Wellesleys Global Flora greenhouse can generate all of its own energy

July 2, 2020 by  
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Boston-based architecture firm Kennedy & Violich Architecture has flipped the script for energy-intensive greenhouses with the net-zero energy Global Flora, a sustainable botanical facility for Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Engineered to exceed the Net Zero Water & Energy requirements of the Living Building Challenge, Global Flora will follow passive solar principles and draw on geothermal energy.  The botanical facility will also be integrated with an open-source Interactive Sensor Platform to allow people to gather and share real-time data about the plants, including their soil, water and air conditions. The Global Flora botanical facility builds on the legacy of Dr. Margaret Ferguson, who, in the 1920s, emphasized plant biology as a central part of science education and encouraged Wellesley College students to “listen to” plants and learn through hands-on interdisciplinary experiences. The new greenhouse will serve as a botany lab and “museum” for the college and will also be available and free to the public. The gathered data from the open-source Interactive Sensor Platform will be accessible to public schools and international research universities as well. Related: Resurrected greenhouse to honor father of modern genetics Located next to the existing visitor center, Global Flora will comprise Dry and Tropical biomes separated by interior ETFE partitions. Unlike most greenhouses, Wellesley College’s botanical facility is almost completely closed off on the north side with a gabion wall filled with local and reclaimed stone to eliminate almost all heat loss through surfaces that don’t receive direct sunlight. Energy recovery units, geothermal-powered radiant heating and cooling and vertical water features help create local microclimates and keep energy use to a minimum. The greenhouse also includes stormwater retention tanks. In addition to the Dry and Tropical biomes that cover a variety of plant habitats from deserts to mangroves, Global Flora includes a seasonal Camellia Pavilion on the northeast side that houses the college’s iconic Durant Camellia tree, which is over 140 years old. + Kennedy & Violich Architecture Images via Kennedy & Violich Architecture

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Wellesleys Global Flora greenhouse can generate all of its own energy

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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Silver Oak becomes worlds most sustainable winery

Living Building Challenge-targeted Watershed improves Seattles water quality

June 1, 2020 by  
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Seattle-based design firm Weber Thompson has completed construction on Watershed, a mixed-use development that aggressively reduces its energy and water usage compared to conventional construction of the same size. Located in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, the inspiring project is one of a few pioneering buildings pursuing the city’s Living Building Pilot Program. The project will also be targeting the Materials, Place and Beauty petals toward Petal Certification from the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge. Set at the intersection of Troll Avenue and 34th Street, the seven-story Watershed building comprises approximately 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail as well as 67,000 square feet of office space above. In addition to offering mixed-use appeal, the building also takes on an educational role. It includes informative signage in the landscape to help the public learn about the importance of clean water in the region as well as a digital dashboard in the lobby that displays real-time building performance data. To achieve the standards of Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program, Watershed is required to reduce energy use by 25% and water use by 75% compared to a baseline building. Related: The net-zero Frick Environmental Center is officially one of the world’s greenest buildings Most impressively, Watershed features a comprehensive stormwater management plan that aims to capture and treat millions of gallons of runoff a year. Its cantilevered roof is engineered to capture 200,000 gallons of water a year that is used for on-site toilet flushing and irrigation. Stepped bio-retention planters also help retain and treat an additional 400,000 gallons of polluted stormwater runoff from the adjacent street and the Aurora Bridge annually prior to discharge in Lake Union. The building will eventually clean nearly 2 million gallons of toxic runoff from the Aurora Avenue Bridge annually as part of its three-phase Green Stormwater Infrastructure project. “Like every project we design, we’ve approached Watershed as an opportunity to create a building that positively impacts the broader community,” said Kristen Scott, architect and senior principal at Weber Thompson. “Watershed allows us to take what we’ve learned from some of our most ambitious sustainability projects to date and dig deeper to find new ways to showcase practical, achievable deep green design. Our goal is to inspire, through design, a stronger connection to place, community, and the environment around us.” The sustainable building also uses locally sourced materials, salvaged materials and state-of-the-art building energy controls and systems.  + Weber Thompson Images via Weber Thompson

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Portland welcomes first Living Building Challenge project

