TowerPinkster is a firm of architects and engineers committed to design integrity, quality, and environmental responsibility. We turn possibilities into reality...and that's called making it real. To see learn more about our projects and services, visit us at

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays from your friends at TowerPinkster!

We wish you a Magical Holiday and Happy New Year!

In honor of the many clients and partners TowerPinkster has had the pleasure to work with this year, we have made donations to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation in Grand Rapids and Family Health Center, Inc. in Kalamazoo.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

White House Conference on Community Colleges

-Tom Mathison, FAIA
Principal, Higher Education Focus Group Leader

On October 5, 2010, the White House held the first-ever Conference on Community Colleges to highlight new initiatives aimed toward higher education and community colleges. Many people, including me, had high expectations for a conference that would shine some light on a growing, yet seemingly underappreciated, part of America’s education system. After the day was done, there seemed to be mixed reviews about its content and impact.

There is no doubting, however, that community colleges play an important role in America’s education system. Almost half of America’s undergraduate students receive education at America’s 1200 community colleges. As the largest part of our higher education system, they enroll more that 8 million students and are growing. And few would deny that community colleges represent the most diverse educational setting anywhere. Community colleges must meet more needs by a greater range of students than anywhere else.

The conference highlighted several priorities of the Obama Administration:

  • Making college affordable. Community college students are more likely to cite financial concerns as impediments to persistence and completion of a degree or program.

  • Increasing graduation rates for degrees, certificates and other industry-related credentials.

  • Supporting military veterans with programs making higher education and other services more accessible.

What is your view of the importance of community colleges in America’s education system? Are these the highest priorities for community colleges?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

LEED Pays Off for Linden Grove Middle School

On September 8, 2009, Kalamazoo Public Schools’ Linden Grove Middle
School opened its doors for the first time. Now, just one year later, the school district is receiving a $47,283 check from TowerPinkster in appreciation of their efforts to create a healthy, energy-efficient, sustainable school for the Kalamazoo Community.

See the article here!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Project Update: Michigan State University

Check out a recent article on one of our recent projects at Michigan State University:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reeths-Puffer Schools

It's not too often that we have an opportunity to see the progression of our projects from this angle! At Reeths-Puffer Schools, TowerPinkster is renovating the middle school (top photo is before) to feature a new "student commons". The center of the school is being renovated to incorporate daylighting (by raising the ceiling), and to feature new classrooms, locker pods, common gathering space and to allow for improved supervision.

During construction:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Federal Building Renovations

Check out a recent article about one of our projects in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Renovations and historic preservation at the Federal Building for Kendall College of Art & Design!

Click here!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Carbon Day!

Did you know that Septmeber 15th is the official Carbon Day holiday? Since 1990, this day has been a worldwide event intended to increase awareness about the negative effect that greenhouse gas emissions have on our environment. Most people think of it as "tree planting day", but it is so much more!

Here are a few interesting facts about how WoodsEdge Learning Center has reduced its carbon footprint:

The building is designed to reduce energy consumption by 37% and will save 540 metric tons of carbon emissions every year!

97% of the wood materials used to build WoodsEdge are FSC certified.

97% of debris generated during construction was diverted from landfills.

24% of the materials used were harvested and manufactured within a 500 mile radius of the building.

21% of materials installed were made from recycled materials.

32% water savings is achieved through the use of low-flow fixtures.

. . . and much more! WoodsEdge Learning Center is on track to achieving LEED Gold Certification.

Monday, August 23, 2010

KRESA WoodsEdge Learning Center Opens!

The Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency recently opened the new WoodsEdge Learning Center, located in Portage. The facility houses just under 200 children and adults who have severe cognitive and physical impairments.

TowerPinkster designers gave careful thought to mobility challenges, color palettes, lighting, custom learning spaces and safety when designing the new building. Together, these elements have created an environment that fosters educational exploration within “learning villages”. This concept allows students can progress from individual classroom learning, to a common village, and a “main street” where they are connected to engaging activities that will ultimately connect them to the world.

See the article here!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thinking About the Future of Higher Education

-Tom Mathison, FAIA
Principal, Higher Education Group Leader

I recently returned from a national conference of the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), held in Minneapolis. I enjoy SCUP, and this conference brought some interesting presentations to expand our thinking. In particular was a plenary address by Mark Milliron, from the Gates Foundation, who delivered an address called “An Optimist’s Education Agenda”.

