stressors, such as:

  • Sick building syndrome – where mold, pollen, material off-gassing and  bioeffluence can build up
  • Poor lighting – where space feel confined and may be too dim, create glare, or have flickering fluorescent lights
  • Temperature gradients – sweltering or freezing, neither is comfortable
  • Noise – where it sound like your co-worker is sitting inside your cubicle, or sound from machinery

Good news, LEAP isn’t alone in this mission of business health. There are at least 2 programs out there, International WELL Building Institute and Fitwel, offering guidance and certification for healthy building. The other good news is that LEAP’s commitment to human and environmental health is already built into our design approach!

 

How does your business environment stack up? If there are some areas that could use improvement, give us a call. We can help.

 

Architects Creative Every Day Features LEAP

LEAP Founder—Eric Davenport—relates what the life of an Albany Architect is like, in this 6 strip comic by local artist Ira Marks. 

 

architects creative every day

Architects Creative Every Day

Creative Every Day – Tales of Art and Life Colliding – is a collection of stories from local creatives around the Capital District of New York. It was conceived, collected, drawn and collated by local cartoonist, Ira Marks. This book, available in print or as an electronic PDF, is meant as a resource for kids, parents and teachers who wants to know what it’s like to work in a creative industry. The entire collection can be found at creativeeveryday.us LEAP Architecture is proud to be included among the many talented folks who shared their creative stories!

Life of an Architect


Q: What got you interested in solar powered cars in high school?

Eric: I was fortunate that in my high school, we were able to chose specialty tracks, and I choose engineering and design. My teacher had us look at designing solar cars, as there were so many aspects to consider. They needed to be lightweight, yet have enough solar panels to produce sufficient energy. They needed to carry a person in relative comfort, move forward, be aerodynamic, and also have enough surface area to orient the solar panels in the proper direction to capture sunlight. The exercise helped open my mind to all of the design demands a project could have, and think about how best to balance competing needs.


Q: Do you think people generally think of architecture as a creative career?

Eric: Yes and no. Some people are under the impression that architecture is strictly engineering—math, math, math—and crazy number crunching. Others have the impression that I sit around and draw artistic pictures of buildings all day. It’s really much more a holistic approach, managing projects and managing people. I would say the biggest skill I apply everyday is creative common sense.


Q: What do you hope people will take away from this cartoon?

Eric: Don’t be afraid of hard work. When you find something you are passionate about, you don’t mind spending the long hours to make it successful. When I was an intern in NYC, my mentor tried to convince me (& all the other interns) NOT to become an architect. Despite his warning of hard work, long hours, and little glory, I knew that being an architect is what I wanted to do then and I’m still passionate about it today.


Q: What reaction did your own kids have, seeing you in a cartoon?

Eric: Well, compared to some of the other stories, my oldest daughter thought mine was boring. She would have like to see me jumping off a building, or imbued with a superpower. So, let me reiterate,there is little glory being an architect. My daughter is a super-creative young actress, dancer, and designer of clothes. I think building design is not in her future, but my hope is this comic strikes a chord with a young version of me, dreaming of the day their designs become real structures.


Want to get to know Eric even better? Check out our post Meet the Architect.

Do you work in a field that allows you to be creative? We’d love to hear what it is. Leave a comment below and tell us what you do!

Passive House Design: Air Sealing & Pink Slime

This is the fourth post in our series on Passive House Design. If you missed either of the previous, click on the links below to get up to speed! LEAP’s intelligent design process consists of four main steps. Today we explore the importance of air sealing, and pink slime—that’s a technical term.

 

Passive House Design Process

  1. Site Analysis
  2. Doors and Windows
  3. Insulation
  4. Air Sealing

“Your Love is Lifting Me Higher”

We want you to have a love affair with your house or office building (or why not both?). It should be an uplifting space that makes you want to sing and dance. And hopefully it’s just you dancing—because your building is (or should be)—coated with pink slime. Not the psychomagnotheric slime that had lady liberty strolling around, cracking domes like soft boiled eggs, but the air sealing kind.

Air sealing is critical to temperature and moisture control, and reduces draftiness, noise and pollutants. It also plays an important role in energy efficiency. Proper sealing of joints and penetrations in the building envelope can reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling by 30%.

passive house design, air sealing, spray on seal

Here is an example from Ghostbusters II, where they went a little overboard with air sealing the building.

