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Sustainable Design

As a design partner, we help you meet and elevate your sustainability goals. We do this with team members steeped in sustainable design knowledge who’ve made this a cornerstone of their expertise. Dedicated to knowledge-driven, collaborative design, we ensure our clients are part of the creative process from day one, using sustainability as the foundation for a reduced carbon footprint, efficient energy solutions, healthy materials selection, and spaces that inspire and enhance well-being.

Sustainability Services

We believe in holistic environments that maximize systems and synergies and minimize environmental impacts while protecting the health and well-being of the people who occupy those environments. As a proud signatory of the AIA 2030 Commitment, we’re working to achieve carbon-neutral buildings by 2030, and we bring this expertise to each project we undertake. Leveraging an integrated design process, these are the primary sustainability-related services we provide for our clients.

Our Commitments and Partnerships

Our vision for sustainable design is a balance between the built and natural environments that will provide a healthy future for our clients, colleagues, and communities. Our mission is to contribute to this balance by making sustainability a foundation of our design and business operations.
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Taking Responsibility

Recognizing the impact development has on our world, Cushing Terrell is compelled to be a responsible steward of the environment, reducing our own footprint and that of our clients. This commitment to sustainable operations is reinforced through:

  • Firm-wide Sustainable Design Initiative that aligns with the AIA Framework for Design Excellence and is applicable to all projects.
  • SME Climate Commitment/UN Race to Zero Participant.
  • Partner in the Material Bank carbon neutral sampling program.
  • Green Advocacy Council to ensure sustainable thought, action, and education are embedded in our culture and work.
  • Sustainable Policy Champions who support sustainability at the local level and host “green” design solution charrettes.

Sustainable Project Stories

Because every client approaches sustainability in different ways, we have different approaches to meet those specific design goals. In addition, we strive for a thorough understanding of each client’s culture and values. This builds deeper relationships and a more nuanced approach, which leads to unique spaces and healthy, happy occupants.

Google in California, Texas, and Washington

Creating holistic sustainability through client partnerships and research

Our work for Google includes everything from tenant improvement projects and office remodels to helping standardize sustainability requirements across their locations. Our teams share a close relationship, which makes for rewarding, effective design collaborations.

We infuse each Google project with the character of the company and its commitment to provide compelling, collaborative, inspiring spaces for its employees. Our programming for this client has ranged from creative workspaces, cafes, micro kitchens, lounges, event spaces, fitness areas, and a variety of amenity and outdoor spaces.

To align with the company’s design goals, we ensure those spaces support environmental responsibility and a connection with nature to enhance health and well-being. Design cues taken from the natural world infuse the workspaces and include climate considerations, solar orientation and daylighting, and biophilic design. Spaces that support focus, collaboration, recuperation, and ideation keep the creativity flowing, but also offer respite during busy workdays. Systems are optimal, enhancing building performance, energy efficiency, and healthy indoor environments.

Montana State University’s Romney Hall

Leveraging all the tools in the toolbox (and local resources) to modernize a historic building

Renovation of Romney Hall modernized the historic building, originally constructed in 1922, while preserving its character and helping MSU meet the needs of a growing student population. The project transformed the former physical education building into much-needed instructional space, adding 17 classrooms and centers for mathematics, writing, veterans, and students with disabilities.

The starting point for the project was consensus that the Italian Renaissance-style features of the building should be retained, celebrated, and used as a guide for planning. Plans included modifications to bring the building up to code, improve energy efficiency, add restrooms, reinforce the building against seismic events, and provide accessibility at all levels.

A stair/elevator enclosure using SolarWall technology replaced the existing stair tower to make all floors accessible. The enclosure is primarily comprised of aluminum curtain wall, which provides transparency to reveal the historic brick wall while the elevator shaft is clad in dark-colored perforated metal panel, which captures solar-heated air. This heated air is incorporated into the building HVAC system, helping to reduce energy consumption and heating costs.

The building benefits from a high-efficiency geothermal energy system under the Romney Oval, which will serve other nearby buildings as part of MSU’s campus-wide energy master plan being developed by Cushing Terrell’s Energy Services team.

In alignment with the university’s sustainability commitments and the State of Montana’s High-Performance Building Standards, modernizing the historic building to meet 21st century student needs included pursuit of USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification. Romney Hall was awarded LEED Gold in 2022.

Visitor Center at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge

Demonstrating our work toward the AIA 2030 Commitment

Pahranagat’s visitor center is an example of clean energy generation and use, achieving zero net energy and earning USGBC LEED Silver certification. The team implemented conservation measures that include upgraded building insulation, daylight harvesting, ground-source geothermal HVAC, and on-site renewable energy provided by roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels.

Located on a four-acre site, the 5,000-square-foot facility includes office space, lobby and reception areas, multipurpose space, and exhibit rooms. Exterior features comprise ADA-accessible trails to site amenities and interactive displays and plenty of parking for buses and passenger cars. The team used energy modeling in conjunction with early architectural modeling to inform building orientation and massing as well as the materials and systems chosen.

Key to the design were functionality, performance, aesthetics, and cultural relevance. The design incorporates aspects important to the Nuwuvi, or Southern Paiute peoples, such as an east-facing entry and banding to express the red-tailed hawk. Inspiration was sought from the cultural history of the area, the landscape, and native wildlife.

The result is a cost-effective, high-performance building exceeding performance goals. Af­ter a full year of operation, energy data showed the facility was well below net-zero energy consumption, pushing almost twice as much energy as it consumed to the elec­trical grid over the 12-month time period.

Dell Technologies

Developing corporate sustainability standards and leading the way in Green Globes certification

Over the course of a long-term relationship with Dell, our team has worked with the global tech company to develop a set of sustainability standards to align their building projects with their larger corporate sustainability program and ESG commitments. These Global Sustainability Standards inform the design and construction of office and lab facilities located across the United States, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. Additionally, we have provided a range of design services for projects worldwide, including projects that have earned Green Globes certification.

Our services comprise multiple remodels in excess of a million square feet and all types of functional spaces in Dell’s facilities. These include open office workspace, laboratories, executive office spaces, executive showcase/briefing spaces, training and demo spaces as well as critical operational command and data centers.

Among these projects, Cushing Terrell has completed mission-critical projects dedicated to Dell’s businesses focused on services to a variety of federal agencies including all branches of the military. Through this relationship, our team has developed a deep understanding of how to meet the unique requirements for these types of projects and contracts.

Process-Oriented and Integrated

What’s it like to work with Cushing Terrell? Our design process begins and ends with research and is characterized by multidisciplinary collaboration. Our research-based approach, which continually integrates best practices and lessons learned, is enhanced by a team that can cover all the bases when it comes to your project. With the goal of holistic design that considers each component — exterior and interior architecture, landscape, systems, and the user/occupant experience — we’ll help you maximize systems and synergies.

More than anything, we love helping clients realize their design goals and seeing their satisfaction when the projects are complete. We bring you into the design process, which is built on collaboration, trust, and transparency.

Connect with Our Team

Learn more about the ways we can use our sustainability expertise to support your goals and enhance your projects.

Co-Director of Sustainability

Co-Director of Sustainability