The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Architecture

Spiezle Architectural Group

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

The solution revolves around developing buildings that have a lessened carbon footprint on the environment. It mainly falls under the Eleventh Sustainable Development Goal because it promotes sustainable cities and communities but it also can be connected to climate action and developing businesses.

Authors

Yong Fei Zheng

Yong Fei Zheng

Dominic Vasquez

Dominic Vasquez

Luana Xu

Luana Xu

Dillon Bowes

Dillon Bowes

Nupur Khare

Nupur Khare

School

Rutgers Business School

Rutgers Business School

Professor

Jeana Wirtenberg

Jeana Wirtenberg

Innovation

The innovation is centered around developing business model/energy efficient buildings and has emerged from a higher industry standard. The raising issues of climate change and conservatory practices eventually led to the creation of companies like Spiezle, which are architects who build the most energy-efficient buildings possible. LEED is a third-party company with a series of regulations and requirements that buildings have to meet in order to receive their certification. Overall the standards revolve around the concept of sustainability and include keeping carbon emissions low as well as electricity costs to power the building. Twenty years ago, the idea of a LEED building was completely cutting-edge, and but now it is accepted to Spiezle as a building standard. The entire company was engaged and a part of the framework for their innovation. LEED. a third party organization assisted them in giving them basic parameters for how energy-efficient the buildings should be and provided the guidelines of standards that Spiezle should aim to reach in each project they undertake. Spiezle strives to communicate to their stakeholders by informing them of the benefits of sustainable design in both an economic and environmental sense, therefore being able to gain the funds necessary for the start of their company. They did not directly link it to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, but rather their company's philosophy ended up connecting the two because Spielze was built around the idea of sustainability which falls under the UN's eleventh goal of Sustainable Cities and Communities. Today, Spiezle also contributes to the expansion of other companies that have similar philosophies within the field of architecture by purchasing supplies from them.

The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Architecture

Inspiration

Spiezle’s inspiration to continue with their innovation is a mainly intrinsic company standard that they instill in all members within their organization. They seek to promote and pursue LEED standards for buildings because they view themselves as professionals within the architectural industry and as such, “[they] should explore ways to build a better building that is more responsive, efficient, and environmentally friendly.” Spiezle is inspired not by any plaque or certification they receive on their projects, but by the challenges they face in developing eco-friendly buildings that still place the main focus on “occupant comfort and health, as well as how residents will react to the new building.” As a result of this, as quoted by a Spiezle representative, “Whenever we have the opportunity to fulfill LEED requirements, we are excited because we know the finished product has the ability to adhere to a higher set of standards” thus granting them a competitive edge among the architectural industry.

The idea that Spiezle has implemented arose primarily from changes made in the architectural industry standard. Initially, architectural companies utilized “passive design” in which companies did not concern themselves with the type of materials being used in respect to their impact on the environment or having efficient designs for their buildings. Companies just built whatever the consumers were willing to buy. The industry standard began to rise over time. With the creation and implementation of the current Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard in 2013, companies such as Spiezle began implementing the new standard, creating efficient blueprints for buildings, utilizing materials that are friendlier to the environment and finding innovative ways to harness renewable energy. What motivated Spiezle to follow LEED standards was partly because of existing market competition. When other competitors began using these standards to create energy efficient and cost-saving buildings for their clients, Spiezle knew it had to step up and also move towards creating sustainable designs for its client's buildings. However, Spiezle primarily continued to adhere to its sustainable philosophy because the architects working at Spiezle are intrinsically motivated to creating buildings that perform at their best while minimizing energy usage. One of the interviewees passionately states that “As professionals, we should still strive to build a better building that is more responsive, more efficient and less of a negative impact on the environment… there are instances where we design buildings that are up to LEED standards but are not necessarily certified… our main goal is to optimize building performance, whether it’s LEED certified or not.” While receiving the certification is important to the architects at Spiezle, adhering to the company values while creating sustainable buildings proves to be much more valuable to the company as it continues on its path to bettering the environment.

Overall impact

The qualitative impact of Spiezle Architectural Group has positively benefited the environment as a whole. By adhering to LEED. standards (A third party instituted regulation for environmentally efficient buildings), Spiezle is able to further push society and the infrastructure around us into a sustainable direction. The related benefits include a push for society to minimize energy use. As a result, over time, the demand for energy from newly constructed buildings decreases. Initially, consumers may have to spend more money, but over the course of time, they save money as their energy bills are significantly lowered. Additionally the environment also benefits from this, as fewer resources are needed to operate the building and carbon emissions are lowered per house. Their LEED standards also attract other environmentally friendly businesses which can increase their customer base. Overall, as a result of Spiezle Architectural Group being a sustainable business, the stress on the environment is lessened as we build infrastructure that is sustainable, which in turn progresses society in a more eco-friendly direction.

Business benefit

The board members of Spiezle are aware of their role in society and remain conscious of this fact. They understand the critical fact and take steps to be a sustainable business. Another short-term effect the company’s innovation has targets their workforce. The employees become more dedicated to their work, as they view the construction as more of a challenge. The people described how once the innovation was implemented, there were “hundreds” of different factors that went into the sustainable construction of a building. The employees had to then work together to manipulate all the different environmental factors to produce the most efficient building possible keeping them engaged and motivation high. Because each project is unique, it requires a specific building design that will incorporate the natural environment around it to make the building sustainable. As a result, the employees at Spiezle are kept engaged as they have to approach the project with new perspectives each time, leading to a higher overall employee satisfaction. Additionally, this also benefits the business as the quality of the work is at an extremely high standard, therefore, building the reputation of Spiezle within the Architecture community. Overall the short-term effects of Spiezle Architectural group constructing the sustainable building positively benefit the company through the creation of structures that are sustainable which complies to create a long-term effect of a society with sustainable infrastructure.

Social and environmental benefit

The innovation benefits society as well as the environment by keeping the carbon footprints of buildings low while also keeping energy costs low. There have been many studies that have validated the positive effects of LEED standards within buildings such as the ones built by Spiezle. In a 2011 study done by the U.S. General Services Administration's LEED-certified buildings, it was found that buildings that followed the standards set by LEED were much more energy efficient and required around 25 percent less energy than the national average. As a result of this, these sustainable buildings also reduced operational costs by around 19 percent when again compared to the national average. Another study done in the June of 2012 by the White House Office of Management and Budget found that investing in energy efficient buildings developed at that time are expected to save over 18 billion in energy costs over the lifetime usage of these structures. When broken down, this means that the annual utility cost per employee in LEED-certified buildings was on average, $675 dollars cheaper than non-eco-friendly buildings as supported by a study done on PNC banks by the University of Notre Dame. With the number of technological advancements made in recent years, we can assume that the beneficial effects of LEED-certified buildings have only increased dramatically with Spiezle contributing to this global movement.

Works Cited

“LEED Facts.” U.S. Green Building Council, www.usgbc.org/articles/leed-facts.

“Benefits of Green Building.” U.S. Green Building Council, 1 Apr. 2016, www.usgbc.org/articles/green-building-facts.

“The Benefits of Green Buildings.” World Green Building Council, www.worldgbc.org/benefits-green-buildings

Interview

Matthew Imperato, LEED GA, Architectural Designer at Spiezle Architectural Group, Inc.

Photo of interviewee

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Spiezle Architectural Group

Spiezle Architectural Group

Hamilton Township, NJ, US

Business Website: http://www.spiezle.com/

Year Founded: 1954

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Spiezle Architectural Group is a company that develops environmentally friendly buildings while at the same time increasing efficiency. They follow LEED standards in order to achieve their goal in every project that they take.