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Awards honor leading-edge sustainable buildings

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia GreenWorks looked out across the state for the best in sustainable design, construction and reuse standards and recently conferred 12 Placemaker Awards on various business, residential and school structures.The awards were announced Feb. 2 at The Building Conference, a Morgantown event staged by the sustainability advocates to bring attention to the health, design philosophy and regeneration of buildings where people live, work, learn and play."What was really interesting to me was to see several small West Virginia communities taking very big steps in designing for a sustainable future," said one of the judges, Lloyd Miller, of Lloyd Miller Associates in Charleston, president of the West Virginia Board of Architects.Placemaker Awards of Excellence went to Spring Mills Elementary School in Martinsburg, designed by Greg Williamson of Williamson Shriver Architects Inc.; 12 Faith Meadows, a private Parkersburg residence designed by Chip Pickering of Pickering Associates; and the Smart Office, a McKinley & Associates design by Thomas Worlledge for The Jobs Project office in Williamson.The Faith Meadows residence is the state's only Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified residence. The designation is awarded to structures that lead the way in environmental sensitivity and energy efficiency, according to a West Virginia GreenWorks news release announcing the awards.The Williamson Smart Office design, which is yet to be built, will be submitted for LEED Platinum certification. The Spring Mills School was designed to achieve LEED Silver certification but achieved the higher Gold designation."These three Award of Excellence winners earned this designation because the judges recognized their outstanding achievement in multiple contest categories, said Sarah Halstead Boland, executive director of West Virginia GreenWorks. "Entries were judged on how well the design responds to the site and regional context, use of new sustainable approaches to old challenges, leadership in meeting and embracing local and regional challenges through design [and] appropriate use of technology and resources within a project's scale and budget," she said.Architects Worlledge and Joe Sinclair, and Ruston Seaman, CEO of New Vision Energy in Philippi, were individually recognized for leadership, inspiration and stewardship in green, sustainable placemaking."Placemaking" is a term architects and planners began using in the 1970s to refer to a multidisciplinary approach to planning, design and management of public places, Boland said."The concept capitalizes on a locality's assets, creating healthy, interesting places where people want to live, work and play. These Placemaker Awards celebrate the people and places that are doing justice to West Virginia's land and communities."
The Robert Dorsey house in Charleston won the Placemaker Award for "sense of place." Dorsey owns LR Dorsey Construction Inc., and was assisted in his home's design by Sinclair.The new Dorsey home was constructed on the site where Dorsey's older home was taken down. Recycled materials from the old home were used in the framing of the new house, which was built on the existing foundation. Innovative heating and cooling systems, including delivery systems for hot water and the use of captured rainwater, are hidden beneath the surface of a traditional-looking arts and crafts design."This house really embodies a great spirit of Appalachian ingenuity," one judge commented.Cameron Middle/High School in Marshall County, designed by architect Patrick Rymer of McKinley & Associates, won the Placemaker Award for innovation in the public sector, incorporating features of existing topography and the state's first chilled beam heating and air conditioning system to substantially decrease energy use.
The school was located on the property to maximize solar energy, daylight and thermal mass for heating and cooling, and uses translucent interior wall panels to transfer and distribute available light.Another Marshall County school, Hilltop Elementary, designed by McKinley & Associates architect Worlledge, was recognized with the Placemaker Award for leadership. Worlledge designed the school to meet LEED criteria although it was not specified by school authorities in the planning process."He proved that designing to a LEED certification standard doesn't have to cost more. It's the knowledge that the team brings to the project that makes the difference," said Boland.Other awards went to the Wood County Justice Center in Parkersburg; the Natural Energy Design office building, a McKinley & Associates prospective design by Worlledge; and the preliminary design for Clayhill Farms, in Ranson, by the Charles Town office of William H. Gordon Associates.In addition to Miller, judges included Bill White of Thompson & Litton, in Radford, Va., and Megan Nedzinski of Nedzinski Design Collaborative, in Morgantown. White and Nedzinski are members of the U.S. Green Building Council and are LEED-accredited professionals.To see complete descriptions and photographs of the winning entries, visit
Reach Douglas Imbrogno at or 304-348-3017.
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