June @ the AIA

Summer starts with a few tours and a few free webinars, Join YAF to visit The River House, or attend the next AIA+2030 session and tour Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus, a 2015 Design Pittsburgh award-winning project. Looking forward, stay tuned for Design Pittsburgh related announcements in the upcoming weeks and months, including submission categories and the Young Architects Studio Competition. Finally, do you have a new project or interest to share? Consider submitting to present at PechaKucha Night Pittsburgh, Vol. 24 on July 14. Proposals are due on July 6.  Free membership for New Grads! Are you a recent graduate of a NAAB-Accredited architecture program? Than you are eligible for up to 18 months of free membership with the...

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Rising to the Challenge

The AIA+2030 Professional Series, Session X Review

By Melanie Como Harris, AIA, LEED AP BD+C Posted on May 4, 2014

AIA Pittsburgh’s first ever AIA+2030 Series concluded on Thursday, April 24th. The series finale – Putting It All Together: Achieving 2030 Goals on the Project and at the Office – answered a question that has been gestating throughout the series: how do we apply what we’ve learned? As COTE committee chair Marc Mondor, AIA appropriately pointed out in his introduction, we have to figure out how to take the multitude of tools and strategies we have absorbed during the 36 hours thus far in the series and incorporate them into each of our practices. Session X offered a few ways to do just that. Presentations featured: a local case study that demonstrated many of the 2030 strategies, an expert that...

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Rising to the Challenge

The AIA+2030 Professional Series, Session IX Review

By Melanie Como Harris, AIA, LEED AP BD+C Posted on April 23, 2014

Attendees of the AIA+2030 sessions have, up to this point, met at the Bruno Building for an intimate knowledge exchange. However, Session IX – Hand-Off + Staying in Shape – took a provocative turn. This time around, class was held on the Phipps Conservatory campus. The first half of the evening consisted of presentations by John Greenwald, President of Mechanical Operations & Consulting (MOC), and Jason Wirick, Director of Facilities and Sustainability Management at Phipps.  The second half of the evening involved a tour of Phipps’ newer buildings from the facilities operator’s point-of-view. Together, the unique learning experience enlivened the often mundane topic of building operations and maintenance.  Series moderator Marc Mondor, AIA kicked off the session by introducing John...

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Rising to the Challenge

The AIA+2030 Professional Series, Session VIII Review

By Melanie Como Harris, AIA, LEED AP Posted on March 18, 2014

The focus of Session VIII of the AIA+2030 Educational Series was alternative energy sources. Taking place on February 20th, the session – Site Power: Renewable Energy Opportunities – was jam-packed with industry experts in geothermal heating & cooling, biomass, wind, and solar. Each presentation not only described, in detail, how each system works, it also addressed the potential applicability to projects in Southwestern PA. The evening’s first presentation was provided by Marc Portnoff of Thar Geothermal. Marc started off the presentation by comparing and contrasting ground source geothermal against traditional energy sources such as natural gas, coal-fired electricity, and nuclear energy. According to the US EPA, “ground source geothermal is the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean and cost effective space conditioning...

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Rising to the Challenge

The AIA+2030 Professional Series, Session VII Review

By Melanie Como Harris, AIA, LEED AP Posted on February 17, 2014

In past sessions of the AIA+2030 Educational Series, we explored strategies such as passive ventilation systems, high performance building envelopes, and daylighting design to reduce energy loads in our buildings. Session VII demonstrated that the next logical step in energy-efficient design is reducing the size of the mechanical system itself. This session – Right-Sized: Equipment and Control for Super-Efficient Building Systems – provided valuable insight into the process mechanical engineers use to determine equipment size. By understanding that process, architects can facilitate mechanical equipment selection and further load reduction.  The discussion began with a presentation from a group at Allen & Shariff. David Price, PE, Chris Drummond, PE, Heather Stapel, PE, and Mark Wolfgang, PE, set the tone with the...

