SPS is "LEED"ing design into the future


Congratulations, Lauren Thomas and Sara Buhler! Becoming LEED certified is a very prestigious honor and we are so proud to announce that two more of our staff are now part of the very select LEED community. Passing a LEED certification exam guarantees that the individual has an up-to-date understanding of the most current green building standards, and it also signifies that an individual is a leader and innovator in sustainable building. The demand and necessity for green building continues to open a need for professional knowledge specific to sustainable building technologies and strategies.

“During my time at Auburn, it became second nature for me to think in terms of what was best
for the environment when making design decisions on my projects. I feel it is our job to respect our
planet when specifying which materials to use and how to get rid of old materials. It was always
a goal of mine to become LEED accredited, and I am so proud to accomplish this. Sustainability is
critical to our environment’s future, and I plan on making it a priority in my career.”

-Sara Buhler

Becoming “Environmentally Conscious” has become an extremely popular movement in the U.S. throughout the late 2000’s, and making moves towards being more “green” has most definitely become the “in” thing to do. But to those in the construction and design communities, this movement is a lot more than just a fad. For these professionals being conscious of the environment means much more than recycling each month. It means fully understanding that as populations explode all over the globe and natural resources diminish at an alarming rate, recycled building materials and energy efficient technologies are not just the cool way to build, they are quickly becoming the only way to build. As more and more of the population jumps on board with sustainable building, the demand for builders and designers that are LEED certified continues to grow exponentially every year.

So what is LEED? It is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED is a nationally accepted, third party certification that also operates as an organization for construction and design using a cutting edge green approaches. LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2000 in the hopes of creating a measurable rating system for sustainable building. For a building to become LEED certified, the builder must be able to verify that it was designed and constructed with strategies and materials aimed at achieving a high level of performance in one or many different areas pertaining to human and environmental health.


“I decided to get this certification so I can educate clients about the benefits of green building.
It not only sustains the environment, but it also saves the client money in the long run. By designing
for ultimate efficiency, the client will experience lower operating costs for years to come.”

-Lauren Thomas


 A few of these areas include sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality, and many more. LEED certifications are available for all kinds of building from homes to schools to high-rise corporate offices. The certification is based on a points system and the amount of points earned determines whether the project will receive a rating of: Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. It is becoming more apparent that building with LEED not only makes sense environmentally but also financially. From an investment standpoint, LEED certified buildings are commanding higher rental rates and greater occupancy than the non-green buildings. LEED buildings rent for a higher dollar amount per square feet, and also the market demand for LEED buildings is higher than for non-LEED certified buildings. Yet the supply, while gradually increasing, is not keeping up with the demand for green buildings so there is plenty of room for opportunity. The positives far outweigh the negatives for owners of LEED buildings as well.According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the benefits offered by a LEED certified building include lower operating costs, waste reduction, water conservation, greenhouse gas emission reduction and a healthy and safer building. Also, many cities offer very beneficial tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives to companies that choose to achieve a LEED certification. The future is fast approaching and LEED building is on the forefront! We at Sims Patrick Studios are so excited to be a part of this movement and can’t wait to see what the future has in store!