Green Building

Our focus is on stewardship for the environment and our community through responsible design.

At Altura Architects, sustainability is a holistic strategy for long-term environmental and social planning. We have been committed to green building for over 35 years and it continues to be a value at the core of every project. We recognize that our buildings have a lasting impact on the landscape around us, our personal health and the well-being of our community as a whole. Sustainability is an integral part of our operations, our projects and our culture.

Samsel Architects Green Building - Photo taken by Justin Askew

Our Philosophy

Who We Are

Since our start, Altura Architects has been a leader in environmental design. Each of our projects, whether in an urban center or out in the mountains, respects the unique character and history of its setting. Many of us choose to live here because of the natural beauty of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and our historic downtowns. It is our responsibility to preserve these landscapes as we build and rebuild our communities.

What We Design

How and where we build are two of the most important factors that influence our future and the continued health of our natural environment. It is our responsibility to steer our projects using sustainable principles to protect our unique regional ecosystem. This approach ranges from specializing in adaptive reuse and urban infill projects, to designing net zero buildings and LEED certified projects.

How We Work

Our culture of environmental stewardship starts within our office walls. We capitalize on the inherent sustainability of our walkable downtown Asheville location and continue to establish new internal programs to push the envelope on reducing waste and the impacts of our operations. Each year we generate approximately 80% – 90% of the energy we use from a 24 kW photovoltaic array on the roof of our building.

Where We Live

True sustainability includes commitment to our office culture and our surrounding community. We prioritize engagement and outreach to ensure the well-being of our staff. We are leaders in our community and support our team in donating their time and energy to causes they are passionate about. We have provided pro bono work to over 30 non-profits in our region. Protecting the health of our people, our neighbors and our mountain ecosystems is part of our mission.

Featured Green Building Projects

Green Building in Asheville

There are many financial incentives that builders and building owners should take advantage of. These programs can offset thousands of dollars in initial construction costs, which can significantly reduce return on investment time periods. We guide our clients through these programs and resources to maximize their budget and minimize their environmental impact.

Green Building Programs

Energy Star Program
A new home that has earned the ENERGY STAR label has undergone a process of inspections, testing, and verification to meet strict requirements set by the US EPA. ENERGY STAR certified homes typically use 15-30% less energy than comparable new homes while delivering better comfort, quality, and durability. All new homes that Samsel Architects designs are, at minimum, designed to perform to Energy Star certification standards. This allows any home that we design to be Energy Star certified upon completion.


LEED is a rating system developed by the US Green Building Council in order to guide building owners to be environmentally responsible while designing, building and maintaining their project. To receive LEED certification, building projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.


Green Built Homes
North Carolina’s statewide green home certification program. The certification program offers third party verification, technical and marketing assistance, workshops, and field consultation services that enable builders to increase their green building expertise and marketability. Samsel Architects’ staff served on the Green Building Task Force that helped developed the program with the NC Solar Center.


Living Building Challenge
The Living Building Challenge is meant for building owners who want the highest level of sustainability and regenerative design. This program strives for net-zero or net-positive energy, complete omission of toxic chemicals, and exceptional water efficiency. Owners can choose to focus on individual imperatives, or pursue full Living Building Certification.

Green Building Resources

Duke Energy Progress
Duke Energy Progress, our local electric utility, has several rebates and incentives for energy efficient homes that builders and owners should take advantage of. Many are focused on residential construction, but there are also commercial incentives available.


Appalachian Offsets
Appalachian Offsets is a program started by the WNCGBC. This program allows businesses or individuals to offset their emissions by paying into a community fund that helps make energy energy efficiency improvements within local nonprofits, schools and low income housing. Appalachian Offsets’ website offers a carbon calculator where businesses and individuals can determine their footprint and learn more about the projects that will be supported by the offsets they purchase.


North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association
The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association works to ensure a sustainable future by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency to the benefit of North Carolina through education, public policy and economic development. The NCSEA drives the market development of clean energy solutions to create more affordable and reliable energy use.