This barn achieved LEED Platinum with its Zen design

May 13, 2022 by  
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The Zen Barn by Christopher Simmonds Architect is a home in a historic Ottawa neighborhood. It achieved LEED Platinum for homes status while maximizing on a casual, modern style. The second story is cantilevered over the first story to shade it from the sun, while a recessed courtyard allows for large windows on the south for passive solar heating. All of this work is invisible, with a light, effortless and tranquil effect to the final home. “The linear composition of this contemporary home is interrupted by the vertical volumes of light wells, the stairs and the courtyard ,” the architect said. “The resulting interpenetration of views, light and space along the south side of the home creates strong indoor-outdoor connections. The building’s orientation allows passive solar exposure at the east, west and south sides during winter months.” Related: Barn in Canada blends traditional and modern styles White lacquer and stained ash cabinetry create a sense of ease and flow through the interconnected kitchen, living and dining areas. The inside is bright, clean as a warm and inviting family space. There are three levels to the home for a total of 2,300 square feet. However, the home retains a welcoming sense of intimacy through the use of warm woods in the kitchen, dining room and living room. The long and lean exterior is clad with reclaimed white oak barn boards and lets in maximum natural daylight. Paired with sharp angles and glass balconies, the Zen Barn is what both relaxing and formal living spaces can be. The home has a rain shower, floating vanities and an open staircase that allows for light to flow from every angle around the central axis of the home. The Zen Barn achieved an EnerGuide rating achieved of 82, 10 points higher than what is required by the Ontario Building Code. + Christopher Simmonds Architecture Photography by Peter Fritz

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This barn achieved LEED Platinum with its Zen design

3 prefab CLT condos are being built in Canada

April 13, 2022 by  
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The first cross-laminated timber (CLT) condo project in Toronto, Canada will make a big difference in the way people see prefabricated construction. Prefabrication is a highly effective way to create sustainable buildings that use fewer materials. Windmill Development Group, Leader Lan Developments and R-Hauz worked together to create three prefab CLT condo projects to Toronto . To start, these prefab buildings are quick to construct. They take only eight to 12 months to complete. As a result, they create fewer emissions , less construction waste and a shorter construction timeline than condos constructed on-site without prefabrication. Related: Prefab homes from Dvele are built using automation Furthermore, each of these buildings are made with CLT. The material is prefabricated off-site. The total project includes 83 condo units across three properties. All three of these areas are joined by the Mimico GO Train Station. Therefore, each building is targeting LEED Platinum Certification . R-Hauz will be the design-build contractor for each building. Additionally, all three projects are receiving funding from One Planet Living. They are a fund developed by Windmill Development and Epic Investment Services. The fund is designed to provide opportunities in real estate development . On the other hand, CLT is made with layers of wood that are glued together and joined at angels. This creates strong, rigid wood panels. In fact, the panels can be used to build walls, ceilings, floors, roofs and even furniture . The CLT panels are easy to assemble and once they are made, they can be taken to the construction site and assembled. Moreover, cross-laminated timber it’s actually highly flame-resistant. By using timber instead of steel or concrete , emissions are reduced. With the combination of CLT and prefabricated materials, the condos project in Toronto are building a better future. + Windmill Development Group , Leader Lane Developments and R-Hauz Images via R-Hauz

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Sustainable design guides the eco-conscious Trellis House

March 24, 2022 by  
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Trellis House in Washington D.C. goes above and beyond to deliver on climate promises to residents of this new eco-friendly apartment building. What’s better than a new LEED Platinum mixed-income apartment building? A LEED Platinum development that reduces the environmental effects of the previous on-site development. Trellis House not only delivers sustainable design and healthy indoor living spaces but also reduces the heat island effect and consumes 21% less energy than the site’s previous building. Trellis House is a multi-family mid-rise apartment building project in Washington, D.C., developed by Rise Real Estate to address community needs on all levels. It is mixed-income, mixed-use and sits just across the street from Howard University. The building’s design reduces the heat island effect from the site’s previous development by introducing a green roof and non-absorptive hardscape materials. Voluntary remediation to remove underground storage tanks and contaminated soil from the prior development also improves the site’s health and safety. Related: ODA’s vibrant new complex transforms a conventional DC block The dense, pedestrian-friendly project offers easy access to transportation, employment and recreation areas. The building even includes a yoga studio, fitness center, pool, pet spa, hydroponic garden and electric vehicle charging stations. Bicycle storage for residents encourages sustainable transportation. The project even saves 21% more energy than the baseline building and uses 30% less water. Alongside high-efficiency equipment and appliances in the building, ventilation systems deliver outside air for a healthy indoor environment for residents. Further, construction favored recycled , locally sourced and low-emitting materials. This smart design combines environmentally friendly and wellness-focused features for a high-end and healthy living space. Trellis House’s sustainable design even won the project a National Association of Home Builders’ 2019 Best in American Living Silver Award. Judges praised the development for its “unexpected” details and embracing “the history and context of the neighborhood while delivering the first multifamily midrise LEED Platinum -certified project in the Washington D.C. market.” + Trellis House D.C. Photography by Joel Lassiter

