A Brighter Shade of Green

Not every project needs to be certified by a professional entity to make the world a little greener. In fact, even small changes adds up to great benefits in the long run! The North Charleston Public Works complex is a great example of that.

The City of North Charleston prides itself on being environmentally conscious, and has received several awards for their efforts. In the initial planning meeting for designing this particular 22-structure complex, Ray Anderson, Assistant to the Mayor, personally spearheded efforts to promote sustainable strategies. Following the premises of the US Green Building Council, the project employs a number of sustainable strategies including a Brownfield Site, intensive storm water quantity and quality control, water efficiency (including water reuse in the vehicle washdown areas), enhanced building commissioning, energy management systems, daylight harvesting, lighting controls, all LED lighting, use of recycled steel, and high efficiency and low maintenance insulated concrete wall panels.

Architecturally, there was considerable attention given to making the buildings as abuse-resistant and low maintenance as possible. While the Public Works department is the engine that keeps a city running, they are often the proverbial 'cobbler whose children have no shoes,' so there was a direct effort to not require a large maintenance budget for the campus.

Taking into consideration some existing soil contaimination issues on the site prior to construction, a Site Management Plan was prepared per DHEC guidelines and as part of a Non Responsible Party Voluntary Cleanup Contract in order to implement reasonable contamination control measures and insure that reasonable steps were taken in regard to known environmental conditions, in this case for management of impacted soil and shallow groundwater which could be encountered during construction.

The end result is an environmentally clean site, and a well-conceived site plan that gives the site back to the public realm. Through responsible architectural design and efforts to follow many of the applicable facets of the USGBC, the North Charleston Public Works complex is making North Charleston a little greener!


SMHa is Going Greener

We’re excited to announce that Jaclyn Rannels, Associate AIA, and Jeff Johnston, AIA, have earned their Green Globes Certifications and are two of 15 Green Globes Professionals, or ‘GGPs’, listed in South Carolina!

SMHa is currently designing the Essex Farms Office Building in the West Ashley area to be certified to a Green Globes Level 2 or 3.  The 14,000 square-foot project will incorporate locally sourced materials – much of the lumber will come from the site itself.  Any lumber that was not grown on the site will be regionally sourced from a Sustainable Forestry Institute tree farm. 

The design will also use painted B-Grade brick, a geothermal air conditioning system, xeriscaping irrigated by two above-ground cisterns that collect rainwater, and pervious materials which help ground water filter back into the earth rather than into a storm drain.

Essex Farms Office Building RenderingProject architect Jeff Johnston finds the Green Globes certification process to be a more user-friendly system than some alternatives.  No prerequisites are required, Green Globes allows partial credit for meeting the intent or meeting a portion of a requirement and has assessors available to determine eligibility for each unique situation.  Points are individualized to meet each project; if a point or item does not relate to the project, it is eliminated from the total accumulative points. 

While the LEED Rating System is currently the most widely known green building measurement tool, alternatives such as Green Globes and Energy Star are gaining popularity for their varying methodologies used to achieve certified levels of sustainable design.  With more options available, there are more chances to meet each owner’s unique shade of ‘green’ that may vary based on project goals, schedule and budget. 


SMHa Presenting at Sustain SC Conference

USGBC SC will host its fifth annual "Sustain SC" conference on April 24-26th in Myrtle Beach, SC.  The conference will highlight the latest green building products and services relevant to South Carolina, drawing hundreds of professionals and industry leaders from across the state and Southeastern region.  If you keep up with our blog, you know that we incorporate sustainable strategies into every project based on relevance and the Client's goals.  Sometimes this means a building that is just plain easy to maintain; sometimes it means LEED certification.  That was the case with Coastal Carolina University's Adkins Field House which was the university's first LEED project, earning LEED Gold status.

"Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts."

Dan Gable

 Sam Herin, one of SMHa's founding partners, will be on the multi-discipline panel presenting the journey the project took to reach this achievement. Anyone who has ever been involved in a design and construction process, and certainly the process for a high-performing building,  knows that it takes sweat, determination, guts...and the right team.  Other panelists for the presentation on April 25th are:

Mark Avant, Coastal Carolina University, Owner's Project Manager

Jason Kulenguski, DWG Consulting Engineers, Mechanical + Electrical Engineering

Paul Mashburn, Mashburn Construction, General Contractor

A tour of this building and several other LEED buildings on the campus is also scheduled for Friday, April 26th.  For more information on these and other Sustain SC events, and to register, check out this link.


MUSC Health East Cooper Facility earns LEED Certification

The United States Green Building Council has just notified SMHa that the Medical University of South Carolina's newest facility has earned a LEED Certification!



Adaptive Reuse - A Sustainable Renaissance

Sometimes a simple idea of reuse, or "rebirth" since we are in a Renaissance sort of mood today, can be as sustainable a strategy as the latest energy modeling technology or PV panels. Both approaches bring value to today's green discussion as it relates to the built environment, but today's blog is focused on the former at a very small scale. When The Daniel Island Company acquired the land to create Carnes Crossroads, a new community in Berkeley County, they discovered an historic barn on the property.  Built in 1929 to support a nearby horse-racing track, this proud utilitarian structure had a presence yet no modern day function.  SMHa was engaged to help craft the next chapter for this simple relic.  After the masterplan was completed, the barn was moved about a half mile up the road; which allowed the structure to be in a prominent location at the new main entrance of the development.  The current thought is for it to become a centerpiece as an open air amenity center bringing with it its patina, its story and some soul for this otherwise new neighborhood.  As Tyrone Richardson's Post & Courier article reports, the project is gaining momentum; so next time you are at the "crossroad" of US Hwy 176 and 17A in Goose Creek look for this humble example of the area's own Renaissance.

1929 Barn Front View1929 Barn Side View




SMHa Sketch as Carnes Crossroads Amenity Center