Feature Article - October 2008
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A Shady Place

Shelters to Suit Your Facility

By Kelli Anderson

Sustained Effort

From bold clock towers to fantastical multi-tiered carousel houses, shade structures are covering the landscape at a time when Americans care more about their health and the environment. "Sustainable design is one of the biggest issues in commercial and recreational applications today. It has come to the forefront and affected the whole of the architectural industry from skyscrapers to shade structures," said Samuel Armijos, AIA and author of a newly published book, Fabric Architecture. "It's become the big buzzword in the industry."

Citing examples of photovoltaic panels on shade tops to collect the sun's energy to power lights or nearby electrical outlets and inverted shade umbrellas to collect rain water to irrigate garden beds, Armijos describes some of the environmentally-friendly and financially frugal changes impacting the humble shade structure.

And whether building materials are recycled or locally purchased to reduce carbon emissions in transportation, the good news about sustainable design is not only great PR for a green-conscious community, but cost-effective for those who support it. It's a win-win.