California Foundry Targets a Silver
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in January for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Molecular Foundry. A landmark for the State of California, it is one of the few facilities in the country dedicated to nanotechnology, which is the study of materials at the atomic or molecular level. The 96,000-square-foot Molecular Foundry project has been designed by SmithGroup to partially set into a hillside above the University of California, Berkeley. Inside, interaction spaces support collaboration between researchers and link the laboratories at one end of the building, and the offices at the other. The principal investigator offices feature full-height windows to take advantage of the site's spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay.
The foundry will incorporate green design elements to qualify it for a silver LEED rating.
Energy consumption is anticipated to be 30 percent below the state's standards for laboratory buildings, and 75 percent of construction waste will be recycled. Low emission and renewable materials, such as bamboo flooring and paneling, will be used to create a healthier indoor environment. Construction is slated to be completed in early 2006.
Cleaning Up Contaminated Sites
Earth Pledge, a sustainable development non-profit organization based in New York, NY, has launched The Guardian Trust, a public/private partnership to provide "accountable, on-going land use and engineering controls and to enable trustworthy redevelopment of environmentally contaminated properties." The goal of the
partnership is fourfold:
* to protect human health and the environment by preventing improper usage of environmentally contaminated sites and assuring the integrity of remedial solutions;
* to provide financial assurances for the long-term stewardship of properties;
* to facilitate the ability of owners to transfer sites to buyers;
* and to allow companies to safely end their active day- to-day management of contaminated properties and focus on their core business strategies.
"There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of contaminated properties throughout the United States. The Guardian Trust will provide a viable new solution to meet the need for effective oversight of contaminated sites and, hopefully, prevent potential environmental disaster," noted Theodore W. Kheel, president of Earth Pledge.
Guardian Trust Management Services, an affiliate of MGP Environmental Partners LLC, Stamford, CT, will manage the program. The Guardian Trust is an outgrowth of a pilot study funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Also participating in the study were the United States Navy, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the California Environmental Protection Agency. The pilot study looked at innovative approaches to
solving problems associated with land use and engineering controls at sites where contamination remains behind after the initial clean-up. The vast majority of all environmental clean-ups use risk- based methods.
MGP Environmental Partners uses private sector approaches to solve complex issues involved in the transaction and redevelopment of contaminated sites.
Greening Hotels and Resorts
Audubon International is partnering with TerraChoice Environmental Services, Inc. of Canada to create the Audubon Green Leaf™ Eco-Rating Program for hotels, a cooperative program geared toward expanding environmental and eco-efficiency initiatives within the hospitality industry throughout North America.
"Hotels participating in the Audubon Green Leaf Program will be provided the opportunity to reduce costs and improve performance, as well as achieve a Green Leaf
rating that enables them to make gains in market share," explains Kevin Gallagher, vice president of TerraChoice Environmental Services Inc. "From the initial level to the more advanced, hotels can work with the program to their advantage."
The two-tiered program combines environmental awareness and education with best management practices tailored to the hotel and resort industries. During the initial stage, a member receives educational materials and begins making improvements in its environmental performance. In stage two, the hotel completes an environmental checklist that reviews all functioning areas of operation. It then receives a verification audit, followed by a rating—from one to five Green Leafs—for its level of achievement, together with a report that details ways to improve and achieve an even higher rating in the future.
For more information about the Green Leaf program, visit www.terrachoice.com.
Better Energy Performance
Advanced energy design guides now available from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) provide information to help designers better develop sustainable, high-performance buildings. The guides also help them in achieving the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification for sustainable building design. Proposed documents providing 30 and 50 percent energy savings over ANSI/ ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-rise Residential Buildings, are being developed by the society. Future plans include the development of guidance to achieve 75 percent savings.
The savings refer to reductions in energy consumption beyond that allowed by 90.1, which sets the minimum energy efficiency required by most building codes.
"LEED gives 'points' for achieving different levels of energy savings over Standard 90—silver requires 30 percent savings, gold requires 50 percent savings and platinum requires 75 percent savings," explains Terry Townsend, ASHRAE's representative on an ASHRAE/USGBC steering committee. "However, the LEED program does not tell designers how to achieve these savings; instead it is left to their discretion. With the ASHRAE guides and proposed educational programs, designers will be told what to do and how to do it."
