“Action expresses priorities.” –Mahatma Ghandi
When Fieena and Lev started their business twenty-some years ago the idea of sustainability and resource conservation was but a small pea at the bottom of 20 mattresses. Still their belief that a building could, and should, operate much more efficiently led them to quietly incorporate economizers and heat recovery units into HVAC systems, promote water efficient plumbing fixtures, and encourage more energy efficient lighting systems.
Advocating a process they called Integrated Building Concepts they brought their engineers to the table during design discussions, proving that architects and engineers can, and should, work well together. They talked about the advantages of integrated building controls and the importance of commissioning. They educated the non-believers at the City of Chicago on the benefits of ground source heating and cooling, and personally guaranteed that the first application of such a system (at the Chicago Center for Green Technology) would work (still does!). They witnessed the beginnings of what would become the U.S. Green Building Council and participated in a pilot project for a new building rating system called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED); which ultimately became the first renovation project to achieve a platinum certification.
As sustainable building design began to crawl into the mainstream their firm was nationally recognized as an innovative group that effectively grounds the tenets of sustainability within the practical world of tight budgets and limited resources. Their penchant for original engineering solutions has resulted in using lake water for condensing chillers, thus reducing the overall cooling demand of a building by 250 tons; utilizing ice storage to air condition an aging school through Wisconsin’s humidity season; converting a once abandoned power house into a highly energy efficient community facility; and designing true net zero homes from Chicago to Kuala Lumpur.
Twenty-some years ago Fieena and Lev brought their vision to light. They changed the way engineers traditionally approach building systems and laid a framework that continues to challenge and engage all of us at IBC Engineering Services.
The moral of our story: give peas a chance.