Texas 2010 design rank: No 44
Green rank: No. 25

Pfluger Associates of Austin focuses on education projects.

Pfluger Associates
Photo: Pfluger
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Denise Shaw, LEED AP, a project architect with Pfluger, says school owners continue to desire green buildings.

“They have an obligation to stay within their budget on operations and maintenance,” Shaw says. “By having a more efficient building, they use less energy, and that money can stay in the school district and go toward better teacher salaries.”

Pfluger, founded in 1973, designed the $25.5-million Cibolo Green Elementary School in Northeast Independent School District, which is expecting LEED-silver certification, and the Dailey Middle School in Del Valle ISD that features an 80,000-gallon rainwater-collection system. With water rates increasing, payback can come as quickly as five to seven years.

With more green products and technology, designing for sustainability need not add a cost premium to the project.

“We make recommendations to the school districts to build to a certain level that does have an impact on the construction cost, but it yields a savings in operations,” Shaw says.

Pfluger Associates has offices in Austin, San Antonio and Houston and employs 21 LEED accredited professionals. The Austin office boasts a solar-panel system, which has produced 50 MW hours of power since June 2009.

“We approach design from the full spectrum—from the impact on the environment as well as operation cost and maintenance of the building,” Shaw says. “We try to be conscientious not only about what it takes to build the building but also to maintain it.”