He brought forward the following as issues ahead:

  1. The transmission of intergenerational poverty (transmitting poverty from generation to generation to generation) is at it highest point ever. Education is the single biggest disruptor of this cycle.

  2. We’ve doubled our access to higher education, but half of all college students drop out before earning a credential.

  3. 68% of the top quartile students from college-going families earn a degree by age 26, compared to just 9% of first-generation students from the bottom quartile.

  4. Over the last generation the U.S. has moved from being first in educational attainment in the world to being 10th. Overall education attainment is now projected to decrease for the first time in our history.

  5. Billions of dollars are spent on activities that never lead to a credential. Worse yet, millions of students are trying but not succeeding.
As creators of environments and spaces that have the power to inspire, motivate, communicate, and educate, we have an obligation and a great responsibility to help students and higher education institutions leverage their investment in facilities to maximize their benefit to students and communities.

Here is a reading list from that same presentation at the SCUP conference. Happy reading!

The Next 100 Years (by George Freidman)

Hot, Flat and Crowded (by Tom Friedman)

The Next Hundred Million America in 2050 (by Joel Kotkin)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Miracle Treat Day!

There's nothing like a cool ice cream treat on a hot summer day! Today, our Grand Rapids office enjoyed Dairy Queen blizzards to support "Miracle Treat Day". All blizzard proceeds raised today in Grand Rapids went to support the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. Such a sweet way to give back!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

TowerPinkster Designs Green Roof at City Hall

In the heart of downtown, City Hall is only a few blocks from TowerPinkster's Kalamazoo office. The building exudes historic character and will soon feature a new green roof- resulting in huge energy savings for the City of Kalamazoo.

Check out the full story here!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Grand Opening: Washtenaw County 14A Judicial District Court

Grand opening ceremonies are always special because they allow everyone involved in the project to take a step back and appreciate what they have accomplished. On Friday, July 16th, the Washtenaw County 14A Judicial District Court opened its doors in a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by The Honorable Kirk W. Tabbey- Chief Judge, the Honorable Richard E. Conlin- Chief Judge Pro Tempore and the Honorable J. Cedric Simpson.

The team of TowerPinkster, HOK and Clark Construction has been diligently working on the project over the past two years. The addition features three new courtrooms, judge’s chambers and a secure, public entrance with a single point of access to the courts, sheriff’s administration and jail. The team also designed an expansion to the existing jail, which was completed in June. The new facility provides faster and more efficient service while offering a safe and secure environment for the staff and public.

Congratulations to the entire team for completing another successful project!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Passion for Mentoring

- Tom Mathison, FAIA
Principal, Higher Education Focus Group Leader

Many of us are passionate about sharing our knowledge with emerging professionals. When I founded the AIA Michigan Mentoring Network, it was and continues to be, an effort comprised of architect mentors who voluntarily meet with architecture and design students. Real-world experiences and life lessons are shared, friendships developed and guidance is offered. The network is free to both students and mentors, and is open to all architecture students at accredited programs in Michigan.

Starting with 100 students in 1999, the network has grown to an average of over 200 each year from the four accredited architecture programs in Michigan (University of Michigan, Lawrence Technological University, University of Detroit Mercy, and Andrews University). AIA Michigan partners with each university and respective AIA chapter to offer this unique opportunity. The network has quickly grown to include students and mentors from throughout Michigan and across the U.S and abroad.

Recently, the May 7, 2010 issue of AIArchitect featured the AIA Michigan Mentoring Network - to read the article, click here.

The network has been picked up by other AIA components in the U.S., and it is included among AIA’s “Best Practices” for mentoring. Recruiting for mentors and students starts soon for the 2010 – 2011 academic year. Contact me at for more information.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Another LEED Silver!

Congratulations, to the TowerPinkster team for achieving LEED Silver on the West Shore Community College Schoenherr Campus Student Center!

The project features strategic use of daylighting, high-recycled content and low-VOC materials, optimized energy performance and individual control of heating, cooling and lighting.

For project images, click here!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Inspired Learning Environments

“We need to first ask the question...'what is a classroom?' If we challenge our traditional notions of education we will be better able to create spaces, environments and opportunities for learning that inspire our students and support our teachers. We do not have time to stay stuck in the past. Our children are counting on us.”

