This Indonesian high-rise performs 36% better than LEED baseline

March 5, 2021 by  
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Located in Jakarta’s central business district of Sudirman, Sequis Tower makes a space for itself on the city skyline. Drawing inspiration from the Banyan tree for both design influence and metaphoric meaning, the tower is meant to look like it’s rising organically from the ground. Sequis Tower encompasses roughly 1.5 million square feet and 40 floors. This includes spaces for offices , healthcare facilities, shops and restaurants. The innovative design uses a series of landscaped terraces composed of four bundled super-tubes. While this certainly makes the tower eye-catching, it also creates a range of different floorplates. This makes the building extremely structurally sound, which is essential considering the tower’s location in an active seismic zone. Related: Seismically-safe cave home in Spain replaces informal shelter for shepherds While the tower wall is designed to provide beautiful views of the surrounding world, it also reduces solar heat gain , which helps keep cooling costs down. Other sustainable elements have also been integrated into the design, such as high-efficiency building systems. Additionally, using locally-sourced and recycled building materials helped reduce the tower’s embedded energy, while also staying true to the building’s central theme of rising from the landscape like an organic structure. On the ground level, the tower includes spaces for pedestrians. The building’s parking area is elevated, so the ground floor remains open for green areas and walkways. The design includes an elevated park , too. KPF, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, received two major awards for Sequis Tower, starting with a design award recognizing the tower’s human-focused, efficient design. The second is a sustainability award, proving that good design and sustainability can go hand-in-hand. The building also won a slew of additional awards, including Best Green Development and Best Office. Sequis Tower is also one of the first LEED Platinum buildings in all of Indonesia. In fact, it performs 36% better than the LEED baseline. + KPF Images via Mario Wilbowo Photography

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This Indonesian high-rise performs 36% better than LEED baseline

A new LEED Gold civic center will reinvigorate downtown Long Beach

January 19, 2021 by  
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As part of Long Beach’s largest public-private partnership effort to date, international architecture firm SOM has helped inject new life into the downtown area with the Long Beach Civic Center Master Plan. This 22-acre project celebrated its grand unveiling of multiple LEED-targeted civic buildings late last year. The Long Beach Civic Center Master Plan, which has redesigned the downtown as a new and vibrant mixed-use district, targets New Development LEED Gold certification. Launched in 2015, the Long Beach Civic Center Master Plan provides a new heart for public life in the City of Long Beach. The LEED Gold-targeted, 270,000-square-foot City Hall and LEED Platinum -targeted, 232,000-square-foot Port Headquarters buildings, both completed in July 2019, are designed with energy-efficient, under-floor air conditioning systems and an abundance of natural light. The solar-powered, 93,500-square-foot Billie Jean King Main Library that opened to the public later that fall is also designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Related: SOM designs a low-carbon waterfront community for China’s “most livable city” The masterplan includes design guidelines for the development of 800 residential units and 50,000 square feet of commercial development. A regional bicycle network, buses and the Metro Blue Line have been woven into the design to promote a pedestrian-friendly environment. The historic Lincoln Park has been revitalized as well to better engage a greater cross-section of the city’s population. “Targeting New Development LEED ® Gold certification, the new Civic Center plan optimizes operations and maintenance, maximizes street parking, introduces plazas and promenades, and expands bike infrastructure to create a hierarchy and quality of place,” SOM explained in a project description. “The proposed sidewalk configurations, along with the scale and density of tree planting, create not only a welcoming and walkable environment, but a differentiated sense of place — one that befits the city’s dynamic center for culture, recreation, education, and government.” + SOM Images via SOM | Fotoworks/Benny Chan, 2020

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A new LEED Gold civic center will reinvigorate downtown Long Beach

