Weidlinger’s role as structural, civil, and geotechnical engineer is to support and advance the green agendas of architects, built-environment professionals, public agencies, and private developers by optimizing structural systems and materials and fostering synergy among the various architectural and engineering disciplines. Weidlinger embraces the LEED rating system as a guide to current best practice and as a direct expression of its commitment to sustainable solutions. Concurrently, the firm engages in a process of discovering and applying the cutting-edge materials, systems, and analytical tools that will define best practice in the future.
Weidlinger’s immediate sustainability commitment is to clients and projects. The firm’s engineers regularly design sustainable structures—from green and blue roofs to underground water retention systems—and assess available materials based on their life-cycle environmental impact. They integrate site/civil and underground utilities solutions with green building systems and combine green solutions with multihazard protection against earthquakes, high winds, and blast. They also seek opportunities to quantify the embodied carbon advantage of retrofit, reuse, and recycling; to increase the flexibility of new structures to facilitate renovation; and to collaborate with architects in designing aesthetically pleasing sustainable structures.
In combination with conventional and multihazard engineering services, Weidlinger provides sustainability and LEED-certification consulting in new construction, major renovation, core and shell, and commercial interiors. A “voluntary army” of green designers and researchers within the firm advances in-house education, investigates topics of interest, implements sustainable office practices, and seeks relationships with other built-environment professionals who share their enthusiasm. The firm is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and actively encourages and supports accreditation of its engineers. About 20 percent are LEED-accredited engineering professionals.
The contributions of structural and civil engineering to sustainable design are often indirect and supportive, but they can be significant. Weidlinger engineers have helped teams sort through the tradeoffs required to produce the optimal green structure by comparing alternatives and quantifying risk. They have coordinated the LEED documentation process to great effect and provided data for crucial decisions about renovation vs. new construction.
Beyond a project-by-project approach, however, Weidlinger is cognizant that new structural ideas are needed for substantially reducing the environmental effects of construction and maintenance, which today are typically responsible for 20 percent of a building’s lifetime energy consumption. To meet this challenge, Weidlinger will continue to nurture a technically robust and passionate culture of sustainability, which can draw on the firm’s historic strengths in researching and applying new technologies, creating advanced analysis software, and developing national codes and standards.