Columbus architect discusses green building

Columbus architect discusses green building

Dan Barringer, a registered architect for more than 15 years and a principal of Lapiz Design, received his Bachelors in Architecture and Urban Design from the University of Wisconsin in 1986 and Masters in Architecture from the University of Minnesota in 1993. He is a U.S. Green Building Council LEED accredited professional and a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Construction Specifications Institute.

When and why did you start to incorporate green building elements?

"When I received my Masters in Architecture in the 1980s from the University of Minnesota, they taught green elements in the architectural classes. Lapiz has been incorporating green designs for five years, since we started.

"In the last year, clients are actually wanting specific green features. They focus on reducing energy use, using paint with low VOCs, formaldehyde-free products and materials made from recycled or reclaimed materials. Lapiz has always been green oriented - it just wasn't as prevalent."

How interested in green design are builders and remodelers in Columbus?

"It's just catching on. As contractors become more educated on green, I expect them to become involved earlier in the building design phase. Green is no longer only a social concern, but an economic driving force."

What are the distinctive challenges facing green building in Columbus?

"One belief in Ohio is that solar panels aren't as effective as they are in a place that gets more sun, like southern California. That's not the case. In places like Columbus, where there's a greater shift in temperatures, the heating systems that use solar power or geothermal need to be customized. They need two systems, one active, that uses forced air to heat the home, and one passive, that relies on the solar power. You use the conventional, active system for the days the solar power doesn't work, like if it's cloudy. Homes with excess electrical energy created from solar panels, typical during the summer, can receive credit from some utility companies."

In general, how much does it cost to hire an architect to design a LEED home or remodeling project?

"It's around 8 to 10 percent of the construction cost. There's not much of a difference between a remodel versus a new home construction. The remodel might be higher, but that depends on the amount of green features incorporated into the design."

What green building standards do you follow? Are they the most popular in Columbus?

"Right now LEED is the best out there. Even if you're not going for certification, it's great to use their checklist as a guide. There's nothing else in the Columbus area certifying green homes besides LEED."

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