Rebecca Meggs, IIDA, CSI, CDT, LEED AP
Senior Interior Designer

Most of us have heard the recent - and not so recent - research surrounding student learning styles and teaching models. What if you could take that knowledge and turn your school into a place that inspires, educates, and responds to the individual needs of each student? Inspired, intentional design leads to inspired, intentional learning.

Click here to read the full article, or view additional white papers on other topics at our website.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

ACE Mentor Program

See a story just published about the ACE Mentor Program - one of the many important community initiatives TowerPinkster is involved with! The ACE Program (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) connects industry mentors to high school students interested in pursuing careers in the field.

Thanks to Shawn Parshall (Architectural Designer) and Michele Rossio (Architectural Project Coordinator), for being a part of this important program!

Click here to read more.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

570 Volunteer Hours!

On any given day, you will find someone from TowerPinkster or TowerPinkster's extended family involved in a community event: from Big Brothers and Big Sisters to the American Cancer Society to ongoing Walk-a-thons and Bike-a-thons, to many more charitable events.

We are proud members of many national and local organizations including: Hospice of Michigan, United Way, Rotary and Boy Scouts to name just a few. We are also proud to support various educational institutions by sponsoring annual scholarships and grants as well as donations to local libraries and other public service organizations.

Our firm is dedicated to supporting the communities that support us! We also take a hands-on approach to volunteerism that brings us closer to our communities, positively affecting our understanding and ability to serve West Michigan.

In fact, each TowerPinkster employee is given a full day every year to donate time to the organization of their choice. This program resulted in 570 volunteer hours in 2009, totaling $17,500 of time paid by TowerPinkster!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

China Insights

- Steve Hoekzema, AIA, NCARB
Principal - K12 Group Leader

My wife and I just returned from a visit to Seoul, Korea and Beijing, China to spend some time with our daughter and son-in-law who are stationed at the Army Post in Seoul. We spent five days touring Beijing, and were amazed by the modern buildings - the most amazing (aside from the “water cube” and the “Bird’s nest” at Olympic Park) was the Central China Television (CCTV) building:

This project was part of an international design competition in 2002 in preparation for the 2008 summer Olympics. The Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) won with design principals Rem Koolhaas (Netherlands) and Ole Scheeren (Germany). This amazing structure appears to defy gravity with its cantilevered upper floors. The building forms a “continuous loop” at the base and at the top. The irregular grid on the building’s facades is an expression of the forces traveling through its structure.

The Chinese definitely wanted to make a major international statement with the 2008 Olympics as a backdrop; and after visiting Beijing, I believe that they succeeded. As further proof of their determination, the 2010 World Exposition is currently taking place in Shanghai, China.

Maybe it’s time to learn Mandarin…

Monday, June 21, 2010

Spotlight Photographer: Maconochie Photography

It's hard to find architectural photographers who can capture the true essence of A&E design - but when you do, it certainly is a find! As a multi-disciplinary firm, it's important for us to see that every photograph portrays a personality and captures the spaces where engineering and aesthetics have come together to help define the places where we live, work and play.

And that’s exactly what Maconochie Photograhy does—Justin is able to tell the story behind the photographs. Check out some of his work for us (these can also be seen on our website).

TowerPinkster's Corporate Office
First LEED-certified A&E firm in Michigan
Kalamazoo, MI

Albion College Science Complex -LEED Silver
Albion, MI

Kalamazoo Public Schools
Linden Grove Middle School (pursuing LEED Gold)
Kalamazoo, MI

Friday, June 18, 2010

Habitat Build

At TowerPinkster, we are encouraged to give back to the communities in which we work and play...and yesterday, some of our people donated their time to a local Habitat build in Grand Rapids!

(From left: Matt Slagle - Design Architect; Mindy Tangney - Architectural Project Coordinator; and Steve Hoekzema - Principal).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CAD Tips - Getting Personal!

- Mindy Tangney
Architectural Project Coordinator

Do you ever find yourself working in CAD and getting irritated because you are constantly going back and forth between Ribbon Tabs to find the command that you are looking for? You can now personalize your tabs to eliminate frustration and increase production! Here's how:

Click on the “Tools” Ribbon, then “CUI User Interface”:

Your “Customize User Interface” dialogue box should appear. Next click on “Ribbon Tabs” to expand the list:

Browse the various Ribbon Tabs until you locate the appropriate Ribbon Panel you want to show up on your “Home” Ribbon Tab, click on it and drag and drop it in the location you want it to appear:

Click “OK” and your Ribbon will be updated! You do not need to save out your profile, but it never hurts to do so.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Best Firm Entry!

