Moseley Architects presented James River Green Building Council Leadership Award

Moseley ArchitectsMoseley Architects accepted the James River Green Building Council’s “Green Building Leadership Award” for the renovation to the administration/activities building at the Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind & Vision Impaired (VRCBVI) in Richmond, Virginia. Annually held, JRGBC Green Leadership Awards foster the encouragement and development of green building in Virginia. The project, which featured a 22,400-square-foot renovation and two small additions totaling 1,320 square feet, was recognized in the category of Adaptive Reuse.

The VRCBVI, operated by the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI), was established in 1970 to provide comprehensive adjustment services to severely visually impaired Virginians. The center teaches blind persons strategies and skills to adapt to living without sight, and teaches people with partial blindness ways to use their remaining sight more effectively.

In accordance with Commonwealth of Virginia Energy Conservation and Environmental Performance Standards, sustainable features were incorporated into the building design and construction. The installation of translucent skylights and glare control treatments created open, bright space while electric vehicle charging stations were added to promote the use of low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles. The roof was replaced with a standing seam metal system coated with a highly solar reflective paint that reduces heat gain to the building caused by the heat island effect.

New low-flux bathroom plumbing fixtures were installed that are estimated to save the facility 34,000 gallons of water per year. All HVAC equipment, ductwork, and associated controls were removed and replaced with a new variable air volume (VAV) system with energy recovery technology. Carefully designed metering will allow for long-term energy use measurement and verification. Indoor air quality was protected by using low-emitting building materials and furnishings, separating and ventilating chemical storage areas, providing entryway mat systems to reduce dirt tracked into the building, specifying high-efficiency HVAC filtration, and the Owner worked to prepare and implement a green housekeeping plan.

As a result of these efforts, the project exceeded its goals and achieved LEED certification at the Gold level. The renovated building is now an attractive, efficient, sustainable, yet highly functional building well-suited for its very unique population.

63% of Architects Report Stalled Projects

AIAAlmost two-thirds of architects surveyed by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) last month report that they have at least one project that is stalled due to lack of financing, despite record low interest rates.

The survey of April business activity was taken as part of the AIA’s Architectural Billings Index (ABI), a leading monthly economic indicator of construction activity that provides a nine to 12-month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. Of the 63% of firms surveyed with stalled projects, the average value of each project was almost $50 million per firm.

Among the survey’s major findings:

  • The availability of construction project financing remains a major issue for many architecture firms. In April, 57 percent of survey respondents rated the issue as very or extremely serious, and an additional 30 percent indicated that it is a somewhat serious issue.
  • Nearly half of respondents (45 percent) think that the availability of credit has become more restrictive over the past year, with just 16 percent seeing an easement in credit availability.

“This data only serves to reinforce the dire need for lawmakers to act to alleviate a credit crunch that continues to plague one of the economy’s biggest job-creating engines – the design and construction industry,” said AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA. “We are on the front lines of an industry that accounts for $1 in $9 of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”

“Congress can clearly move to free up credit by passing legislation that gives the regional banking industry more freedom to lend,” Manus said. “What’s needed on Capitol Hill is action to ensure that as Congress cuts federal spending, it also takes steps to make credit more available.”

An example of such legislation is the Capital Access for Main Street (CAMS) Act, introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), which would temporarily allow small community banks with under $10 billion in assets to spread out or amortize a portion of their commercial real estate loans over a seven-year period. These banks, which provide many of the loans to our small businesses, would then have more liquid capital available to make responsible loans.

Following several months of relatively positive business conditions, the ABI fell almost three points in April. On May 18, the AIA reported that the April ABI score was 47.6, a precipitous decrease from a reading of 50.5 the previous month. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.