Park City's 38-Acre Newpark Receives LEED-ND Pre-Certification

Newpark

Hot on the heels of news that Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) is going to develop a $1B green resort named "Ever Vail," comes news that Park City’s Newpark Community has pre-qualified for LEED-ND (Neighborhood Development) certification.  These ski towns are really laying it on thick–and they’re doing more than flaunting offsets.  When it comes down to it, they bank on the livelihood of snow, so it’s logical to consider the business implication of climate change.  Having green neighborhoods and buildings is a smart way to lighten that environmental footprint.   

Newpark is a 38 acre, mixed-use development with resort town homes, a commercial and retail walkable community, and a condominium hotel (opening January 2008).  With respect to its green features, LEED-ND certification requires the incorporation of smart growth, urbanism, and green building principles on a neighborhood planning and design level. Projects are evaluated based on the following three categories (1) smart location + community linkage, (2) neighborhood pattern + design, and (3) actual use of green technology in construction.  A notable accomplishment at Newpark is the site development to open space ratio of 1-4.5.  That’s 9 times the LEED requirement for allocation to open space.  I’ve seen it and it looks to be quite the lively, little community.  Via

AIA's New Website "How Design Works" + A Modern, Sustainable House

Medora Woods Home  Medora Woods Home Top

I’m happy to report to you that I have the insider tip on a new website that the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is launching: How Design Works (http://howdesignworks.aia.org/).  The website includes information and a series of videos on the entire process of selecting an architect and going from consultation to design to build to occupation.  What I really enjoyed was the case study on Medora Woods’ sustainable home (pictured above) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Woods retained architect Sarah Nettleton to design a home to suit a difficult piece of land with a 28 foot falling slope from road to creek.  What Nettleton did, using the words of Frank Lloyd Wright, was build "of the hill, not on it," and designed the house to the environmental standard of the Kyoto Protocol.  Here are a few quotes of interest from the videos. 

  • There is no wasted space. 
  • Simple is sustainable. 
  • Small spaces can lead to ample lives. 
  • The house encourages me to keep simplifying my life. 

In the last video, "occupy," Woods takes you through the house and really shows off some of the sustainable features.  This new website provided by the AIA is nice tool for finding an architect, discerning the process of working with an architect, and discovering ways to incorporate sustainable building practices and energy-efficient design strategies into a plan.  Go take it for a spin. 

Study

Photos via Sarah Nettleton Architects.

Town of Babylon's LEED Code and LEED Creep Potential

Newsday_logo Fellow green building blogger Stephen at GreenBuildingsNYC had an editorial published called "The Greening of Buildings: Babylon Town’s adoption of an environmentally friendly building code has virtues, but could scare off potential development."  Stephen talks about Town of Babylon’s adoption of a LEED Code (likely the nation’s strictest) requiring commercial, industrial, office, and multiple residential buildings larger than 4,000 sf to get LEED certification.  I recommend giving the article a read, but I wanted to highlight a few salient points that he made: 

  1. LEED ordinances that require an actual USGBC certificate face opposition from interested parties because (1) depending on the size of the project, owners will need to pay a minimum of $35,000 per project just to secure certification (unless Platinum certified), and (2) there is a potential for delay in process of evaluating applications. 
  2. LEED ordinances that "automatically adopt any future versions promulgated" could be problematic.  By doing this, a town has effectively handed the keys to its local building code to a third party.  The building code can be subject to modification any time. 
  3. An effective means of encouraging green building practices is through the use of financial incentives such as floor-area bonuses under the existing zoning, expedited review of building permits, and various tax credits and rebates

Good food for thought.  These are just a few points from the article.  It’s important to remember that LEED is a means to sustainability, it’s not the end, by any stretch of the imagination.  Nice work, Stephen. 

Chicago's LEED Silver Green Exchange: Viable??

Chicago_green_exchange

There’s a reason GreenBuild 2007, the green building industry’s major conference and expo, is going to be in Chicago. The city is just busting at the seams with progressive thinkers and eco-entrepreneurs. Recently, I noticed a news report about Baum Development rehabbing the old Cooper Lamp Factory in Logan Square into a one-stop, live-work, shopping center of green businesses and activities. It’s going to be called the Green Exchange.  The four-story, 250,000 square foot building, located at 2545 West Diversey Avenue, will be renovated to LEED Silver standards with a variety of uses including retail, showroom galleries, office, and incubator lofts. 

