A Sustainable Perspective

by Steve 9. October 2012 07:00

An inspirational customer and neighbor, 2 Point Perspective, is paving the way for sustainable construction throughout Chicagoland. From its offices at Green Exchange, they’re providing uniquely green-minded architectural and interior design services that lead, and sometimes LEED, to elegant, forward-thinking buildings. We spent a few minutes with Lisa Elkins, the firm’s founding architect and LEED AP, who filled us in on some of the exciting new developments in her industry.

What is 2 Point Perspective? How did you come up with the name?
“We’re an eco-focused architecture firm that works on projects targeted to yield less waste, a longer life and healthier living. Since so much of Chicago is already built up, a lot of the work we do requires creative and deep thinking, to figure out how to modify and improve existing spaces. This involves mapping out changes to walls, plumbing, electrical and roofing, to offer the detailed plans a contractor will follow to meet our client’s needs more sustainably. The 2 Point Perspective name reflects that – both sides of every project must come together to make sense –inside and outside, efficient, yet attractive and healthy, yet affordable.”

How does green design and construction differ from traditional methods?
“Our approach examines energy efficiency and materials re-use and recycling, but also goes one step further. With our design team and the project’s contractors working together – we can ensure there's a lot less waste. If we design a room with a 12-foot dimension as opposed to one that’s 12 feet six inches, we can use the industry standard 12-foot carpet roll’s width instead of ruining an additional roll for that extra six-inch strip. We do the same with lumber sizes for studs, where as much as a third of materials are cut on site and thrown away. A study of a California commercial facility showed that the improved lighting and air quality offered by green construction reduced employee absenteeism by 47 percent and increased employee productivity by five to seven percent!”

What are the biggest challenges 2 Point faces?
“When our residential or commercial projects are pursuing LEED Platinum, it can be a bit of a juggling act to figure out how to make all components work together to achieve certification. We had one recent project for a dental office that was striving for LEED Silver, but the systems performed so efficiently, they reached LEED Gold.”

How has the recent economy factored into your business decisions?
“As a sustainably-minded firm, we have the unique ability to keep our clients' budgets in check by reducing waste and building for the longer term. But we have run into situations where people wanted to build, yet had a hard time getting loans. GreenChoice Bank is a really good resource to speak with because they understand the value of supporting sustainable projects – two members of the bank’s management team are LEED APs – and we like that GreenChoice is dedicated to investing back into our community.”

What are some steps 2 Point Perspective takes to be a sustainably-minded business?
“In addition to standard recycling, we have a program in our office where employees bring in batteries and wine corks to be recycled. I’ve made it a point of practicing what we preach on our own home, using it as a laboratory for new ideas and energy savings. We recently completed an attic insulation project through the EI2 loan program, which gave us a 24-percent increase in our home’s energy efficiency.”

We “like” to meet and work with our customers who are passionate about creating a greener future. If your group or organization is interested in taking a tour of 2 Point Perspective’s amazing space, or one of the three branches they created for us, such as the Green Exchange branch pictured here, please leave a comment on our blog and we’ll contact you to set a date!

 

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