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

June 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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

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, the $146 million courthouse has consolidated a series of courts and service offices that had formerly been located in outdated and dysfunctional buildings across Lowell and Cambridge.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

Read the rest here: 
Solar-powered Lowell Justice Center will be Massachusetts first LEED Platinum courthouse

Climate change, deforestation lead to younger, shorter trees

June 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Climate change, deforestation lead to younger, shorter trees

Recently published research in  Science  magazine warns that older, taller  trees  are quickly becoming a thing of the past, consequently leaving forests in disarray. Forest dynamics being disrupted like this spells trouble for ecosystem equilibrium and  biodiversity .  While natural disturbances —  flooding , landslides, insect infestations, fungi, vine overgrowth, disease, wildfire and even wind damage — negatively impact  forests , they do not compare with the magnitude of harm humans have precipitated. Consider how over-harvesting trees for more land use has altered forest landscapes. The felling of numerous tree stands has severely dwindled the carbon sinks required to fix excess atmospheric carbon resultant from human-induced  greenhouse gas emissions .  Related:  What’s causing the decline in monarch butterfly populations? Without the necessary  carbon  storage from forest trees, global temperatures will continue to rise and intensify consequent climate change damage.  Climate change  exacerbates conditions through insect and pathogen outbreaks that further compromise tree health and development. In fact,  research  has shown that annual “carbon storage lost to insects” equals “the amount of carbon emitted by 5 million vehicles.” This illustrates how substantial tree decline due to insects can be.  Why are biologists worried about the adversely shifting forest dynamics? As the  U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)  explained, “Wood harvests alone have had a huge impact on the shift of global forests towards younger ages or towards non-forest land, reducing the amount of forests, and old-growth forests, globally. Where forests are re-established on harvested land, the trees are smaller and  biomass  is reduced.”  Conservationists  subsequently admonish that continuing with business as usual will only worsen the conditions that increase tree mortality rates and the accompanying biodiversity crisis. As  NPR  reported, “Researchers found that the world lost roughly one-third of its old growth forest between 1900 and 2015. In North America and Europe , where more data was available, they found that tree mortality has doubled in the past 40 years.” It is believed these worrying trends will persist unless changes are made and new protection policies enacted.  Research team lead, Nate McDowell of PNNL, realized there was a major problem as he studied how global temperature rise affected tree growth and the changes occurring within a forest. Satellite imagery and modeling data unveiled a comprehensive view of the state of global forests and their shifts from older, taller trees to younger, shorter ones. The overall picture is of extensive loss. “I would recommend that people try to visit places with big trees now, while they can, with their kids,” McDowell advised. “Because there’s some significant threat, that might not be possible sometime in the future.” McDowell’s research ties in closely with last summer’s study from  National Science Review , which showcased how exposure to both rising temperatures and extreme temperature ranges have decreased  vegetation  growth throughout the northern hemisphere. The finding upended previous beliefs that  global warming  would increase vegetation photosynthesis and extend the photosynthetic growing season. Instead, global warming was seen to increase the chances of  drought  and wildfire, which reduced water availability and therefore distressed forest vegetation. + Science Via NPR and PNNL

Go here to see the original:
Climate change, deforestation lead to younger, shorter trees

Wheelchair-friendly tiny house proves universal design can be cool

January 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Wheelchair-friendly tiny house proves universal design can be cool

