Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DG Headquarters Wins AIA Citation Award

The Design Group has been honored this year with several awards for design excellence, including two for our Headquarters building!

DG Headquarters received an AIA Albuquerque 2011 Citation Award, and a NAIOP 2011 Award of Merit for a Renovation/Remodel project.

Other DG projects honored this year include:
  • Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, Santa Fe, NM - Associated Builders & Contractors Eagle Award, Healthcare
  • Los Lunas Substance Abuse Center, Los Lunas, NM - NAIOP Award of Merit 2011, Medical
  • UNM Hodgin Hall, Albuquerque, NM - NAIOP Award of Merit 2011, Educational Remodel

Friday, October 28, 2011

GSA: "Green Buildings Pay Off"

A provocative issue within the green building movement has always been: are these green buildings really sustainable? Are they saving energy and money? Are the occupants happier and healthier? What are the real benefits to owners, occupants and the environment?

These very issues were recently addressed in a white paper released by the General Services Administration (GSA). For more than a decade, GSA, the real estate arm of the Federal government responsible for housing federal agencies, has been pursuing sustainable building practices. Their findings on green building performance cut through the conjecture and demonstrated bona fide benefits from going green.

The study compared 22 green buildings to the average commercial facility in the United States and found that the green buildings are producing results. These include:

  • a 19% reduction in maintenance costs 
  • a 25% savings in energy and water 
  • a 36% reduction in CO2 emissions 
  • 27% more occupants were satisfied with their space

These numbers establish real results for sustainable building practices and provide even more incentive to push for these numbers to become even higher.

For more information, follow the link below, and click on ‘white paper’ at the bottom of the article.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Exploring Albuquerque's Past

A fascinating new website called What Was There reveals the historical side of locations around the world. The user-powered site allows visitors to link archival photographs with their modern counterparts via Google Maps, and an integrated Street View feature lets you fade between past and present.

We’re proud to see our own award-winning renovation project at Fourth and Gold currently listed for Albuquerque. Once a post office built in the early 1900’s, the building is now Amy Biehl Charter High School.

Friday, September 2, 2011

50% in Energy Savings

The Design Group Headquarters is estimated to be saving over 50%, or 42,446 kWh, in energy use annually when compared to the same building built to conventional code.  That’s enough energy to run a 100 W conventional light bulb for 24 hours a day for 50 years. (Assuming any light bulb could last that long!)  This energy savings comes from a variety of strategies Design Group has employed:  

-Building envelope upgrades have included efficient glazing in all the windows, additional roof insulation, and furring out the interior of the exterior walls with more insulation.  

-A more efficient lighting plan, using LEDs instead of incandescent lights saved over 60% alone.  

-Operable windows allow for the HVAC system to be turned off during shoulder seasons, and cross ventilation to cool the building.

-Solar Panels producing energy onsite contribute significantly to the overall energy savings.  In the month of April, they met almost 80% of the building’s total energy needs.

Of course, 50% is the projected energy savings.  In an effort to track real life performance Design Group has registered the building with Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager and is tracking its electricity, gas and water use based on its actual bills.  This real life data will not only be important in evaluating the performance of the DGHQ, but will be key to strategizing what works and what doesn’t in all of Design Group’s projects.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Design Group Headquarters - Off to a Running Start

The Design Group has officially taken up residence in their new headquarters, and the new space has been a great hit with staff and visitors alike.  The operable desks, solar panels and abundant daylight are a few of the building’s popular features.  The main conference room has also been a great resource for the community holding neighborhood association meetings, and is scheduled to host USGBC webinars for chapter members and the public.  (The conference room is also available for YOUR community event; please see the calendar tab at the top of this page.)  However there have been a few hiccups as the staff has settled in.  Too much light at certain times of day was creating a glare problem that will be addressed with a new light shelf system.  A missing damper on a mechanical unit created a noise resembling an aircraft take-off; the part has been installed and the work area is back to a dull murmur.  These issues have been small, but have been reminders that while no design is perfect, a good team can work through them.  The new building and work spaces are a complete transformation from the previous environment and the Design Group is looking forward to growing into its new headquarters.