Since 1984, Lake|Flato has gained national recognition for architecture rooted to its place, responds to the natural environment and merges with the landscape. With a palette of regional materials, they create buildings that are tactile and modern, environmentally responsible and authentic. As stewards of the natural environment and their client’s resources, they shape every project with empirical environmental knowledge and energy modeling resulting in sustainable strategies that artfully respond to each site’s unique context and character. Lake|Flato believes that the best ideas evolve from an engaging and collaborative design process with clients consultants, and within the firm. They create an environment that leverages each person’s passions and unique perspectives to ensure common ownership and innovative solutions. Lake|Flato has received wide critical acclaim from clients, peers, and the press. In 2004, the American Institute of Architects awarded Lake|Flato the National Firm Award, the highest honor the AIA bestows on a firm. Reflecting their commitment to sustainable design, five of Lake|Flato’s projects have been selected as national Top Ten Green Projects by the AIA COTE, and in 2009, the firm was honored with a Texas Medal of Arts. In all, Lake|Flato’s work has been recognized with over 100 national and state design awards. For over 25 years, Lake|Flato has employed practical and thoughtful sustainable strategies that conserve resources, engage nature and promote healthful living. Simply defined, sustainable design is smart design that looks beyond the building and considers the larger context. Their design process is collaborative and integrates knowledge from a wide range of sustainable expertise. It requires a look to art, science and nature … to listen and learn. They benchmark building energy performance from early-stage modeling through completion to verify the efficacy of designs and strategies. This data allows Lake|Flato to measure progress towards their goal of carbon neutral design by the year 2030, in fulfillment of the firm’s commitment to The 2030 Challenge. The 2030 Challenge efforts will be guided by the Lake|Flato “Green Beam,” who have instituted sustainable practices into daily operations, offer internal education programs and disseminate best practices through FlakeNet, the firm’s intranet wiki site. The Sustainability Coordinator also engages directly with projects that do not have a sustainability manager by performing energy models and sustainability reviews on a regular and scheduled basis. Finally, the firm has also committed to certifying every residential project under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes program. Building performance is measured against 2030 Challenge goals and communicated to the design team. “Our firm makes a concentrated effort to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, but what we can’t reduce, we offset. Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree Program has aided us in our goals for carbon neutrality,” said Sustainability Coordinator Heather Gayle Holdridge, LEED AP BD+C.