 

The Ghosts of Air Sealing

The wind whistling past your building at night can do more than just make eerie noises. It can actually create a negative pressure zone, which tries to suck air out from the inside. Here is a list of critical locations where air tries to get out (or in—refer to image at the top):

  • Around doors and windows
  • Around electrical fixtures
  • Basement band joist and exterior penetrations
  • Wiring/plumbing/duct penetrations
  • Vertical meets horizontal planes: (roof to wall, floor to wall, wall to wall)

Air Barriers are materials that stop moisture-laden air from entering building assemblies, reduce air leakage and, wind-driven air from entering into and through insulation. Examples of air barriers:

  • Interior drywall, fully sealed for continuity and air tightness.
  • Exterior sheathing: plywood, OSB*, fully sealed for continuity and air tightness. (*needs coating)

How do you ensure that these sheathings are fully sealed? Pink slime to the rescue! Certain spray foams and caulks are applied to the framing members to effectively seal the locations mentioned above. One of the products we like is by Owens Corning. They make a spray foam with flexible seal technology (and yes, it is pink). Not all spray foams can be used for air sealing. Some do not adhere well to the frame, and some are too rigid, which means they can crack and create gaps as the structure settles.

So, with yet another set of important design considerations to manage…

 

Who Ya Gonna Call?   LEAP ARCHITECTURE!

We ain’t afraid of no gaps!

LEAP works with energy star certified framers and contractors, who know how to seal and frame correctly, saving you from any number of scary scenarios down the road. Proper air sealing is that much harder if the framing member aren’t in correct place, which is why LEAP specifies a detailed instructions for framing and construction. One of our the most notable directives: ROCK the CEILING FIRST!

LEAP specifies that the ceiling be sheet-rocked before the wall framing goes up. This allows the space behind the walls to basically be capped by the ceiling, instead of creating an ‘air corridor’ directly up to the attic and below to the basement. The energy benefits gained using this method totally outweigh any inconvenience for builders.

passive house design, blower-test

Kit to conduct Blower Test to measure air sealing. (looks suspiciously like an ecto-containment unit)

So how do you know that you have achieve effective containment? Well, blower door testing is a diagnostic tool designed to measure the air tightness of buildings. It uses a calibrated fan capable of measuring airflow, mounted in a flexible panel positioned in an external door. A pressure-sensing device measures the air pressure created by the fan. The fan both pressurizes and depressurizes the home. By recording both flow and pressure in each direction, the system is able to provide highly detailed information about building air tightness.

There are two main ways that blower-door tests are reported: airflow at a pressure difference of 50 Pascals (cfm50) or air changes per hour at a pressure difference of 50 Pascals (ACH50). The first number — cfm50 — can be read directly off the airflow manometer at the time of the test. The second number — ACH50 — can only be calculated once the building’s volume has been determined. To calculate ACH50, multiply cfm50 by 60 minutes per hour and divide the product by the building volume, including the basement, measured in cubic feet.(1)

Passive House Design requires an ACH50 of 0.6, which is pretty rigorous to achieve. Aside from Passive House, standard New York State requirements for building tightness are likely to be upgraded by October 2016, where all constructions must meet and ACH50 of 3. This means 3 air changes or less per hour, which will require installation of a whole house ventilation system per ASHRAE standards.

passive house design, air sealing

Air Change per hour at 50 pascals (ACH50) as it relates to Passive House Design and mechanical ventilation requirements.

[box type=”bio”] Contact LEAP to design an air-tight building worthy of an ecto containment unit and watch as we fire up our foam insulation spray guns (we won’t cross the streams!).[/box]

Passive House Design: Insulation–That’s a Wrap

This is the third post in our series on Passive House Design. If you missed either of the previous, click on the links below to get up to speed! LEAP’s intelligent design process consists of four main steps, each building on the previous. Site analysis is the first step, because it informs all the other steps. You can have all of the best windows, doors, and insulation, but their effectiveness is diminished if the orientation of the structure isn’t correct.

Passive House Design Process

Today we explore the importance of insulation, and avoidance of thermal bridging.

  1. Site Analysis
  2. Doors and Windows
  3. Insulation
  4. Air Sealing

Insulation to Minimize Heat Loss

A typical modern house loses and gains approximately 150 kWh/m²a of heat, where the units refer to energy per floor area. A “leaky house” will have double those losses — think older windows, no wall insulation, and degraded door seals. On the other hand, a passive house will be 20x more efficient compared to the leaky house, and 10x more than a typical modern house. A big part of how Passive House Design minimizes thermal gains and losses is through super insulation.

passive house insulation, passive house design

Comparison of heat gains and losses for different house types.