Take your sustainable lifestyle to the next level in 2021

January 1, 2021 by  
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Are you already recycling? Carrying around a refillable water bottle rather than contributing to the ocean-bound plastic problem? Composting your food scraps? That’s all commendable, but there’s more to be done to achieve a net-zero lifestyle. If you’re ready to up your environmental commitment this year (and hold larger entities accountable along the way), here are a few ideas — some more dramatic than others — for sustainable resolutions in 2021. Get rid of your car If you have a car , sell or donate it. Once you’ve unloaded the gas guzzler, do your errands on foot or by bike. If you don’t have your own bike, join your city’s bike-share program. With proper COVID-19 precautions, take public transportation for longer distances. Related: The pros and cons of electromobility Ditch the plastic liners Do you know how long those kitchen trash bags take to decompose? Anywhere from 10 to 1,000 years. Instead, go au naturel and regularly clean your trash, recycling and compost containers. Change your laundering style Did you know that most of the energy it takes to run a washing machine comes from heating the water? Only 10% of energy is for working the machine, so switch to cold-water washing . Once your clothes are clean, hang them to dry. If you live somewhere sunny and have space for a clothesline, this won’t be too hard. If you live somewhere cold and rainy, see if you can hang an inside clothesline or set up a drying rack. But if this is impractical and you must run the dryer, make sure it’s fairly full so you make the most of the energy. Dryers are the third-biggest energy hogs in the average house, after the refrigerator and washer. Forget the lawn Lawns are a huge waste of space and resources. In the U.S., people spray about 3 trillion gallons of water on them every year, use 800 million gallons of gas in their lawnmowers and treat them with nearly 80 million pounds of pesticides . But who are we trying to impress with this golf course-looking terrain around our homes? Instead, go with xeriscaping or planting vegetables. Let clover take over, or fill your yard with pollinator-friendly plants. Control your climate Invest in ways to weatherize your home and lifestyle year-round. If you have the money and own a home, a heat pump can cut your energy use in half. Try low-tech solutions like wearing thicker socks and a fleece bathrobe over your clothes so that you don’t need to turn the heater up as much in winter. Add an extra blanket to the bed, and turn your thermostat down at least seven degrees at night. You use about 1% less energy per eight hours for every degree you turn it down. In summer, air conditioning is a massive energy hog. Three-quarters of U.S. homes have air conditioners, which use 6% of the total electricity produced in the nation, according to Energy Saver . Annual cost? About $29 billion dollars and 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide released. If you must use AC, don’t set it so low. Add insulation to your house. Wear a bikini. Eat more ice pops. Sweat a little, it won’t hurt you. Go vegan Yes, Meatless Mondays are a terrific start. But this year, try adding Tuesday. And Wednesday. Et cetera. A University of Oxford study concluded that cutting out meat and dairy could reduce your carbon footprint by 73%. “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said lead author Joseph Poore, as reported by The Independent . Boycott new One way to stop supporting the constant addition to more junk in the waste stream is to boycott buying anything new (excluding food, prescriptions or emergency items). Perhaps you already enjoy thrifting and flea markets. If so, committing to buying nothing new might be a fun challenge. Make 2021 your year of browsing the free libraries, finding your new look at a garage sale and swapping useful items with other folks in your neighborhood. Set up regular donations to environmental organizations Just about every organization needs your help right now. Whether you prefer whales or bats, oceans or rivers, an environmental charity exists that would greatly appreciate your recurring donation, even if it’s just five bucks a month. Control your food waste The U.S. is one of the top countries for food waste in the world, tossing almost 40 million tons annually. Most of this food goes to landfills. In fact, food waste is the second-largest component of the average American landfill behind paper. This year, commit to only buy what you’ll eat and to eat what you buy. If you don’t already compost, get yourself a compost bin and throw in all your banana peels, coffee grounds, etc. Get political On the most basic level, vote. Beyond that, support causes you believe in by writing letters to your politicians or boycotting companies that are contributing to the global climate crisis. Attend town hall meetings with your local or state representatives. If you have the time, energy, resources and moxie, run for office. Images via Adobe Stock

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Architecture students design a LEED Platinum home with an ADU in Kansas