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Sustainable design guides the eco-conscious Trellis House

Sustainable design makes this forest home timeless

March 4, 2022 by  
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Atelier C by Nicholas Francoeur is an artists’ residence in Quebec that transcends common forms of green design. The house incorporates multiple sustainable design strategies and has even received LEED Platinum certification. The house is clad in charred cedar that complements the white aspen used for the soffits and ceilings. This dark, cedar exterior juxtaposes with the bright, airy interiors. A selection of tall, rectangular windows creates vertical framed views to the outside. This verticality and rhythm further emphasize immersion in the lush woods. Related: Off Grid House takes remote sustainability to new heights One of the clients’ main requests was to incorporate spaces for working on their creative pursuits. The couple practices writing, photography and music, thus requiring ample workspace. To meet this requirement, Atelier C boasts four studios. The two south-facing studios are dedicated to music and fabrication. The two that face the north are for photography and writing and are integrated into the floor plan as spaces that one circulates through instead of as two separate rooms. For Atelier C, Francoeur intended to shift from typical green architecture and infuse the project with beautiful, modern details that support sustainable design strategies. For him, the house’s functional components needed to be aesthetically pleasing, too. One such example is the mono-pitched roof and overhangs. Beyond their elegant appearance, they manage climatic conditions to enhance user comfort and project longevity. During the harsh winters, the roof slope and overhangs efficiently drain off the snow. In the warmer months, they limit direct sunlight in the summer afternoons, keeping the interiors naturally cool. To further support these thermal comfort strategies, the house uses double the insulation required by code, minimizing energy needed during colder months. Sustainable material choices were also an important consideration for the project. The clients opted to use natural materials wherever possible, including cellulose insulation and various types of timber . The designer also selected furnishings to limit Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions without sacrificing aesthetics. Another green design aspect Francoeur considered is longevity. This meant prioritizing well-crafted technical details and a timeless design. Creating spaces with the intent of aging well is crucial, as architectural details become elegant and follow universal design principles instead of seasonal trends. Furthermore, the meticulous design details mean the project won’t require frequent renovations , thus minimizing costs and environmental impact. Through his work on Atelier C, Francoeur has been able to prove that sustainable architecture need not be unattractive and purely functional. Instead, through well-crafted details, environmentally-friendly design can be timelessly beautiful. Project collaborators include general contractor Renovia Inc., structure by Maisons Éléments, kitchen work by À Hauteur d’Homme, and cabinetry by Xavier Hackenbeck. + Nicholas Francoeur Photographs by Raphaël Thibodeau and Ronny Theriault

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Sustainable design makes this forest home timeless

Modular design helps UCLA’s Pritzker Hall earn LEED Platinum

November 17, 2021 by  
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There’s no better place to ensure a healthy physical and mental environment than at a university undergraduate program for psychology. So when UCLA received $30 million in funding from the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation, it used the money to renovate the former Franz Hall into the modern and now complete Pritzker Hall.  Pritzker Hall is an eight-story building for students and staff involved in the psychology program. Originally built in 1967 by notable architect Paul Revere Williams, the structure has recently been updated through a collaboration between CO Architects and Tangram Interiors for a vibrant, modern, efficient design that earned LEED Platinum certification for  energy efficiency  and sustainability. Related: Portland State University’s new hall qualifies for LEED gold The team decided to refurbish the building, saving as many usable parts as possible. However, the new design expanded the lobby for an open feel that funnels in abundant  natural light . Due to the height and location, the building was also upgraded with seismic safety improvements. This was achieved via consultation from the university’s engineering department to develop 40 purpose-built dampers that act as shock absorbers for the above-ground floors. Classrooms, spaces to collaborate and research areas were all modernized for ADA accessibility while keeping elements such as the original structural waffle slab on the second floor and  natural materials  such as damaged marble walls and terrazzo flooring that were worked around instead of destroyed.  Throughout the building, energy-efficient LED lighting supplements study and lecture areas. The team incorporated other thoughtful touches like the addition of drought-tolerant  plants  and interior design elements by Tangram, such as student-focused furniture selections. Many of the primary spaces were designed with a modular and flexible design to suit the need for growth and change as the program expands.   “UCLA Psychology students and faculty alike are humbled by the thoughtfully designed Pritzker Hall renovation project,” said Victoria Sork, Dean of Life Sciences. “CO Architects together with Tangram, were able to honor the building’s history while providing the needed cutting-edge facelift. From the collaborative spaces throughout to the newage research labs, the innovative furniture and overall execution of design gives our program renewed confidence as one of the top psychology departments in the United States.” According to a press release, “Pritzker Hall was awarded the Westside Urban Forum Merit Award in the public /institutional category. The project was recognized for its emphasis on collaboration between students and faculty, while elevating the program’s candor and highly sought after psychology programs.” + Tangram Interiors Images via Tangram Interiors

