Benefits of Being Green – High Performance Sports and Recreation Facility Design

Environmental considerations have become a significant priority in today’s design decision making. Informed choices and an integrated design team approach can lead to healthier environments for all. At Moody Nolan, we have found this to be especially important for energy-efficient and high-performance recreation/athletic facilities. It only makes sense that a building meant to house recreation and wellness activities promote them by its very design.

That is why we were so excited to send two of our own to speak at this year’s 2014 Athletic Business Conference & Expo in sunny Orlando, Florida. The conference brought together fitness and recreation professionals from around the world for an educational, interactive event and trade show. This year’s attendees spent time networking with experts, trying out the newest fitness trends, and learning about cutting-edge equipment and facility features in the athletic industry.

Moody Nolan Partner and Project Design Manager Troy Sherrard, AIA, and Senior Recreational Planner Janet Jordan, CPRP, presented on a wide range of sustainable design initiatives in various types of recreation and athletic projects. The focus of their presentation highlighted the benefits of high performance design and the important strategies needed to effectively build a sustainable facility.

Here’s some of their advice:

Shift efforts to early phases: Determine early in the design process what you need to know to create a sustainable facility, when questions should be addressed and who should be asked.

Promote holistic thinking: Sustainability is a whole-building approach. Collaborating and sharing knowledge allows for greater understanding and better execution.

Manage the process: Establish a clear roadmap for decision-making. Forward thinking creates buildings that are more energy efficient and consume fewer resources.

Determine goals: Set energy performance targets very early in the process and monitor every step of the way. Confidence in a project’s overall design direction should be supported by data.

Focus on the key subsystems: To make the most impact on energy efficiency, you must understand all of its aspects: climate, use, building design and systems.

Discuss first time vs. life cycle costs: Thorough analysis and budgeting at the start will reap rewards in construction and operation costs throughout the lifetime of a project.

Whether simple choices made throughout the design process or whole-building decisions made at the start, creating recreation space that is environmentally responsive to client and community needs depends on early effort, big picture thinking, and constant attention to detail.