Saturday, November 29, 2008

Community and Utilities Field, Building Category

Emcee: Debra Poneman

It is my great honor to introduce our next inductee, Mike Nicklas of Innovative Design. Since 1977 Innovative Design's primary mission has been to be the leader in energy-efficient, environmentally sound design, and to utilize that status to direct consumers and the architectural/engineering community to greener, more sustainable solutions. For 31 years, Innovative Design has incorporated sustainable building practices into all of its work. Every one of the firm's 4,750 energy-efficient buildings utilizes solar energy.

Cumulative peak energy savings for the firm's designs now exceed 42 megawatts (115 megawatts of primary energy) and since 2000, facilities designed by Innovative Design have saved over 156 million gallons of municipal water consumption. In addition, the firm's designs have decreased carbon dioxide emissions by 820,000 tons and saved their clients energy bills by $104 million.

While Innovative Design designs all types of buildings, it specializes in educational facilities. The firm has been involved in the design of more green educational facilities than any other firm in the country; 105 facilities totaling over $960 million in construction value.

Innovative Design's educational facilities are not only models of sustainability but also superior learning and working environments. Reports from the firm's schools indicate decreased staff and student absenteeism and improved end-of-grade test scores. In addition, Innovative Design uses the school's curriculum to decide which sustainability features it incorporates into its designs. In this way, each facility's sustainability features become experiential learning opportunities for students, who in turn become life-long environmental advocates.

In addition to its induction into the Environmental Hall of Fame, Innovative Design has received numerous accolades for its innovation and commitment. In 2006 and 2007 the U.S. Energy Department's ENERGY STAR program gave Innovative Design its Special Recognition for Excellence in Promoting Superior Energy Performance in Building Design. Innovative Design was the first architectural firm to receive this honor.

In 2006, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America awarded Innovative Design their International Illumination Design Award of Merit. In 2005, the North Carolina State Energy Office awarded Innovative Design North Carolina's top award for promoting energy efficiency. And in 2008, the City of Raleigh awarded Innovative Design the first annual Environmental Award for Pioneering Efforts in Designing Sustainable Buildings.

Several of Innovative Design's schools have also received specific recognition for their environmental design. Durant Road Middle School in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Roy Lee Walker Elementary School in McKinney, Texas, both made the American Institute of Architects list of Top-Ten Most Environmentally Sensitive Buildings in the country. The Sustainable Buildings Industry Council named Heritage Middle School in Wake Forest, North Carolina the Nation's Top Exemplary Sustainable Building of 2005, and Northern Guilford Middle School in Greensboro, North Carolina, as the 2008 Best Sustainable School in the Country.

Representing Innovative Design at tonight's festivities is the firm's president and co-founder, Mike Nicklas. Mike is a world leader in the renewable energy field. He is a former chairman of the North Carolina Solar Energy Association, was twice chairman of the American Solar Energy Society and is a former president of the International Solar Energy Society. In these positions, he led many of these societies most significant efforts from the implementation of solar tax credits in the North Carolina Legislature to securing language supportive of energy efficiency and solar energy in the United Nations Earth Summit Agenda 21.

Mike has also served on the North Carolina Energy Policy Council, and he has met with the heads-of-state of eight countries to promote solar energy. Mike is a Fellow of both the American Institute of Architects and the American Solar Energy Society. He has presented lectures and organized conferences around the globe to educate and encourage sustainable energy.