Consulting and Design Services
We understand how living sustainability impacts all facets of your life. These facets can be a complex maze of inter-related issues that can be very confusing and difficult to prioritize. New and existing proven technologies can be applied in creative new approaches to radically change the sub-systems that define the structures we use for home, assembly, work and play. We also understand and study the construction materials and practices in the areas local to our projects, this helps control costs and ensure local labor can be used if available. Structures developed today do not have to follow the wasteful and inefficient practices we have inherited. Centralized utilities and services were a product of inexpensive natural resources. In our world today impacted by global warming and changing climate patterns, buildings must be designed for resilience, agroecology and end to end utilization of products and materials used in, and during, the life of the building.
4Pillars staff are highly qualified licensed professional engineers and architects that have tackled the difficult trade-offs that are necessary to achieve highly sustainable and affordable structures. We excel in the following areas of design and consulting services:
We can help to assess how your program will impact your existing operations and building use and develop options to renovate, modernize and/or expand your existing facilities.
Apply Sustainability Approaches to Indigenous Construction Techniques
In some cases, using our modular, shipping container-based designs are not appropriate or poor roadways and access to the site limits the practically of this construction approach. 4Pillars can apply our sustainability design concepts to structures utilizing locally sourced, indigenous building materials. We can achieve the same sustainability results, zero carbon and zero environmental impact.
Architectural and Engineering Services
Traditional building planning, programming, interior design, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection services. These services allow us to properly design sustainable solutions that deal with all programmatic needs a client may have and adapt them to the site and local community needs. These services can often save the overall project money.
Sustainability Master Planning
To take full advantages of existing natural resources, address programmatic needs and funding sources, and conceptualize the complete development, a strategic sustainability plan is often recommended for our clients. A master plan can yield many benefits resulting in lower costs, help to secure public and private funding, and serve as a roadmap to prioritize design effort and project construction capital.
Renewable Energy Engineering
Utilizing renewable energy to power our structures is a cornerstone of how we achieve zero carbon operation. We have the design expertise to assess local site conditions to maximize use of available renewable energy resources, develop an energy model, and design a complete solution that allows for off-grid with storage or grid-coupled with and without storage operations. In order to improve the affordability of the renewable energy systems, we design the power distribution systems to be highly energy efficient utilizing direct current LED lighting, ceiling fans, appliances, and equipment and to minimize conversion losses associated with alternating current inverters and rectifiers. Our designs also take advantage of natural daylight to minimize daytime lighting power demands and allow renewable energy to be used to charge on site energy storage systems.
Our design approach is to deliver modern, first class, toilet and bathing facilities in all our structures. In many areas of the developing world, sewer and water infrastructure is not available and, in some cases, not designed to support additional buildings and fixtures. All 4Pillar designs incorporate separation and re-use of grey water. In arid climates, grey water is most often used for site irrigation and community gardens. 4Pillars can offer several sanitation options that use composting, anerobic digestion or de-hydration technologies as means to turn human waste into valuable soil enrichment / fertilizer and/or Biogas. The technology deployed is dependent on several client and site-specific issues. We have developed affordable, community-scale, sanitation facility designs that permit neighborhoods and small villages to operate and maintain their own sanitation utility as a micro-business or as part of a neighborhood association. This permits a sustainable community to created anywhere in the world and not be dependent on the local or national government to provide centralize infrastructure or a container-based sanitation (CBS) service.
Water Distribution Engineering and Management
Utilizing our renewable energy engineering expertise we can engineer water distribution systems that rely totally on renewable power sources.We can partner with well water (borehole) contractors and develop a complete, end to end water distribution system with service provided to individual residences, businesses and public washrooms and water stations.Water management is also an integral part of our engineering services.We utilize, rain water catchment, very low water consuming fixtures, and composting, and water management training to achieve high water use utilization. For water source quality issues, we can offer several cost-effective water filtration design options.
Our water filters are designed to be fabricated using local water containers and allow our clients to be able to maintain them on-going without having to purchase replacement filtration materials or cartridges. This all factors into what we define as sustainability!
Impowering the people of the communities we serve to live sustainability is one of our primary objectives. If we did nothing else but train and enable our clients and their patrons to live sustainability, we would consider this a major success. Thus, we offer sustainability training as an integral part of each structure we deliver can also customize training to suit the needs and knowledge base of any audience.
Sustainable communities must address all facets of their consumption patterns and develop means to re-purpose and recycle all material assets we typically call ‘garbage’. We can provide guidelines and training to re-purpose many of the material that are normally discarded. Plastics can be shredded, melted and used to create jewelry, cups, plates, art, etc. Glass can be crushed and used as a replacement for sand in concrete, mortar and concrete blocks. Glass can be used to create art. Paper and cardboard can be shredded and cast to create fuel bricks as a wood replacement. Working with one of NGO partners like the Sustainable Development Fund, it is possible to raise funds to help sponsor micro-businesses, obtain micro-loans and provide small business planning and training.
Construction and Program Management
Construction and Program management services are mandatory services required for the successful completion of any new building project. Sustainable structures involve the same focus on schedule, budget, safety, work sequence, trade contractor coordination, etc.; however, the construction and program managers must provide all these traditional services with a focus on sustainability. Sustainability must be the number one priority. Therefore, all building sub-systems that contribute to sustainability performance (energy efficiency, renewable energy systems, low water consumption, compliance with design intent, material selection, vendor manufacturing and sourcing, transportation, etc.) must be accounted for, managed and delivered. 4Pillars construction and program management services specialize on achieving highly sustainable buildings and communities.