Call for Entries: ZweigWhite 2010 Best Firms To Work For
-Dawn Chapman

TowerPinkster's HR Department is currently preparing an entry for the 2010 Best Firms To Work For competition! This challenge is the industry’s search for the most exceptional practices in HR management and off-the-charts employee satisfaction within the A&E industry.

To compete, firms must demonstrate that they are outstanding employers through their compensation, benefits, training and development, and work environment by satisfying requirements in a confidential survey.

Having won 2009 Best Midsize Firm To Work For (nationwide) and 101 Best and Brightest Companies To Work for the past two years, TowerPinkster experiences tremendous pressure to continue to look at all areas of compensation and benefits. We feel that we provide a harmonious work-life balance for all team members and we continue to research benefit options to stay on the leading edge of our industry.

Stay tuned for the results!

Monday, May 24, 2010

TowerPinkster Gets Published!

Check out this article authored by Gary Johnson, AIA, CSI, CSS, LEED AP, TowerPinkster's Specification Writer. Click here to view the article, which starts on page 44.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Groundbreaking - Kent County Correctional Facility

Watch the news story about the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kent County Correctional Facility - one of TowerPinkster's most recent projects! Click here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day...continued

Tom Van Dam, PE, LEED AP and Wayne Norlin, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP are biking to work this week. Now that's dedication!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earth Day.......

All of us at TowerPinkster work hard to incorporate sustainable design solutions in all's simply the right thing to do. So after the last one leaves for the day, does that sustainability push continue on to our home lives? The answer is simple: yes.

In honor of earth day, many of us at TowerPinkster are doing something extra to recognize this important are just a few small examples that can collectively have great impact:

  • Tom VanDam (Senior Mechanical Engineer), is riding his bike to work this week...that's nearly 200 miles!

  • Emily Ford (Marketing Specialist), a new home owner, planted four Blue Spruce trees in her backyard.

  • Wayne Norlin (Senior Project Manager), is also riding his bike to work this week.

  • John Henke (Mechanical Designer), is relocating some trees from his nursery to their final resting place.

  • Jonathan Rumohr (Mechanical Designer), a new home owner, recycled scrap metal found in his backyard and replaced the area with a compost enclosure and planted perennial wildflowers and low-maintenance grasses.

  • Ron Boezwinkle (Project Manager) is replacing an inefficient exterior door at his home and swapping out bulbs with new compact lamps.

  • Mindy Tangney (Architectural Project Coordinator) is a new home owner and opted for electric lawn equipment.

  • Matt Slagle (Architectural Designer) is walking to work this week.

  • Kate Betts (Marketing Specialist) is swapping out all of her harsh chemical cleaning products with either homemade or green solutions.

  • Jennifer Boezwinkle (Commercial Focus Group Leader) will be donating her family's used athletic shoes to the Nike "ReUse Shoe" Program (they grind up the shoes to create a rubber filler found in artificial turf).

  • Perry Hausman (Mechanical Engineer) uses homemade cleaning products (baking soda and vinegar removes soap scum from showers and tubs, vinegar and water cleans mirrors, windows, and hard water stains from the kitchen sink and counter tops, microfiber cloths are used on all surfaces rather than disposable wipes or paper towels, and a bagless vacuum eliminates bags from the landfill or compost pile.

Please join us in making a little effort that can have a large impact!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Going Retro...

TowerPinkster was featured in the April issue of MiBiz - Sustainability Quarterly! Read more about how sometimes "going retro" can bring us back to the roots of A&E.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

TowerPinkster Featured in Architectural Products Magazine

See one of TowerPinkster's most recent projects (Linden Grove Middle School -Kalamazoo Public Schools), featured in Architectural Products Magazine! Many of the design elements (including innovating daylighting strategies as shown) is contributing to the project being on track to achieve LEED-Gold certification.

Friday, April 2, 2010

An Award-Winning Month

April is an exciting month for TowerPinkster! For the third year in a row, the firm has been selected as one of the "101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in Michigan!"

