Push the envelope


“The envelope is here to stay—if you don’t design it right the first time, you may never achieve enough payback to retrofit it later.”
Interface Engineering

Refocus goals
Exterior envelope design must achieve its technical and functional requirements; and its aspirational goals. Aim high—it’s more difficult to value engineer sustainability when you’ve made it a priority and there is shared buy-in among the project team, consultants and key stakeholders. There are greater levels of success when a team commits to an aspirational goal—even if they miss it—they might fall to the next certification level.

Reconsider path to code compliance
All-glass buildings require the implementation of a plethora of other energy efficiency measures just to claw their way back to code compliance. Seek out opportunities to leverage the way buildings will be used (e.g., raising the sill height in an office context, use smaller window areas for bedrooms in a multi-family context) to optimize efficiency.

Believe and make the business case
There are great examples (both on small and large scales) that achieve lower window-to-wall ratios. In fact, John Buck looked at its buildings in the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program and found that those that benefited from high-performance envelope design are performing better across the board.

Leave a legacy
In other markets, tall buildings are being designed and built with facades that are more opaque and sustainable than those built in the U.S. Are those markets more advanced economically, culturally, literally and technologically? No. So, let’s do it in Chicago. These facades will be the face of Chicago for the next 100 years.

“We created a bridge between building management, development and finance. Now everyone is accountable to each other.”
The John Buck Company

“Goals begin with the vision of the client/owner and project stakeholders—extending from potential tenants out to society as a whole.”
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture LLP

“It’s time to develop buildings that reflect our culture rather than give us the same glass box.”
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

“There remains a split incentive in many landlord/tenant relationships, but increasingly tenants are demanding energy efficiency measures and value sustainability.”
Campbell Coyle Real Estate

“When you think all-glass façade, think 20-25% more building energy consumption. When you think less glass; think more daylight, comfort, privacy and views.”

“It starts with an architect who can take the successes out there and apply them to MY project.”
Related Midwest

“Gain an understanding of your overall goals before trying to dive into the weeds of sustainable building feature and products. This may sound obvious, but too often we forget to adopt a guiding set of design principles which should include sustainability.”