RGB is committed to new construction that fulfills your visions, to forensic investigation that empowers you to act upon issues affecting existing buildings, and to historic preservation that deepens the legacy of original designs and materials. Using our expertise and experience, whether you require existing conditions and code assessment of your legacy facilities or new ground up construction, RGB will commit personnel to ensure that your goals are met. Our proven process and our client focus are what make our teams winning ones. Our range of consulting services go beyond design. When buildings do not function as designed, or achievement of improved building performance is needed, RGB guides you through a holistic process.What We Do
Investigation and RemediationRGB personnel work with buildings that require investigation and remediation. Depending on the project scope and client concerns, invasive or non-invasive methods of investigation may be used. Our team focuses on areas of concern and works to document the conditions, materials, and architectural details that are contributing factors. Typically, our team then provides a report that includes narratives and photographs illustrative of our process, potential solutions, and our evaluation of a preferred, feasible solution. We work with you to refine a preferred solution that considers costs, phasing needs to minimize disruptions at the site, and anticipated efficacy. RGB endeavors to define repair scopes that not only mitigate issues, but also increase energy efficiency or decrease maintenance. If a building is of historic significance, RGB has additional resources available to ensure historically sensitive responses.
RGB's services go beyond design. We identify appropriate design and construction strategies by leveraging the depth of our professional experience. We provide a range of critical consulting services that separate us from our industry peers.
When buildings do not perform as designed, either through age and wear or through errors or failures, our staff investigate the issues at hand and develop long-term solutions. Our understanding of past and present building envelope science, building enclosure of walls, roof systems, and components, allows us to recognize and mitigate present conditions, whether they pertain to recent construction or structures with hundreds of years of age.
We document conditions as general wear and tear over a building's life cycle, a possible result of constructed defects, or as caused by water or fire damage. In incidents of possible negligence, RGB offers expert witness/litigation support services.
Building and fire codes can necessitate additional review of documentation. We offer third-party review and code analysis, as well as representation in code variance pleas. We also represent owners in evaluating prepared design documents and through on-site monitoring.
From design to code and construction, RGB’s services relate to the built environment through the entire building life cycle, helping you maximize key factors such as use, durability, resiliency, sustainability, and economics.
Frederick Love, AIAFrederick R. Love of Historic Solutions has been involved for over twenty years in the field of historic preservation, working on such diverse projects as Franklin Court in Philadelphia for the National Park Service, The Rhode Island Supreme Court Building for the Public Building Authority, Manchester Street Power Plant for Bechtel Corporation, and Providence City Hall. These projects have been performed under the review and authority of agencies such as the National Park Service, the Rhode Island Historical and Heritage Preservation Commission and local Historic District Commissions. Fred has served as the Chairman of the Pawtucket Historic District Commission for over twenty years. Formerly a long-term employee of RGB, Mr. Love began work as an independent consultant in 2001 and currently partners with RGB to provide knowledgeable, historic perspective on relevant projects.
Historic work is done with the understanding that the project is either driven or impacted by the heritage of the area and the experience of the public. Potential impacts that could be considered by stakeholders during planning for design and construction include management issues, operations issues, and overall stewardship.
Our team assesses and itemizes impacts with recognition of physical and historical considerations as well as current code and regulatory requirements that may limit the possibilities.
When planning for a building heritage site in particular, the increase of image, profile, and function are typically desired outcomes of the process. However, most any historic structure, not just those administrated by the public, might gain by using protected status as an advantage. Our team has successfully worked on historic structures and in settings with historic and sensitive sites. We are committed to planning and design which respects the memorable and enduring heritage of these sites. Our goal is to respect heritage while generating fresh ideas that make construction work viable, as directed toward future years of community use and support.
The team may seek to identify opportunities for increased efficiency or use of reused or recycled materials, as examples. Of the utmost importance is that solutions that involve the application of contemporary materials and systems do not degrade the overall integrity of the building. Older buildings may suffer from changes in use; RGB's understanding of prior design and construction methods allows us to evaluate which renovations may have a deleterious long-term affect, or introduce additional issues to be surmounted.
A process that builds consensus among advocates and oversight groups related to preservation, to regulatory approvals, and to operations and performance criteria is a key goal. Advocacy and communications lead to regulatory approvals and community support, moving your project forward.
Team designs for Net-Zero at the Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met CenterRGB was part of a $7 million design-build education facility in Newport. The primary goal was net-zero site energy use; this was one of the first schools of its kind, becoming a proving ground for concepts applicable to facilities throughout the region.
The Met School oachieved 47% design efficiency against energy code. This equated to a reduction in anticipated utility costs from $35,458 to $18,623. Under the NE-CHPS protocol the building earned 37 points (16 points are required.)
Tactics utilized include:
The common goal of sustainable design is to meet current needs without compromising the ability to meet future needs. RGB’s team provides inspiration and guidance to steer project teams through an integrated, goal-oriented design process to deliver high performance, sustainable projects on manageable budgets through calculations and simulations and prioritization of design solutions. At a holistic level, the team analyzes the trade-offs implicit in design decisions in order to maximize value to end users.
RGB is a regional leader in sustainable and high performance building design. RGB was a founding member of our chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. We completed our first LEED certified project in 2003 and became ENERGY STAR partners in 2009.
Our portfolio incorporates best practice design strategies such as increased continuous insulation and air barrier technologies in building enclosures, low VOC finishes, and abundant natural daylight for improved indoor environmental quality. For example, the Rhode Island School for the Deaf was modeled for energy use intensity of 44 kbtu per square foot and to pursue LEED Gold certification. The new Rhode Island State Police Headquarters was certified LEED Silver. RGB is proud to have taken part in design of the new Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met Center in Newport. This school has a primary goal of net-zero site energy use.
