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.
Aesthetically speaking, Eco-Laboratory is quite slick, but the innovative symbiosis of the systems, I believe, earned them a grand prize at Greenbuild. You can enlarge the models above to see the energy (left), ventilation (center), and water (right) systems specifics.
Eco-Laboratory includes a rainwater collection system; hydroponic garden to grown food for the community; biological wastewater treatment system to convert black water to greywater and potable water; earth tubes to funnel clean, natural air into the building through underground ducts; vertical axis wind turbines and solar panels for on-site green energy; and hydrogen fuel cells powered by methane, a byproduct of the wastewater treatment system.
Eco-Laboratory was designed by Myer Harrell, LEED AP; landscape designer Dan Albert, LEED AP; and former Weber Thompson staff members Brian Geller, LEED AP (now Sustainability Specialist with Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects); and Chris Dukehart.
Congratulations to the entire team for a fantastic and thoughtful design!
Image credits: Weber Thompson.