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Concept

sol agua terra was formed in August, 2007 by Sheila Gregg, AIA, out of her genuine enthusiasm for sustainable building design and a commitment to reduce the impacts of her design decisions on future generations. sol agua terra is a woman-owned, small, disadvantaged business enterprise. 

How we think
An architect’s primary charge is to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare by exercising a reasonable standard of care. As such, sol agua terra operates under the premise that is our professional responsibility to educate our clients about environmentally-responsible materials and methods and incorporate them into our projects to the best of our ability. We realize that - for many clients - Architectural Design & Consulting Services are a means to an end. For some, that end may be a completed building. For others, the end may be approval of financing or commitment from an investor. For still others, the end may be a marketing brochure to attract tenants. Whatever the ultimate goal, we delight in engaging the client in a process which results in the embodiment of their hopes and dreams in physical space.

What we're about usgbc
sol agua terra is passionate about sustainable, responsible design & construction. We firmly believe that it’s the right thing to do. While we’d like all of our clients to share our passion, we recognize that – for some – economic realities of first costs may take precedence over environmental values and longer-term paybacks.

How we do it
The very first step in the process, then, is to understand where the client places sustainable building in its overall development priorities. For example, is it important as a marketing tool to attract new tenants or investors? As a method to obtain tax credits? As a local government mandate? Or as a means to manage operating costs in the coming years? Once this primary motivation is determined, sol agua terra will apply an internal process we’ve developed to evaluate projects based on the various rating systems or checklists. We will provide recommendations for design strategies based on the following: Those that can be achieved through basic code compliance and good design principles.

  • Those that can be readily incorporated into the project with little or no additional cost of effort.
  • Those that will require more cost or effort, but are necessary to achieve the desired green building goals.
  • Those that represent significant cost or effort. These would typically only be recommended for inclusion if client has a specific request.

Applying this methodology to many of our past projects, we have found that the client chooses to proceed with specific green building strategies without pursuing full LEED or EarthCraft Certification. We are confident that we can incorporate environmental values into any project in a cost-effective, rational manner.

Sustainable Schools Guide

Developed by Innovative Design with assistance from the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council this downloadable guide walks administrators and school boards through the process of selecting & implementing sustainable choices from design & construction, through operations & maintenance.

(Scroll down to "Sustainable Schools ~ Supporting your Educational Mission")

Affordable Housing Design Adviser

This information-packed website is a must-visit for anyone involved in the affordable housing industry. Case Studies, Research Tools, Checklists, Guidelines & more are available to bring good design into your next housing project.

Whole Building Design Guide

Catering more to the government contracting sector, this web site, maintained by the National Institute of Building Sciences provides a wealth of information on best practices from planning stages through operations & maintenance.

 
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