Sustainable Materials

Throughout our architectural carriers, we have focused on the use of  sustainable and renewable materials to construct our buildings.

  • We utilize wood as a renewable resource for building structure, and  also dimensional lumber or engineered lumber products such as plywood  web joists, glu-laminated beams and parallel strand lumber.
  • Since steel has higher embodied energy we try to limit it to  second floor support systems and connectors for wood members. Steel is  also used for decorative structural features and railing for its  durability and beauty.
  • We use an extra thick concrete second floor slab to reduce  noise transmission between floors and allow for longer spans between  support members. This allows for greater spacing of bar joists and  beams, reducing the number of pieces required to support the second  floor deck. This system reduces costs, increases speed of erection and  provides a more flexible interstitial space to run HVAC, sprinklers and  electrical distribution.
  • We use a combination of wood and metal stud framing to allow  for transmission of shear through wood framing and infill of metal deck  areas with metal studs. This allows us to increase the number of workers  on the site by having a separate trade do some of the framing.
  • We designed exposed steel to wood connectors to improve the visual effect of the final product.
  • A variety of sustainable materials and products are used to  create healthy buildings with highly durable materials and reduced VOC’s  (volatile organic compound), such as:
    • MDF for bang-boards in gymnasiums.
    • Plastic laminate on hardboard for wainscoting.
    • Bamboo for wainscoting and trim.
    • Marmoleum for flooring.
    • Ceramic tile with recycled content for bathrooms where appropriate.
    • Plastic wood materials for exterior materials.
    • Carpeting with recycled content.
    • CMU veneer rather than brick because of its reduced embodied energy.
    • Metal siding and roofing for durability and longevity.
    • We select light fixtures and other building equipment with  recycled content and ability to be maintained. It’s important to select  light fixtures that are well ventilated and can be easily re-lamped.


Sunny Hills Elementary School. Sammamish, Washington.
Image license: Cornerstone Architetural Group, Cornerstone Construction and Issaquah School District.
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