PRESS RELEASE: Function:’s Construct Knowledge Series Session Reveals Architects are Moving Toward an Integrated Design Approach to Green Building


Leaders in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industry Gather to Discuss the Latest Trends Impacting the Building and Construction Industry ATLANTA, February 11, 2009 – Function:, an integrated marketing agency that specializes in reaching the building, architecture and design community, hosted its quarterly Construct Knowledge Series session and found that architects and industry experts think green building is moving beyond individual products and into an integrated design approach with the objective of achieving very clear environmental goals. The roundtable featured a diverse group of professionals with backgrounds in architecture, design, engineering and contracting. Discussion topics ranged from sustainable building practices, industry trends and challenges, Building Information Modeling (BIM) and useful technologies, to the Architecture 2030 challenge and more.

“As the market continues to evolve, we have found it is critical that our clients understand the latest industry trends, and more importantly their target audiences, to remain competitive,” said Dana Castle, principal and managing partner of Function:. “The Construct Knowledge Series allows us to gather information from industry leaders and experts that can help our clients in not only better reaching their target audiences, but in developing strategic programs to increase their brand recognition.”

Architects, designers, engineers and contractors are major influencers in the building and construction industry. The Construct Knowledge Series is a unique opportunity to gain direct feedback from these key influencer segments and gain a deeper understanding of the issues of importance to these industry experts. Panelists for the 4Q Construct Knowledge Series session included: Dennis Creech, Southface; Brad Higdon, BDR Partners; Jason McFadden, Barton Malow; KP Reddy,RCMS; and Susie Spivey-Tilson, TVS.

Highlights from the session include:
Sustainable Practices: Although there has been an increase in green building, (more than 10 percent of new commercial buildings in the United States are registered to become LEED certified according to Creech), panelists think there is still a long way to go to fully meet the potential that green building has to offer. Panelists agreed that the first step in getting green building where it needs to be is education. While many building owners have begun to identify that a project needs to be sustainable or achieve a certain level of LEED certification, they do not fully understand what that means to the design and construction teams and ultimately the operations group for the facility.

Industry Trends and Challenges: Although the economy continues to decline, panelists think that green will positively affect the economy. During the recent presidential election, both candidates discussed the important role that energy efficiency can play in reinvigorating the economy. Very often architects and designers find it challenging to sell green to clients and to get them to consider costeffective energy upgrades.

BIM and Useful Technologies: Building Information Modeling’s (BIM) biggest impact will not be its 3-D modeling, but its data analysis capability and the ability to monitor a building’s performance data to analyze the projected model’s energy performance versus actual performance and make adjustments in design based on these findings. For manufacturers, BIM presents an opportunity to become involved in the design process. Products are moving from the catalog or database into the model, which could lead to an increased customization of products based on the application. Panelists think that BIM is a template for integrated design. According to panelist, KP Reddy, “BIMis going to change the design community’s view of the deliverable. Rather than the deliverable being a set of drawings and specs, the deliverable becomes the building. Once you get everybody focused the end game being the building, it makes a difference.”

Product Specification: Specifiers receive product information through numerous outlets – lunch and learns, marketing brochures, direct mail, sales calls, and more. Panelists agreed that when it comes to sourcing products it is essential that a building product manufacturer be able to answer technical questions about their product and provide clear, concise information. Specifiers want to know that manufacturers are knowledgeable about their product and not reading off a brochure. The more specific information and data a manufacturer can provide, the better chance they have of getting their products
sourced. In addition, third party validation is becoming increasingly important.

Architecture 2030: There have been an increasing number of groups adopting the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2030 challenge. However, many questions remain as to how to best get from the building designs of today to the opportunities of tomorrow. Panelists agreed that meeting the 2030 challenge is achievable, but it is essential that building owners and decision makers are committed. In addition, panelists think that addressing the issue of climate change is another key element to achieving the challenge. According to Creech, buildings in the U.S. contribute approximately 48% of the greenhouse gases that drive climate change. The building industry influences nearly half of the greenhouse gases that the U.S. produces. By addressing energy use in buildings, the 2030 challenge is attainable.

“Green is selling and we are witnessing an unbelievable transformation across the design and construction industry,” said Dennis Creech, executive director of the Southface Energy Institute. “As the industry matures, and green continues to drive product development, we find that we are getting away from a green building being an assembly of green products. It’s really an integrated design approach. The goal is not, ‘how do I put 13 green products in this building?’ but ‘how do I get a high-performance, energy-efficient building, that’s durable, budget-friendly and will be flexible over time?’ I think that is the challenge we have as an industry - moving beyond individual products into this integrated design approach.” To find out more about the topics discussed during Function:’s Construct Knowledge Series session please visit www.functionatl.com.

Media contact: Joslyn Fagan

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