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Modular design helps UCLA’s Pritzker Hall earn LEED Platinum

Is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade destroying the environment?

November 17, 2021 by  
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Thanksgiving is a day full of family and national traditions. The turkey goes into the oven, family and friends gather and the football lineup is noted. And on televisions across the country, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade streams on the TV. An event that large takes copious planning and coordination, but while it brings an uplifting spirit to the holiday , does it do the same for the planet? Helium Balloons The massive balloons that adorn the parade are a major undertaking. They require nearly 100 handlers each to keep them under control, and they’re not part of the parade during windy days. While they need to be controlled, the balloons are kept afloat by a massive amount of helium. Helium is a completely non-renewable resource, so the natural supply is always on decline. In fact, some estimates say we’ll run out in the next 50 years. During a helium shortage, the parade was put on hold during World War II, missing 1942 to 1944.  Related: Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s to be fur-free by 2021 Recognizing helium is a limited resource, special consideration is given to the gas at the end of each parade. Yet, it’s questionable whether the organizer’s efforts to recapture and recycle the helium after the event is effective. Having said that, even at an extraordinary price tag, the amount of helium used equates to a small percentage of usage for a single day in the country.  As for the material of the balloons themselves, they’ve received an environmental upgrade from the original rubber to a polyurethane fabric that can be upcycled in a variety of ways. However, it’s unclear if this actually happens when a balloon is retired.  Of course, durability is an important factor too. As there are one or two new character balloons added each year, some of them have been in service for decades with no aspirations for retirement.  Environmental awareness has increased over the years and is witnessed in changes throughout the history of the event. For example, balloons used to be released into the air at the end of the parade — a practice that was squashed in the 1930s with consideration for the environment , pilots and the public.  The balloons weren’t always part of the parade. In fact, early on, live animals were borrowed from the local zoo to participate in the festivities. Lions, tigers, bears… Oh my! Really though, speaking strictly from an environmental standpoint, live animals were less impactful than balloons. Yet, they were uninvited from the party after a few years, likely due to safety concerns. Scared children, clean up and inconvenience to others in the parade were other likely contributors in the decision.   Transportation There’s an unavoidable consequence of gathering large groups of people together. After all, just transporting three million people into the area will leave a carbon footprint . Then there’s the trucks required to haul the floats. Fortunately, the warehouse where the floats are built is a short distance from the parade route, so transport emissions remain low there. Not only that, but the location Moonachie, New Jersey was specifically chosen in 2011 and has housed the floats and supplies for the past ten years in the state-of-the-art and LEED-certified facility. Interestingly, this location adds a restriction to the float design. As part of the route into New York City, the floats must be transported through the Lincoln Tunnel. Inasmuch, floats must be no larger than 8.5 feet wide. However, many floats are designed to collapse in order to fit the restriction.  To counterbalance the big trucks in the parade , there are plenty who travel pedestrian style, leaving zero-impact in their wake. For example, there are only twelve bands chosen for the honor each year, all of which walk the entire route.   Macy’s sustainability practices It’s no surprise the organization continues to evolve the parade in alignment with the needs of the planet. Reducing waste and being energy-efficient is engrained in the company mission. The transition has been gradual, but the updates are continual. For example, the company relies on solar energy for many stores and has upgraded to energy-efficient LED lighting throughout most locations.  In the store and through the mail, Macy’s also pays attention to waste , using 100% recycled paper for their shopping bags and minimizing packing materials in the standardized packing cartons that improve transport efficiency, using less trucks and ensuring trucks are full before heading out. Marketing materials are also nearly 100% recycled, and the company is moving to e-bills to cut back paper consumption.  To put it simply While the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is unquestionably integrated into the very fabric of the holiday, no event that large can be completely sustainable.  Overall, considering the number of people involved, the overall impact is miniscule. If you add in the efforts at a corporate level to streamline everyday operations, Macy’s is a company to put on the yes list for eco-conscious shopping. Knowing the effort it puts into maintaining low transport emissions, energy reduction and plastic-free packaging, Macy’s is clearly balancing business with the needs of the environment.  Via Better Homes & Gardens and Earth 911 Images via Unsplash

