Grp150220prmg0222|11x17|Smith Group 1 Courtesy Smithgroup|0008 The Kendeda Building For Innovative Sustainable Design 49085995603 O

Tools and Resources from the Metropolis Perspective: Sustainability Symposium

The Metropolis Perspective: Sustainability Symposium yielded deep conversations and plenty of insight into deepening the practice of sustainable design.

0008 The Kendeda Building For Innovative Sustainable Design 49085995603 O
Conscious of embodied carbon in building materials, the architects of Georgia Tech’s Kendeda building sourced FSC-certified mass timber for both the structure and interior surfaces. The wood was processed and installed by Raydeo Enterprises. An array of fans (by Big Ass Fans) also helps circulate air, supporting thermal comfort. Courtesy Jonathan Hillyer

This year Metropolis’s Perspective: Sustainability Symposium was held virtually, allowing for members of the architecture and design community across North America and around the world to participate in deep, forward-looking conversations around sustainable design.

The three conversations, held on July 27, 28, and 29, tackled the emergence of new technologies for sustainability, the power of reuse, and strategies for designing with water. Leaders from BNIM, CannonDesign, DPR Construction, HKS, ILFI, Mithun, Perkins and Will, SmithGroup, The Miller Hull Partnership, WRNS Studio, and other organizations offered their insight and thought leadership. They also shared resources useful for deepening the practice of sustainable design.

Below we have compiled a selection of the tools, resources, and opportunities for further reading that arose during our discussions.

Smith Group 1 Courtesy Smithgroup
Compact light wells in the roof of construction firm SmithGroup’s new headquarters add daylighting to areas windows can’t reach. The second floor addition uses cross laminated timber to reduce embodied carbon. Courtesy SmithGroup

Technologies for Sustainability

Sustainable architecture, design, and construction today is supported by software at every stage. New tools are constantly being developed to address specific needs, like sustainable specification, embodied carbon calculations, and building performance analytics. What types of digital technologies are most useful right now, in the fight against climate change, and where might future opportunities lie?


EC3 Tool

Insight Tool within Revit

I-Tree Tool

NREL’s PV Watts Calculator

Perkins and Will Energy Lab Speed Tool

Material Bank


Lifecycle Analysis report on the Catalyst Building, Katerra’s mass timber office building.

Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront, a report by the World Green Building Council

Year zero progress report from BNIM


Request a climate consultant through UCLA

In Bordeaux, France, the Parisian firm Lacaton & Vassal revamped several housing slabs by adding winter gardens along the facades. Courtesy © Philippe Ruault

Reuse and Renovation
Existing buildings are an enormous potential sustainable resource. With the right design and construction decisions, they can be improved and adapted at very little cost to the environment and can then be operated at a high level of efficiency. What are the best strategies for sustainable adaptive reuse and renovation?


SmithGroup’s Sacramento Office for a Construction Pro Showcases the Client’s Expertise

A New Idea in Architecture? No New Buildings


Armstrong Ceilings Recycling Program

The Kendeda Building is slated to be a Full Certified Living Building, one of just 25 in the world to earn the designation. Pictured: A section through the site highlights “rain gardens” and other permeable surfaces, which absorb upwards of 460,000 gallons of rainwater a year.

Working with Water
Water is a fundamental element of sustainable architecture and design. While different parts of the United States deal with droughts and floods, communities in other areas lack access to clean water. The building sector accounts for 12% of all the water consumed in the United States, so how can we use architecture and design to bring both efficiency and equity to water use?


Georgia Tech’s Kendeda Building Sets a High Bar for Regenerative Design


House Bill 2080 Greywater Reuse and Disposal

Rainwater Harvesting Regulations Map

Sustainable Development Goals from the UN

Water reuse practice guide

American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association

Water Petal Permitting Guidebook 2019


Water Petal of the Living Building Challenge

WELL Certification System

Fitwel Certification System

RELi 2.0 Rating Guidelines for Resilient Design and Construction:


Tap Water Database

AIA’s “Designing for Water”:



The July 2020 Metropolis Perspective: Sustainability symposium was sponsored by Armstrong Ceiling and Wall Solutions and Tarkett

You may also enjoy “Low Cost, High Impact: The Drawdown Review Suggests That Architects Move Toward Scalable Climate Solutions

Would you like to comment on this article? Send your thoughts to: [email protected]

Register here for Metropolis Webinars
Connect with experts and design leaders on the most important conversations of the day.

  • Grp150220prmg0222|11x17|Smith Group 1 Courtesy Smithgroup|0008 The Kendeda Building For Innovative Sustainable Design 49085995603 O

Recent Viewpoints