Steps of the Whole System Integration Process

 Everybody, Every Issue, Early in the Project

The Whole System Integration Process requires more coordination and questioning of assumptions at the very beginning of the project. Building and Site Systems coordination and questions need to be addressed before the schematic design can be finalized. To integrate the many systems involved in a building project and cause them to be more efficient and effective in their relation to one another requires that the expertise of the team members, who represent these systems, to be brought together in relation to each other.


  1. Fully engage the clients in the process
    • Engage the financial decision maker to engage in initial and Life Cycle Cost decisions
    • It is important that all participants are Teachable / Coachable
    • See the Questions article to learn how to use questions to improve ecological design
  2. Assemble the right team
    • "No Experts only Co-learners“ - Teachable / Coachable
  3. Align team around general purposes and Core Purpose
    • Eliciting the fundamental aspirations of the stakeholders gets to essential issues and avoids missteps
  4. Identify key systems
    • Highly cost effective and environmentally effective leverage points can be identified in Energy, Water, and Plant and Animal Habitat Systems.
  5. Commit to specific measurable goals for the key systems
    • Environmental Performance Goals (LEED and other criteria) should be an integral and required aspect of the building program
    • If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.
  6. Optimize systems:
    • Understand and make best use of key systems in relationship to each other, the goals, and the core purpose(s)
    • Iterate ideas and system relationships among team
    • Align and get commitment from other stakeholders if not already part of the team
  7. Follow through with:
    • GC and Construction Process
    • Commissioning Authority
    • Operations and Maintenance
  8. Maintain, Monitor, and Measure key system performance
  9. Respond to Feedback (this is the way nature works)
    • Throughout the life of the buildings and community


The level of commitment and thoroughness of engagement with each of these steps determines the environmental and cost effective performance of the project.