Sustainability

Commitment to Sustainability

Kaplan Thompson Architects is dedicated to creating buildings that can lead all of us towards a new way of living in harmony with the rest of our planet. Buildings consume around 40% of our country’s resources, and in Maine especially, surrounded with well-built buildings that have already lasted at least 150 years, we know we will live with the decisions we make today for a very long time.

Any construction is an intrusion onto a site, so our mandate is to unlock the puzzle of designing buildings that will actually improve the air, water and world around us. This is a goal rather than a reality, so until we can get there, the first rule is to do no harm. The basics: build smarter and smaller, and carefully re-use the buildings that our ancestors built with their enormous effort and energy.

Our practices

Allow natural light to wash every space in the building, eliminating expensive, hot, and energy-wasting artificial lighting.

Take full advantage of local human ingenuity and craftsmanship. We in Maine are blessed with a quality of construction that is fading in the rest of the country. Sustainable buildings must also build a sustainable economy.

We believe strongly in designing for our local environment and ecosystem. This dedication becomes visible when we build in New England, through the use of our local and natural materials, materials like white cedar, tamarack. knotty pine, maple, oak, poplar and Deer Isle granite. We prefer to find ways to use materials we can sustainably harvest from the local ecosystem whenever possible, instead of shipping tropical hardwoods across the globe.

For building systems, our designs follow a common thread. Focus attention and resources on the building skin, and spend less money and effort on complicated mechanical systems for heating and cooling. Insulation never breaks down, and has a lifespan longer than any piece of machinery.

And lastly, we find over and over that resource saving choices have a positive impact on the construction and operating budget. Low water use fixtures are no more expensive than standard fixtures, no-VOC paint is the same price as high-VOC paint, advanced wood framing uses less wood than standard framing without compromising structural performance. We have the tools in hand to reshape our built environment, and we need to make the smart choices that make smart buildings.

Over 80 percent of our staff, including both principals, are LEED Accredited Professionals and our firm currently has LEED projects in various stages of planning and construction. We pride ourselves on staying up to date with current building science about best practices for healthy and durable buildings in our unique climate.