We are guided by a high performance building philosophy rooted in the belief that sustainable design is simply “smart” design, which is realized through a collaborative, integrated design process that results in each project exceeding our client’s goals and expectations.

We are driven by a simple truth: That it is our responsibility as architects of the built environment to create high performance, energy efficient buildings using innovative, sustainable design strategies.

At Sherman Carter Barnhart, we are passionate about incorporating sustainable design solutions that demonstrate environmental stewardship by saving energy, reducing maintenance costs, and engaging future generations to conserve energy and protect our environment.

Zero Energy

In 2010, Sherman Carter Barnhart accepted the challenge to design the nation’s first total energy net zero school.  Since its opening, Richardsville Elementary School has delivered on all promises, and is the most energy efficient school in operation in Kentucky.  The facility consistently performs at 18.2 EUI, equating to a 75% reduction in energy consumption compared to an average school building.

In addition to having zero annual energy costs, Richardsville generates – via a 348 kW solar array – more on-site energy than it consumes, and as a result receives an annual surplus check of more than $40,000 from TVA, the energy provider.  Thus, Richardsville has become the only school in the nation that, by its mere existence, provides a positive revenue stream for its school district.

Zero Energy Nearly

Realizing that not all clients have the immediate resources available for alternative energy sources, we have created specific sustainable design criteria for achieving “zero energy nearly” building performance, with the ability to add renewable energy in the future.  Sherman Carter Barnhart currently has eight zero energy nearly buildings in operation which include Kentucky’s most energy efficient schools in operation.:  Jody Richards Elementary (20 EUI), Center For Innovation (20.7 EUI), Bristow Elementary (23.6 EUI), Flaherty Primary (21.7 EUI), Ezra Sparrow Early Childhood Center (22 EUI), Hardin County Early College & Career Center (23 EUI) and South Warren Middle/High School (24 EUI). The firm currently has 5 buildings in design or under construction that are designed to achieve net zero ready status by operating at 25 EUI’s or less. These include: Taylorsville Elementary (Spencer Co.), Cecilia Valley Elementary (Hardin Co.), Irvington Elementary (Breckinridge Co.), Hardinsburg Elementary (Breckinridge Co.), and Jennings Creek Elementary (Warren Co.).


As members of the U.S. Green Building Council, we have 17 LEED® Accredited Professionals on staff, including architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, interior designers, and construction administrators. The LEED® principles of environmental stewardship align with Sherman Carter Barnhart’s high performance building philosophy. The firm has designed projects to earn LEED®, Gold and Silver levels as well as LEED® for Homes and LEED® New Development. Firm wide, projects include, K-12 facilities, residence halls, postsecondary academic buildings, judicial centers, office buildings, and multi-family developments. Whether or not our clients choose to pursue LEED certification, each of our project teams include LEED Associated Professionals that are knowledgeable about, and work with every client to determine, the best strategies for achieving a successful, sustainable project.

Energy Star

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored Sherman Carter Barnhart with the Energy Star Leadership in Housing Award, for designing 433 units of Energy Star homes at Liberty Green Housing Development for the Louisville (Ky.) Metro Housing Authority.

Sherman Carter Barnhart designed Kentucky’s first four Energy Star projects, as well as the first residence hall Thomson Hall, Transylvania University, awarded Energy Star in Kentucky. Presently the firm has 109 buildings displaying the Energy Star or Designed to Earn Energy Star certification, as well as over 1,000 Energy Star certified homes.

Due to our passion for designing energy efficient, sustainable projects, achieving Energy Star certification is no longer a goal at Sherman Carter Barnhart.  It is simply a requirement.