Q&A with Architect Betty Trent, AIA LEED AP

Archi­tec­ture Plus is known for its expe­ri­ence with sourc­ing and design­ing projects using sus­tain­able prod­ucts, com­po­nents and sys­tems to help its clients achieve their project goals, whether they are pur­su­ing a Four-Star Rat­ing in Austin Energy’s Green Build­ing pro­gram or LEED clas­si­fi­ca­tion. Ms. Trent recent­ly spec­i­fied a Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem for a new build­ing enve­lope on an exist­ing struc­ture owned by the City of Austin’s elec­tric util­i­ty, Austin Ener­gy. We talked with her about her expe­ri­ence with sim­i­lar projects and mate­ri­als.

Why did you select Bautex Block for the new building envelope?

I orig­i­nal­ly spec­i­fied it because it is sim­i­lar to a prod­uct that we used for anoth­er City of Austin project, in which we were look­ing for a wall sys­tem allow­ing us to con­struct both inte­ri­or and exte­ri­or walls for indus­tri­al use. I found it to have a high­er R‑value than oth­er options, such as con­crete block. One rea­son it appealed to me is that it also has recy­cled con­tent, and that meets our goal to divert waste from the land­fill. The City of Austin has goals relat­ed to zero waste, sus­tain­abil­i­ty and local fab­ri­ca­tion, so the Bau­tex Block helped achieve all three.

How did you select an installing contractor for the work?

We had worked with Pia­tra on anoth­er project and found them to be dili­gent and care­ful with the work they do. We had con­fi­dence in their abil­i­ty to con­struct it.

What do you want others to know about your approach to design and construction?

We pro­mote the use of local prod­ucts, of sus­tain­able prod­ucts, and we are known for our abil­i­ty to use mate­r­i­al with high recy­cled con­tent. We have three LEED Gold projects and mul­ti­ple LEED Sil­ver projects and are always look­ing for com­po­nents and sys­tems that help achieve that. AISD has a goal of 3 stars on our school projects, so we are very famil­iar with their require­ments as well as LEED. Our Padron Ele­men­tary School project achieved both AEGB 4 stars as well as LEED gold cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

What other applications do you see for materials like this?

We’re look­ing for anoth­er oppor­tu­ni­ty to design a project with a sys­tem like this. Using an insu­lat­ed con­crete form like Bau­tex allows us to max out the insu­la­tion val­ue while keep­ing con­struc­tion sim­ple.