In a perfect world, architecture would be accessible for everyone, but sadly, people with disabilities or mobility issues are often limited to the physical barriers found in typical constructions. Vermont-based firm LineSync Architecture wants to change that with a new brand of accessible architecture, starting with their wheelchair-friendly tiny house , the Wheel Pad. https://youtu.be/EzE7irfnCbY The Wheel Pad is a prototype home for those who need more long-term adaptability from a home design . The 200-square-feet residence was designed in consultation with home health nurses, physicians, physical therapists and occupational therapists. Related: This $10k tiny house can be built with a hex key in less than a day The Wheel Pad was designed with a number of features geared to a wide range of needs, such as fixtures installed at lower heights, double swing doors, and a Hoyer lift that slides on a ceiling track to provide mobility assistance . Like most tiny homes, the space is compact, however, large windows give the interior a nice, airy feel. The home is also built on a mobile chassis base , which means it can be parked without a permit in most places around the US, allowing the inhabitants total freedom to travel. According to the architects, the design has a wide range of possible uses, “With Wheel Pad, we will change the way our injured soldiers and civilians come home from rehab. Wheel Pad is “disruptive” in the best sense of the word. It seems everyone has a use for Wheel Pad including: spinal cord injuries, people newly using wheelchairs or prosthetics, elderly veterans and civilians, hospice care, children with disabilities.” + LineSync Architecture Via Treehugger Video via Chibi Moku Photographs by Carolyn Bates

Read more: 
Wheelchair-friendly tiny house proves universal design can be cool

How a team of students transformed a group home into a haven through Habilitative Design

April 29, 2015 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on How a team of students transformed a group home into a haven through Habilitative Design

In the 1960s, with the rising momentum of the Civil Rights movement and heightened awareness of the marginalization of the elderly and disabled, a new movement arose in the design community: Universal Design . This movement attempted to create designs that were accessible and inclusive to marginalized communities, by raising design standards to meet “universal” human standards of simplicity, ease, comfort, safety, and flexibility. But despite the idealistic intentions of Universal Design, specialized design services for differing populations are a growing need in today’s world. Case in point: a group-home for developmentally-disabled seniors with Alzheimer’s disease in Boston needed some very specific considerations to deal with the unique challenges facing the individuals living in the home. Dr. Dak Kopec, Architectural Psychologist and Director of the Boston Architectural College ’s (BAC) Master of Design Studies (MDS) has been pioneering the concept of Habilitative Design – design that meets specific individual needs that allow users to function to their highest capacity. Read on to learn how a team of students from the Design for Human Health course at BAC used the principals of Habilitative Design to meet patients’ specific needs. Read the rest of How a team of students transformed a group home into a haven through Habilitative Design Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: accessible design , Alzheimer’s disease , Architectural Psychologists and Director , BAC , BAC student design , Boston Architectural College , design for disabilities , design for disability , design for disabled seniors , Design for Health , design for human health , Dr. Dak Kopec , group home design , habilitative design , master of design studies , retirement home design , universal design

Read the rest here:
How a team of students transformed a group home into a haven through Habilitative Design

How a team of students transformed a group home into a haven through Habilitative Design

April 29, 2015 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on How a team of students transformed a group home into a haven through Habilitative Design

In the 1960s, with the rising momentum of the Civil Rights movement and heightened awareness of the marginalization of the elderly and disabled, a new movement arose in the design community: Universal Design . This movement attempted to create designs that were accessible and inclusive to marginalized communities, by raising design standards to meet “universal” human standards of simplicity, ease, comfort, safety, and flexibility. But despite the idealistic intentions of Universal Design, specialized design services for differing populations are a growing need in today’s world. Case in point: a group-home for developmentally-disabled seniors with Alzheimer’s disease in Boston needed some very specific considerations to deal with the unique challenges facing the individuals living in the home. Dr. Dak Kopec, Architectural Psychologist and Director of the Boston Architectural College ’s (BAC) Master of Design Studies (MDS) has been pioneering the concept of Habilitative Design – design that meets specific individual needs that allow users to function to their highest capacity. Read on to learn how a team of students from the Design for Human Health course at BAC used the principals of Habilitative Design to meet patients’ specific needs. Read the rest of How a team of students transformed a group home into a haven through Habilitative Design Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: accessible design , Alzheimer’s disease , Architectural Psychologists and Director , BAC , BAC student design , Boston Architectural College , design for disabilities , design for disability , design for disabled seniors , Design for Health , design for human health , Dr. Dak Kopec , group home design , habilitative design , master of design studies , retirement home design , universal design

Read the original post: 
How a team of students transformed a group home into a haven through Habilitative Design

Bad Behavior has blocked 4632 access attempts in the last 7 days.