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Gerding Architects surpasses LEED standard with ARCHICAD

Designs for Georgia's Sweetwater Creek State Park Showcase Multiple Environment-friendly and Energy Efficient Features

Newton, Mass. - November 07, 2005 - Graphisoft, a global leader in Virtual Building™ solutions, today announced that Gerding Architects has designed the Sweetwater Creek State Park visitors' center and museum using ARCHICAD®, the firm's choice in Virtual Building modeling software. The high-performance building showcases several unique green design features, including rainwater harvesting and a strategic waste & graywater treatment system. As a result, the complex is on track to receive a Gold rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System® - a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings.

Operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the visitors' center and museum are currently under construction and scheduled for completion this fall. Gerding Architects sought to create facilities that would reduce the visual footprint in the park and deliver multiple energy-conservation benefits. The complete project was designed and modeled within ARCHICAD, which the design team found to be instrumental in analyzing potential issues during the design phase as well as during the production of working drawings.

"Creating the designs in the Virtual Building model brought to light potential conflicts that we wouldn't have otherwise seen until much later. This gave us a huge underlying advantage," said Dan Gerding, principal of Atlanta-based Gerding Architects. "The opportunity to view all aspects of the buildings, long before the construction phase, allowed us the freedom to push our designs even further."

The physical setting and orientation of the building was critical to making the facilities as energy-efficient as possible. ARCHICAD's Sun Studies tool enabled Gerding Architects to determine the optimal, energy-efficient location for individual building elements as well as the physical site. Fully integrated into their environment, the buildings are situated to use solar rays as a source of light and heat. The structures' windows are positioned to ensure maximum light while preventing access to direct rays and glare, thereby ensuring the building's interior will not overheat or rely on excess energy to maintain cooler air temperatures.

Gerding's team also used ARCHICAD to their benefit in the presentation of the designs. "ARCHICAD's Virtual Building helped us promote building sustainability to the Georgia community as a whole. This is a public project, requiring many levels of approval, and ARCHICAD has been enormously influential in our abilities to communicate our designs in a way that generated civic excitement and interest," Gerding continued. One result of the awareness created by ARCHICAD's renderings and three-dimensional walk-throughs was the donations made by individual donors and corporations alike. For example, one major corporation donated used photovoltaic solar panels to the project. This donation, together with US$30,000 in funds provided by a private donor for the purchase of additional panels, will result in approximately 25 to 30 percent of the building's electrical needs being supplied through building-integrated solar power generation.

"We are proud that ARCHICAD supports firms such Gerding Architects in their work to bring green buildings to life," said Don Henrich, Vice President and General Manager, Graphisoft North America. "Gerding Architects is to be commended for its use of the Virtual Building to achieve LEED standards for the Gold rating and win support from its community - a true feat."

ARCHICAD helps users to win more business by assisting them to design more creatively, analyze earlier, generate documentation rapidly and efficiently coordinate projects both internally and externally. In a recent global Return-on-Investment Survey, ARCHICAD on average was found to contribute 12 percent to a practice's profit, and lift productivity by 39 percent.