Research / Focus Areas

As designers we are honor bound to protect human health and uplift the human spirit. It is essential to collect scientific feedback about how the built environment affects human health and wellbeing — and how we can connect people to healthy lifestyle choices, knowing that high-performance solutions will not achieve the desired performance unless people make use of them. We study human behavior in our projects and research to discover how people are making the lifestyle changes that reduce consumption, improve their quality of life and meet their community goals.

The cleanest energy strategy available is also the free one. To reduce the demand for energy, we must refine accurate methods for predicting energy use, discover waste and redundancy to remove it, and then study integrated building systems to provide multi-benefits strategies. To test our best tools and instincts, we measure actual energy use, optimize operational strategies and help our clients to realize the building’s potential throughout its 100-year operational life. This constant feedback loop is an important service to our clients, but it is also critical to the process of improving our instincts for high performance design solutions.

Water is an immensely important resource for global sustainability and it is also the most valuable resource in our society’s future. Abundant clean, fresh water is equally important for the health and wellbeing of humanity as it is to sustaining a healthy economy and preserving vibrancy and resiliency nature. While creating ideas for the building scale, system maintenance or replacement at the city scale and leading disaster recovery efforts our primary research focus is on the ecology of water systems, the economy of water, renewable energy and nutrient production.

Design firms, contractors, corporations, institutions and government entities seek BNIM to assist in their journey to sustainability. Over the last decade, we have created numerous sustainable design tools, programs and green design guidelines for all levels of

government— from local to state and federal. We have invented, formulated and critiqued interactive web-based tools, software, performance guidelines, policy reports, standards and ordinances for every aspect of the design, development and operations industry. We specialize in translating highly technical information into simple, easily understood tools that enable professionals and stakeholders to integrate sustainable solutions into projects and their organization’s core values.

Our intuitive to scientific through experiential design approach relies on our deep understanding of how diverse building types behave in a given climate. We conduct benchmarking reviews, investigate and analyze design solutions through simulation, modeling and built mockups to determine the greatest opportunities and appropriate technologies. Building behavior research enables teams to make intelligent decisions for integrating successful strategies and examining high performance installations. We work directly with our client’s after occupancy to measure and improve actual performance, which is fundamental to our building behavior research,

Habitat restoration is a key component of BNIM’s restorative design research program. At the site scale, our research focuses on integrating habitat space into the landscape, allowing humans, plants, and animals to safely coexist on the land. At the planning scale, the challenge is to form connections between fragmented wildlife areas to create habitat networks that allow greater movement and healthier ecosystems.

Across the country municipalities and private clients are looking for ways to increase employment opportunities, improve the health and quality of life of their residents, and reduce their negative impact on the environment. BNIM researches sustainable solutions to these issues by analyzing the connections between the economy, social and political systems and the environment. As leaders in the field of sustainable planning, we provide educational sessions, evaluate regulations and policies and identify catalyst projects.