The Navy has commissioned a $39.5 million, 2-level, 6 courtyard apartment community for about 420 Naval service members in Norfolk Naval Station. What’s most impressive is that the community will use environmentally friendly design and pursue LEED certification. Dubbed Market Style Apartments, the apartments were designed by VOA Associates, a Chicago-based firm with considerable LEED experience. In addition to the spacious courtyard areas, there will be 3 two-story lounge areas for social gatherings. Generally speaking, the design is part of an overall movement towards friendlier, welcoming military housing. In addition to using recycled materials in its construction, the apartments are expected to consume 20% less energy. There will be low-VOC paints, carpets + other indoor products and the fixtures will be chosen for water savings (low-flow fixtures, efficient shower heads, and automated water shut-offs). Construction begins in the Spring 2007 and finishes 2008-2009. Via MHN.
Never mind the fact that I’m supposed to be finishing a final for intellectual property, I spent the day at Victory Park and the new Dallas W Hotel, attending the Mixed Use Summit, presented by Commercial Property News and Multi-Housing News. I found the seminar extremely enlightening and educational; I wanted to pass on some nuggets of green development wisdom. If you could provide a nugget, a quote of sorts, on green building and the future of sustainability, what would it be? Comments are open.
"If you’re not thinking about sustainability, you’re missing the boat. TODs, urban development, LEED, etc. There are four reasons you should be thinking about it: (1) it’s the right thing to do, (2) your competition’s doing it, (3) it adds value to the project, and (4) it speeds up the process." – Ken Ryan, Principal of EDAW Inc.
- "This is where the future is going and groups are getting staffed up with LEED Accredited Professionals, they’re getting everyone certified."
- "It’s sort of a best practices thing."
- "It’s easier to sell LEED to corporate tenants, rather than human tenants, but we’re starting to get there…"
- "If you have a project and people are worried about the bottom line, it’s tough to go LEED, especially the contractors–they’re hard to get on board, but the sales appeal is very big. Developers know the appeal is big and they’re trying to figure it out…"
- "In a place like Chicago, with all the requirements they have, you’re about 3/4 the way to LEED, so you might as well take the plunge and go all the way."
This conference had many of the best developers and architects from around the country in one room, strategizing and talking about the future of land use, specifically urban development + smart growth, in the US.
Dubai has money like no other place I’ve ever seen. They’re working to beat Taipei 101, so they can have the tallest building in the world. Now, they’ve announced this building called Times Residences, which is aiming to be the only rotating residential structure in the world. Solar energy will be stored and used to rotate the 80,000 ton, 30-floor structure, 52 degrees every 24 hours. The project will cost about $109M/Dh400. Construction is slated to begin June 2007 and end in the first quarter of 2009. Units will range in size from 1-5 bedrooms and everything will be up-scale + luxurious. The project was designed by Glenn Howells Architects + Palmer and Turner.
In total, there will be 200 residences and everyone will have a 360 degree view due to the solar- powered rotation. Apparently, one will also be able to tell time by the way the building is lined up, etc. Although prices for the residences have not been released, sales are expected to begin in March 2007. What’s more, the developer, Dubai Property Ring, plans to build 23 more rotating towers in each of the world’s time zones. Whether the building actually gets built is another story. And although the company states the technology will allow the building to rotate 5 mm/second using a mere 21 electric kettles’ worth of electricity, I’m thinking there must be a better use for all that solar power. What do you think? Via ecofriend.
The December 2006 edition of Buildings magazine included the Editor’s Choice Top Product Picks (about 100 different products) and I wanted to talk about one certain product. Assume the following: you’re a developer, you’re going green, and you’re working hard to get approval on something like a large PUD, or maybe something like what the guys at LandPooling do. Well, you’re going to have beautiful, open green space and the proper benches and lighting to allow residents to enjoy the development. Take a gander at the Knight family of products available at Forms+Surfaces. The Knight Bench is sharp looking and comes backed/backless, with/without armrests, in 6-foot + 8-foot lengths. You choose. The bench is surface mounted.
First, it’s fabricated with solid aluminum made of 95 % recycled content. The surface is then clear-coated to resist oxidation (not sure what the coat is). The wood slats are Ipe, which is a sustainably harvested wood that has the USDA Forest Products Laboratory’s highest rating for decay and insect resistance. The bench is fully recyclable, which is important when looking to the life cycle.
The Knight series also includes a litter receptacle, bollard (CFL or HID), and pedestrian lighting. The geometric design of the Knight series is completely amazing. You’ll note that Forms+Surfaces is a member of the USGBC and committed to sustainability (www.forms-surfaces.com).
Green building renovation is the future; there are so many inefficient structures and the time will come when deciding not to renovate a building would be similar to using a typewriter when you have a laptop. Why not start now? Natural Home Magazine is chronicling a developer who will take a seedy, dilapidated (Boerum Hill) Brooklyn building and remodel it with cutting edge technology and green features. The developers, Rolf Grimstead + Emily Fisher of R&E Brooklyn, bought it and plan to make it New York’s first American Lung Association Health House.
The interior will use IceStone recycled counters (C2C), salvaged wood or bamboo flooring, and Kirei board cabinets. Finishes will be with low or no-VOC water-based poly (American Pride). The house will be wired with solar energy via photovoltaic panels. Also, there will be a solar-thermal and gas-fired system to heat and cool the place. In addition, the developers will use the Health House criteria (regarding moisture + humidity control, energy efficiency, and air filtration + ventilation) to guide them in making the indoor air quality top notch. This should be an interesting project to follow throughout 2007.
93 Nevins/453 Pacific: 2 Eco-smart Townhouses [R&E Brooklyn]
Brownstoner Blog Post on the 2 Eco-smart Townhouses [Brownstoner]
One aspect of green building that gets overlooked is financial independence. For instance, a commercial business may make an investment in solar power (provided incentives and rebates make it economically feasible) to stabilize electricity bills and hedge against future electricity cost increases. Another example is the principle of waste reduction in green building. Did you know that building green often costs the same or just a little bit more than standard code-built homes? And did you know that even then, green homes will require less money going forward than standard code-built homes? To that end, here are some affordable green building strategies (click this link to read more about each strategy): Global Green’s 20 Affordable Green Building Strategies:
- Orient the Building to Maximize Natural Daylighting
- Place Windows to Provide Good Natural Ventilation
- Select a Light-colored Cool Roof
- Provide overhangs on South-facing Windows (be careful of your hemisphere!)
- Install Whole-House Fans or Ceiling Fans
- Eliminate Air Conditioning
- Provide Combined-Hydronic Heating
- Install Fluorescent Lights with Electronic Ballasts
- Install High R-value Insulation
- Select Energy Star Appliances
- Design Water-efficient Landscapes
- Install Water-efficient Toilets + Fixtures
- Use Permeable Paving Materials
- Use 30-50% Flyash in Concrete
- Use Engineered Wood for Headers, Joists, and Sheathing
- Use Recycled-content Insulation, Drywall, and Carpet
- Use Low- or No-VOC Paint
- Use Formaldehyde-free or Fully Sealed Materials for Cabinets + Counters
- Vent Rangehood to the Outside
- Install Carbon Monoxide Detector
[Key: Energy, Water, Materials, Indoor Air Quality] Now, some of these may only work for new construction or for renovation, etc., but this is a good starting point for going green, in an affordable way. Keep in mind the geographic constraints–this isn’t an exhaustive list for every location in the world. Different locations present unique circumstances and opportunities can vary greatly. Via Global Green.