Who doesn't like an environmentally friendly building? Increasing the "green" of your building envelope can earn nods of approval from your community members and increase your business base. Additionally, a green building envelope can decrease energy usage, increase the efficiency of your building's internal environment, lengthen the life of your building materials, increase property values, reduce your building's environmental "footprint", and/or save you money.
At FEI, our passion lies in the original “green” construction – Historic Preservation and Adaptive Re-use of existing structures. By sparing our architectural heritage from the landfill, we are preserving not only history, but also the embodied energy, craftsmanship, and old-growth and virgin building materials that were part of the original construction.
FEI's work in Historical Preservation is, in fact, award winning. For more information, click here to learn about more our work with historic structures.
Sustainable Building Envelope
Sustainability concepts mean different things to different people. At FEI, our definition of sustainability is continuously changing. However, our core concept of sustainability for the building envelope is simple: design and install appropriate components and details that will perform for the duration of the expected building life-cycle while minimizing environmental impact. Additionally, we believe that details should always be designed with maintenance and inevitable replacement in mind, as rehabilitation will some day be necessary.
Our concept is flexible and produces different positive outcomes for each building encountered. In our opinion, minimizing environmental impact does not always dictate the use of recycled or “green" materials. Why? Our experience is that many of these "green" systems have reduced life-cycle expectancy. Therefore, it is often more appropriate to specify less "green" materials because environmental impact is reduced with longer material life-cycle expectancy.
For example, a 40 year building can have a roofing replacement once every ten-years with low-quality details and materials, once every 20 years with good details and materials, or never need replacement with excellent details and excellent materials. Which is more environmentally friendly?
Vegetative 'Green' Roofing and Plaza Decks
Why consider a green roofing system? These systems can transform previously undesirable or unusable spaces into green spaces which may support biodiversity habitats and reduce storm water runoff. Typically, these systems are specified and installed as part of original construction. These systems require additional load, drainage, and require other engineering considerations during design.
We have formed a professional design team that focuses on retro-fit of existing structures with vegetated roofing systems. The team consists of architects, engineers, landscape architects, and consultants assembled to assess, design, and administer a retro-fit vegetated roofing system on your structure.
Medical facility administrators are quickly achieving a myriad of benefits to patients by installing healing gardens on their facilities. For example, researchers have indicated that healing garden experiences can speed patient recovery periods and help them to feel more comfortable. Additionally, facility employees can use the garden space to reduce stress levels and maintain excellence in care.
Healing gardens are often installed on new construction projects. However, many facilities may be able to transform existing plaza decks, roofing systems, and even unused parking areas into a healing garden.
Healing gardens can be tailored for the specific patient population at the facility. These can include psychiatric gardens, children’s gardens, nursing home gardens, hospice gardens, gardens for the visually impaired, therapeutic horticulture gardens, and more.