October 19, 2020 by  
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Every year as part of Studio 804 , University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design graduate students design and build an energy-efficient home for the community — and this year’s home not only achieved LEED Platinum certification but also comes with an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to fight suburban sprawl. The 2020 project, known as 722 Ash Street House, consists of a 1,500-square-foot primary house with a contiguous 500-square-foot ADU located in North Lawrence. The modern and sustainable home is equipped with a south-facing, 4.9-kW solar power system and a highly insulated building envelope. The 722 Ash Street House project was created as part of Studio 804, a yearlong comprehensive educational opportunity for Masters of Architecture students at the University of Kansas, which has completed 14 LEED Platinum buildings and achieved three Passive House certifications to date. The most recent project in North Lawrence takes inspiration from the Midwestern farmstead vernacular with its three gabled volumes clad in vertically oriented wood. The cladding, which was sustainably fabricated in the Austrian town of Sankt Veit an der Glan, is a composite material of raw pulpwood, recycled wood and natural resins selected for its durability and low maintenance. Related: Students fight urban sprawl with a subdivision for two LEED Platinum houses The primary 1,500-square-foot residence consists of two bedrooms, one full bath, one half bath, a great room and a full kitchen. The studio took advantage of the permissions in the zoning district to add a 500-square-foot ADU with a wet bar, full bath and flex space attached. Large windows bring an abundance of natural light indoors and frame views of the many mature trees for which North Lawrence is known. “Studio 804 continues their long standing pattern of maintaining the highest level of sustainable design while remaining contextually sensitive to the surrounding community,” reads a statement by Studio 804. “This house, like every Studio 804 project since 2008, is USGBC LEED Platinum Certified.” + Studio 804 Photography by Corey Gaffer via Studio 804

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Architecture students design a LEED Platinum home with an ADU in Kansas

LEED Platinum-seeking home in Cincinnati asks $3.25 million

October 14, 2020 by  
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Near the border of Ohio and Kentucky, a stunning sustainable home has hit the market for $3,249,000. Designed by local architect Jose Garcia , the home was built with natural materials, from the exterior cladding of cedar and cypress wood to the interior use of century-year-old reclaimed Douglas fir. The Douglas fir was sourced from a demolished cotton mill and used for the ceiling and walls. The Cincinnati home is in the process of obtaining LEED platinum certification and boasts 38 solar panels on the roof, a geothermal energy system and a smart home system for optimizing energy efficiency. Located at 1059 Celestial Street, the custom, single-family home in the city’s Mt. Adams suburb spans 6,778 square feet on a quarter-acre lot with four bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths and a three-car garage. The home’s elevated location allows for stunning views of downtown Cincinnati as well as the Ohio River, which marks the boundary between Ohio and Kentucky. A rooftop deck with a fire pit and a vegetable garden bed takes advantage of these panoramic views. The main bedroom, which is bathed in light by a skylight, connects to a bridge that leads directly to the rooftop deck.  Related: Architecture students design and build a LEED Platinum smart home in Kansas Natural light and a sense of spaciousness define the interiors of the modern home, which is centered on an atrium . The atrium allows for direct sight lines from the entrance to the pocket sliding glass doors, which open up to a 45-foot-long balcony along the entire side of the home. Full-height windows, a natural materials palette and a courtyard garden also help to usher the outdoor landscape indoors, while tall ceilings and an open-plan layout direct views toward downtown Cincinnati. The abundance of wood that lines the interior is complemented by exposed brick and concrete in parts of the home. The kitchen cabinetry, designed by the architect, is bleached European White Oak and paired with white quartzite countertops. To meet LEED Platinum standards, double-pane windows imported from Luxembourg were installed throughout the residence. Two geothermal wells were drilled beneath the driveway to provide an additional energy source to solar, which collected from the solar array on the front part of the roof. In addition to home automation, the building is equipped with an air-purifying system that filters air in the entire home. The property is listed with Coldwell Banker . + Jose Garcia Design Images via Coldwell Banker

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ZHAs sculptural "urban oasis" in Hong Kong to be LEED Platinum

