Monday, October 2, 2023

Sustainable Architecture Awardees


The Sustainable Architecture awards program recognizes the efforts of licensed Connecticut architects who have developed and demonstrated ways to decrease Green House Gases, reduce energy use and demand, and conserve water use in the built or natural environments. Equally important is the creation of durable, comfortable, and healthy spaces. The award attempts to raise the public awareness of the current climate crisis and the massive role played by construction, maintenance, and operations of the built environment.

This award also honors the climate change initiatives of AIA Connecticut and Connecticut Passive House to secure a more sustainable and environmentally thriving future.

2023 Sustainable Architecture Award Jury

Jacob Deva Racusin

Director of Building Science and Sustainability
New Frameworks

Efrie Escott

Sustainability Transformation Leader
Schneider Electric

Katie MacDonald, AIA, NCARB Architect
After Architecture, LLC

2023 Sustainable Architecture Award Winners

Renovations, Adaptive Re-Use, or Retro-Fit


and Commendation for Implementation of All-Electric Commercial Kitchen and
Commendation for Interactive Learning Features

Buckley Elementary School | TSKP Studio, LLC
Photography: Robert Benson Photography

Schools can contribute to a sustainable world through their operation, curriculum, and engagement with a broader community, setting the tone for environmental stewardship. With a projected Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 18.1, Buckley Elementary School is Connecticut’s first Net Zero Energy public school.

Electing to renovate this 1940’s school, rather than demolishing and starting from scratch, the project saved an estimated 75% of the embodied carbon compared to new construction. It used no operational carbon (zero fossil fuels).

There is more to NetZero than putting solar panels on a roof. The building design maximized passive strategies, then determined how much energy active systems like photovoltaics and geothermal needed to generate. The original 55,000SF building was gutted down to the framing, while a 9,000 SF addition allowed space reconfiguration to meet 21st-century learning goals, including a STEM center with Art and Project labs.

Jury comments: The design of Buckley Elementary School transforms a 1940's school into a bright, welcoming setting for 21st century learning. The resourceful preservation of the original building's framing, passive strategies, and playful deployment of lightwells and color merges sustainable tactics with a clear, cohesive design parti. It is great to see the prioritization of passive design strategies and load reduction in pursuit of net zero.

King's Block | Patriquin Architects
Ian Christmann Photography

Located across from the Quinnipiac River, just out of the flood plain, this Passive House retrofit of an 1816 brick building drastically cuts carbon emissions and extends the life of a treasured historic landmark. As part of the comprehensive deep energy retrofit completed in May 2022, all major mechanical systems were removed from the basement to increase the building’s resiliency, while disconnecting gas hookups that fed inefficient furnaces and water heaters. At the building’s three upper levels (~ 4,000 sf total), existing finishes were removed down to the brick exteriors and an entirely new “exterior” envelope (walls, roof, and basement ceiling) built within the historic shell. In order to work within a strict historic district, the only adjustments to the building’s exterior were a series of small penetrations for the new ERVs, and the addition of a rooftop solar array.

The all-electric building employs a distributed, high-efficiency mechanical strategy: each floor has its own all-in-one heat pump / ERV / dehumidification unit.

Jury comments: King's Block is a thoughtful project which is notable due to its retrofit approach: to construct an entirely new envelope within the historic building's shell. Fantastic achievement in PHIUS+ certification and dramatic EUI reduction for a retrofit project.

6 Maple Street – Preservation, Adaptive Reuse & Deep Energy Retrofit | Wyeth Architects
Photography: Robert Benson Photography

This 1749 Colonial house in picturesque Chester, Connecticut received a Passive House-inspired deep-energy-retrofit.

The 3,265 SF building was renovated with long-lasting and low-maintenance materials, requiring fewer resources for long-term upkeep. The retail lower level and the business-occupied upper levels enjoy the health and comfort associated with high-performance construction. The owner enjoys low energy costs and high durability.

This project proves the value, importance, and feasibility of improving our existing building stock. An 18th-century building can be energy efficient, resilient, and healthy.

Jury comments: Great commitment to durability, moisture management, and historic preservation of an existing building while achieving solid energy improvements.

View past Sustainable Architecture Award winners:

2022 2021 2020