HMC believes that buildings should positively impact the environment and benefit society while also promoting human health and quality of life. Achieving this goal requires a new set of skills, tools, and beliefs. It requires a transformation in how we think about buildings, how we design them, and how we ultimately use them. Regenerative strategies in architecture challenge us to design buildings that are not just sustainable, but also aim to restore, renew, and revitalize the environment. We know that we can do more than sustain a future—we can build one that flourishes.
Our clients come to us wanting to leave the world a better place than they found it. Often, they want to go green as a part of their corporate mission. They want their values to be reflected in their building design as well as in the exterior spaces that support their corporate culture. Why do they choose us as a partner? Because we understand the complex issues at play when creating sustainable and Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings and our leadership has the knowledge and experience needed to deliver award-winning designs.
Eric Carbonnier, (PhD, a VP of Sustainability at HMC and lecturer at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona) and Eera Babtiwale, (VP of Sustainability and United States Green Building Council IE Branch Board Member), have led the sustainable analysis, design, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for over 3 million square feet worth of projects for HMC over the past 15 years. Their efforts make a difference in demonstrating how sustainable building design translates into tangible value for clients and communities. They work with project teams to ensure we not only implement systems that meet our clients’ sustainability goals, but also stay ahead of tomorrow’s environmental legislation. With a goal of attaining ZNE for all new building projects by 2030, they are reliable experts and sustainability advocates for our clients. With their leadership, the buildings we design have positive, lasting social and environmental impacts.
To make impactful contributions that transcend our roles as architects, we take an open approach to design, combining economic, environmental, and regulatory insights to get a high-level view of society’s needs. We also look to the younger members within our firm and in the communities we serve for guidance, as they are especially aware of and driven to help solve deep social and environmental problems. HMC employees are all given space in which to pursue their ethical and professional goals, because when you hire people who share your vision, they get to do what they love while supporting your organization’s goals.
Achieving a building design that reaches beyond sustainability requires collaboration from the start. When you partner with HMC Architects, we’ll design a strategy based on where your facility is on the green spectrum and where you want it to be—whether that is achieving an outstanding LEED rating, securing ZNE, or transcending sustainability and reaching for regenerative design. We’ll collaborate closely with you every step of the way and listen to the insights offered by the people who use your building every day. By working together to design with an emphasis on energy conservation, water resilience, and carbon footprint reduction, we help you meet your sustainable architecture objectives in cost-effective ways.
Our goal is to advance beyond today’s accepted guidelines and standards. While we provide expertise in the latest Title 24 Energy Code and rating systems, such as LEED, we consider these metrics to be industry standards. We provide expertise in decoding California’s Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan’s ZNE requirements for the state. Together with you, we are ready to look beyond industry norms, and toward a future of ZNE or even Net-Positive buildings. For clients who are unaware of or who don’t fully grasp the concept and practicality of ZNE, we demystify ZNE building design through thoughtful discussion and education. And our clients can’t help getting excited about reducing their energy consumption. We teach them how regenerative principles and strategies work, and how they can be put into action. We often end up learning as much in our project meetings as our clients do. When we design with this approach, we are able to realize built environments that surpass standards and achieve truly regenerative results.
The more pathways we create toward energy efficiency, the more we offset additional energy needs. As designers of green buildings, our strategies for achieving sustainability and meeting ZNE standards get results. By implementing the following successful tactics again and again, we’ve perfected the art of matching an organization’s green goals with the most effective strategies:
In our kick-off meetings, we brainstorm with clients to generate sustainability goals. Through deep collaboration, data analytics, and by learning how people use a building, we can strategize how best to save energy and water, as well as how to lower the project’s impact on the environment and the surrounding community.
Daylighting, Energy, Climatic Analysis, and Carbon Footprinting
We conduct environmental analysis at the beginning of the project, and we follow through with additional analysis throughout the design process in order to ensure that the project is energy efficient, water conserving, and thermally comfortable.
High-tech simulations and training
We run simulations of our designs to ensure we implement the most effective features for a project and to help clients imagine how their building will work, and hold training sessions so that users know how to operate their new building once it’s occupied.
After construction, we measure a project’s effectiveness and make adjustments to ensure the building is on track to meet sustainability goals. We also hold a post-occupancy evaluation to learn how users are doing in their new building. The data and feedback we get as a result of these assessments help us deliver even more innovative ZNE buildings in the future.