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Is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade destroying the environment?

Indeed Tower in Austin earns LEED Platinum for green features

September 10, 2021 by  
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A new office tower stands tall in Austin , and its sustainability features are breaking records. Indeed Tower, a recently completed AA office tower, earned 82 points toward a LEED v4 Core & Shell (CS) Platinum Certification. Awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, this certification makes Indeed Tower the second-largest LEED v4 CS project in the U.S. and the fifth-largest in the world, according to a press release. The building spans 730,000 square feet and rises to 36 stories tall. About 35,000 square feet of this project includes the adaptive reuse of the historic Claudia Taylor Johnson post office. Campbell Landscape Architecture and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects contributed to the project’s 17,000 square feet of urban green space. Developed by Trammell Crow Company and Principal Real Estate Investors and helmed by architecture firm Page, this massive project took four years to complete. Related: See how this Austin home enjoys green views without windows “Trammell Crow Company set out more than three years ago to develop an office tower that was designed for the future. Indeed Tower was designed to meet and exceed even the highest standards of sustainability and accommodate the needs of current and future office tenants that demand a modern and evolved workplace,” said Brad Maples, Principal of Trammell Crow Company’s Austin office. Indeed Tower’s sustainable features begin with incorporating open, green spaces. Open space covers 46% of the site with the help of terraces and the large urban plaza. These spaces include plenty of vegetation, 75% of which is native and 25% is drought-tolerant. Water concerns are addressed through on-site rainwater management, low flow plumbing fixtures and EnergyStar appliances. These features help the building save 1.5 million gallons of water annually. The reuse of the existing structure also helps the project reduce 20% of its embodied carbon . In addition to the tower’s LEED Platinum certification, the project also earned Austin Energy Green Building 4-Star certification. A Fitwel 1-Star certification is pending. + Indeed Tower Images courtesy of Albert Vecerka ESTO Photographics and Page

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Indeed Tower in Austin earns LEED Platinum for green features

This giant green wall is a show-stopper a Warsaw skyscraper

September 2, 2021 by  
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Generation Park Y tower by Stockholm -based project development and construction group Skanska features roughly 49 feet of a gorgeous green wall. Stretching to about 72 feet long, this green wall has more than 6,000 plants of several dozen species stretching up along a huge wall of green. You can find the Generation Park Y office building in Warsaw , where its glass facade lets in light for the flourishing greenery. According to Skanska, this tower is its largest office building yet in Poland. The Generation Park Y tower is an enormous office building. It’s also the greenest skyscraper in the city, currently in the process of LEED Platinum and Building without Barriers certifications. The green wall is a reminder of the tower’s commitment to sustainability. Standing 140 meters (about 450 feet) tall, Generation Park makes it home at Warsaw’s Daszy?ski Roundabout. Related: French offices receive a green update with Benetti MOSS walls The wall is mainly comprised of ferns, philodendrons, monsteras, peace lilies, laceleafs and aglaonemas. These plants purify the air and produce enough oxygen to provide breathable air for 150 people for 24 hours.The arrangement is crafted with a great deal of care. Every plant has its own place in the overall design. The plants are arranged in sections, and the entire design is completely automated so they receive the right amount of nutrients, light and water. Three rows of about 150 “feeding” lights provide for the thousands of plants. Together, the plants create a microclimate that Skanska labels the “ forest effect.” As Skanska said in a project statement, “These types of green solutions create a calming and relaxing effect, draw attention to nature , but also have a positive effect on acoustics, reducing noise levels.” Rafa? Stoparczyk, Skanska’s CEE commercial development business unit’s project manager, added, “At Skanska, we like to focus on unique and original solutions. The idea of ??such a huge wall filled with vegetation sounded like a challenge we wanted to take on. The final effect exceeded our wildest expectations. The wall makes an extraordinary impression both when we are inside the building and when looking from the outside.” + Skanska Images courtesy of Radoslaw NAWROCKI /dla SKANSKA POLSKA

