From Sustainability to Savings


Samantha McCloud

Samantha McCloud

In conversations around the world and across industries, environmentally-conscious decision-making continues to materialize as the heart of innovation, cost-saving, and responsible practice. We have been at the forefront of this discussion for many years.

That tradition continues as we give great consideration to how our clients can capitalize on the aspects of sustainability and green design and engaging clients early on in the design process.

According to, research studies show:



Green Buildings are Cost Effective

  • Owners of green buildings reported that their ROI improved by an average of 19.2% for existing building green projects and an average of 9.9% for new projects.
  • Operating costs decreased by 13.6% for new construction and 8.5% for existing building projects.
  • Building value increased by 10.9% for new construction and 6.8% for existing building projects.
  • Increased asset valuation: New green building projects 5%; Green building retrofits 4%.

On our team, Andy MeyerBen AllersJoel MarquardtMelissa BrownKathy BurkeSteve McGuireJohn Price and Kirk Gastinger have all earned LEED AP certification. Additionally, all of our designers incorporate LEED and sustainability principles into their designs.

Our LEED Certified Buildings

Green Buildings Attract Tenants

  • Buildings with lower operating costs and better indoor environmental quality are more attractive to a growing group of corporate, public and individual buyers. The new Class A office space is green; lease-up rates for green buildings typically range from average to 20 percent above average.

Green Buildings Provide Better Health Standards for Commercial Building Tenants

  • Improved lighting design leads to a 27% reduction in the incidence of headaches, which accounts for 0.7% of the overall cost of employee health insurance. This equals approximately $70 per employee annually.
  • In terms of health care costs, building retrofits which improved the indoor environment of a building resulted in reductions of: communicable respiratory diseases of 9-20%; allergies and asthma of 18-25%; and non-specific health and discomfort effects of 20-50%.”

While the complete list of projects that exemplify our commitment is extensive, here are a few specific examples of our sustainable, efficient design:


Kansas City Art Institute, Dodge Painting Building, Kansas City, MO

  • In our climate region, educational buildings average a total of 69 kBtu/sf/yr.
  • Through the use of a compact floor plan to classroom proportion; excellent insulation; a judicious use of glazing areas; and modular mechanical equipment (for ease of zoning the building for different days and time of the year), the Dodge Painting Building averages only 20 kBtu/sf/yr.
  • Annual energy savings of 73.3%!jg


Wildcat Glades and Audubon Center, Joplin, MO

  • The center is oriented for optimum solar efficiency and all spaces have access to natural lighting.
  • The passive solar design, ground source heat pumps and well insulated walls teach visitors about conservation.
  • A growing green roof system was planted with no maintenance plants and the parking lot is paved with permeable asphalt, keeping rainwater runoff to a minimum.
  • Bioswales located on the property catch the small amount of runoff and keep the glades free from human contaminants.


UMB, Phoenix, AZ

  • Roof top solar array creating 55,000 kWh (kilowatt-hour) annually, equal to annual building use.
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures, 35% water use reduction.
  • 75% recycled or salvaged construction waste.
  • 20% recycled content, regional materials.
  • The building was developed under highly restrictive development guidelines that required the specific uses of building materials, glazing, finishes, site circulation and orientation.


As a forward-thinking architectural practice, we are committed to providing high-quality service and life-cycle cost-saving designs to our clients, grounded in the basics of energy conservation. It is our goal to be current in the latest technologies and tools for green buildings so we may help clients make well-informed and educated decisions.

How can we help you with your next “green" design?

2030 Challenge Accepted: What Does it Mean, Why Does it Matter?

by: Evan Needman

by: Evan Needman

Architecture and a sustainable future go hand in hand. When we accepted the challenge in 2006, we agreed to meet benchmark reductions in energy consumption by buildings, resulting in carbon-neutral designs by the year 2030. Our goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions attributed to building operations.

With the help of the AIA 2030 Design Data Exchange online reporting platform, recording, reporting, and visualizing local and national progress has never been easier.

Our clients receive the benefits of our leadership in sustainable design.

Inspired by the challenge, we blazed a trail when we become the architect of the Ecoworks project, the first LEED Certified speculative office building in the United States located in Lenexa, KS. Many of our projects have taken advantage of solar and wind power, geothermal heating, energy efficient glazing and more. We celebrate that heritage every day by favoring design solutions that conserve energy and improve building performance.

An important watershed opportunity for building renovation and new construction is happening right now.

In the year 2035, approximately 75% of America’s buildings will have been renovated or newly constructed in the 25 years leading to that date. Right now, building operations such as heating, cooling, and lighting, total nearly 75 percent of US electricity consumption and contribute over 40% of carbon emissions in the United States. Our clients have the greatest opportunity to change these numbers and reduce carbon emissions, while slashing the inherent costs of outdated, inefficient buildings by incorporating techniques outlined in the AIA 2030 Challenge.

from left: Evan Needham, Kirk Gastinger, Samantha McCloud

from left: Evan Needham, Kirk Gastinger, Samantha McCloud

ECOWORKS: The first LEED Certified speculative office space in the United States.

ECOWORKS: The first LEED Certified speculative office space in the United States.


One reason to design green, is the green.

Over the last five years, innovations in sustainable technology, such as photovoltaics (solar Panels), have reduced the cost of products. Incentives such as utility rebates and tax credits have shortened the payback period of these systems.

The improved ROI of green technologies have allowed many of our clients to reach and exceed their operations and maintenance goals. Sustainable certifications include LEED, Energy Star, and “Carbon Neutral”. These designations are excellent marketing opportunities that clients may incorporate into their brand or product identity.

We explore sustainable solutions with clients throughout the design process.

Decisions made early in our design process, known as passive design strategies, can make the greatest impact in reducing operating costs through the entire life of the building or space. The simple alignment or position of a building, the use of efficient or renewable material, and even the shape of the building can help with a building’s efficiency.

Clients joining us on this 2030 design challenge have and will discover the financial benefit of incorporating sustainable principles and technology into the buildings they construct or operate.