Sustainable design and green building have taken root; they are valued throughout society. Studies have revealed benefits such as increased property values, lease values, and increased occupant productivity. RGB’s extensive knowledge ensures design decisions maximize these intrinsic values.
Our four basic project steps in the development of a project that may incorporate renewable energy also allows for cost control measures. The four project steps are:
Research. The project team first normalizes anticipated usage patterns, such as plug and process loads, indoor environment expectations, and programmatic needs. Studies have shown that unregulated process and plug loads can account for up to 2.2 watts per square foot in buildings such as schools. The project team also seeks technical data related to high-performance building enclosures, HVAC systems, and lighting systems from recently completed projects. Lessons taken from these completed projects guide our research, review, and ultimately, our recommendation.
Reduce. The intent is to reduce projected energy loads for the project and to identify potential trade-offs between various design recommendations. Reduction strategies may include specifics on efficient building sizing and layout, building orientation, high-performance building enclosure systems, high-performance HVAC, and lighting systems.
Refine. Once these characteristics have been defined, the project team refines these systems to further reduce energy use. Refinement strategies may include optimization of glazing percentages to maximize daylight and minimize thermal gains and losses through the building enclosure, optimization of HVAC controls and set-points, and optimization of light fixtures and controls.
Renewables. Finally, after loads have been reduced and systems refined, the project team may be requested to incorporate renewable energy systems. Infrastructure for renewable energy systems may be conceptualized into the base project, while installation of the renewable energy systems can be incorporated in a series of alternates to provide overall project cost control without sacrificing capability.
There are a number of 'green' design frameworks, including LEED, IgCC, Living Building Challenge, and others. These can all be met with the right design choices, using a similar process of four basic steps which we discussed above. There is no ‘right’ framework, though there are local requirements. For example, NE-CHPS is a requirement in New England for schools, while the Rhode Island Green Buildings Act is typically satisfied through LEED or IgCC. Each framework is designed to encourage the current limits of application to be pushed further than before. It is important that your motivations and potential payoffs are clear, not dictated purely by a standard.
To reduce predicted energy use, the design team can utilize energy modeling expertise and experience with mechanical, electrical, and building envelope design. Often, energy modeling is utilized only to verify the performance of proposed designs rather than influence design decisions. When high performance is among your project objectives, it is crucial to utilize the energy model as a design tool to inform the design rather than work in a "rear-view mirror" fashion.
Energy modeling simulates predicted building performance and places it in the context of current codes as well as in a matrix of dollar expenditures. It is as much a sustainable design and energy usage tool as it is an economic model and decision making tool.
RGB has placed variables into software such as eQUEST, a sophisticated DOE2 simulator. A matrix report is generated in which individual energy efficiency measures may be compared with benchmarks and as part of a larger performance measurement.
Results can be used to inform design decisions from an economic standpoint. Awareness of the results early in the design process allow opportunities to be incorporated into design schematics with a realistic view of any cost versus performance trade off that might be made.
RGB has successfully acquired grants, rebates, and incentives for projects at the local, state, and federal level. With local utility rebates, it is important to involve the utility early in the design process to ensure expectations are clear and requirements are met. Possible grant opportunities should also be identified early in the process as the amount and timing of potential grants may influence how certain technologies are integrated into the project. RGB has also completed multiple projects which have received tax credits.
A project with a vision around which goals, space and program planning can be communicated early on is at a distinct advantage. All parties and stakeholders involved have a picture of what will be the culmination of the overall effort. The concept can save time and effort as the initial ideas and preconceptions are validated or discarded.
RGB utilizes three dimensional design tools to create accurate models that bring buildings to life, even early in the schematic design stage. These representations enable visualization and walkthroughs to be created. These engage the stakeholders and the public at large by dramatically depicting tangible end results. The models also allow for rapid validation of early designs. Approval allows the project to move forward, and the already existing 3D scale models can often be directly applied to the project phases that follow.
RGB uses software such as Sketchup Pro, Revit, and Photoshop to deliver composite graphics. Depending on the use, the rendering can be a simple sketch used to infer massing, approximate elevations, and site orientation and setbacks, or a highly detailed rendering that depicts light and materiality in a photorealistic manner.
- United States Postal Service New England
- National Grid
- General Dynamics Electric Boat
- Rhode Island Department of Transporation
- Rhode Island Public Transit Authority
- Rhode Island Airport Corporation
- Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority
- Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
- State of Rhode Island (Master Purchasing Agreement)
- Massachusetts Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Interiors Planning
- Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
- City of Quincy, MA
- Rhode Island Housing
- City of Providence, RI
- City of Pawtucket, RI
- Chariho Schools
To expedite routine maintenance projects on an ongoing basis, clients will often work with RGB in on-call, house doctor, or indefinite delivery contract capacity. RGB has the staff and processes in place to respond in an expeditious manner with the same processes and commitment to quality used in all of our projects. The on-call contract helps our client by establishing a form of contract that reduces paperwork and startup period each time our services are needed, while capitalizing upon interdepartmental working relationships that have been established.
Further, RGB stands ready to serve should unexpected situations require quick action to restore operations. RGB routinely works with critical government agencies, utilities, and large corporations with continuous operational needs; we understand the need to maintain or restore functionality as quickly as possible, whether the cause is fire, flood, wind, snow, or other damage.
RGB can further assist in rebuilding destroyed facilities. We have worked with clients to deliver updates to legacy designs that remain in keeping with inputs such as insurer requirements and historic commissions.
RGB incorporates resiliency into plans and designs for agencies and institutions with critical operations. A threat matrix is developed for sites and potential threats to operations responded to through items such as redundant systems and communications, for example. These measures anticipate the effects of crises and are meant to reduce downtime resulting from these occurrences.