A couple of projects have also received awards - Linden Grove Middle School (Kalamazoo Public Schools) recently received an "Honor Award" from the American Institute of Architects SW Michigan and West Shore Community College was awarded an "Outstanding Project" in the American School Board Journal's Learning by Design.

Congratulations team!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Making Healthcare Facilities Work

“Healthcare has become an extremely competitive business. It is critical for facilities to be as cost effective as possible while providing a wide range of services and state-of-the-art environments for both patients and staff.”

-Rob Courter, AIA, LEED AP
Project Manager

Today’s challenging economy, combined with the current trend of consolidating health systems,has left small community hospitals struggling to survive. More than ever, administrators are working to make every dollar count. As hospital facilities usually represent the largest investment a healthcare organization will make, achieving a solid return on that investment - through careful design - is more important than ever.

Click here to read the full article, or view additional white papers on other topics at our website.

Monday, March 15, 2010

TowerPinkster and Google

Recently, one of TowerPinkster's newest memebers of the Mechanical Engineering team, Jonathan Rumohr, LEED AP, was one of 20 people, worldwide, invited to attend Google's "Super Modeler Conference" in Boulder, Colorado.

“It was a user’s conference, where the top Sketch-Up geo-modelers [those who model buildings with Sketch-Up, and then locate them on Google Earth] from around the globe were invited to share their experiences,” said Jonathan. “We also shared all of our tips and tricks with the entire was a great networking opportunity, and we remain in touch through a Google Group set up for us.”

During Jonathan's undergrad work at Western Michigan University (where he earned a BS in mechanical engineering last April), he was also part of a seven-member team that placed ninth out of about 350 entries from across the United States and Canada in Google's Build Your Campus in 3-D Competition. He played a key role in the addition of WMU's high-resolution imagery, which can be seen on the Google Maps and Google Earth applications.

Most recently, some of his acquantainces at Google worked on the 2010 Winter Olympics Games website to give it a complete 3D perspective. They embedded a Google Earth viewer directly into the website, so users can get a complete 3D view without ever opening Google Earth. Check it out:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TowerPinkster Named Best Firm to Work for in the Country!

TowerPinkster is proud to announce that it has been selected as the best mid-size firm to work for in the nation for 2009. Management consulting and research firm ZweigWhite and engineering media specialists Stagnito Media, have identified the top architecture firms to work for in its annual ranking of more than 100 top industry firms. TowerPinkster was selected based on their commitment to provide a positive work environment and challenging and interesting work opportunities for employees.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Transforming Space

Matt Slagle, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP
Design Architect

In this time of recession, our role as creative professionals has become even more important. We may not have as many opportunities to develop new architecture, but the challenge of transforming space is ever-present. We will always have the opportunity, and responsibility, to inspire our clients with creative solutions!

This is well evidenced by our recent work at Thornapple Kellogg High School, Van Buren ISD Technology Center and Reeths Puffer Middle School. Wayne Norlin (TowerPinkster Sr. Project Manager) has since coined these transformations as “TK-ing” a project. It is certainly appropriate, as I have often likened that project to a heart transplant. I have never seen a building completely cut-in-half and transformed so dramatically. The Van Buren project also breathes new life into a building that needs it desperately. We are creating inspiring spaces full of natural light along a new Main Street in this building. Similarly, Reeths Puffer Middle School is getting a new 8,000 SF, two-story Student Commons in the core of the building.

These are some of the toughest projects to build, but also some of the most rewarding to be involved in. By holistically rethinking project challenges, TowerPinkster has created dynamic solutions that will inspire students for years to come. Let us continue to transform space into places that inspire human beings to achieve their goals, interact with their peers, and celebrate the environment.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Do You Know What Your Building Energy Cost Is?

...Do you know how to reduce it?

Being a part of a firm committed to design integrity and environmental responsibility, we continually explore new strategies to create sustainable and cost-effective designs. Most recently, we've been using a design approach that consistently and effectively achieves energy-efficiency. We've designed buildings that are operating as low as $0.77/SF/year and only as high as $1.13/SF/year. Read more about our approach in an article we recently published in The StoryPole magazine.

