Green Building

Acclaimed Traveling Green Building Exhibit

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TESTING“Ten Shades of Green,” a highly acclaimed exhibit of green buildings from the U.S. and Europe, is traveling around the country over the next year. Organized by the Architectural League of New York, its title reflects the various degrees of ‘greenness’ in architecture today as well as the 10 key issues the field addresses: low energy/high performance; renewable sources; recycling; embodied energy; long life, loose fit; total life cycle costing; embedded in place; access and urban context; health and happiness; and community and connection. The buildings – mostly from Europe – represent a variety of building types and architectural and engineering approaches. The buildings were chosen as examples of “complete works of architecture: buildings in which environmental responsibility is fully integrated with an enlightened vision of community life.” The UK’s Jubilee Campus, for example, brings together a wide range of green strategies. Built on a brownfield site, it combines mechanical and wind-driven ventilation. The building is embedded into the landscape such that it filters and cools the air approaching the buildings, improves insulation and prevents build-up of reflected heat. The exhibit demonstrates the myriad faces of green design and its compatibility with the highest levels of architectural excellence. It shows […]

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New York Passes First Green Buildings Credit Bill

TESTINGIn May, Gov. George Pataki made history when he signed New York State’s Green Building Tax Credit – the first in the nation – into law. It provides $25 million in credits over the next five years to encourage owners and tenants of commercial and residential buildings to incorporate environmental features into buildings. The credits are intended to offset some of the additional upfront costs associated with high performance buildings. Buildings that meet the program’s minimum requirements will be 35 percent more energy efficient than required by state energy code; renovated buildings will be 25 percent more efficient. Qualifying buildings will meet standards on indoor air quality, waste disposal, energy and water use, and will be eligible for additional credits for incorporating renewable energy. For detailed information, contact Wayne Tusa, chair of Green Building Tax Credit task force of Environmental Business Association of NY State.

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BRE Launches Home Rating System

TESTINGThe UK Building Research Establishment (BRE) has developed an environmental rating system for homes, dubbed EcoHomes. The voluntary certification ranges from pass to excellent based on an independent auditor’s assessment. Auditors examine homes from seven perspectives: energy, transport, pollution, materials, water, ecology/land use, and health/well-being. The certification is available for both new construction and renovated houses and apartments. A companion reference guide, “Green Guide for Housing Specification,” describes the environmental impacts of the various materials most commonly used in home building. http://www.bre.co.uk

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Steelcase & Ford Hire McDonough

TESTINGThe new Steelcase wood furniture manufacturing plant breaking ground now in Gaines Township, Michigan, will be the first manufacturing building of its size certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program. William McDonough + Partners designed the building which is expected to reduce emissions by 70 percent over its existing facility, partly due to changing to a water-based finishing system. Steelcase is retiring the old facility’s unused emissions credits, which are valued at about $5 million. As many of you know, McDonough is in the process of revitalizing Ford Motor Company’s aging 1,212-acre Rouge Plant complex, which Bill Ford says, will soon become “a very visible testament to Ford’s commitment to environmental leadership and social responsibility.” His job is to transform this complex from a symbol of the Industrial Age – a sprawling, dirty facility – to a symbol of sustainable design. For more examples of McDonough + Partner’s recent work: [sorry this link is no longer available] Read a Detroit News article about McDonough’s re-design of the Rouge Plant complex. To learn more about LEED, read our current Feature article or visit the LEED website.

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ISO 14001 Gains Ground in U.S.

TESTINGISO 14001 certification is taken much more seriously in Europe – but it is starting to take root in the U.S. The Ford and General Motors requirement that all suppliers become ISO 14001-certified could provide the missing catalyst for growth of ISO 14001 certification in the U.S. About 11,000 suppliers will be implementing environmental management systems (EMS) along with getting certified – a boon for EMS-related services as well as the environment. Other corporations will no doubt follow suit. In an article, “Automotive Industry Catalyzes ISO 14000 Growth in the U.S,” author Anthony Buonicore notes these actions reflect the increased emphasis corporations are placing on environmental stewardship and public opinion, as well as the benefits of ISO 14001 in instilling “a discipline in the manufacturing operation which can be invaluable in uncovering savings.” In the construction industry, Skanska USA recently completed ISO 14001 certification for all U.S. operations ($3 billion in annual revenues). The Swedish parent company, Skanska AB, pledged to have all its divisions certified by the end of 2000. This is a difficult industry to certify because many of the players, especially in residential home building, are subcontractors working out of pick-up trucks. Neil Deluca, CEO of Spectrum […]

