Silman is among the leading structural engineering firms in the USA that promote sustainable and environmentally responsible design. Silman’s entire staff is trained in sustainable construction practices in order to keep their edge in this important field. Principles such as minimizing embodied energy, improving construction waste disposal practices, using recycled material, insuring that specified materials are recyclable, minimizing environmental impact on water and air resources, and improving indoor air quality, are studied and incorporated into our designs. By making sustainable practices an inherent part of our work, our engineers design more holistically. Sustainable design is consistent with our belief in the importance of historic preservation, quality new construction, and thoughtful adaptive reuse. We are proud it is an integral part of our fabric.
Going back as early as 1975, Silman served as consultants for a US Department of Energy study that investigated methods for reducing not only operating energy consumption, but also embodied energy. In the 1980s Silman was the structural engineering firm for the first significant sustainable project in the country: Audubon House in New York City, the award winning, much celebrated, environmentally conscious headquarters for the National Audubon Society. More recently we have worked with New York City’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) on their first environmentally responsible buildings under their Capital Budget.
As part of our emphasis on green design, Silman has compiled an alternate set of specifications and introduced high performance metrication into all of our designs. By introducing green initiatives into our standard specifications, we are able to push the market towards more sustainable products and processes without imposing undue financial hardship on a project. Silman feels that sustainable design, if carried out in a proactive and creative way, can be more cost-effective for the owner in both the short and long-term. When considering a site for new construction that has an existing building on it, our firm has the expertise to promote “micro-design” within sustainability, and our long experience in adaptive reuse enables us to give a quick analysis of the site. Sometimes that can lead to a more sustainable conclusion of “no-build.”
Silman is proud of our involvement in every facet of green design. In the future we hope to share our green specifications with firms throughout the United States and abroad and continue to push the market in cost-effective, well-designed green products and processes.