Passive House Standards

Per the definition of Passive House—it can use no more than 1.4 kWh per 1 ft² of living space annually. For example, a 2,000 ft² house would only use 2,800 kWh per year, which comes out to $280/yr (@ 10 cents/kWh). To achieve this efficiency, we’ve discussed how the structure’s envelop must be air-tight, but we also need to insulate the heck out of it.

The insulation itself is generally comprised of multiple layers, all with high R-values. This insulation covers the entire envelope of the structure, including under the footing,with the only exception being the windows and doors. To be continuous, the insulation goes on the outside of the framing, opposed to between studs in a conventional building. The outermost layer of the insulation-sandwich is a water/wind membrane, which tends to be UV sensitive. This necessitates installing siding to cover and protect the membrane.

This configuration significantly reduces the heat transfer through the walls, roof and floor compared to conventional buildings. A wide range of thermal insulation materials can be combined to provide the required high R-values. Special attention is also given to eliminating thermal bridges.

A thermal bridge is a break in the insulation surrounding the house. In a traditional home, this would include all framing members of the structure, and things like porches and overhangs. Thermal bridges lead to massive heat loss, negating the benefit of “over insulating” the structure.

passive house insulation, passive house design

Example of a possible combination of insulation layers for a Passive House Design.

 

 Much Ado About Porches, Decks, and Overhangs

We don’t pay special attention to these “add-ons” for nothing. There are lurking thermal bridges…ready to let all the heat in (or out) of our carefully crafted structure. So instead of penalizing Passive House structures and sending them to the corner with no porches or decks, we work around it. Normally a ledger board would be affixed to the structure as a supporting member for the deck or porch. Instead, we design it to stand-off, and put all of our support posts in the ground. In this manner, we avoid creating a break in the continuous insulation wrap.

So to wrap up, (pun intended), think of super insulation for a passive house like Ralphie’s brother in a Christmas Story. He is bundled to the max, layer upon layer of winter clothes, along with socks, boots, gloves, and his hood pulled so tight that he can barely see—and all on the outside of his “frame”. I guess Randy and Ralphies’ mother understood the dangers of heat loss and thermal bridging back in the 50’s. That lady was well ahead of her time.

[box type=”bio”] Interested in Passive House or Green Building Design? Whether you want to start from scratch or renovate—we can help! Every $1 spent on design saves $10 in construction costs. Don’t shoot your eye out. Let us provide you the best design possible. Contact us to get started.[/box]

Passive House Design: Windows— A Dark Age Salvation

We are continuing our series on Passive House Design. LEAP’s intelligent design process consists of four main steps, each with the aim to maximize human comfort, energy efficiency, and real cost savings. Today we explore the importance of good windows and doors, along with what constitutes them as such.

Passive House Design Process

  1. Site Analysis
  2. Doors and Windows
  3. Insulation
  4. Air Sealing

We Aren’t Living in the Dark Ages, or Are We?

So you took a perfectly good, well insulated structure and put holes in it. Oops, I mean windows. You put windows in. But that’s one of the reasons we crawled out of caves and stopped living like mole-people. Our homes and offices are more pleasant with natural light and vitamin D.

Let’s look at an example somewhere between mole-people era and modern times—the reign of castles. I think we can agree that castles were not the pinnacle of energy efficiency. To support this claim, Eric “Outlander” Castle_R-value, passive house designDavenport, traveled back in time to report the effective R-values of castles as 4… Well, in comparison, the effective R-value of a passive house is 42. (Well really it’s 40, but we all know the answer to life, universe and everything is 42).

 

So what the heck is this effective R-value you speak of?

R-value stands for resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating value.

Effective R-values are the TOTAL resistances provided by all components in a wall assembly. This equates to patience and higher math—tallying up the  thermal bridging, air infiltration, radiant heat loss or gain, and moisture impact on the overall structure. These factors usually reduce the effectiveness of the labeled R-value, on say conventional cavity-filled insulation.

Poor window quality can totally tank your whole effective R-value. You can construct your walls from the most insulating material in the world, but if you’re then installing crap windows, you might as well tack an oil cloth over the opening and call it good.

Which brings us to the puffy sleeves of the 1980’s. Building designers deemed “Windows for all” & “Architecture is above human whims!”, as a backlash to the 1970’s energy crisis and inoperable windows. This equated to: we can put windows everywhere, (even on the—gasp—west side of the building) and a window, is a window, is a window. We shall install the same windows in New York, California, and Alaska—climate dependence be dammed!

