Communicating the Mission of Earth Stewardship through Green Buildings: A Cross Case Analysis of LEED Certified Religious Buildings in Madison, WI

By Jung-hye Shin, Devan Castellano and Shadeequa Miller.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This case study examines the social aspects of green building design and the LEED (Leader- ship in Energy and Environmental Design) certification process utilized in two innovative local building projects that were undertaken by religious organizations in the Midwest. Given that these organizations have pursued green building concepts in conjunction with their mission of earth stewardship, we focused our research on the relationship between the organizational mission and the design of the buildings. Research questions include: (1) how were the organizations’ missions communicated between the clients and the design teams?; (2) how were the missions translated into design language and forms?; (3) how did the end-users perceive the final building outcomes? We utilized field measurements, interviews with clients and design teams, and a survey questionnaire directed toward the end-users. There were four significant findings. First, two types of communication were critical to the overall success of the building projects: communication between the client and the design group, and communication within the user groups and the design team. Secondly, the use of the LEED process facilitated reconciling, and creating a common goal within each organization in the design process. Thirdly, the green building concepts and the utilization of the LEED certification process provided concrete tools in translating the organizational missions into the design forms of the building that otherwise could have been too abstract to succinctly visualize. Fourth, the end-user satisfaction level was very high. We suggest that this was not only because of the buildings themselves, but also because successful LEED certification gave the end-users confidence about their buildings. Their intensive participation in the design process as well as the belief that their voices were heard by the designers contributed to this high level of satisfaction.

Keywords: LEED Certification, Green Building, Design Communication

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.247-268. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 7.164MB).

Jung-hye Shin

Assistant Professor, Design Studies Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA

Jung-hye Shin is an assistant professor in the Design Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Trained in environment-behavior studies and architecture, she focuses her research on the relationship between culture and residential environment, post occupancy evaluation, and research utilization.

Devan Castellano

PhD Student, Design Studies Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA

Devan Castellano is a Ph.D student in the Design Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on children’s environment.

Shadeequa Miller

PhD Student, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA

Shadeequa Miller is a Ph.D student in the department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on the use of medical devices amongst elderly population in their home environment.