Discussing Living Buildings, Hawaii, and More With LAS’ Jim Nicolow (FAIA, LEED Fellow)

A nationally recognized expert on sustainable design, Jim serves as Director of Sustainability, leading the effort to incorporate sustainable design strategies and features into LAS design projects Nationally. Nicolow’s extensive knowledge of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system has made him a sought-after speaker, author, and blogger. He recently earned the distinctions of AIA Fellow and LEED Fellow.

Nicolow joined LAS in 1997 and in 2001 became the first member of the firm-and one of the first in the country-to become a LEED Accredited Professional.  He has participated in the successful LEED certification of more than 70 projects.  He was instrumental in the firm’s early adoption of The 2030 Challenge, an initiative whose ultimate goal is the design of carbon-neutral buildings and leads the firm’s effort to identify opportunities and strategies for the routine integration of eco-effective design i all LAS projects as well as improving the environmental performance of the firm’s operations and workplaces. 

Jim attended the University of Michigan, where he received both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Architecture, and Wester Michigan University, where he received a Master of Business Administration. He is a National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certificate holder. 

Show Highlights

  • Merge personal interest in sustainability with a professional career.
  • What you need to know about Lord Aeck Sargent and Katerra? 
    1. a firm interested in ecological design.
    2. technology company extensively looking to disrupt the design and construction industry.
  • Clients that focus on sustainability as a key driver for their built environment projects motivate and move the industry. 
  • Sustainability challenges, materials and projects that incentivized the Hawaiian region to be efficient.
  • The codes have really caught up to LEED with the ASHRAE 90.1  approach to LEED. 
  • The embodied carbon impact of the building products take on an ever greater importance.
  • A push for mass timber as part of the future of the building industry.
  • Jim’s highlight project that was completely focused on sustainability and creating a teaching building to tell the story of sustainability. 

“With the Living Building Challenge, as an example, you’ve got to power the building with the light that falls on the site and provide water with what falls on the site. I would like to see these solutions be solved on the municipal level; that way, the building operator is not also running an energy plant and a water treatment plant. It would be much better if we still had distributed systems, but solve some of these issues on a greater scale. I’m hoping we will start to look more comprehensively at communities rather than building by building.” 

– Jim Nicolow

Jim Nicolow Transcript

Jim Nicolow’s Show Resource and Information

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