Serving the public through sustainability awareness
In 2009, we founded the HMC Designing Futures Foundation (DFF), a private grant-making foundation that helps deepen our social and environmental impact. The foundation has invested over $750,000 in local and global communities, and has inspired numerous businesses to embrace sustainability.
At HMC, our desire to positively impact the environment and society goes beyond designing sustainable and ZNE buildings for our clients. In 2009, we founded the HMC Designing Futures Foundation (DFF), a private grant-making foundation that helps to deepen our social and environmental impact. The foundation has invested over $750,000 in local and global communities, and has inspired businesses to embrace sustainability.
The DFF is always looking for creative ways to teach the public the value of environmental well-being. “Sustainable Environments Seen Through the Eyes of Elementary School Children,” for example, was a series of workshops the DFF held in partnership with Santa Monica Malibu School District’s McKinley Elementary School. The workshops focused on how energy and water consumption from buildings impact our environment and informed students about how specific human actions have had adverse impacts on the planet. Students learned that they have the power to make a positive, global difference by making simple but effective changes to their daily habits—from turning off lights and devices to taking shorter showers. Students from Maracaibo, Venezuela, also joined the workshops by Skype, illustrating how the work can transcend cultural and physical boundaries. The DFF has since shared the project with other California school districts and has received the first U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Malcolm Lewis Impact Award.
Through DFF, we’ve been able to do more than simply conduct business as usual. We’ve partnered with organizations to create positive change that serves the public good with employee volunteerism and pro bono design services have helped every member of our firm get involved in their own communities. Since 2010, individual employees and staff teams have worked with 50 different organizations to make a difference in the communities we serve.
At HMC Architects, we go beyond the architect’s traditional role. We share our knowledge and expertise in regenerative and sustainable design with the communities we serve. In short, we help inspire a positive future.
Our collaborative client relationships have produced amazing results—and we’re not done yet. Below are a few of the many regenerative and sustainable projects that we take pride in. We hope they inspire you as they have us, because the only thing better than looking back on success is dreaming of all the beautiful buildings we have yet to create.
We helped Clearwater Elementary by securing $1 million in grant money for them from the California State Water Board. We used that money to design and implement stormwater pollution reduction strategies, conserve water, and restore, renew and revitalize local watersheds. By evaluating low impact development (LID) strategies, we were able to create a 31,000 cubic-foot bioretention area, 22,000 square feet of bioswales, two 1,500-gallon cisterns coupled with farm-to-table raised garden beds, an assortment of green screens, and 1,740 square feet of rain gardens that turned the campus into a citizen science outpost.
While our strategies greatly improved Clearwater Elementary’s sustainability, the project as a whole also provides opportunities to teach students environmental literacy. The HMC team collaborated with local non-profit community groups to provide teachers and students quality environmental education resources. The California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) Network and the Inland Empire WaterKeeper taught teachers how to integrate stormwater harvesting strategies into their lesson plans and gave them water quality testing kits for the students.
By going the extra mile in helping Clearwater Elementary get the funding they needed, we were able to make the school run more sustainably and show students how a water-sustainable campus works.
Other Pre-K-12 clients that now use their buildings’ designs as working examples of sustainability include Santa Monica Malibu School District and the Corona-Norco Unified School District.
Shunde Hospital of Southern Medical University in China needed construction and design that would allow it to respond to outbreaks while minimizing infection risks. HMC won the contract through an international design competition and in 2017 completed the giant 3-million-square-foot hospital, which is now the official pilot green hospital for China’s new green guidelines.
Due to the 2002-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, the Chinese government made major policy changes regarding emergency response. These changes influenced new hospital design across the region. Our team came up with innovative solutions, including the latest infections control features. Shunde Hospital now has a 2,000-bed inpatient tower, the capacity to handle 6,000 outpatient visits, an outpatient ambulatory care center, a cancer center, and medical research and infectious disease buildings—all while minimizing infection risks.
We also implemented sustainable design features that optimize the building’s performance. The facility includes an eco-atrium and is cooled by air dehumidified through natural ventilation, stack effect, and chilled beams. These innovations help the hospital exceed local energy regulations by more than 60 percent. The hospital’s façade features solar fins and one of the largest installations of building-integrated photovoltaic systems in China to reduce energy consumption. It also has a green-filled public plaza that welcomes the surrounding community.