Perry Hausman, PE, LEED AP
Mechanical Engineer

Friday, February 26, 2010

Saving Energy = Saving Money

“At TowerPinkster we’ve made a commitment to sustainability. From the design of our Kalamazoo office—the first LEED certified facility in Southwest Michigan—to the hybrid cars we drive, we are dedicated to leading by example as good stewards of our environment. And, when saving energy saves money, it makes perfect business sense!”

Arnold Mikon, FAIA
President and CEO

Tough economic times often require difficult decisions to be made. But what if you could significantly improve your organization’s bottom line without cutting staff, reducing salaries or causing discomfort? What if in the process of implementing these cost-cuts, your organization also improved productivity, showed responsible citizenship and—just for good measure—helped save the earth? Smart energy usage in your existing facility can do just that.

Buildings Are Biggest Users
Approximately 37% of the energy and 68% of the electricity produced in the United States annually is consumed by buildings. As much as 25% of building energy use is wasted. That’s a lot of lost green—money, that is.

Click here to read the full article, or view additional white papers on other topics at our website.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Classroom of the Future

TowerPinkster’s, Matt Slagle, AIA, LEED AP, recently partnered with Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Architect and Design Supervisor, Alex Smart, to create a “Classroom of the Future” submittal for an international design competition: The Open Architecture Network Classroom Challenge. The result was collaborative design that challenges traditional learning environments and explores the use of new technology and sustainable products.

TowerPinkster’s mission for “Classroom297” was to inspire GRPS students and staff to re-imagine their classroom, transforming it into a cutting-edge learning environment. The classroom had to support 36 students and state-of-the-art technology while remaining flexible enough to respond to a multidisciplinary curriculum.

Flexibility and Furniture
Experience tells us that if a room takes more than a few minutes to change, it never changes. And if we only make the furniture mobile, the technology wiring acts as a leash. Our team’s solution was the design for a “twisty” table which features a fixed, rotating leg through which wiring can be run. It can also be positioned to easily transform into different configurations. Bamboo cabinets house computer equipment, open shelving stores hands-on teaching tools, and curved walls create a better acoustic environment. Covered in “Idea Paint”, the walls become markerboards, so kids are actually encouraged to write on the walls.

Click here to read the full article, or view additional white papers on other topics at our website.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Building Envelope Design

“A high-performing building envelope is an important element in an energy efficient building. In addition to saving energy, it protects the building and contents from the intrusion of moisture and provides added comfort for its occupants.”

Gary Johnson, AIA, LEED AP

The Envelope

Tough economic times often require difficult decisions be made. But what if you could significantly improve your organization’s bottom-line without cutting staff, reducing salaries or causing discomfort? Start off on the right foot by taking a good look at your existing facility’s envelope.

Don’t Turn Back the Clock
In the energy crunch of the 1970’s, many buildings had miniscule windows, insulated panel systems and unacceptably low ventilation rates giving rise to “sick-building syndrome”. Airborne contaminants remained indoors and the lack of natural light produced depressing spaces. fortunately, technological advances have made it possible for today’s approach to design to improve occupants’ productivity and health while achieving energy saving goals.

Click here to read the full article, or view additional white papers on other topics at our website.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Economical Electrical Usage

TowerPinkster Corporate Office - Kalamazoo, MI “There are so many creative and impactful ways to save energy. The very first step is to educate yourself on where the energy is being used and how you can control it.”

Don White, PE, LEED AP
Electrical Department Manager

See the Light
What if in the process of improving your organization's bottom line, you could improve productivity, show responsible citizenship and—just for good measure—help save the earth?
Smart energy usage in your facility can do just that.

Go Outside with LED
There is good reason that LED lighting is quickly becoming a viable lighting source, particularly in interior applications. Replacing a 400-watt metal halide parking fixture with a 257-watt LED fixture has the same light output with a 55% energy savings. LEDs require less maintenance than other lamps and, lasting more than 100,000 hours, have a simple payback of seven years.

Install Multiple Meters
Multiple meters can help determine where the energy is being used. This allows you to set a baseline of energy use which can be used to establish measures that control consumption.

Turn Off Equipment
Studies show that electronics can make up to 20% of a building’s electrical load. Turn computers off overnight. During the day, instead of the screen saver mode, set computers to sleep mode which lowers the energy usage to about 6 watts.

Click here to read the full article, or view additional white papers on other topics at our website.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Congratulations Tom Mathison!