Advanced Energy Guides seeks to achieve 30 percent savings over Standard 90.1-1999. The guides will consist of a series of documents applying to educational facilities, food sales and service, healthcare facilities, lodging, mercantile, mixed-use facilities, public assembly/religious worship facilities, residential and offices. The first document in the 30 percent series will provide prescriptive design assistance for office buildings up to 20,000 square feet. The 50 percent documents are scheduled to be completed within two to three years.
For more information, visit www.ashrae.org.
Exploring The Timepiece House
A day-long workshop in environmentally intelligent design will be offered by the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) in early April. Entitled "Timepiece House: A Model for Environmentally Conscious Design," it will be presented by architects Carrie Meinberg Burke and Kevin Burke, who is a design partner at William McDonough + Partners, Charlottesville, VA. This husband-and-wife team will give an in-depth presentation on the creation of their home in Charlottesville, and explain how, by observing the forces of nature, they were able to design a house that acts as a didactic instrument for environmental inquiry.
The workshop, supported by NYSID's Sally Henderson Memorial Fund for topics related to good design and responsible stewardship of the environment, is scheduled for 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 2, at NYSID, 170 E. 70 St., New York, NY 10021. The fee is $50 and advance registration is required. For more information, visit www.nysid.edu
Healthy Schools Database
California's Department of General Services, Division of State Architect (DSA) is
developing a database of environmentally preferred products to be used in school construction projects. It will be posted on the DSA Web site and will be accessible beginning in the later part of 2004.
Pursuant to the State of California Senate Bill 373 enacted last year, the database will provide free, on-line access to a list of products that meet a set of criteria designed to
promote healthy indoor environments, consume fewer resources over their life cycle, and promote recycling and reuse. The comprehensive database project will assist owners, architects and contractors in sorting through a growing number of products that make environmental and health claims.
"The health and welfare of our state's students and teachers should be paramount in our school planning and construction practices. This database will allow designers to have a clear picture of the impact that the building products in our schools have on our school population and the environment," commented State Senator Tom Torlakson, author of SB 373.
The Environmentally Preferable Products database project team will survey several California school districts to develop a prioritized list of product categories, based on dollars spent and potential for environmental improvement. The process used to create the framework of the database, the screening criteria and the screening process will enable users to see exactly how a product achieves the description of environmentally preferable.
In addition, products will be evaluated on a life cycle basis by measuring the impacts of the products from the extraction of the resources through to the end of the products' useful life, ensuring that improvements in one area do not come at the expense of others.
A diverse team of public sector professionals and private sector experts have partnered to create the database, including CTG Energetics (prime contractor), BuildingGreen, Scientific Certification Systems and Green River Data Analysis.
To view the project's scope of work and schedule and to sign up for e-mailed updates on the database, visit www.eppbuilding products.org.
Honoring Construction-related Solutions
Global cement producer Holcim has established a worldwide prize competition for sustainable construction projects to promote future-proof solutions that meet the differing requirements of economic growth, environmental quality and social responsibility. To provide a framework for this objective, the company established the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.
The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction promotes and supports initiatives and projects that identify construction-related solutions to today's pressing technological, ecological and socio-economic challenges and fuse these solutions with architectural excellence and a high quality of life. A global competition is to be launched with the goal of sensitizing architects, engineers, developers and owners to the concept of sustainable construction and to reward them for outstanding achievements in this area.
In partnership with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Tongji University in Shanghai, the University of Sao Paulo and the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the foundation will be inviting entries for an international competition in 2005. The focus of the first competition cycle will be on ideas, concepts and solutions revolving around the issue of basic needs.
For more information, visit www.holcim.com.
Case Studies On-line
BuildingGreen, Inc. now features more than 60 in-depth green building case studies on its BuildingGreen Suite of on-line resources. In development for over three years, the case studies are provided via a custom portal to the U.S. Dept. of Energy's High Performance Buildings Database.
Each case study includes a snapshot overview of the project, linked to additional screens that offer details on topics such as the design process, the building's green performance, costs and lessons learned. Among the projects currently featured are office buildings, schools, single-family homes, apartment buildings, cohousing communitiies, environmental education centers and restroom facilities at national parks.
For more information, visit www.buildinggreen.com.