The Shunde Hospital project has set a new bar for sustainable hospital design. It won the national AIA American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA) design award in 2011, and in November 2018, the hospital was featured as the cover story in Healthcare Design Magazine.
To help protect local natural resources, we designed the three-story, 36,000 square-foot facility County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency building to be a ZNE facility that promotes wellness. Powered entirely by solar energy, the building improves workplace health and productivity through sunlight and natural ventilation. Teflon-coated fiberglass shade sails protect the lobby from solar heat gain, while operable windows invite cool ocean breezes. High-efficiency photovoltaic arrays outside the building power the facility. We also used thoughtful hardscaping and landscaping materials and features: Native plants, water-conserving subsurface drip irrigation, and a number of low rock arroyos to retain and direct site water into onsite detention basins.
When the Cucamonga Valley Water District wanted to create a building that would be a shining public example of water and energy conservation, we knew we had to be a part of the project. Before breaking ground, we worked with the district to find donors and collaborators and to educate the Cucamonga community on the benefits of the project. The completed building showcases passive downdraft cooling, thermal mass design, rainwater harvesting, solar thermal, photovoltaic energy (PV), and a variety of green technologies that, combined, have reduced water consumption by 50 percent and energy usage by 30 percent.
Inside, the building’s spaces host community forums, school groups, and lectures. Features include beautiful terrazzo floors that sparkle with recycled glass chips, renewable bamboo cabinetry and flooring, and textured, insulated concrete walls that offer a cool contrast to the warm wood grille ceilings. Now, when Southern Californians need inspiration for their own sustainable buildings, they can tour the Frontier Project to learn all about conservation and be inspired.
This sustainable gateway to nature in Irvine, California, offers activities, programs, and classes in indoor and outdoor spaces that flow together seamlessly. Visitors learn about and explore local flora and fauna, hike a trail system that leads to the coast, and attend events in a large conference center. We used a number of strategies to weave sustainability into the building’s design and the landscaping: solar panel arrays, high-efficiency LED lighting, low water-use fixtures, and native trees and plants that reduce energy and water usage. Quail Hill not only engages and educates members of its surrounding community, but also uses fewer resources to do it.
Kaiser Permanente is serious about reducing energy consumption in its healthcare facilities. To help the organization become more energy efficient, we’ve implemented sustainable solutions into many of its facilities, including its Skyport Medical Office facility in San Jose, California. Together, renewable energy systems, dynamic tinting glazing, improved thermal and lighting system controls, heat island-prevention paving, and a cool roof result in an eco-friendly building destined to achieve LEED Gold certification.
Colleges and Universities account for approximately 121 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, or nearly 2 percent of total annual U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With such a large footprint, higher education institutions play an extraordinary role in reducing carbon emissions released into our atmosphere. Furthermore, they have an extraordinary opportunity to cultivate a generation of climate action leaders through research, teaching, and training on campus.
Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC), seeing this as both an opportunity and a responsibility, chose to develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP)—a detailed and strategic framework for measuring, planning, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and related climatic impacts. In 2018, HMC was enlisted by Mt. SAC to oversee the efforts for the College's CAP. The CAP was developed with students, staff, and faculty through a series of workshops and an eco-charrette.
Our design for the 58,000-square-foot BIT Building promotes and demonstrates sustainability at every turn. The building is a comfortable, sustainably-designed haven from CSUMB’s frigid coastal climate. From the onset of the project, our design team collaborated with CSUMB to understand their sustainability goals and ultimately design a healthy, responsible environment for learning. The LEED Platinum building minimizes its environmental impact with a 44 percent reduction in water use, a 42 percent efficiency in energy, an interior which boasts natural light for 75 percent of the building, and optimized air quality achieved through increased ventilation and access to the outdoors.
When you’re ready to create a regenerative, sustainable, or ZNE building, come to the experts. We’ll collaborate with you to design beautiful, efficient, sustainable architecture using solutions that will help you meet your energy and water reduction goals. To begin planning your new design or renovation, contact HMC Architects. To learn more about our sustainable and ZNE projects, read our Thought Leadership blog. We can’t wait to get started on your design.