Raising the bar for sustainable projects around the world

Sustainability Report 2014

For more than two decades, Atelier Ten has been a leader in green building certifications, a practice that we have named ‘benchmarking’. We see benchmarking as a force for change in the industry, because we have seen first-hand how it has motivated teams to do more. Benchmarking encourages project teams to aim higher on sustainability and to back up their performance claims with calculations and documentation. Perhaps most importantly, it has helped to carry the sustainable design vision all the way from concept design through construction, without the typical ‘watering down’ that occurs as the design gets finalised and value engineered.

Our clients’ motivations for benchmarking are varied: commitment to the environment and the well-being of occupants; competitiveness with peers; improving team integration and quality assurance; education of occupants or the public; marketing and public relations; tax credits; expedited permitting; economic payback; and many others. Regardless of the motivation, benchmarking systems have helped us improve the sustainability of hundreds of buildings.

Atelier Ten’s benchmarking roots lie in BREEAM and LEED, the two green building certification systems that jump-started the idea of benchmarking around the world. We’ve expanded beyond these initial systems and are now working with an impressive list of programs for individual buildings and masterplan developments.

Atelier Ten’s approach to benchmarking is not to take the easiest path to certification, but the one that best aligns with the project’s true sustainability goals. We begin each project with a discussion of which of the many green design issues are most important for the project at hand and why. We then see how these values align with potential benchmarking systems, and with individual credits or points within those systems.

Over the years we’ve created a process for benchmarking that assesses progress early and often. As a result, each design team has the information they need to earn the highest possible rating. This often leads our projects to become certified at a higher level than they originally thought possible. The academic, arts, commercial and residential buildings shown are just a small sample of where this approach has succeeded.

As of Autumn 2014, Atelier Ten was proud to work on 108 projects that have earned certification.

As benchmarking systems become more prolific and more challenging, Atelier Ten looks forward to working with them to push our projects farther towards true sustainability.