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.