Hennebery Eddy Architects – Firm Profile
Hennebery Eddy Architects are on a roll. This past fall, their net zero energy PCC Newberg Academic Center won the 2011 Portland AIA Sustainable Design Award. A year before, the firm’s Willamette University Ford Hall project won a 2010 Portland 2030 Challenge Design Award, As Built category and a 2030 Challenge Unbuilt award for PCC Newberg. This Portland firm is receiving ongoing recognition for the design of high performance buildings and BetterBricks decided to schedule an interview with founding principal Tim Eddy, to ask about their practice. Here’s what we learned:
Hennebery Eddy was founded in 1992 “From the very beginning it (sustainability) has been a part of what we do, trying to design great buildings—sustainability is just a part of a great building.” Tim Eddy studied architecture during the 1970s and his professional outlook has been influenced by the oil shocks that effectively book-ended that decade, the early passive solar sensibilities and design initiatives of the time, and the teaching and writings of Ed Mazria. As Tim explained, “from 1970 to the early 80s, it was hard to study architecture without being heavily indoctrinated. While some firms have pursued sustainability from a branding standpoint, at Hennebery Eddy, we’re a design firm where sustainability is one more of our tools. We haven’t felt a need to change.”
Services span architecture, interior design, and planning and the firm is active in a variety of markets: higher education and institutional work is a major focus, representing 30-50 percent of fee income, but Hennebery Eddy also delivers major public and municipal, corporate, hospitality and urban housing projects. A particular area of interest is the influence of landscape and parks. The firm has regularly been invited by landscape architects to add buildings to projects. Two historic preservationists on staff support an ongoing interest in historic work. 93 percent of the 30-35 person staff are LEED APs or green associates.
Early recognition for projects with sustainability elements:
- The C-TRAN Evergreen Transit Center was delivered with a strong focus on incorporating sustainable materials. The story of these materials became part of the overall story of the transit shelter, which received a Portland AIA, Design Citation Award, in 1999.
- The firm designed the 122-unit Buckman Terrace project, completed in 2000 for Pat Prendergast and Ed McNamara. Said Eddy: “we found a common interest in sustainable design with Ed, and we worked closely with Tom Liptan of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) to install an eco-roof on part of the building. This was one of the first green roofs in Portland, probably the first on a wood-framed building. We also provided on-site storm water management, for the entire project, on a very tight site. The building had a highly insulated envelope and was the first apartment building in Portland to separately meter hot and cold water for all units.
- “We had completed a Master Plan for the Tualatin Valley Water District’s Beaverton site and were asked by Water District CEO Greg DiLoreto to submit an architecture proposal for the new headquarters building. We proposed a theme of significant potable water savings, as the District promotes to their customers, and also suggested LEED certification. In 2005 the resultant building became the 8th LEED Silver building in Oregon, incorporating a 40 thousand gallon, below grade, rain water storage tank, with rain water recovery equipment displayed within the building, accessible for viewing by school tour groups and others.
- By the time Hennebery Eddy completed a below grade parking garage, for Portland’s First Presbyterian Church, in 2007, sustainable design ” had become mainstream.” The parking structure was covered by a large green roof and garden. Interior ceilings were painted white, allowing a 15 percent reduction in fluorescent lamps. The project received a 2007 Excellence in Concrete Award.
Typical of many early projects, industry-wide, with a sustainability focus, these Hennebery Eddy projects highlighted materials and stormwater strategies. The following, more recent projects reflect a greater emphasis on energy performance and demonstrate application of some of the load reduction and passive design strategies that Tim Eddy identified as early interests of his. In the case of Ford Hall, and most significantly, PCC Newberg Center, these design strategies have been applied to achieve contemporary performance challenges, specifically the net zero energy goal of the 2030 Challenge.
Willamette University’s 42,000 square foot academic building, Ford Hall, was completed in September 2009. The LEED Gold certified building uses 58 percent less energy than a comparable CBECS baseline building and is the first Hennebery Eddy project to incorporate a large photovoltaic array (25.5 kW). From the university’s perspective it is the highest performing building on campus, combining excellent energy use with virtually no occupant concerns with respect to comfort. As previously mentioned, the project received the 2010 Portland 2030 Challenge Design Award, As Built Category
Hennebery Eddy was approached by TriMet to explore the greening of the South Terminus of the Downtown Transit Mall. The agency’s initial program for the site called for a couple of 3,000-4,000 square foot buildings to house system equipment. The architects decided to approach the site more comprehensively: first addressing all storm water on site; second, rather than including systems buildings of the type and scale found on TriMet’s other light rail lines that could seem out of scale in the context of adjacent planned development and existing infrastructure, much smaller scale, less costly, prefabricated equipment enclosures were used shrouded bya structure designed to elegantly wrap the enclosures andsupport a 50-60 kW SolarWorld PV array (large enough to generate all electricity required at the site, with some surplus to the grid). Additionally, the support poles for the light rail catenary lines are designed to accommodate Oregon Wind vertical axis wind turbines, when they are available and ready to go. The project received a Portland AIA, Unbuilt Citation Award, 2009 and a National ASLA, General Design Category Award of Excellence, 2011 (as part of the ZGF Partnership team for the Portland Transit Mall Revitalization).