Well, to give you an idea of how well that worked out—the one design fits all approach—the effective R-value of these buildings dropped back to 4. Yes, 4. Your new, beautiful, big-hair building is the energy equivalent of living in a drafty castle. Back to the dark ages. (Weren’t puffy sleeves popular in the middle ages too? Coincidence?)

So we continue to claw our way out of the dark days of the 80’s, towards the light of Passive House Design. Good windows (and doors) equals a good thermal envelope, which equals a high effective R-value (42!), which spreads comfort and energy efficiency across the land.

 

What Constitutes a High Efficiency Window?

Soft, but what light through yonder window breaks? It faces east, and  2″ is the notch. Or rather, placement and construction—a high efficiency window doth make. And who pray tell constructs the finest windows in the land? Well, the Europeans do. Perhaps it was those long, drafty years of castle living that haunt their collective consciousness. But at any rate, they have figured out how to build a great window.  And the big secret? A deep notch.

A deep notch accomplishes two things: makes the structure stronger, and reduces thermal bridging. The wood/glass interface is the weakest part of the window, and also where most of the energy is lost. European windows have a 2″ notch, whereas most American made windows are only 1/2″. This extra 1.5″ seats the glass securely in the frame and significantly reduces air leakage.

The Passive House Institute has a database of Passive House Certified windows and doors (and no, they don’t have to be European). When manufacturers from anywhere meet Passive House specifications, they can become certified. Below is an example of what a Passive House Institute certification seal looks like. Notice the list of 7 different climate regions.

phius-window-certification-for-the-us

Types of Windows

The type of window is also important. Double hung are out. Casement, awning, and fixed windows are in. Tilt-turn windows are a good option for functionality and air sealing, see image below. The three positions (fixed, tilt, turn) allow for security, venting and ease of cleaning, respectively.

Placement is another key factor. For balanced daylighting, large and floor to ceiling windows are typically placed on south and east facing walls. Small windows are placed high up on the north facing wall. As a rule of thumb, window area is no more than 10% of the total floor area for a given room. This helps prevent overheating in the summer and losing heat in the winter.

3-Tilt-Turn-Windows-passive house design

Tilt Turn Windows are a good choice for Passive House Design. Image from Glo Windows.

 

We didn’t really touch much on doors, but the same principles apply: good sturdy frames and good sealing will be more energy efficient. Bad doors are like installing a portcullis? It’ll keep the critters out, but not much else. The payback for spending a little more money upfront on good doors and windows is well worth it. Want to know how much? Contact LEAP Architecture today, and we can fill you in!

 

 

It’s Alive! Passive House Must Breathe.

In the next few posts, we are going to break down some of the key elements of Passive House Design. Today we examine the part of the mechanical system—proper ventilation and energy recovery.

Passive House Design Process

 

No One Likes Stale Air.

Passive buildings are designed to be air tight. Really air tight. But we want clean air to breathe, and keep our home feeling fresh. So how do we efficiently bring it in? In the northeast, the outside air is too hot and humid in the summer, and far too cold in the winter. This predicament traditionally necessitates the use of furnaces and air conditioners—the darlings of your utility bill.

Passive Building Design takes a more clever approach.

[box] Summer = hot air outside/cool air inside

⇒ use outgoing stale air to cool down incoming fresh air

Winter = cold air outside/warm air inside

⇒ use outgoing stale air to warm up incoming fresh air[/box]

And never the twain shall meet. Incoming and outgoing air streams are kept completely separate from each other, so stale air doesn’t end up back in your environment.

 

What Sorcery is This?

Let me introduce the star of the show—  ERV, or for those not into architecture acronyms Energy Recovery Ventilator. This is the preferred system here in the northeast US, due to our high humidity and wide temperature range. The beauty of an ERV is that is can harvest heat in the winter and reduce heat in the summer, while effectively manage humidity. The humidity component increases the energy harvesting efficiency of ERV and creates a more comfortable living environment.

 

ERV_graphic, passive house ventilation

Schematic of an Energy Recover Ventilator (ERV) for Passive Buildings.

In the summertime (cooling season), the system conditions incoming warm, humid air by passing it over coils or channels containing stale, cool air being exhausted from the house. Desiccants are used to remove humidity from the fresh air intake, which adds to the cooling effect. In the winter, the system uses warm, stale air being exhausted from the house to pre-heat the incoming fresh air. Humidity can be added to incoming air in order to maintain a comfortable level, preventing humans from drying out!

mechanical_ventilation, passive house

Mechanical ventilation diagram for Passive House Design.