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Rising to the Challenge

The AIA+2030 Professional Series, Session VI Review

By Melanie Como Harris, LEED AP Posted on January 15, 2014

Another enlightening session of AIA Pittsburgh’s AIA+2030 Educational Series took place in November: Session VI – Illuminating Savings: Daylighting and Integrated Lighting Strategies. As promised, the night featured a series of experts defining good daylighting. They offered resources for useful design tools and demonstrated how these strategies improve the design while reducing energy consumption.  The evening began with the Astorino team of Director of Digital Practice, Brian Skripac, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, and Sustainable Design Manager, Rudy Marnich, MArch, LEED AP BD+C. Brian talked about the difference between sunlight and daylight. While sunlight is just the rays of the sun, daylight is actually a manipulation of that light. Quality daylight, Skripac says, is a layered illumination plan that provides...

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Rising to the Challenge

The AIA+2030 Professional Series, Session V Review

By Melanie Como Harris, LEED AP Posted on November 10, 2013

The clever title—Aggressively Passive: Employing Passive Systems for Load Reduction—established a focus for AIA+2030 Session V. The evening’s speakers succeeded in presenting information on the topic from a number of angles. The end result was a well-rounded curriculum providing an approach to passive system design. Here is a review of those talks. First up was Khee Poh Lam, PhD, RIBA who began the evening with a rousing discussion of bioclimatic design, building performance mandates, and building simulation. Dr. Lam purports that energy efficiency is a proactive task that begins with an understanding of the site’s relative conditions. To demonstrate, he presented several examples of indigenous structures in extreme locations around the globe. The key to passive design is to control...

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Rising to the Challenge

The AIA+2030 Professional Series, Sessions III & IV Review

By Melanie Como Harris, LEED AP Posted on October 9, 2013

The fifth installment of AIA Pittsburgh’s AIA + 2030 educational series will take place this week, building upon the contents of its predecessors. All of the sessions thus far have been inspiring while featuring a variety of useful strategies and tools to implement in our projects. Given that the two most recent sessions provided the knowledge base upon which Thursday’s session will build, it is worth reviewing those previous sessions. Session III – Accentuate the Positive: Climate Responsive Design Held back in June, the evening started off with a presentation from Christine Mondor, AIA of evolveEA. Her approach to climate responsive design is rooted in three elements: energy efficiency, thermal comfort, and climate-adaptive responsiveness & resilience. Reinforcing the strategies of...

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Rising to the Challenge

The AIA+2030 Professional Series, Session II Review

By Melanie Como Harris, LEED AP Posted on June 13, 2013

On the third Thursday of May, members of the architectural community gathered at the Bruno Building downtown to further their knowledge-base on high-performance building design. The class was the second of ten sessions in the AIA+2030 professional educational series, which offers strategies towards achieving the 2030 Challenge of carbon-neutral building operations by the year 2030. The 2030 Challenge aims to achieve carbon-neutrality through a combination of design strategies, technologies and systems, and off-site renewable energy that significantly reduce fossil fuel use and green gas emissions. Session II, entitled Getting to 60: The Power of Targets + Load Reduction, featured presentations from architect George Halkias, AIA from Stantec and engineer Alan Traugott from CJL Engineering, and Karen Butler from the Environmental...

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Feature

The 2030 Challenge

Buildings, Energy, and Climate Change

By Marc Mondor, AIA, LEED Faculty Posted on April 7, 2013

IT’S ABOUT ENERGY As a species the exploration for, and generation and transmission of energy is by far the most environmentally destructive thing that humans do. Yet the reason we perform this operation with such zeal lies in the fact that we are an energy-hungry species. Energy demand is not only at all-time highs, but will continue to grow. Even if we mentally outsource energy or are focused on living wirelessly, we are all a part of this system. We are an integral part of our nation’s, and indeed our planet’s, voracious appetite for energy. IT’S GOOD TO SAVE The environmental imperative for saving energy comes in the reduction of emissions from the combustion of fuels. According to the U.S....

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