Sustainable design blog for progressive architecture

The Sustainable Design Blog

For the love of beauty, functionality, and the planet Earth

How to Pitch a Green Commercial Building Design to Your Board


What important components should one use to sell Their BOD on a green Commercial building design ?

So, you find yourself in an organization that needs to build facilities, and you have heard about green buildings or you already understand the benefits a green facility can provide, but you need to convince those higher up in your organization to consider the idea.  


                              What do you do?


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Topics: Green Design, Commercial Architecture

How to Choose a Solar Power System for your home or business

What are some systems for solar power generation that I should consider?

People come to our firm for green design because it's a very personal mission of ours to contribute to the sustainability of our planet and the preservation of our species. We also design beautiful buildings, if I do say so myself...

So, it's not all that uncommon to get questions about how to include solar power, our abundant and clean resource, in the overall design.

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Topics: Sustainable Design, solar, Sustainable Building, Green Design

How do I select a good general contractor?

“What is a good process for selecting a general contractor?” - It's something we hear a lot

It's also one of the most important questions you can and should be asking about your upcoming build, because not every contractor is the same. They can make your project if they share your vision and goals, or break it if they are rowing in a different direction or don't have the right kind of experience.

So, I thought I would help you out by sharing four important steps to the GC selection process. Keep in mind as you read these how important building the right foundation is to any kind of successful build.

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Topics: Your Project Team, Construction

Must have construction material made from recyclables

(The Wellness Center incorporates recycled construction materials - See the project by Carlson Studio Architecture)


WHY Recycled Products in Construction

Whether or not you believe that Climate Change is man-made, you cannot deny that the problems associated with trash, specifically plastic, are not caused by Mother Nature.

In an article by Laura Parker in the National Geographic, published Feb 13, 2015, she notes that 8 million tons are dumped into the ocean every year.  This is the equivalent of filling 5 grocery bags with trash and lining them up on EVERY foot of coastline in the entire world! 

As of the year 2014, this was estimated to be a total of 245,000 tons floating in the ocean (source: National Geographic). That doesn’t even account for what is sitting in landfills, lining the side of our highways and roads, or what has been ground up into microplastic and sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

That's a lot of plastic, and quite the mountain of a problem to solve. 

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Topics: green building, Sustainable Design

How The USGBC just cranked up the Green in Florida

The next phase of evolution for green building design

As you may know, CSA joined the USGBC in 2002 and we have been members ever since.  Our staff began to become individual members of the USGBC when chapters began to be formed in Florida in 2003-2004.  Currently, our entire staff are members or the USGBC Florida Chapter. 

Maybe you've heard… the Florida Chapter is a new USGBC entity, and I have the skinny on why and how it formed.

(Click to visit Carlson Studio Architecture's LEED certified project gallery)


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Topics: usgbc, carlson studio architecture


We're beyond sustainable architectural design for the environment, to design for sustainable societies and economies.

I have dedicated the better part of the last two decades to green architectural design, both in practice and in educating the public of its economical and environmental benefits. So have my talented colleagues. We wanted to have an impact on the world around us that was bigger than ourselves, so we have dedicated a lot of energy into it.

But sustainability doesn't end there. It's a bigger concept that finds its way into all sorts of corners and crevices in our lives, and we have been fortunate at Carlson to be able to integrate our designs into pieces of the world that many don't realize are critical to sustaining our socio-economic climates.

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Topics: Sustainable, Sustainable Design

4 green home Design ideas for the florida sunshine


Are you designing your home and thinking about going green?

First of all, congratulations! Whether building your first home or one of many, it's an exciting time when we get start scratching down ideas for a new project. Second of all, a little pat on the back for exploring green home design! 


If you are building a new home in Florida or somewhere with a similar climate (humid, hot, sunny, and the occassional tropical storm), you may want to consider a few things in order to maximize the energy efficiency of your home.  The size, shape, and orientation of your home are extremely important, and when building new, it's a great time to address these and other important concerns.


Here are four worth considering for the design of your new green home!

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Topics: Residential, Green build, Green Design

10 ways to tell green architecture firms apart from the rif-raff

Green architecture is a great idea.

Sustainability and environmental consciousness are important to you. You make choices throughout your life, weighing convenience, costs, and personal well-being with your commitment to leave the world in a better state than when you arrived.

Because of this, you seek green alternatives whenever and wherever you can. You read labels, compare specs, and make the best choices you can based on the information that’s readily available.

And if you’re about to build a new structure, you have an incredible opportunity to incorporate principals of sustainability that will have an enormous impact on the world we live in – for many years to come. That’s why it’s probably a good idea to poke around and make sure you are engaging a firm where “green” is woven into their DNA, not just a marketing ploy to snag some extra business.

Because of that we’ve put together a list of ways to weed out the real green architecture firms from the rif-raff.

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Topics: Sustainable Design, Green Design

Construction cost vs Project cost

Why "construction cost" shouldn't be the only thing on your mind before breaking ground:

So often we are asked, "what is it going to cost me to construct this building?" Or even, “How much per square foot does it cost to build a (fill in the blank) building?” 

I hear it at work, at parties, from friends and family... I get it, and I actually love how much faith you put into our expertise on the subject, and it is something we actually help people with quite regularly. But it's hardly a matter of looking at a picture (or imagining what you describe) and spitting out a figure about how much your project is going to cost.

But that isn't what you were asking to begin with. This is about construction costs, which, by itself is a loaded request - it should be about project costs, because there are so many variables and hidden soft and related costs that you won't come even close to coming in at budget without considering the weight they also carry.

It's the kind of weight that could stop your project dead in its tracks.

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Topics: project architect, Costs, Industry lingo

How Building a Green Home Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

(Click HERE to see the green home design shown above)


Building a green home with your carbon footprint in mind is key:

Building a green home is a key step to reducing your carbon footprint.  Here in the USA we are about 5% of the world’s population, but we use about 25% of the world’s energy, and much of the energy used has a significant carbon footprint.

Hearing that we're leading the world in energy consumption is nothing new, but the entire world is now striving to be like the USA in their standard of living, consumerism, and energy consumption. If we stay on this carbon based energy trajectory, we will need 9 planets to sustain humans here... which, of course, is not an option.

There is a lot you can do to reduce your carbon foot when you build a new home.  There are also advantages to remodeling your existing home or office building and preserving the embodied energy in that existing structure.


 ANOTHER LIKE THIS: How to Incorporate Embodied Energy into Your Green Building Designs



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Topics: carbon footprint, LEED Certified Home Design, Sustainable Design


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