May 27, 2010

Heritage Aviation and TruexCullins Gang Up to Go Green

This article appeared in yesterday's edition of daily.fix from the editors of Interior Design magazine.
By Nicholas Tamarin
Photos by Susan Teare
Published: Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Green Mountain State has just gotten a bit greener with the new facility at the Burlington International Airport masterminded by hometown architects TruexCullins and client Heritage Aviation.

The eco-friendly general aviation facility for Heritage, a local FBO, or fixed-based operator in airport parlance, is already on track to earn a LEED Silver certification from the United States Green Building Council. TruexCullins, known for Vermont-centric projects like its corporate headquarters for Ben & Jerry’s and Burton Snowboards, collaborated with Heritage to develop a slew of state-of-the-art green features for the 79,000-square-foot space that boasts a hangar, flight-planning room, conference room, lounge, media room, gym, game room, and a much-appreciated snooze room for the well-traveled pilots, aircraft owners, and passengers to which the company caters.

Heritage’s headquarters features one of the largest green roofs in all of New England and a parking lot that was made with pervious pavement, a porous asphalt-like substitute for the real thing that allows water to be absorbed into the ground rather than sent to waste in storm drains. The facility also can lay claim to the nation’s first community-scale wind turbine in a general aviation facility and the entire space is partially powered by renewable resources including solar and wind energy.

“Using building systems that eliminate resource and energy waste–while enhancing employee awareness of energy and resource use–reduces our environmental and carbon emissions footprint,” says Heritage president, Chris Hill. "Climate Change is occurring worldwide and the effects are readily observable here in Vermont. Transforming systems of energy supply, delivery and consumption to be more sustainable and renewable–while also being more conscious of energy value and use–is where the world is heading.”

May 21, 2010

VSAC Building Earns ENERGY STAR®

The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) recently earned the EnergyStar Rating for its facility designed by TruexCullins

The following is from the VSAC newsline:

"WINOOSKI — The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation office building, completed in 2005 as a key element of Winooski’s downtown revitalization, has earned the prestigious ENERGY STAR given to facilities ranking in the top 25 percent nationally for energy efficiency.

The VSAC building uses sensors to measure natural light and minimize use of electrical lighting; high-efficiency heating, cooling, and ventilating systems; and equipment and appliance shutdown policies that limit energy use during non-business hours. VSAC was assisted in its efforts by the staff of Hallam-ICS of South Burlington and Efficiency Vermont.

The ENERGY STAR rating is conferred by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Buildings earning the rating use an average of 35 percent less energy, and release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, than typical buildings."

Completed in 2005
, TruexCullins' Workplace Studio designed this new office building for VSAC in the historic downtown center of Winooski, Vermont.  Green design features were incorporated to maximize comfort and reduce energy costs.
This project was a key part of the first phase of construction of the ambitious downtown revitalization project spearheaded by the Winooski Community Development Corporation, and master planned by TruexCullins in collaboration with landscape architect H. Keith Wagner Partnership.
Photos by: Jim Westphalen

TruexCullins Goes PreFab

In a recent article in the Champlain Business Journal, we talked about current trends toward building smaller homes that we have experienced in our residential practice.  We also showed a couple of images of smaller homes we’ve worked on, one of them was in fact a model of a prototype for what we’ve been calling our prefab homes.  These smaller, (2000 sf +/-) energy efficient homes could be built either on site in traditional fashion, or made in more controlled conditions and brought to the site in modules.

Our intention is to offer the design and construction drawings of these homes at a fixed price, for folks who feel they might otherwise not be able to afford traditional architectural services for a custom designed home.

Since the posting yesterday we have received requests for more images and so have included them here.  Please have a look and let us know what you all think.

Lee Grutchfield, AIA

May 19, 2010

When Smaller is Better

Check out this recent article from the Champlain Business Journal, in which Lee Grutchfield weighs in on why building smaller is better...

When smaller is better - More homebuyers becoming partial to smaller homes
By Joy Perrino Choquette
Published May 11, 2010
Rendering by TruexCullins, Photo by Susan Teare

Phrases like “make that a double,” “super-size it” and “bigger is better” are heard just about everywhere in today’s society. The belief that bigger is better has long been common: kings in ancient times strategized to grow their kingdoms further than other kings; during the Victorian Age, terms like “small” and “simple” were mocked.

While the long-held belief in the housing market has been that bigger is better, that appears to be changing. “I prefer to design with an emphasis on quality rather than quantity, and this value resonates with my clients,” said Christian Brown of Christian Brown Design in Jericho.

Brown said he’s noticed a trend of individuals seeking out smaller homes for a number of reasons. “Some clients are in a position of wanting to downsize once their kids have left home,” he said.

Others are interested in building a home that has a smaller environmental impact. According to Brown, this is one of the most significant ways that clients can decrease their carbon footprint: by building as small as possible. A third reason to build smaller? Cost.

Lee Grutchfield, an architect with TruexCullins in Burlington, readily agrees with Brown’s assessment of the current trend toward smaller houses. “We are definitely seeing more clients telling us they want a house that is reasonably sized,” said Grutchfield.

“As architects, we can help them understand the benefits of building smaller, such as less expensive, less energy usage etc., but we can also help them use space efficiently and give them something that is very satisfying,” said Grutchfield. “There is an art to making small houses.”

May 4, 2010

Big Bambu at the MET

Posted by David Epstein, AIA

"Last week my family and I got a chance to experience Big Bambu, a large bamboo sculpture on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Imagine walking on a bamboo trellis 25 feet above the roof of the Met, overlooking the park and the city, in the bright sunshine. You could hear and feel the wind as it passed through the structure - it really felt alive…Definitely worth a visit."