ASHRAE is working on its goal of an environmentally responsible headquarters by selecting an architectural firm known for such work.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers is studying whether to renovate its facility in Atlanta as a "sustainable" building. A new Web page has been created to provide details on the project and selection of the architectural firm.

The society recently selected Richard & Wittschiebe, an Atlanta architectural firm, to develop schematic designs for the project.

"This is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of using ASHRAE's standards and to ‘walk the talk' by creating a showcase for renovation," said William Harrison who is chairman of the renovation committee. "We envision creating a ‘living lab,' where ASHRAE technical committees can conduct research projects to determine the effectiveness of procedures designed to conserve energy, to prolong the efficient operation of mechanical systems, and to improve indoor air quality."

"ASHRAE is addressing the larger global issues facing our world today by exploring renovation of its building and submitting for gold-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification," said Janice Wittschiebe, partner with Richard & Wittschiebe. "Richard & Wittschiebe Architects is honored to have the opportunity to work with ASHRAE in developing a project that will provide an example of how a building can incorporate concepts of aesthetics and functionality as well as sustainability."

The Web page,, contains photos of the building throughout the years, technical information about the building and a comments area.

"We look forward to considering ideas and suggestions from ASHRAE members and encourage them to explore the headquarters renovation page," said Harrison. "We want both our renovation headquarters building and the process we use to develop our plans to serve as models for the successful renovation of existing buildings."

The schematic designs are to be completed by June with discussion by ASHRAE's board of directors taking place at the 2006 annual meeting June 24-28 in Quebec.

Harrison also noted that the proposed renovation addresses the four goals outlined in ASHRAE's recently adopted strategic plan: by demonstrating sustainable construction, provide space and a laboratory for educational programs, demonstrating ASHRAE's expertise, and providing a global headquarters with technology features to serve the needs of members anywhere in the world.