Doing More with Less: It is a gift to be simple.
Julie Lineberger and Joseph Cincotta have been green since “green was just a color.” The two met while in graduate school, and they eventually realized both that they were meant to be together, and they were meant to start an eco-minded architectural firm. But this was the late 1980s, and green architects were virtually unheard of. So while their friends were thrilled about their eventual marriage, they weren’t so happy about the environmental focus their new company would have.
“They warned us we would be out of business within five years,” says Lineberger.
Lineberger and Cincotta proved them wrong. They settled in Vermont where, surrounded by a number of like minded individuals and businesses, LineSync Architecture m thrived—and took a place at the forefront of the budding green architecture movement. Today, LineSync designs buildings ranging from unique single-family homes to large corporate offices and everything in between.
The company brings renewable energy and sustainable aspects into all of its designs. During its early years, nuclear power was on the rise, being touted as a “clean” energy source. Concerned about the potential for nuclear accidents, Lineberger and Cincotta instead honed in on solar energy as a truly green power source for their clients. Today, 25 percent of LineSync’s designs include solar energy. LineSync also incorporates energy-efficiency strategies—such as passive-solar design, straw-bale insulation, and foam block construction—into 100 percent of its designs.
Their passion for cutting-edge environmental practices in their field led Lineberger and Cincotta to Green America in LineSync’s early days.
“As soon as we could afford the dues our second year, we became members of Green America,” recounts Lineberger, who now serves as the chair of Green America’s board of directors.
Lineberger and Cincotta founded LineSync from a small home office. The company’s current Vermont office has expanded to a commercial building, designed by Cincotta, that includes anywhere from nine to 13 people, depending on the existing projects. They are currently preparing to open a second office in Portland, Oregon.
In recent years, LineSync has been named one of the top 10 architecture firms in Vermont as well as one of the top 1,000 architecture firms in the nation three years in a row.
LineSync’s sustainable approach has turned its clients into believers in green architecture. Just after the New York City offices of R.G. Niederhoffer Capital Management (RGNCM) had completed renovations designed by LineSync, a brownout hit.
During the power outage, RGNCM President Roy Niederhoffer received a call from his brother, who owns a competitor company. Niederhoffer told his brother that RGNCM’s energy-efficient renovations—which included solar panels—meant that its power, and by extension its ability to conduct stock market trades, had not gone offline like the rest of the city.
“His brother said, ‘It’s that damn Vermont architect!,’” Lineberger recalls. “But with the money RGNCM made in that one day, when they were able to trade when no one else [could], they made enough money to not only pay our firm’s [design] fee but also the cost of the entire renovation.”
Years later, LineSync has now completed its 13th project for R.G. Niederhoffer.
At its core, “green architecture is simply thoughtful design,” says Lineberger. “Sustainable building practices have environmental, economic, health, and community benefits, so by incorporating sustainable principles in the design of a building, it creates healthy, inspiring spaces for people to live in, work in, and play in!”