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Seattle Adopts LEED

TESTINGThe City of Seattle has committed to build all public buildings over 5000 square feet to meet or exceed the silver rating of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED Green Building Rating System. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Seattle is experiencing its biggest building boom since 1889 when fire swept through the city destroying many buildings. About a billion dollars worth of downtown public buildings are in the works. It plans to demolish and redesign a central two-block area which is slated to become the heart of the city. The city is building a new city hall, justice center, and central plaza, all of which will meet LEED’s silver level. The $222 million civic campus will include both renovated and new building projects. Seattle formed a Green Team over a year ago to tie environmental concerns to city construction policy. Lucia Athens, the Sustainable Design & Construction specialist for Seattle Public Utilities, who chaired the group, says they chose LEED for a number of reasons. It not only defines what a green building is but it allows flexibility in selecting different green strategies as appropriate for various building projects. The Seattle Sustainable Building Strategic Plan: […]

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UK Architects Get Free Green Design Assistance

TESTINGThe UK Department of Environment, Transport and Regions is funding a day of free energy efficiency and environmental design advice to architects through the Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) Design Advice Service. BRE assigns one of its approved practitioners to review design plans and offer recommendations for improvement. Rather than being resistant to having another professional review their designs, architects are responding positively to the service and are offering it as a value-added extra to clients. Last year, over 300 projects of all sizes used the service. When longer consulting sessions are called for clients receive a 30 percent discount. Contact BRE Design Advice Service

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Colorado Leads the Nation in Green Homes

TESTINGMore than $1 billion worth of “green” homes have been built in Colorado during the past two years, far outpacing any other state. About 3,500 green homes have been built at a median price of $230,000 since the kick-off of the “Built Green” campaign by Home Builders of Metropolitan Denver in 1997. Colorado is the first state to offer a statewide “Built Green” designation for its homes. The Green Builder Program of Colorado registers homes based on a 20 category checklist that includes an energy efficiency requirement, and a menu of options addressing a range of “green” items from which the builder must select a minimum number. Colorado is one of six pilot areas for a Fannie Mae program that allows buyers to borrow up to 15 percent of the cost of a home for energy efficiency improvements. Another Fannie Mae program for new construction gives buyers incentives to incorporate energy- and water-efficiency features. http://www.builtgreen.org

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Lucas Builds Green in the Presidio

TESTINGGreen architects dream of a client with deep pockets, impeccable taste, imagination, an open mind and a healthy respect for the environment. Lucas Letterman Digital Arts, a company formed by George Lucas to develop new high tech headquarters in San Francisco’s historic Presidio, “is one of the most fun clients we’ve ever worked with,” says Bill Browning of Rocky Mountain Institute’s Green Development Services. “They’re committed and passionate about the environment and employees’ quality of life, and extremely creative. They’re cost conscious, of course, but they’re a well-capitalized company, so if it makes sense they’ll say let’s do it.” The 1800-acre Presidio, a former army base, is the first urban national park in the U.S. Six parcels are being commercially developed to cover the costs of purchasing the land. The Presidio has set sustainability as one of three major criteria by which all proposals to develop the parcels are judged. The Letterman Digital Center combines just about everything in the green development cookbook, from energy-efficient construction to low-impact stormwater management. And at nearly a million square feet, with one of the world’s most famous corporate tenants, it promises to be an excellent showcase for the power of green thinking. One […]

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Green Building Rating System Makes the Code in Virginia

TESTINGArlington County, Virginia is the first local government to reference the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system in official policy. The county, which is a member of the USGBC, voted to allow developers preferential treatment in their requests for bonus density if their projects achieve a high LEED rating. The policy takes effect in April, when LEED 2.0 is slated for release. Source: Environmental Building News

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