Carlson Studio Architecture is a regional leader in sustainable design. Sustainability is a key principal we apply to all of our projects. The integrated design approach that we utilize in all our work allows us to provide high quality, high performance buildings for our clients. We look at our buildings as part of the greater "whole system." Everything is part of one Whole System. Ecological thinking means looking at living things in their whole context, while seeking also to understand the interconnections between all living beings and their environment. It recognizes that no living being — including human beings — exists in isolation.
A building is an expression of energy, materials & design (information). Buildings are not comprised of isolated components - each is comprised of systems that interact with other systems including the larger ecological systems and the human community. A "whole system" design leverages the complex and complementary interactions to reduce energy use and levy the smallest possible environmental impact, while enhancing occupants' comfort and productivity. The whole buildings approach asks the members of the planning, design and construction team to look at the materials, systems and assemblies from many different perspectives. The design is evaluated for first cost, life cycle cost, quality-of-life, future flexibility, efficiency; overall environmental impact; productivity and creativity, and how the occupants will be enlivened. The most important component of any building is the people who use it.
Our investments express our values. Many sustainable building practices (for example, proper building orientation and daylighting) cost nothing and have significant environmental benefits. Other design choices require an increase in first cost but return of investment in lower operating and maintenance costs within a short to medium time frame (for example, an energy management system or an improved building envelope). Investing in sustainability has direct tangible benefits such as life cycle cost savings and intangible, but equally important benefits, such as quality of life and health.
LEED: Many people and organizations have expressed considerable interest in having their long-term investment choices reflect their concern about sustaining a healthy environment. Corporate sales and marketing organizations have recognized this trend and routinely tout a wide range of products and services as "green." But ecological design and development is not a specific set of products and services. The LEED Green Building rating system is a nationally recognized standard for determining best practices in sustainable design, development and the construction process. The LEED system provides an objective and comprehensive framework for sustainable building using an integrated whole systems approach.
We are a member of the US Green Building Council (USGBC), a founding member of the USGBC Gulf Coast Chapter, and Michael Carlson and three staff members are LEED Accredited Professionals. We are also a member of the Florida Green Building Coalition.