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RSW Living Magazine

Keeping it Green: Architects and Builders Create Eco Structures

Nov 21, 2021 07:54PM ● By ANN MARIE O’PHELAN

David M. Corban, principal architect at David Corban Architects in Naples, designs buildings with a focus on sustainability. In practice for more than 25 years, Corban strives not only to address his clients’ needs, but also to create sustainable environments that take into account the local climate, culture, and ecosystems.  

Corban is an accredited professional with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Developed by the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council, LEED consists of a set of rating systems that help building designers and owners be environmentally responsible.  

Among Corban’s recent green projects are the Grace Place for Children and Families, an independent school in Golden Gates with LEED Gold Certification; and the Lutgert Professional Center, a 45,000-square-foot office building on US 41 in Naples, completed this past summer and slated for LEED Gold Certification.  

In designing the Lutgert Professional Center, Corban first thought about the site. “The building is within the urban core of Naples, where services and utilities are already in place, and this is the most sustainable way to build,” says Corban, whereas building in undeveloped areas means that utilities and roads have to be extended, thus impacting wildlife habitat. 

Nearby to the Lutgert site, there is public transportation, restaurants, and grocery stores; plus, the site is adjacent to residential neighborhoods, so those residents could walk or bike to the office rather than drive. “We encourage cycling to work,” says Corban. The building plans include covered bicycle parking located near the entrance, along with and a shower and changing room. 

Since the new building was constructed on a site previously occupied by another structure, it is considered to be redevelopment, always a more sustainable option than building on a previously undeveloped site. 

The most sustainable buildings are those that use the fewest materials, and this project has just one major structural component—concrete. With raw concrete being used for the exterior of the building, the need for paint, stucco, plywood, and waterproofing is eliminated. Most of the exterior walls are comprised of windows, using only two materials: glass and aluminum.   

The theme of materials reduction is continued on the interior where ceilings are open, eliminating the need for finishing materials. 

 Many of the building materials, including the raw concrete and blocks, are manufactured within 500 miles of the project, reducing the consumption of fossil fuels in transportation. Furthermore, many materials, such as metal framing, rebar, post-tension cables, and metal stairs, are 100 percent recycled. During construction, 75 percent of the waste—concrete, metal, aluminum, wood, and cardboard—was recycled. 

Since the building is 80 percent glass, the need for daytime electric lighting is lessened. Roof overhangs and shade fins keep direct sunlight off the windows, reducing radiant heat and glare, further decreasing heat and energy usage. “Modern, high-performance glass allows us to have walls that are entirely glass while still providing an energy-efficient and comfortable building,” explains Corban.  

Another consideration was the heat-island effect, a phenomenon in urban areas where buildings and roads cause an increase in local temperature. “We reduced the impact on the local temperature by shading 30 percent of the parking lot, using a highly reflective roof, and retaining existing oak trees to provide shade over some parking,” adds Corban. 

Water conservation was also part of the plan. The natural cycle of water is continued through the use of underground stormwater vaults that allow rainwater to be captured and returned to the aquifer rather than flowing into the street. To reduce water usage, the grounds incorporate xeriscaping, using native landscaping that requires little irrigation. The restrooms feature low-flow toilets and low-flow, touchless faucets. 

To assist with the indoor environment, Corban’s team used materials with low VOC (volatile organic compounds), increasing air quality and thus reducing allergic and asthmatic reactions. Plus, the building is using a chiller system, the most efficient AC component available in South Florida.   

Corban’s upcoming projects include the LEED registered LinTree Medical, a 22,000-square-foot medical arts building, and the Bayshore Wine Venue, a wine bar and private wine club, both in Naples.  

Green builders, such as Fort Myers-based Daniel Wayne Homes, Inc., also keep the environment as a topmost consideration in their plans. “We build homes with energy efficiency in mind,” says company president Dan Dodrill. The company incorporates impact glass with low-e (for low-emissivity) films and adds two-foot overhangs for more shade. Metal roofs are also one of the most energy-efficient options as they reflect solar radiation and provide excellent insulation. The Hardie lap siding used in Daniel Wayne structures is manufactured with 40 percent recycled material. The company also chooses to install energy-efficient air conditioners and appliances. 

To make your home greener, consider adding solar panels, insulating walls and attic, replacing older heating and cooling systems, using CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs), turning water heaters to 120°F, upgrading or replacing windows with energy-efficient models, adding an irrigation system with timers and rain sensors, and planting native shrubs and shade trees around the structure.  


Ann Marie O’Phelan is a Southwest Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media. 

Daniel Wayne Homes, Inc. 
5961 Northland Road, #1, Fort Myers 
David Corban Architects 
1042 Sixth Avenue North, Naples