May 8, 2020 by  
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Pacific Northwest architecture firm  Mahlum  has made history with the certification of its new architecture studio as Portland’s first Living Building Challenge ( LBC ) project. As an LBC-certified workspace, Mahlum’s new studio meets rigorous sustainability targets including net-zero embodied carbon emissions and the diversion of almost all construction waste from the landfill. The project is the 48th LBC-certified project in the United States and 57th in the world.  Located in a renovated 1930s structure that once served as a Custom Stamping facility, Mahlum’s newly minted 7,500-square-foot  office  in Portland meets the LBC guidelines for the Materials Petal, the Place, Equity and Beauty Petals, and the Health & Happiness Petal. As a result, workplace health and wellness have been emphasized alongside environmentally friendly design and construction. All products used were screened to comply with VOC emission restrictions.  Local materials and labor were also key to the office’s design. Nearly all of the wood used was sourced from the state of Oregon and 100% of all the wood is either  FSC-certified  or salvaged. Working with partners such as Sustainable Northwest Wood and Salvage Works, the architects also used over a dozen unique salvaged products, including Douglas fir wood reclaimed from the nearby National Historic site of Fort Vancouver. Moreover, local artist Paige Wright was commissioned to create nature-inspired ceramic vessels used as planters in the office. Materials have also been vetted to ensure compliance with the Red List, which screens for “worst-in-class” chemicals and environmentally harmful materials. Related: Glumac’s pioneering net-zero Shanghai office paves the way to greener buildings in China Mahlum will receive recognition for their LBC certification at the Living Future Conference, which will be digitally hosted in May 2020. The firm also plans to participate in Design Week Portland , currently expected to take place at the beginning of August, to welcome visitors as part of an Open House event.  + Mahlum Images by Lincoln Barbour

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Portland welcomes first Living Building Challenge project

Man builds ultra-efficient green home as a love letter to the environment

September 26, 2017 by  
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Many people may be in love with our beautiful earth, but Maryland resident, Ed Gaddy is straight up infatuated. Recently featured in the Baltimore Sun , the eco-warrior has spent seven years fulfilling his dream of building an ultra-efficient home. Designed in collaboration with friend and architect Miche Booz , the home’s many sustainable features were hand picked by Gaddy to reflect his fervent commitment to environmental preservation , creating an architectural “love letter to the environment” in the process. Gaddy first purchased the 1.22-acre lot located in Clarksville, Maryland in 2010. The property is just a mere 10-minute walk to his office, eliminating the need for a car. Gaddy told the Baltimore Sun that his initial objective was to build a beautiful three-bedroom home that was self-sustaining . Before breaking ground however, he and Booz decided to shoot for the impressive goal of achieving all three of the major sustainability certifications: LEED , Living Building Challenge , and Passive House . Related: This stunning passive home in Seattle is 51% more energy-efficient than its neighbors “The three certifications reflects his commitment and passion for this particular subject,” Booz said. “I would say it bordered on a fixation, and a good one. It’s his way of contributing to what he considers a crisis on the planet. He was all in — financially, emotionally and intellectually.” To start the project, the home had to be orientated to take advantage of optimal sunlight during the day, warming the interior in the winter months and shading the interior during the summer heat. High-efficiency windows were installed throughout the home to avoid air loss. All of the construction materials in the design were selected for their zero or low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Additional finishings like paint and tiles, along with the flooring, were chosen for their durability or potential for future recycling such as the kitchen’s stainless steel countertops. The appliances in the kitchen and bathroom are the highest rated in terms of efficiency. For water conservation , the bathrooms were equipped with toilets that use less than a gallon per flush and waterless urinals were also installed. Point-of-use water heaters in both the bathrooms and the kitchen reduce the time it takes to run hot water to the faucets. As far as energy generation, the home is equipped with a solar array and there’s a heat recovery ventilator that transfers heat and cold throughout. According to Gaddy, they also installed top-of-the-line heat pumps, but the structure’s 18-inch thick, three-layer insulation ensures they are rarely necessary. Outside, almost as much detail was put into landscaping as was the home design itself. The lot was landscaped to reduce runoff and a collection system directs rain to a large underground cistern for greywater use . Native plants were planted in the raised garden beds, and they put in a vegetable garden, along with cherry, apple, walnut and peach trees. Thanks to this amazing sustainable profile , Gaddy’s dream home has achieved two of the three green certifications so far. It has been certified as LEED Platinum, as well as a Net Zero Energy Building by the International Living Future Institute. They expect to receive the Living Building Challenge certification soon. The Passive House classification has been denied to Gaddy due to a small hitch concerning a failed airtightness test. Gaddy is currently working on fixing the issue and will hopefully achieve that certification soon. So, what is your love letter to the environment? + Miche Booz Via Baltimore Sun Photography by Algerina Perna via Baltimore Sun  

