By Rita Cook
Todd Howard is an architect, but not just any architect since his firm, t. howard + associates in Dallas, is “the” authority on Design for Wellbeing®.
“[It is] a sustainability-centered approach, which focuses on the building elements that support the health and development of the individuals whose lives are sheltered within our designs,” Howard explains.
Overall, the company, which was founded in 1998 and is located on Griffin Street specializes in architecture, interior design and planning providing these services to areas like healthcare, education, early childhood development and corporate and civic projects across the United States.
Born and raised in Dallas, a St. Mark’s graduate Howard adds, he currently lives in East Dallas and received his education in Architecture from Texas A&M University, graduating with honors.
When asked what made him decide to live a greener lifestyle Howard didn’t really have a starting point and says he has always valued the principle of living sustainably, responsibly and ethically.
“It does not always come naturally, though, and that is why it’s important to continue to seek new sources of information and stay up-to-date with best practices,” he explains. “We do this in many ways, particularly through designing high performance projects, which reduce resource consumption, incorporate sustainable materials and support the needs of the end user reducing the need for repetitive travel across building areas, for example.” (Buzz Lofts (an environmentally responsible multi-family project),
Howard says too that his company is a registered provider of third party plan review for the City of Dallas Green Building Program and even though an owner may not choose to pursue LEED certification, there are ample opportunities for his company to incorporate environmentally responsible practices into the design.
In the office he seeks opportunities to craft high performance projects that are efficient, thoughtfully planned and crafted to accommodate future needs and optimally designed to support the health and needs of the user groups.
“When possible, we promote the adaptive reuse of existing buildings our office building is an adaptive reuse of a former gate factory. We have a Sustainability Committee, which researches and educates the team on environmentally responsible practices in our project work and our office environment,” he adds. ( Photo: THA office is an adaptive reuse of an old gate factory )
At home Howard stays green by educating his children in the importance of environmentally responsible practices with a priority to limit consumption like using low-flow fixtures, limiting heating and cooling, adding insulation and driving a hybrid vehicle.
Howard also takes the time to do volunteer work, giving back to the community. He is a graduate of Vice President Al Gore’s The Climate Project and in 2009 participated in Memnosyne Foundation / Orbits of Influence dialogue "Pickens Plan vs Gore Challenge." “At t. howard + associates our team members are actively involved in both professional and community organizations. Investing in our communities by contributions of time and expertise is embedded in our firm’s culture. We work with a variety of organizations, including Hearts and Hammers and Entrepreneurs For North Texas.”
Maybe you are wondering what tips Howard might have for someone just trying to get started living green.
“Start with a manageable, practical effort,” Howard suggests. “In fact, the best way to start is to simply consume less. Be aware of wasteful habits like running the water when you don’t need to or using more detergent than needed and make it a priority to change those. Make an effort to lengthen the life of your current possessions purchasing smaller amounts of higher quality items and repairing instead of replacing. It is efforts like these that are easy to implement and you see a definite impact like lowered bills, a less frequent need to shop for replacement items and seeing those results can help stimulate you to make larger, longer-lasting changes.”
Rita Cook is an award winning journalist who writes or has written for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light, Dreamscapes Travel Magazine, Porthole, Core Media, Fort Worth Star Telegram and many other publications in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. Cook is the Managing Editor of Insider Magazine, worked at the Chicago Sun Times for renowned columnist Irv Kupcinet and can also be heard Sunday morning in Los Angeles on The Insider Magazine Radio Show’s featured segment “I’m Standing Here.” With five books published, her latest release is “A Brief History of Fort Worth” published by History Press. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org