Typical ventilation systems are set up to extract stale air from the “wet” areas of the house—kitchens, bathrooms and storage rooms—through the use of ventilation ducts that channel air though the ERV and exhaust it outside. Incoming air is ducted from the outside of the building, into the ERV, and then into bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms. Inline filters can be added to the incoming air stream to remove pollen and other particulates.

For typical homes, only a single ERV  and blower are required and they reside inside the house for a low maintenance operation.  Heat exchange efficiency can range from 50 to 90%, depending on the type of system and manufacturer. It is generally accepted that ERV can cut energy usage by 50%.

High-efficiency ERV systems ensure optimal indoor air quality and comfortable living for energy-efficient and passive building construction. The whole house ventilation system really is like the heart and lungs of a passive building.

[box type=”bio”] Eric Davenport, LEAP’s founder is Passive House Certified, and understands the ins and outs of these systems. If you are considering a new build, or even a retrofit, leverage our expertise to get the most out of your project.[/box]

 

 

Modern Addition – Dramatic Before and After Reveal

LEAP Architecture had the vision that transformed a little run-of-the-mill ranch house into a two-story, light and spacious modern-home. Form follows function in this Upstate NY modern addition, where every detail from bathroom tile glaze to the support structure for the great room was considered with the occupants, the environment and the budget in mind.

 

Architect’s Vision of a Modern Addition – Albany, NY

 

Vision of Air and Light

Where before rooms were dark and cramped, the new open floor plan – with floor to ceiling windows – fills the space with abundant natural light. It quite literally looks like a completely different house.

 

Dream Home, Sweet Home

LEAP succeeded in making the house feel vibrant and fresh, adding 520 sq. ft of new  living area and completely renovating an existing 680 sq. ft of interior space. In an effort maximize the occupant’s enjoyment of their backyard, a 20 sq. ft balcony and 200 sq. ft deck were seamlessly incorporated into the design. And the homeowners? They are over the moon about their updated living space.

“I measure the success of a project by the satisfaction of the homeowners”, says Eric Davenport, LEAP’s founder and chief architect, “and their satisfaction comes from LEAP’s innovative design process”.

 

Innovative Design

What does he mean exactly? Well, a LEAP architect considers a project from every possible angle – design, sustainability, cost, but mostly importantly the occupants.

How do the homeowners want to feel in this space? How will they move through it? How can their home best serve their dreams, desires and needs? Davenport is a master of envisioning this, and uses it to inform all other design considerations.

In this project, the owners wanted their home to feel expansive, luxurious, and joyful. They wanted to reconnect as a couple and delight in their living space. We were so honored to work with them and bring their dream-home to fruition.

 

Before and After Reveal

The before and after addition images are pretty staggering. Check out them out for yourself and leave us a comment. We’d love to hear what you think!

Still curious about our design process? Read more about LEAP’s process and see additional interior photos from this project here.

Have a dream project of your own? Contact LEAP to make it happen!

leap_architecture_residential_home_renovation-A

First floor view, showing expanded open floor plan – new kitchen area, dining room, and cozy nook with fireplace.

leap_architecture_residential_home_renovation_kitchen

Dramatic update of the kitchen area -clean, bright and functional.

leap_architecture_residential_home_renovation-B

Existing space was altered, with walls and ceiling removed to create an open floor plan.

2030 Challenge: Carbon-Neutral Buildings

Architecture 2030 issued The 2030 Challenge asking the global architecture and building community to implement carbon-neutral design by 2030. LEAP Architecture accepts this challenge!

All new buildings, developments, and major renovations shall be carbon-neutral by 2030

Buildings are the major source of global demand for energy and materials that produce by-product greenhouse gases (GHG). Carbon-neutral, also called carbon neutrality is a term used to describe the action of organizations, businesses and individuals taking action to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as each put in to it. The overall goal of carbon neutrality is to achieve a zero carbon footprint.

Slowing the growth rate of GHG emissions and then reversing it is the key to addressing climate change and keeping global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

To accomplish this, Architecture 2030 issued The 2030 Challenge asking the global architecture and building community to adopt the following targets:

 

Graphic showing the move toward carbon-neutral by reducing greenhouse gas emissions over time

  • All new buildings, developments and major renovations shall be designed to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 70% below the regional (or country) average/median for that building type.
  • At a minimum, an equal amount of existing building area shall be renovated annually to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 70% of the regional (or country) average/median for that building type.
  • The fossil fuel reduction standard for all new buildings and major renovations shall be increased to:
    • 80% in 2020
    • 90% in 2025
    • Carbon-neutral in 2030 (using no fossil fuel GHG emitting energy to operate).

