Secret Formula for Projects of the Year Revealed
With a clearly defined integrated design approach and high benchmarking goals, the project team for Albertsons Clairemont
implemented innovative energy and waste reduction features that helped it land Sustainable Project of the Year for 2011.
THE 2011 A.R.E. SUSTAINABILITY PROJECT OF THE YEAR,
Albertsons Clairemont in San Diego, had a winning formula. In an
experience that practically guaranteed good scores in all three judging
areas for the sustainable retail design competition, the project team’s
integrated design approach led to innovations that produced exceptional benchmarking achievements. The same formula had brought
top honors to Whole Foods Market in Lincoln Park, Chicago, last year.
And our 2009 top winner showed similar traits.
Year after year, the most outstanding green retail project is one that
starts with a clear vision of its sustainable goals and brings together
disparate stakeholders to make it happen. The process of integrated
design yielding innovation yielding high benchmarks is the quintessence of green building. Why then do so few retail projects begin
with an ecocharrette? The retail environments industry, by and large,
is said to still use a conventional design process. The results of such
efforts are limited by the failure to include different voices in the early
stages of a project.
The Integrated Design Approach
A conventional design project has separate teams for architecture,
plumbing, general contracting, fixtures, installation, and so forth. Each
team becomes involved at a different stage in the project, and teams
only work together when necessary.
Integrated design is a sustainable approach that views a building as a system—that is, a project is more than the sum of its parts.
Since design decisions in one area can affect another area, the idea
is to maximize synergies and minimize unintended consequences. So
instead of each player joining the project at a different stage, all the
players get together at the outset to understand the project’s sustainable goals and begin to provide input.
Integrated design also considers the lifecycle impact of decisions.
Retailers have been discovering that initial capital outlay for store
projects should not be considered in a vacuum, as some upfront
investments can result in operating cost reductions that quickly pay
The Role of the Ecocharrette
An ecocharrette is an important part of the integrated design process.
The earlier various types of expertise are brought to bear on a project,
the greater the potential benefits. Experts advise holding a charrette
after defining issues and setting goals for the project. An ecocharrette
might last from half a day to several days and then continue in phases
as the project progresses.
A.R.E. Sustainability Awards Judging Criteria
The A.R.E. Sustainability Awards are judged by an independent
panel of industry professionals with expertise in various areas of
retail environments. Judges score entries in three areas:
• Integration: Interaction among disparate disciplines
and between the project and its community
• Innovation in Design: New or unusual design and
engineering solutions and resolution of difficult challenges
• Benchmarks: Attainment of acknowledged industry
standards and identified measurable goals
For winning projects, see the Winners Book, following page 24,
and visit www.retailfix.com/awards.