In 1977, Mike Nicklas, FAIA and Gary Bailey, AIA founded Innovative Design, Inc., a unique architecture firm dedicated to fighting the energy crises of the 1970s by utilizing solar energy and energy efficiency technologies as integral components of their new practice.
Over the next forty-four years, they helped shape what become ‘green’, ‘high performance’, or ‘sustainable’ architecture.
Their projects include thousands of passive solar homes, high performance schools, offices, churches, renovations, design guidelines, consultations, research projects, and inventions.
Innovative Design added large photovoltaic and solar thermal projects, water conservation, and sustainable site design to their original solar design tool box.
Innovative Design’s projects:
  • Saved over 8.6 trillion Btu’s
  • Eliminated 1,687,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
  • Saved over 581 million gallons of water
  • Saved over 2.5 billion kWh
  • Reduced peak energy demand over 132 MW
Mike and Gary helped found the North Carolina Solar Energy Society and served in leadership roles for the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, the American Solar Energy Society and the International Solar Energy Society. They served on boards and panels that crafted North Carolina’s solar tax credits, opened the grid to large scale photovoltaic projects and led solar energy and environmental NGOs efforts at the Rio Earth Summit.
Mike and Gary spent a great deal of time bringing the many lessons they learned to other architects and designers by serving as speakers, panelists or instructors at hundreds of events, reaching tens of thousands of participants.
They drew staff from across the country and the world due to their reputation for high performance projects and commitment to sustainable design.
Their energy and commitment made a significant impact on the architectural community’s response to climate change in North Carolina, the United States and across the world.
So, it is with very mixed emotions, that Innovative Design announces that on March 30, 2021, Mike and Gary retired and turned over leadership of the firm they created and built over forty-four years.
It will be active retirements as they will remain engaged with the solar and sustainable design communities through advocacy and organization involvements. It will afford them time to travel and to pursue other interests, including Wolfpack football, a passion the two close friends have shared since their days at the NC State School of Design.
We wish Mike and Gary all the best and continued successes and we know many of you will join us in a heartfelt bon voyage as they open the next chapters of their lives.
If you would like to contact Mike or Gary to send them a personal message, please contact Innovative Design at 919-832-6303 and we will provide you their contact information.
Stay tuned for exciting news from Innovative Design 2.0!