Sustainability and Creation Care

Over the past few decades, Christians have become increasingly aware of the impact modern life has on both the environment and the economy through resource usage, operating costs and pollution. This awareness has led to the concept of Creation Care, a principle of stewardship based on God’s command for humans to be caretakers of the earth (Genesis 2:15). As architects, we embrace our role as participants in this calling to inform our clients of the options available, guide them to an appropriate decision and apply principles of sustainable design wherever appropriate. We – along with our consultants – have achieved accreditation by the United Sates Green Building Council to consult on sustainability issues, and we bring that expertise to every project.

There are many sustainable strategies applicable to the design and construction of buildings. Some applications are simple and cost no more than the traditional alternatives, while others require a greater creative and financial commitment. Although it is possible to implement these strategies on a case-by-case basis, it is generally best to take a comprehensive approach, as the effectiveness of any given strategy often depends on others.

  • Site Strategies
  • • Locate and organize your site to take advantage of public transportation, car-pooling and bicycling
  • • Minimize storm water runoff with rain gardens and bioswales filled with thirsty native plants
  • • Limit dark surfaces that build up and radiate excessive heat by using concrete and crushed stone instead of asphalt
  • • Share parking with neighboring businesses and schools (if permitted by local zoning authorities)
  • • Orient the building to take advantage of sunshine, shade trees and prevailing breezes
  • Material Strategies
  • • Repurpose an existing building rather than build a new one
  • • Specify local products and materials and avoid sources more than 500 miles away
  • • Reclaim and reuse materials from your existing building or from salvage yards
  • • Choose products that are made from recycled materials, are sustainably produced and are recyclable
  • • Only use materials that have no- or low amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can
  • cause illness or allergic reactions
  • • Specify white or light-colored roofing to minimize heat build-up from the sun
  • • Minimize the amount of materials used by avoiding excessive layers of detail
  • Energy Strategies
  • • Maximize controlled natural light in all spaces, and shade direct sunlight
  • • Provide natural ventilation with operable windows, and use high-performance glass
  • • Specify Energy Star-rated appliances and fixtures, and use compact-fluorescent or LED light bulbs
  • • Zone the mechanical heating and ventilation system so you heat or cool only occupied spaces
  • • Choose low-flow and dual-flush plumbing fixtures, and provide motion sensor switches and valves
  • • Provide the maximum practical amount of insulation in walls and roofs
  • • Purchase renewable energy credits from your local utility
  • • Generate your own power with solar panels, geothermal heat pumps or wind turbines