Monthly Archives: December 2014

HFA Headquarters Office Awarded LEED-CI Gold Certification.


HFA, a Bentonville based A/E design firm with a national reach was awarded LEED-CI Gold Certification on, December 17, 2014.

HFA took a former National Home Center building of 45,000 square feet and transformed the retail big-box space into an office of tomorrow. It’s a successful adaptive re-use. The office features an open layout for a collaborative work environment and new south exterior windows provide natural light into the studio space.


Some key points:

• The space was designed using energy-efficient lighting and HVAC, water efficient fixtures and landscaping, as well as eco-friendly materials and furnishings.

• The design team excelled in the Innovation In Design Category including Exemplary Performance Credits.

• Careful equipment and appliance selection eared a few extra points.

• HFA diverted 83% of our construction waste by separating and recycling or reusing on site.

Although the addition of the south exterior windows achieved 1 point in the certification process, the daylight and views it provides to an adjacent park are worth much more than that to employees. It’s created a great work environment.


Larry Lott, President & COO stated, “It has been a long road from the first day that we established one of our major design goals for our new office was to not only have an attractive office, but to seek LEED Silver as well. It was fantastic to hear that we not only achieved our original goal of Silver (which requires 50 points) but exceeded it with the approval of 65 points which put it over the required 60 points for LEED-CI (commercial interiors) Gold. It’s a credit to our staff’s abilities to fully utilize their sustainable design creativity and expertise resulting in a meaningful office environment for us to enjoy each day.”


HFA would like to thank all of our staff who contributed to the successful design for our winning project (from design, to construction, to operation, to applying for LEED certification); and also thank the contractors and product vendors on the project for contributing and exceeding their LEED requirements as well.

What Questions?

Chris Horton

By Chris Horton, Vice President & CFO

In my last article, I wrote about the integrated Architect/Engineer team and the benefits of finding and hiring the right one. This article will act as a guide for the questions you should be asking when performing your search.

The American Institute of Architects website ( has several suggestions of questions to ask during your interview of potential candidates. Working on an integrated A/E team comes with a set of unique challenges and opportunities that an engineer or architect would not necessarily face when only performing the tasks related to their discipline and then passing the project along. It is important to ask candidates about their experience with integrated projects as well as other kinds of teams they may have worked on. Design philosophy, who will be the main point of contact at a partner firm, and experience level are just a few of the factors that need to be taken into consideration, but these simple questions should help you narrow down your choices.

When evaluating consultant teams, which typically may contain many professional disciplines, it may be very difficult to tell if a team is truly integrated. This task takes asking a different set of questions all together. Teams are so often setup in silos and very seldom talk to each other face-to-face. Email has become the way of managing and is among the reasons that deadlines are not met, major misses occurs, etc. Ask the following:

How are their teams structured and how they share fees?

What about their philosophy on teamwork, do they sit together or is each discipline segregated?

What consultants do they use (you will usually have some outside consultants) and how they are integrated into the team?

Who will be attending any meetings with you?

It is very important that the key players are involved. If your consultant plans to send a single person, run away! One person cannot have the breadth and depth of knowledge you need to ensure you are getting the product you want.

So we have discussed what questions to ask, but what about you, the owner. What kind of things do you need to bring to the table? Well, you guessed it. That’s for another article!