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Hawaii Gateway Energy Center, a Fascinating Display of Solar Potential

HGEC

The Hawaii Gateway Energy Center (HGEC) is a 3,600 sf, $3.4 million facility situated on the south coast of Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The new building serves both the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii and the Hawaii Ocean Sciences and Technology Park.  And as you may be able to gather from the images and models below, HGEC is a fascinating display of the future potential for synergies of solar power and building efficiencies.  The entire building is designed as a thermal chimney that captures heat and creates air movement using the structural form and thermodynamic principles.  Also, with the help of glazing, the building orientation and design pretty much eliminates the need for electric lighting during the day.  Notably, HGEC consumes about 20% of the energy that’s required by a comparable building. 

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Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Synagogue, a Modern LEED Platinum Building

JRC Synagogue

The Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation synagogue is a beautiful building on 303 Dodge Avenue in Evanston, Illinois.  The Chicago Tribune reports that it’s "believed to be the first synagogue designed to achieve the highest level — platinum — in the [USGBC's LEED] rating system."  That’s probably true.  The  JRC board of directors mandated LEED Platinum certification, but my search of LEED Certified projects does not list the JRC synagogue yet.  Nevertheless, it’s a fine example of green architecture in the religious building context, which is something we don’t see too often. 

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Old Warehouse Converted to Modish Green Offices

RiverEast Center

Sometimes I wonder what kind of miracle it took to bring a deal like this to fruition.  You have this abandoned, 40-year old warehouse with contamination, structural, and code issues.  Nobody wants it.  And it’s probably much easier to go somewhere else and just do what everyone else does.  You rent space or build a new building.  But Jeff Reaves, president of Group MacKenzie, and Jay Haladay, owner of Coaxis, saw major potential in this dilapidated structure now known as RiverEast Center.  They decided to buy the property and wanted to convert it to office space for each of their growing company’s headquarters.  The result?

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Discovery HQ Takes Rare LEED-EB Platinum

Discovery Communications LEED

Discovery, aka "the number-one nonfiction media company" and recent purchaser of Treehugger, now has legit green digs.  LEED-EB stands for LEED Existing Buildings, but the certification standard has recently undergone a renovation to LEED Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance.  Up until now, the LEED-EB Platinum certification has been pretty rare, but we’ll see if that changes post-renovation.  The Clinton Library got a Platinum and so did the headquarters of both Armstrong and Adobe.  So, it looks like Discovery’s 540,000 sf building is in good company.  Here’s what they did to get the high distinction:

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Austin's Ronald McDonald House Going for Platinum

Pc130173

Recently, Ronald McDonald House Charities made the decision to integrate sustainable design and energy efficiency in all future facilities, whether new, expanded, or remodeled.  As you can tell with this RMHC of Austin and Central Texas, which has 30 rooms to accommodate families with ill or injured children being treated in local area hospitals, they mean business when it comes to going green.  Here, RMHC is going all the way by seeking that LEED Platinum paper.

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Next Generation Wal-Mart Uses 25% Less Energy!

Walmart_supercenter

I know, I know.  I’m treading on thin water with this one, what with all the haters and anti-sprawlsters out there.  But strictly to make the point that businesses can use less and save money, I like this story.  Next week, Wal-Mart will open the first store of the company’s next generation of green stores in Romeoville, Illinois.  Where their first generation of two green stores saved about 20% energy, this store will save about 25% energy.  The energy savings result from experimentations in refrigeration and heating/cooling systems in their first generation of green stores. 

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