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This giant green wall is a show-stopper a Warsaw skyscraper

Ariake Gymnastics Centre resembles a floating ship

September 2, 2021 by  
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The Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo Japan was designed for dual uses to provide for both a significant short-term competition and ongoing events. The architectural design, presented by Nikken Sekkei and Shimizu Corporation, relies heavily on  natural materials  for both a sustainable finish and a reflection of the area’s history.  Dubbed, “A Wooden Vessel Floating in the Bay Area,” the Ariake Gymnastics Centre was equipped with a layout meant to house a temporary international sports competition in response to a request by the client, The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. After the event, the spectator stands were made removable for easy conversion into a permanent exhibition hall. Related: ZHA designs sustainable expansion to China’s largest international exhibition center Nearly every surface is constructed from  wood  — a nod to the district that previously housed a log pond. Timber is used extensively throughout the building, including the roof frame structure, facade, spectator seats and exterior walls. Lightweight, durable and fireproof steel was used for the framing. The finished building looks like a floating wooden vessel from across the waterway.  The wood also caters to the acoustic and thermal needs of the arena and serves to achieve a light overall site impact in an area that may have poor soil conditions. Glued laminate timber has a high capacity for heat, making it fire resistant. The overall simple design honors the essence of traditional Japanese architecture.  The Ariake Gymnastics Centre is located along a canal, allowing for an expansive public space. Although surrounded by nearby residential condominiums , the arena puts a focus on a low design rather than competing with the height of other buildings in the vicinity.  Developers also emphasized taking advantage of outdoor space, with expansive boardwalks along the  water’s  edge. The entryway is kept outside the building instead of being included in the interior space. This allows for a smaller footprint from building materials as well as physical space.  + Nikken Sekkei Ltd. Via ArchDaily Images via Nikken Sekkei Ltd. 

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Ariake Gymnastics Centre resembles a floating ship

Explore the Saltbox Passive House’s sweet sustainable design

August 20, 2021 by  
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The Saltbox Passive House is located in Bromont, Quebec , and is a residence for a family of four. The 3100-square-foot home sits in a meadow at the edge of a 2.5-acre wooded plot. Its design combines elements of the local context with energy-efficient strategies to enhance sustainability while maintaining a modern aesthetic. Through the efforts of the architects from Atelier l’Abri, the contractor Construction Rocket and consultants from the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS), the building has obtained LEED Platinum and PHIUS 2018+ certifications, making it the third certified passive house in Quebec. The architects employed an L-shaped plan with two different roof slopes that mirror the topography of the landscape. The name of the house stems from the architectural language of saltbox buildings, a form of vernacular architecture from New England . The primary characteristic of saltbox houses is a gable roof over the main section of the building with a single-pitch roof over the lower section, making them easy to identify at first glance. Related: Passive House-certified residence frames ski resort views in Utah The Saltbox Passive House comprises three levels, of which the bottom two are tucked into the mountain along the rear retaining wall. The basement level serves as a workshop and houses a garage. The ground level includes shared spaces for the family. This includes living and dining spaces, which are organized around a double-height volume encompassing the kitchen, pantry, mudroom and powder room. This volume extends to the top level and is adjacent to the passageway that leads to the private spaces, including the three bedrooms and a home office. Throughout the design process, the architects collaborated with consultants to ensure that the project met Passivhaus Institut standards. Established in the early 1980s in Germany, the institute promotes buildings that consider occupant comfort while maintaining high levels of energy efficiency. This is often achieved through the use of well-insulated interiors, extensive heat recovery from mechanical ventilation systems and conscious design of openings for thermal comfort. Several design choices were made to ensure high performance without compromising comfort and aesthetics. The house incorporates south-facing, triple-glazed UPVC openings to capture sunlight and frame views of the lush landscape while serving as a means of passive solar heating. Close attention to materiality has further reduced the building’s carbon footprint. Cellulose insulation, excavated stone for the retaining wall and cedar cladding are all readily available in the region and aid in keeping the house thermally insulated. Though the building is connected to public electricity systems and utilities, its enhanced environmentally friendly measures reduce dependence on these facilities. + L’Abri Photography by Raphaël Thibodeau

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Explore the Saltbox Passive House’s sweet sustainable design

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