October 13, 2020 by  
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At the heart of Hong Kong’s central business district, the 36-story Murray Road project designed by  Zaha Hadid Architects  has broken ground — and its energy-efficient design has already earned the building LEED Platinum and WELL Platinum pre-certification along with the highest 3-Star rating of China’s Green Building Rating Program. Inspired by the layered structure of a soon-to-blossom Bauhinia bud — the flower from the Bauhinia x blakeana orchid tree featured on Hong Kong’s flag — the glass skyscraper features a curved glass facade that will stand out from its more traditional boxy neighbors. The double-curved insulated glazing that wraps the building can withstand the region’s powerful summer typhoons while reducing the cooling load of the building.  Located at the core of the city’s financial district at the east-west and north-south junction of  Hong Kong’s  network of elevated pedestrian walkways, the 2 Murray Road office tower is strategically located for direct access to adjacent public gardens and parks. Supported by a high-tensile steel structure, the curved glass facade enhances indoor/outdoor connectivity between the interiors and lush cityscape. The building base has also been elevated above the ground to create new sheltered courtyards and gardens. Inside, the light-filled Grade A office spaces are column-free and feature five-meter floor-to-floor heights for maximum flexibility. Occupants will enjoy a contactless transition from the street to their workstation with a smart management system that uses a mobile phone, contactless smart card or biometric recognition for everything from passing security to calling the elevators. Occupant health also benefits from the building’s  air quality  monitoring system that automatically adjusts indoor air temperature, humidity and fresh air volume to meet demand. Related: Henning Larsen breaks ground on BEAM Platinum-targeted Shaw Auditorium in Hong Kong The smart air quality monitoring system is one of several smart systems designed to reduce electricity demand. Smart chiller plant optimization, high-efficiency HVAC equipment and daylight sensors, for instance, will achieve a 26% reduction in energy demand. Still under construction, 2 Murray Road will also use  recycled materials  to further minimize its carbon footprint.  + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Zaha Hadid Architects

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5 buildings on this Missouri campus just achieved LEED Platinum

October 8, 2020 by  
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The Danforth Campus at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri has just reached a major sustainable building milestone. This year, five separate buildings on the campus achieved LEED Platinum certifications, making it the only higher education institution to do so in 2020. The new accolades bring the total number of buildings with LEED Platinum designation to seven on the Danforth Campus. According to the school, the university’s green building design is part of an overall sustainability masterplan that aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels through a combination of onsite energy efficiency and renewable energy. Related: LEED Platinum Sonoma Academy building takes cues from California’s landscape Four of the buildings can attribute their sustainable features to the East End Transformation, a $360 million reimagination project; the fifth building, January Hall, celebrates the heritage of a structure originally built in 1922 with a green renovation to upgrade environmental performance. This January Hall project went a step further by becoming certified under LEED v4, a brand new version of the sustainable rating system. The East End Transformation includes buildings designed to be 30% more efficient than standard structures, with heat recovery chillers to harvest waste heat, a living wall and a green roof over an underground garage. Additionally, the park’s landscape features rain gardens with bio-retention and diverse, native plants and trees. The school encourages low-carbon transportation methods with new pathways and a bike commuter facility that holds showers, lockers and electric vehicle charging stations. Thanks to envelope improvements, including a second layer of interior glazing to windows, wall insulation and additional roof insulation, January Hall has already achieved a 35% increase in energy savings compared to similar projects. Construction materials and finishes were selected based on environmental reporting and eco-friendly sourcing, while over 60% of the furniture and paneling in the hall’s East Asian Library was either preserved or reused to help minimize the project’s carbon footprint. + Washington University in St. Louis Images via Washington University in St. Louis

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5 buildings on this Missouri campus just achieved LEED Platinum

The Olympic House sets a new green building standard

September 16, 2020 by  
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The International Olympics Committee has a brand-new home in Lausanne, Switzerland . The stunning new Olympic House brings together 500 employees who were working at different offices scattered throughout the city. Now, these employees will work in an award-winning building that features all the latest green technology in a truly breathtaking design. Olympic House’s design centers three values: movement, flexibility and sustainability. These values show in every facet of the design. View the building from another angle, and suddenly the design looks completely different. The sweeping, elegant design sets the standard for all future buildings. The Olympic House boasts a LEED v4 Platinum building certification, with the highest score ever given (93 of 100). Minergie P. and SNBS platinum certifications further prove this building as one of the world’s most sustainable offices. Environmental concerns influence the design in more ways than one. The building connects to a beautiful park and fits perfectly with that setting. After all, this isn’t an ordinary office building. This office building houses the Olympics committee. The Olympics brings together nations and people from all around the world; that’s why the campus design allows for public enjoyment as well. As one of the most sustainable buildings ever created, the new Olympic House sets a standard for all other buildings to follow. The building even includes a green roof and multiple terraces, plus a fitness center for employees to use. Low flow taps and toilets help reduce water consumption, and rainwater capture helps provide the building with water. Meanwhile, solar panels power the Olympic House. Through green design, the Olympic House lowers carbon emissions, conserves resources, provides a healthy environment for employees and maintains green spaces. At the heart of the Olympic House, the Unity Staircase features a curving, twisting and awe-inspiring design. Hopefully, the building’s incredible design and multiple green features will inspire others to create more sustainable buildings that improve the environment, rather than damage it. + 3XN Via Architizer Images via 3XN