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Birds that escape from captivity teach wild birds how to speak (and swear) in English

September 26, 2017 by  
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If you listen carefully, you might hear a variety of nonsensical conversations emerging from the treetops of certain regions of Australia . The voices don’t belong to a mysterious, hidden tribe, however. Rather, they belong to birds. According to Australian Geographic, pet birds like parrots and cockatoos that have escaped from captivity are inadvertently teaching wild birds the words they learned in their human homes. And some of them are rather naughty. According to Jaynia Sladek, an ornithologist from the Australian Museum , some birds are natural mimickers. When they hear words in repetition or are surrounded by an assortment of noises, they will begin picking up on the cues. Because many (but not all) species of birds perceive a correlation between genetic fitness and mimicking ability, it is likely the pet birds flaunted their new vocabulary upon being released to the wild. “It’s a part of their language ,” said Sladek. For some species, it’s like advertising ‘I am very fit because I can learn a lot of different birds’ [calls]’.” Wild birds are able to quickly learn from the chatty ex-pets and as a result, start picking up new words and sounds. The remnants of the language are often passed down to offspring. “There’s no reason why, if one comes into the flock with words, [then] another member of the flock wouldn’t pick it up as well,” Sladek told  Australian Geographic . Related: 98-year-old man donates $2 million in stock for 395-acre wildlife refuge The aforementioned phenomenon has been previously witnessed with the lyebird. Found in Victoria, Australia, lyebirds have the uncanny ability to recreate the sounds of saws, axes, and old-fashioned cameras  — tools that haven’t been used in the region for years. When the best singers have their photos taken by the photographers, they quickly learn the sounds of the camera noises. Those same noises are then taught to their offspring. The report says the most common word the wild birds have picked up is “Hello, cockie.” The birds have also added a wide range of expletives to their vocabulary. Via Australian Geographic , TreeHugger Images via Pixabay

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Pittsburghs net-zero Frick Environmental Center is designed to meet the worlds toughest green standards

August 3, 2016 by  
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Created as a joint venture between the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy , the FEC is a welcome facility, education center, and gateway to the 644-acre Frick Park. The center will serve as a “living laboratory” offering hands-on environmental education to a projected 20,000 K-12 students along with hundreds of thousands of expected visitors each year. Its fully equipped classrooms, galleries, offices, and public spaces will help carry out the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s award-winning programs that include the restoration of the park’s ecological and historical landscape. Related: Pittsburgh’s Net-Zero Energy Center for Sustainable Landscapes Blows Fracking Out of the Water The FEC boasts an impressive array of sustainable features and will achieve net zero energy and water thanks to efficient systems such as ground-source heat pumps, radiant floors, a photovoltaic array , and a reclaimed water system that will capture and filter stormwater for reuse in irrigation and other non-potable uses. All the building materials came from a 1,200-mile radius of the site to minimize the FEC’s carbon footprint. To support the local economy, subcontractors and tradespeople were hired in the Allegheny County-Western Pennsylvania region. The FEC will host their first public celebration on Saturday, September 10. The building will be free and open to the public during park hours. The Living Building Challenge certification is targeted for Spring 2018. + Frick Environmental Center + Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

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Pittsburghs net-zero Frick Environmental Center is designed to meet the worlds toughest green standards

Ford to transform Dearborn HQ into a healthier and greener campus committed to sustainability

April 13, 2016 by  
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Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes achieves Living Building Challenge certification

March 18, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes achieves Living Building Challenge certification Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “geothermal technology” , former brownfield , Four Stars Sustainable SITES Initiative , geothermal wells , green architecture , green buildings , green roof , leed platinum buildings , Living Building Challenge , Living Building Challenge Certification , net-zero architecture , net-zero energy , pennsylvania , phipps center for sustainable landscapes , Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens , pittsburgh , rain gardens , rainwater harvesting , renewable energy , Rooftop Energy Recovery Unit , solar panels , Solar Power , Well building platinum certified , Well certified buildings , wind turbines

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Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes achieves Living Building Challenge certification

CBF’s Brock Environmental Center Will Soon Be the Most Sustainable Building in Virginia

October 7, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of CBF’s Brock Environmental Center Will Soon Be the Most Sustainable Building in Virginia Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Brock Environmental Center , chesapeake bay foundation , Climate Change , Hampton Roads , LEED platinum , Living Building Challenge , net zero , Sustainable Building , virginia beach

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