Local Architect Named Finalist in Architecture Business Plan Competition

Charrette Venture Group                                      For Immediate Release: 05/05/16
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Local Architect Named Finalist in Architecture Business Plan Competition

Courtney Brinegar plans to use power of design to fight food deserts

HOUSTON – May 5, 2016: Courtney Brinegar is a Houston, Texas based architect and a finalist in Charrette Venture Group’s Architecture Business Plan Competition. She is proposing a non-profit architect-as-developer practice in hopes of using the power of design to address issues that might otherwise be overlooked. Her mission is to demonstrate the power of design and encourage architects to inform the public how well-designed buildings and sites can have huge impact on communities and promote healthy, positive behaviors.

Brinegar has a degree in Environmental Design from Texas A&M, and later received her Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan. Much of her course work related to social sustainability, development in underserved areas in the US and in underdeveloped countries.

Through study abroad trips to Senegal and Brazil, Brinegar has seen firsthand how vital community development and social sustainability are. After graduating, she began working at a large corporate firm and did volunteer work on the side; but that wasn't enough. "Still my passions for community development and social sustainability weren’t really incorporated into my day-to-day job, so I feel the best way to kind of find your niche in the world is to create it."

So she did exactly that and ADD+Venture was born. "I’m learning that [a] career isn’t necessarily what you’re doing in your day-to-day job, it can be what you build up on the side. That’s something I’ve really learned more in the past year or two. I thought a career was just climbing the ladder at work, but it can be beyond that. Being creative with your career path should really be emphasized in schools."

Participating in the Charrette Venture Group’s Architecture Business Plan Competition has pushed Brinegar out of her comfort zone and helped her grow as an entrepreneur, "As a trained architect, in my education we had professional planning classes, so I know the basics but never custom to what I wanted to do. Working through that and starting to think about financials… forces you to focus on the realities of putting together a business plan. She continued, "It's helping me grow."

According to Matt Ostanik, Founder of Charrette Venture Group and organizer of the Architecture Business Plan Competition: “In the technology world, there is an overwhelming supply of resources to help new and growing companies. There are constant business plan competitions, pitch sessions, incubator programs, mentor circles, research, etc. etc. However, in the design space there is very little to aid for these entrepreneurs. The ultimate goal of Charrette Venture Group is to serve as an investment firm that helps growing design firms.”

Brinegar plans to use her personal growth to build, grow, and repair communities through ADD+Venture.

About Architecture Business Plan Competition: The Architecture Business Plan Competition is an annual event organized by Charrette Venture Group that recognizes entrepreneurial architects that have developed a thoughtful plan for fulfilling their dreams. The competition is open to registered Architects in the United States and Canada who are considering starting a design firm, or who have started a firm in the past ten years. In 2016, the winners of the 3rd annual event will receive more than $15,000 in cash and prizes. Final presentations and judging for the 2016 Architecture Business Plan Competition will take place May 18th and 19th in Philadelphia.

About ADD+Venture: ADD+Venture is the Houston, Texas-base non-profit, architect-as-developer practice that Courtney Brinegar, AIA is developing to provide creative services focused on sustainable and socially-responsible development in Houston’s urban, food desert environments.

ADD+Venture will serve the market where underserved communities are in need of development. Areas that for-profit entities avoid for lack of immediate financial benefit and the need to reach high levels of profit to grow as a sustainable business.
ADD+Venture’s mission is to purchase existing properties to create developments that unify neighborhoods, celebrate local talents and businesses, and bring needed resources to turn dilapidated areas into thriving communities without gentrification.
You can watch ADD+Venture’s progress on Instagram by following @_ADDVenture

About Charrette Venture Group: Charrette Venture Group is a global venture firm based in Des Moines, Iowa, whose ultimate goal is to serve as an investment firm that helps growing design firms. Investments can be in the form of capital, or they can be technology, mentoring and business advice, marketing and business development support, or other expertise and resources. They seek to be a long-term partner who takes a stake in both the risk and the reward of the firm’s success. Charrette Venture Group seeks to positively impact the way new and growing design firms operate throughout the world.


U.S. Green Building Council Announces Texas is Eighth State in the Nation for LEED Green Building

Washington, D.C. — (Jan 26, 2016) — Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its national ranking of the top states in the country for LEED green building and Texas is the eighth state in the nation for 2015. The rankings come at an important time for states looking to reduce their energy use. LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water resources, save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

 “Texas is a nationwide leader in green building and LEED certification. LEED creates jobs and increases opportunities for Texas’ workers and businesses while contributing billions of dollars to the state’s economy,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. “LEED has become an essential standard for the transformation of building design and construction. LEED certified buildings drive economic growth, creates jobs and makes communities healthier.” 

The annual ranking is developed by analyzing each state in terms of square feet of LEED certified space per state resident. Now in its sixth year, the list highlights states throughout the country that made significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and transformation throughout 2015.Texas certified 237 projects representing 52.45 million square feet of real estate, or 2.09 square feet per resident, in 2015.

"As these result show, we are in a remarkable position with the building industry in Texas today," said Jonathan Kraatz, executive director, USGBC-North Texas Chapter. "With five of the top 25 building markets in the county, the adoption of sustainable building and land development practices is gaining a significant foothold across the state. We have made a great start, and as a Chapter we will continue to ensure a socially responsible, healthy and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life for all Texans."

In addition, data from USGBC’s 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study shows LEED construction is expected to support 244,000 total jobs in Texas and have a total impact on GDP of $21.39 billion from 2015-2018.

A few notable projects that certified in Texas in 2015 include:

  •          The Treehouse Memorial City, LEED Platinum
  •          New Parkland Hospital Building, LEED Gold
  •          Rice University Anderson-Clarke Center, LEED Gold
  •          Seaholm Retail & Office, LEED Gold

The full ranking of the top 10 states for 2015 includes:



Projects certified in 2015

Square feet LEED certified in 2015

Per-capita square footage




















































Washington, D.C.




*Washington, D.C., is not ranked as it is a federal district, not a state.

Collectively, 1,633 commercial and institutional projects became LEED certified within the Top 10 States in 2015, representing 274.9 million square feet of real estate. Worldwide, 4,837 projects were certified in 2015, representing 818.9 million square feet. Nearly 75,000 projects representing 14.4 billion square feet of space have been LEED-certified to date.

USGBC calculates the list using per-capita figures as a measure of the human element of green building. This also allows for fair comparisons among states with significant differences in population and number of buildings. 

Click here for related infographic.