The Baum Development team is planning on some aggressive green renovations. The parking spaces will have electrical outlets for hybrid cars, but that’s not all: hybrids have priority parking privileges. There will be a 9.000 square foot sky garden, solar panels on the roof, and a roof garden. A rainwater cistern will collect water for the gardens and landscaping. Some other green features include the high-efficiency HVAC system, eco-friendly paints and stains, bike room and showers, car sharing services, and energy-efficient doors and windows. In total, Baum will spend about $30 million outfitting the old facility with the latest and greatest in green building technologies.

Read more »

LEED Silver Brickell Financial Centre (S2)

Miami_brickell_financial_centre_1 This is probably the quote of the year for a real estate developer: "I didn’t want a building that in 10 years would have to compete with all the new buildings that are LEED certified."  That’s what Loretta Cockrum, chairman and CEO of Foram Group, said in regards to her new LEED-CS Silver pre-certified project.  The $245 million, 1.5 million sf green project known as Brickell Financial Centre breaks ground in April and is set for completion in fall 2009. The first phase will consist of 600,000 square feet in a 40-story tower, the first floor for lobby and retail space and the second 11 for parking, topped by 28 floors of class-A office space. The second tower, rising 68 stories, will include retail and office space, and a 300-room hotel.  Lead architect RTKL will also have the help of Sasaki for the 30,000 square foot public plaza space, which is supposed to rival New York’s Rockefeller Plaza in scale. 

Green Features:
Like most LEED projects, there’s a slew of green features, so I’m just going to lay some of them out:  low-emissivity window glass covering to allow natural light and block solar heat; chilled water cooling system; low-flow and dual-flush toilets to cut down on potable-water use; storm water cisterns for irrigation; extensive use of low- or no-VOC paints, sealants, and adhesives throughout the building; and special storage facilities for people that bike to work.  As for construction materials, Foram Group will use materials that have a high percentage of recycled content and are sourced within a 500 mile radius. 

Extra Sources:
$245M Two-Tower Office, Hotel "Green" Project Planned in Miami [CPN]
A Fine Business Environment: Money Isn’t All that Will Be Green at Miami’s New Financial Center [Newsweek]

::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::

PVC Debacle, Green Affordable Housing, Home Depot + Green Roofs, + Corporate Environmentalists (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Hugging the Tree-huggers: Environmentalists at the Corporate TableBusinessWeek article on why so many companies are suddenly linking up with eco-groups.  Hint: Smart business. 
  2. Enterprise Encourages Legislation to ‘Green’ Affordable Housing – Enterprise joins Congressmen Adam Smith (D-WA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), John Lewis (D-GA) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) in support of legislation to "green" affordable housing by promoting energy efficiency, resource conservation and sustainable development in low-income communities across the country.
  3. The Home Depot Foundation Awards $300,000 Grant to Further Support Green Roof Development – Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) and Earth Pledge (EP) are pleased to announce the receipt of a $300,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation to support their combined efforts to advance the green roof industry in three key cities: Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.
  4. USGBC’s Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee Issues Final Report on PVC – The Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee (TSAC) of the USGBC issued its final report to USGBC’s LEED Steering Committee (LSC) on the technical and scientific basis for a PVC-related credit within the LEED® Green Building Rating System™.  The report raises broader questions; LEED Steering Committee to decide next steps, policy agenda, and potential actions.

ON PVC:
The existence of this struggle between PVC supporters and the USGBC suggests that PVC is not so green.  If you lobby hard enough, throw enough money at the cause, and wear enough people down, you can win in our day and age.  Generally speaking, people don’t stand up for what is right because doing so would require taking a visible position.  Taking a position requires persistence, diligence, ethics, and uncompromising, unwaivering fortitude.  So I ask, Mr. USGBC… do you have what it takes?  I hope you can swim upstream on this one or your existence will be completely and utterly futile.  If you can’t decide what’s green and what’s not, there is no need to certify buildings according to your ‘green’ standards.  imho.

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