Sara Pepitone | June 01, 2012
To say WSM Architects is a LEED expert is an understatement. In the last three years, the Tucson, AZ-based USGBC member firm completed eight LEED projects in Arizona and California. Each full-time architectural staffer is LEED accredited or preparing for the exam. At the start of a new project, the WSM team creates a spreadsheet calculating the possibilities of achieving every available LEED credit. The document shows the responsibilities of each team member, and accounts for the costs the client will incur for each LEED credit.
Paul Mickelberg, WSM’s president, says providing both long and short-term value to the client is what sustainable design is all about. “Long-term value is about people, providing an environment for staff to thrive and be efficient, effective, and safe. Short-term value is everything that helps the bottom line, from daylight to water recovery.”
Adjacent to a police station renovated by WSM in 2008, the City of Tucson Police Department Forensic Laboratory holds lab and office space for 12 departments of forensic analysts (from Arson to Toxicology, plus a firing range for Firearms). Like an artist’s studio, Mickelberg says, all labs are on the north side where the shaded daylight is very consistent. Besides a smart use of natural light throughout the 62,377-square foot building, which saves about 10-percent in lighting costs, water harvesting and conservation is a key element of the design. Condensation coming off the building is collected for landscaping use, a part of the plan to minimize waste and recover energy.
Water coming off the building's exterior is captured and used to irrigate the surrounding landscape.
The strategic use of natural light saves about 10 percent annually in lighting costs.
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