Hybrid Ventilation – Bringing Biophilia to Child Care: The Child Care Center at Hort Woods

[The following is an excerpt from Volume 23 of The ReeSource, which was published in August of 2012. This volume was a special issue which focused on the innovative design features of the Child Care Center at Hort Woods – the first Penn State University building ever awarded a LEED Platinum Certification. An online version of this project feature is still viewable on the Penn State University Sustainability Institute’s website at] Without even accounting for microclimate, our energy model identified a potential reduction in annual cooling energy of nearly 45%. However, up to this point, potential was all we... Read More

Technology Design Innovations

[The following is republished with permission from ADVANCE for Long-Term Care Management Magazine. This article was originally published in the September/October 2011 issue of ADVANCE.] Person-centered care has become a design principle for architects and engineers in the senior care market. PCC strives to provide a home-like environment where residents care for each other and receive dignified professional attention, while contributing to the greater community. What many people don’t realize is that wireless technology can greatly enhance the ability to seamlessly implement PCC. It influences the way people can live in retirement communities and the way those respective communities provide... Read More

Keeping the Value in Value Engineering

We haven’t found a project with an unlimited budget yet! As Architects, Engineers, Designers, Owners, or Contractors, your projects are undoubtedly also controlled by the almighty dollar; and as such, you’ve probably been through the value engineering (VE) process at least a time or two. Though it may be called by other names and sometimes the process itself may vary, the concept is straightforward – reduce a project’s construction costs to meet the project’s budget. Once in “VE mode”, the design team must work collectively to compile a list of finishes, systems, materials, etc. that can be modified, substituted, or... Read More

Basking in the Light v. Soaking Up the Sun

Light, specifically natural sunlight, plays a very important role in our lives. Our internal clocks are instinctively set by the sun’s progress throughout the day. When spring arrives each year, we feel a boost in energy and mood that the longer, sun-filled days provide. In moderate amounts, daily exposure to sunlight has many proven benefits, including promoting our overall well-being and good health. Unfortunately, the demands of our daily lives and the winter months in northern regions force many of us to remain indoors. According to a 2008 report by the American Physical Society, most Americans spend 90% of their... Read More