As more and more companies look for ways to reduce their impact on the environment and become more sustainable, they’re turning to the experts at local architectural and engineering firm Design Collaborative.
“They’re interested in what they’re doing for the environment, what they’re doing for their community and what they can provide their staff,” explains Design Collaborative electrical engineer Phillip Oprie.
Fort Financial Credit Union’s new corporate headquarters on Fort Wayne’s northwest side is one example of that. Among the environmentally friendly efforts involved in the project are electric vehicle charging stations that are available to the public, and rooftop solar panels. Engineers at Design Collaborative say they’re seeing a higher demand for both.
When it comes to solar panels, Oprie says some companies are installing them at the time of construction or retrofitting an existing building. And while solar panels can help lower monthly energy costs, it’s not just about savings.
“Some clients are really looking at the return on investment (ROI) for the long-term life of their facility, and some are looking at it more from the angle of showing others how they’re thinking about and are impacting our community,” Oprie says. “We have multiple clients that have said they want a dashboard or information graphics they can put in their lobby or on their employee portal, so people can see how much energy they’re saving or how much power the panels are producing.”
Electric vehicle charging stations are another initiative that appeals to both employees and customers. Design Collaborative Director of Engineering Kelsey Rowe says many companies are investigating what it would take to either put chargers in now or to take steps so that they can easily be installed in the future, without huge upfront costs.
“We have a really good set of options that we can present to clients. There’s fully charged and available for use; ready, which means the infrastructure is there to just set up a charger and plug it in; and capable, which would be the bare minimum to do at the time of construction where someday they could come back and add it,” says Rowe. “The market itself is shifting more toward electric vehicles and so we don’t want anybody to be caught on the back foot. People are asking for it and they don’t know what they need to do to be ready for it. We can help with that.”
Address: 200 E. Main St., Suite 600, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Phone: (260) 422-4241
Products & Services: Architecture, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Interior Design, Roofing & Building Envelope, Cost Estimating, Environmental Graphics, IT, Audio Visual & Security Systems, Facility Assessments, Feasibility Studies, Energy, Master Planning, Lighting Design, Programming, Visioning & Discovery, WELL Building Design