Julia Wirick leads SBA's sustainability design principles and applications. We are a member of the Green Building Council, with expertise in AIA 2030, as well as LEED’s knowledge of materials and systems, for architecture and planning projects. Our firm has been working with passive and active solar systems since the late 1970's, and we were one of the firms who co-created early ideas with Ed Mazria for his brilliant Architecture 2030 program, that continues to lead the architectural profession in America (see our Link below to the AIA2030 website).
Within Santa Fe, both Claudia Horn's "Design-Office" and "SBA" together lead the City of Santa Fe in the planning, and public process of the "Northwest Quadrant" in central Santa Fe. It is the first all green mixed use, and mixed economic development with 773 new homes and businesses to be in downtown Santa Fe. Passive and active solar design, water harvesting, the use of sustainable materials in design and construction, natural methods of cooling, lighting and heating, preservation of the natural landscape, all contribute to a long life-cycle performance and a healthy living environment.
New “green building materials" continue to increase in availability on the market. SBA stays educated on new materials, and new systems through internal materials seminars, as well as out of office continuing education programs. We also maintain a large library and keep it updated with the most current “Green” products. For example, new LED lighting systems, or newly developed lime paints and plasters, or mineral-based reactive color etching in concrete, all provide extremely durable, low cost, attractive, repairable, and environmentally friendly finishes.
Innovative sustainable design does not have to be expensive. For instance, in the "Arroyo Chico Project", a 17 home development built in Tierra Contenta in Santa Fe, SBA focused its efforts on material and resource efficiency, with passive solar design and a water-harvesting system installed at each roof drain. The benefits for homeowners included cost savings on energy bills, longer lasting flooring and roofing, and an ability to maintain healthy landscaping through periods of drought. The estimated value of green design for each house over a 30-year period was $8000 -or- $132,367 for the development as a whole. Environmental considerations during design and construction are crucial to nourishing the quality of life of occupants and participants.