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.