When Hennebery Eddy began work on the PCC Newberg Academic Center, they knew that Linda Gerber, PCC Sylvania Campus President, had already considered a net zero energy plan for the entire Sylvania campus and had begun planning another net zero energy building. They also knew that the Newberg Academic Center project offered the “best possible equity between the roof area and building energy use to achieve net zero”. The design team worked closely with the future occupants to reduce building energy loads and to integrate passive systems. Explained Eddy, “At PCC Newberg, we were, in effect, rolling back the clock to consider strategies used for years before the era of refrigeration and cheap energy”. The resulting building, with a large roof and a huge porch, provides the necessary area for PV integration to meet the NZE goal. The building EUI, which will be met by the PV array, is 28 kBTU/sf-yr. Winner of the 2011 Portland AIA Sustainable Design Award and a 2010 Portland 2030 Challenge Design Award, As Designed Category, details about the project can be found here.
Occupant Behavior and Net Zero Energy Goals
Load reduction strategies are essential, to meet net zero energy goals, and must address owner assumptions about equipment use. For example, PCC Newberg’s computer lab baseline called for one desktop computer per workspace. The design team proposed a thin client server approach, which was a greater change than the school was prepared to make (at that time). The compromise strategy was the use of laptops to reduce energy demand. The project also addressed a college standard that initially called for eight vending machines in the building. With the active participation of the design team, to assess needs, that number was reduced to three, with the proposed use of vending miser controls, to closely manage the energy use of the remaining machines.
Hennebery Eddy successfully addressed occupant needs, in this project, to reach net zero loads, but Tim Eddy points out that the impact of occupant behavior for this project was not as challenging as it is in other occupancy types: staff and students are mostly transient, with limited opportunities to accumulate personal equipment that requires added energy use. In most commercial environments it’s tougher to address accessory items brought to work by occupants and an agreed upon set of group ethics is necessary to maintain minimal miscellaneous plug loads.
When asked about the potential for the firm to design more NZE projects, Tim Eddy responded that it’s inevitable, but that either incentives or donors to support the installation of sufficient renewables are required.
Integrated Design, Energy Performance and Performance Tracking
For projects pursuing aggressive energy performance and for certain system solutions, Hennebery Eddy tends to work with familiar team members, employing an integrated design and integrated project delivery strategy involving project “partnerships” with major consultants, who are generally at the table from day one. As a project evolves these consultants are well positioned to accommodate design changes while maintaining focus on performance goals.
For example, the initial plan to incorporate natural ventilation into Ford Hall was carried well into the design process, until it was set aside over typical, lingering concerns about noise, air quality, etc. The design process allowed the team to quickly respond to these client concerns, while remaining focused upon the project energy performance goal, by substituting displacement ventilation without the need for major design revisions.
At PCC Newberg, Hennebery Eddy involved the Energy Trust of Oregon from the start and was able to include the project in the Trust’s Path to Net Zero pilot. Interface Engineering, also part of the PCC Newberg and Ford Hall teams, provided ongoing modeling support, including computational fluid dynamics, to maintain a project-specific balance among the trade offs of different design strategies.
The 2030 Challenge and requirements of the 2030 Commitment are leading firms, including Hennebery Eddy to increased tracking of the performance of built projects. The firm maintains contact with clients, such as Willamette University’s campus facilities management and employs internal green bags, where they have pulled utility bills from projects to assess performance.
When asked if he thought Hennebery Eddy’s increased recognition of the energy performance and sustainability of their projects had become a major factor in attracting new clients, Tim Eddy responded, “it is always a factor on public solicitations, particularly public higher education. Public building projects usually target sustainability and energy performance. On private jobs, it is always expected that you can work through sustainability issues. Even clients whom you might least expect, are tuned into sustainability now (while they might not have been five years ago). But when it comes to projects with really tight budgets, first cost can still trump all else.”