I’m not going to write too much about this project because it’s under construction and we’ll end up doing more when it comes to life. Here, though, is the design for a living building — one that gives something back. It’s the kind of building that goes beyond LEED (although I think it will also get LEED certification, too). Schaar’s Bluff Gathering Center ranks within the top 1% of all sustainable structures, as compared to the USGBC’s registered buildings. How? The structure will generate its own power, react to weather conditions, reuse rainwater, and feed the animals with a trellis planted specifically with fruit vines. Located in Nininger Township, Minnesota, the 3,500 sf Gathering Center will also have an on-site wind turbine, operable windows linked to the HVAC system, a high performance building envelope, automated shading devices, in-floor radiant heating, and rainwater capture and treatment.
The Gathering Center will be a model of sustainable building for the future: living buildings.
Last July, when we brought news that Leonardo DiCaprio and Discovery were going to help rebuild the tornado-torn city of Greensburg, we didn't know the city was so focused on greening its infrastructure. Now comes news that the small Kansas town will require all city-owned buildings bigger than 4,000 sf to achieve a LEED Platinum rating from the USGBC.
You'll note that Platinum is as high as it gets under the LEED program. Greensburg is the first city anywhere to require such lofty standards in city buildings. Additionally, buildings must reduce energy use 42% over current building code requirements.
With a population of about 1500, there won't be many buildings that hit the mark, but it's a noble step in the right direction.