Recession? What recession? The slump in the housing market apparently has not hit SmithGroup, one of the nation’s leading sustainable design firms, too hard. This month the architecture and engineering group celebrates its 50th LEED certified project, and by the end of the year, estimates that its LEED certified projects will total somewhere between 60 and 65, making this year SmithGroup’s biggest so far for developments certified by the popular U.S. Green Building Council‘s program.
SmithGroup has been around for awhile (157 years, to be exact), so it’s had some time to make a name for itself. The firm’s diverse clients include some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities, healthcare providers, corporations, research institutions, and developers–many of whom, according to a recent release, recognize the value of sustainable design (and still have the cash to pay for it).
However, in recent years, the firm has decided to take their commitment to green further by incorporating sustainable design solutions into all projects, whether the client in question wanted to pursue LEED registration or not. One example is the new Clinical & Translational Research Building at the University of Louisville. While the University didn’t consider LEED Certification until construction was already underway, SmithGroup designers had already incorporated measures such as providing daylight to 75% of occupied spaces and selecting eco-friendly and recyclable materials. This made it easy for the client to not only meet but exceed the certification goal, achieving LEED Gold in February of 2010.
According to SmithGroup, sustainable design in hospitals, healthcare facilities and research laboratories–notoriously large consumers of energy–is also on the rise. “Our healthcare and research clients are realizing that sustainable design does not compromise, but rather enhances safety and well-being,” said Russell Perry, FAIA, LEED AP, co-director of Sustainable Design at SmithGroup, in a statement. He goes on to note that the firm is currently the architect for the nearly one-million-square foot California Pacific Medical Center Cathedral Hill Hospital in San Francisco for Sutter Health, which is targeting LEED Gold upon completion in 2015.