Congratulations to Tom Mathison, FAIA, REFP, for his receipt of AIA Michigan's Robert F. Hastings Award, an annual award that recognizes an individual’s outstanding contributions to the architectural profession. Recipients are individuals who are committed to improving the urban environment and who have made a significant contribution to the improvement of architecture.

Tom has served in many capacities for AIA Michigan including the National Board of Directors and in 2004 was elected Vice President. During this time, he helped to develop a nationwide strategic plan for issues of education, emerging professionals and diversity. He also represented AIA on the National Board for AIA Students and on the Intern Development Program Coordinating Committee. In 2005, Tom was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows, and received the prestigious Gold Medal from AIA Michigan. He is now on the AIA Practice Academy Advisory Task Group and is involved with NAAB accreditation teams for colleges of architecture across the U.S.

Tom also founded the AIA Michigan Mentoring Network to bring Michigan’s practicing architects together with students at the state’s colleges of architecture at a critical time in their educational careers. The Michigan mentoring model has since been duplicated in other AIA components across the country.

Congratulations, Tom!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Saving Money Through Heating and Cooling Efficiency

“Selecting the right HVAC equipment for a facility is half the battle. Maintaining and monitoring that equipment and challenging established energy useage habits can result in significant reductions in your energy consumption.”

Hans Korendyke, PE, CSI, CDT, CIPE
Senior Mechanical Engineer

New Construction
HVAC systems account for 39% of the energy used in commercial buildings in the U.S. The selection of high performance equipment for new construction can result in considerable energy, emissions and cost savings.

Systems Selection
Appropriate equipment selection must take into account the correct sizing to maximize efficiency, the owner’s plans for future expansion, the location of the equipment, and the sizing and routing of duct and piping systems to minimize pressure losses (energy required for distribution). And high performance systems don’t have to be expensive. Typically a 30% reduction in annual energy costs can be achieved with a payback period of three to five years.

Click here to read the full article, or view additional white papers on other topics at our website.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Energy Saving Tax Incentives

“EPAct is another way of raising the bar when it comes to energy-efficient design. Similar to LEED, it will push the industry to provide more efficient light fixtures and HVAC systems. TowerPinkster strives to stay ahead of the curve in sustainable design, and in the case of EPAct, our clients can reap the financial rewards."

Lentz Becraft, PE, LEED AP
Electrical Engineer

Federal Tax Incentives
The EPA’s Energy Policy Act of 2005 created tax incentives to improve building energy efficiency across the U.S. The “Commercial Building Tax Deduction” establishes a federal deduction equal to the energy-efficient expenditures made by commercial property owners, subject to a cap. The deduction can be claimed directly by the owners or, in the case of Federal, State, and local government facilities or public schools, by the project designer.

How Does it Work?
A deduction of up to $1.80/SF is available to owners or designers of new or renovated buildings that save at least 50% of the lighting, heating, and cooling energy of a building that meets ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001. Partial deductions of up to $.60/SF can be taken for measures aff ecting any one of three building systems: the building envelope, lighting, or heating and cooling systems The partial deduction for energy-efficient lighting is the easiest to claim and to document, as no computer simulation is required. HVAC deductions can also be readily achieved, although energy modelling is required to verify efficiency. Unfortunately, the requirements for an energy-efficient building envelope can be costly and difficult to meet. As a result, only a small percentage of buildings will receive the full $1.80/SF deduction. Certifications and documentation of expenditures and energy savings must be obtained after project completion and prior to tax submittal.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Controlling Energy Costs

“The key to saving energy is knowing what the largest users are. A variation of the Pareto principle tells us that 80% of the energy is consumed by only 20% of the equipment. Targeting that 20% of equipment will provide the most benefit.”

Perry Hausman, PE, LEED AP
Mechanical Engineer

Look at Energy
Tough economic times often require difficult decisions be made. But what if you could significantly improve your organization’s bottom-line without cutting staff, reducing salaries or causing discomfort? Smart energy usage in your existing facility can do just that.

Develop an Energy Plan
Benchmark your facility to see how it measures up to others by simply visiting and registering for a Portfolio Manager account. Develop an energy plan that assigns roles and responsibilities, defines temperature set points, determines computer and equipment use, utilizes benchmarking information and provides employee awareness and staff training. When developing a long-range plan, include projections for making improvements during planned maintenance and

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