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Solar-powered Lowell Justice Center will be Massachusetts first LEED Platinum courthouse

June 4, 2020 by  
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Half-an-hour north of Boston, the Massachusetts city of Lowell has recently welcomed the new Lowell Justice Center, a modern facility on track to become the state’s first LEED Platinum-certified courthouse. Designed by Boston-based Finegold Alexander Architects , the $146 million courthouse has consolidated a series of courts and service offices that had formerly been located in outdated and dysfunctional buildings across Lowell and Cambridge. The Lowell Justice Center also serves as a new and welcoming civic landmark that emphasizes transparency, local history and community. Located on a 3.2-acre site within Lowell National Historic Park, The Lowell Justice Center serves as the cornerstone of the city’s Hamilton Canal District development masterplan. The 265,000-square-foot modern building comprises 17 courtrooms , a variety of office spaces and a two-story entrance lobby that can accommodate waiting lines of over 100 people at any time. Related: Renzo Piano reveals designs for Toronto courthouse targeting LEED Silver “The justice center is designed to create a welcoming and calming environment, featuring generous natural daylight, warm finishes and public art that reflects the diverse history and culture of Lowell,” said Moe Finegold FAIA, principal in charge for Finegold Alexander Architects, in reference to the quadrilingual quotations and words about justice that decorate the building as well as the natural material palette and artwork that pay homage to Lowell’s textile history. The courthouse is also universally accessible with sloped walkways and offers easy access via public transportation, car or bicycle. Ample glazing reflects the courthouse’s values of transparency while letting abundant natural light into the building to minimize reliance on artificial lighting. The center has also been designed in response to its site and to follow passive solar principles to meet high standards of energy efficiency. In addition to highly insulated walls and high-performance mechanical and lighting systems, the courthouse also contains a chilled beam HVAC system and photovoltaic panels to help achieve performance targets 40% better than code. + Finegold Alexander Architects Photography by Anton Grassl Photography via Finegold Alexander Architects

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Solar-powered Lowell Justice Center will be Massachusetts first LEED Platinum courthouse

Silver Oak becomes worlds most sustainable winery

June 2, 2020 by  
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After a devastating fire ravaged the Silver Oak Winery in California’s Napa Valley nearly 15 years ago, the owners turned tragedy into opportunity when they rebuilt the facility to target the most stringent sustainability standards in the world. After achieving LEED Platinum certification, the redesigned winery has now also earned Living Building Challenge (LBC) Sustainability Certification from the International Living Future Institute — making it the world’s first LBC-certified winery. Sagan Piechota Architecture led the redesign of the Silver Oak Winery with sustainable services provided by international engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti . Founded in the early 1970s, the family-owned Silver Oak Winery now covers 105 acres of land in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley and is dedicated to producing only Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery is the largest building globally to achieve Living Building Challenge certification and meets requirements of all seven LBC performance petals including site/place, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. Related: LEED-seeking winery in Uruguay is built almost entirely of locally sourced materials “The Living Building Challenge is considered to be the world’s most rigorous green building standard,” said Thornton Tomasetti in a press statement. “It encourages the creation of a regenerative built environment and is based off of actual rather than modeled or anticipated performance. Silver Oak was awarded the certification after more than five years of planning and construction.” The Silver Oak Alexander Valley project comprises two buildings — the tasting room with event spaces and offices and the production and administration building — totaling over 100,000 square feet. All materials used were vetted to meet the Red List Imperative, which restricts the use of the most harmful chemicals. Rooftop solar panels power all of the winery’s energy needs, while solar thermal energy systems and CO2 heat pumps provide heating. To minimize water consumption, the winery uses recycled hot water systems and a water-management system that captures and treats rainwater as well as wastewater for reuse. + Silver Oak Winery Photography by Damion Hamilton

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