 

These targets may be accomplished by implementing innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable power and/or purchasing (20% maximum) renewable energy.

Graphic showing design strategy + technologies + off-site renewable energy will lead to carbon-neutral building

The Impact of the 2030 Challenge

The 2030 Challenge has been adopted and is being implemented by 80% of the top 10 and 70% of the top 20 architecture/engineering/planning firms in the U.S. In addition, the AIA, ASHRAE, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the federal government, and many other organizations and state and local governments and agencies have adopted the Challenge. In Canada, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Ontario Association of Architects and cities such as Vancouver have also adopted the Challenge targets.

Since 2006, the landscape for low-carbon building has been transformed, and building with sustainability and high performance in mind has become the standard approach. Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings have gone from being prototypes and experiments to being widely built and, in the case of California, being the standard that will be adopted for new residential buildings in 2020 and commercial buildings in 2030. Of course, this entire shift is not only due to the 2030 Challenge, but it has been key in helping focus the industry’s attention on the problem, and suggested a path to solving it.

 

For more information, visit: www.architecture2030.org

Modern Addition – With The Environment In Mind

LEAP designed this modern addition to completely transform this formerly run-of-the-mill house into something breathtaking. In addition to the clean lines and spaciousness, this home is energy efficient, uses recycled materials, and speaks to a client’s passions.

Modern Addition


The kitchen, before and after.

The kitchen, before and after.

Site Planning

When first meeting with the homeowner, a LEAP architect discovered an impressive back yard: brick pathways, planting beds with beautiful gardens, outbuildings with wooden patina, and a stone fire pit. So, instead of thinking about the addition in terms of expanding the existing house into the yard, the architect decided to expand the yard into the house.

Instead of expanding the house into the yard, we decided to expand the yard into the house.leap_architecture_residential_home_renovation-04

Environmentally Minded Modern Addition

The resulting design utilizes steel posts instead of the conventional concrete foundation. The construction is lifted from the ground similar to a deck, and all concrete was removed from the design.

Concrete is extremely resource-intensive, and contributes to a large carbon footprint of any construction project. By removing it, the architect saved tons of carbon from being produced, further contributing to the conservation of resources for this addition.

Modern Addition Albany, NY

Other environmental factors include the use of spray foam insulation that utilizes a water-based blowing agent: high R-value with less of a carbon footprint to install.

Design of the building’s geometry matters. All of the windows in the existing house were replaced with more efficient units, but are small and punched-through walls so daylight was at a minimum. The new design places glazing near the top, and allows the sun light to be reflected deep into the space reducing the amount of electricity needed for lights.

Read more about this addition’s before and after on our stories page.


LEAP Architecture

Businesses and families hire LEAP Architecture as their Commercial or Residential architect.

Whether in New York City or in Upstate from Hudson to Albany, in Saratoga or in the Adirondacks, a LEAP architect will help you develop creative design solutions.

Click here to contact LEAP Architecture

 

Have questions for the architect? Ask them here…

Fresh Update for Saratoga Springs Modern Addition

This Saratoga Springs Modern Addition  for a family of four provided an additional 1,000 square feet to accommodate a family room, dining room, garage, and bedroom with a master suite added onto their existing home. They found the modern architect they were looking for with LEAP.

LEAP Architect Designs Saratoga Springs Modern Addition

Net Zero Energy Strategies

This home, like many designed by LEAP, has the potential to achieve net-zero energy use. Net-zero energy designs produce as much or more than the energy they consume. NYSERDA has launched its Low-Rise Residential New Construction Program to encourage such buildings, both through financial incentives and technical assistance.

To learn more about how to achieve net-zero energy use, contact LEAP Architecture.

Modern Architecture: Design Details

The addition is a modern response to the clients desires for innovative materials and brighter spaces with a cohesive interior, while the exterior emphasizes a fresh presence in the neighborhood.

 

The House

An affordable solution that integrated green design, craftsmanship, modern design sensibilities, and innovative solutions exceeded client expectations.

 


LEAP Architecture

Businesses and families have hired LEAP Architects when looking for a Residential or Commercial architect.

Whether in New York City or in Upstate from Hudson to Albany, in Saratoga or in the Adirondacks, a LEAP architect will help you develop creative design solutions.

Click here to contact LEAP Architecture

 

Have questions for the architect? Ask them here…