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Former Bathhouse Gets LEED Platinum

Kerr Foundation

Located in a formerly desolate area of downtown St. Louis, the William A. Kerr Foundation building is a showcase for sustainable renovation strategies.  It started out in the late 1800’s as a bathhouse (it sits above a natural mineral spring), and thereafter as a paint warehouse — over time, it fell into disrepair.  The neighborhood was blighted when it was acquired by the owners, and they wanted to restore the building for the foundation’s offices and educational activities.  Subsequent to remediation and renovation, it was awarded 58 out of a possible 69 points by the USGBC and received LEED Platinum certification.  The William A. Kerr Foundation building has the following green features:

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Solucent Architectural Mesh Allows Natural Light While Saving Energy


Cambridge Architectural recently released a new product called Solucent, an architectural mesh system for building interiors and exteriors.  To market the product, they’ve created a clever tagline, too: "Where the Sun and Shade Mesh."  This statement conveys two concepts.  First, that architectural mesh is a flexible daylighting material that can be used to allow the desired amount of natural lighting through (and save costs on electrical lighting).  Second, the mesh also reduces interior solar heat gain by shading the sun, a feature that also leads to energy savings on cooling costs. 

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Eco-Laboratory Concept Living Building

Eco-Laboratory View from NE

This could just be one of the most innovative sustainable designs you’ll see all year.  Here’s the background: a team from Weber Thompson designed this building for the Cascadia Natural Talent Design Competition put on by the Emerging Green Builders of the USGBC.  They won the Cascadia competition and moved on to compete against about 15 other regional winners from around the country.   They won there, too, and "Eco-Laboratory" was announced as the winner of the 2008 Natural Talent Design Competition at Greenbuild.  Eco-Laboratory is a theoretical design set in Seattle with affordable and market-rate residential housing, a job training center, homeless shelter, hygiene station, and public farmer’s market. 

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World's Most Sustainable Airport Hangar


This is Hangar 25, a LEED Platinum certified airport hangar located at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California.  It’s the world’s first aviation hangar to achieve such a high level of certification from the USGBC.  The 60,000 square foot structure was built by Shangri-La Construction without a significant cost increase over building a non-green airport hangar — a fact that furthers the financial case for green building development.  Check out this green list of accomplishments:

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Inventor Creates Net-Zero Energy Island

North Dumpling Island

Dean Kamen is a well-known entrepreneur and inventor of various technologies, including the Segway, Project Slingshot, and a hybrid electrical car with a Stirling engine.  He’s also trying to establish an independent, net-zero energy island off the coast of Connecticut.  The three-acre private island is called North Dumpling, and if granted his wishes, it would have its own constitution, flag, and national anthem.  Kamen’s attempts at secession haven’t been successful yet, but that’s no surprise given the South wasn’t able to do it either.  He has found success installing LEDs and saving energy, though. 

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Embody Ups the Green Chair Ante

Embody Chair by Herman Miller

I’ve been a happy and devoted Haworth Zody user for over a year and my chair is time-tested, blogger-approved — it’s a beautiful hoss.  But my other chair, the office one, is quite hobbled and needs replacing.  So when I was walking the exhibit floor at Greenbuild, the Herman Miller Embody chair caught my eye in a big way.  Depending on the color you go for, it’s a loud chair, if not flamboyant, but that’s all part of its intrinsic ambition — and probably why Embody will be the next, must-have chair for stylish office types. 

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