Building Green

Tipping Structural Engineers is a recognized leader in sustainable design, sought after by architects and building owners who share our commitment to reducing the short- and long-term impact of building construction on the environment.

A view toward sustainability guides our analysis of every design problem and is an essential part of every solution. We design to reduce the carbon footprint of every structure by: coupling its thermal properties with passive solar design; detailing for longevity and adaptability; protecting the building by designing for enhanced seismic performance; specifying low-cement concrete and high-recycled-content steel; and avoiding construction waste and reducing costs.

Over the last thirteen years, Tipping has made concerted efforts to research and analyze alternative, resource-efficient materials just entering the marketplace. These have included: structural insulated panels (SIPs); straw bale, rammed earth, bamboo; resource-efficient wood framing, timber frame; and low-cement concrete.

To our projects’ great successes, we have collaborated with suppliers and contractors to develop and implement new approaches. On several of our projects, Tipping innovations (our resilient lateral systems and green concrete mixes) have garnered LEED innovation credits.

For example, Tipping’s sustainable design solutions for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission HQ (2012): added a thirteenth story to the project (thereby increasing density­) owing to the reduced floor-to-ceiling heights that resulted from our lateral system design; reduced steel reinforcement—and materials emissions—by 50 percent owing to our optimized link-beam design; decreased the project’s carbon footprint by 7.4 million pounds of CO2 emissions owing to our specially designed green-concrete mixes; increased the building’s resilience—and, by extension, the longevity of the investment—by delivering immediate-occupancy performance while saving the project $5 million (or $18/sf) in direct and indirect structural costs, and $27.7 million in downstream and VE costs.