Sweeney Shank Architects, LLC

Optimize use of interior space through careful design so that the overall building size is kept to a minimum. This reduces the resources used in constructing and also reduces
resources used for everyday operations.

Avoid material waste from structural over design by using pre-engineered framing and roof trusses.

Make the structure adaptable to other uses and choose materials and components that can be reused or recycled to reduce the “future” impact your building will have on the

Landscape your lot with drought resistant native plants and perennial ground covers since conventional grass lawns have a high environmental impact because of water use,
pesticide use, and pollution generated from mowing.

Place trees on the east and west sides of a building to dramatically reduce cooling loads. Use hedge rows and shrubbery to block cold winter winds or help channel cool summer
breezes into the building.

Protect existing trees from damage during construction by fencing a drip line around them. Avoid major changes to surface grade.

Design insect-resistant detailing that will require minimal use of pesticides.

Use high levels of insulation, high-performance windows, and tight construction.

Incorporate cost-efficient passive solar heating, daylight, and natural cooling when appropriate.

Consider using rooftop water conservation for outdoor watering.

Design areas for the storage and processing of recyclables.

Recycle water that has been used for hand washing or bathing when permitted.


Use durable products to reduce the energy used in the manufacturing of replacement products.

Use products that require less maintenance to reduce solid waste problems.

Select building materials that will require little maintenance (painting, re-treatment, waterproofing, etc.), or whose maintenance will have minimal environmental impact.

Try to use locally produced materials to save the energy used and the pollution caused by the transportation of the materials.

Reduce landfill pressure and save natural resources by using salvaged materials such as: lumber, millwork, certain plumbing fixtures, and hardware. Make sure these materials
are safe, and don't sacrifice energy efficiency or water efficiency.

Use lumber from independently certified well-managed forests.

Avoid materials that will give off gas pollutants.

Use well designed high-efficiency furnaces, boilers, and air conditioners and distribution systems to not only save operating expenses but also to produce less pollution.

Use energy saving lighting and high efficiency appliances suitable for your building to gain economic and environmental advantages.


Make your operation as energy efficient as possible, purchase energy efficient vehicles, arrange carpools to job site, and schedule site visits and errands to minimize unnecessary

Use recycled office paper and supplies and recycle office paper waste.

Use coffee mugs instead of disposable cups. On the job site, recycle beverage containers.

Centralize cutting operations to reduce waste and simplify sorting.

Set up clearly marked bins or trash cans for different types of reusable waste (wood scraps for kindling, sawdust for compost, etc.).

Find out where different materials can be taken for recycling, and educate your crew about recycling procedures.

Donate salvaged materials to low-income housing projects, theater groups, etc.

Sustainable Design

It is our belief that “Building Green” is a high tech approach to sound design practices that have
been around for centuries. For example, the Pueblo Indians built their homes from adobe brick
long before it was chic to build “green“. The adobe brick has a high thermal mass that retains
the heat from the daytime and slowly dissipates it throughout the cooler nights. This is just one
example of “green” design that has been used for generations. The following summarizes some
of the broader topics of sustainable design relating to design, materials, and function.