At the annual Greenbuild International Conference in Philadelphia last week, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) finally announced the latest version of LEED. Aiming to make a larger forward step than previous versions, LEED v4 is described by Rick Fedrizzi, the CEO and president of USGBC as a “quantum leap”. But what are the key changes in the new LEED criteria, and what effect will they have? Furthermore, what problems have they yet to address? Read on to find out.
After fifty years of neglect the Empire Stores, located next to the Brooklyn Bridge, are now the most coveted waterfront property in New York. Midtown Equity has partnered with Studio V Architecture to adaptively reuse the 19th-century coffee warehouse into 380,000 square-feet of office, restaurant and commercial space, highlighted by a Brooklyn-centric cultural museum. “After the Brooklyn Bridge,” says Joe Cayre, Chairman of Midtown Equities, “the Civil War era Empire Stores are the most iconic structures on the Brooklyn waterfront. As a Brooklyn native who raised my family in the borough, it is an honor for my firm to be chosen for the redevelopment of the Empire Stores.”
Learn more after the break…
The term ‘green’ is notoriously difficult to define, and even more so when it comes to architecture. An often overused and fashionable way of describing (or selling) new projects, ‘green’ design seems to have permeated into every strand of the design and construction industries. Kaid Benfield (The Atlantic City) has put together a fascinating case study of a 1,700 dwelling housing estate near San Diego, challenging what is meant by a ‘green’ development in an attempt to understand the importance of location and transport (among other factors) in making a project truly environmentally sustainable. In a similar vein, Philip Nobel (The New York Times) explores how ‘green’ architecture is less about isolated structures and far more about “the larger systems in which they function”. Read the full article from Kaid Benfield here, and Philip Nobel’s full article here.
The US Green Building Council’s federally adopted LEED certification system has come under legislative siege with lobbyists from the timber, plastics and chemical industries crying out, “monopoly!” Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama have lead efforts to ban LEED, claiming the USGBC’s closed-door approach and narrow-minded material interests have shut out stakeholders in various industries that could otherwise aid in the sustainable construction of environmentally-sensitive buildings.
Most recently, Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, slipped in a last minute amendment to both the Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation appropriation bills stating no tax money may be used to require implementation of any green building certification system other than a system that:
In an excellent article for The New Republic, Sam Roudman brilliantly tackles many of the same, timely issues as Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros in “Why Green Architecture Hardly Ever Deserves the Name.” Roudman unpacks the loop-holes of LEED, most notably how it ignores a building’s intended use, which often make a building anything but sustainable at all. Read the whole article at The New Republic.
Originally published on Intercon, Ohioan and Africa-based architect Charles Newman, LEED AP discusses the pitfalls of LEED in rural Africa. Newman, who is currently working for the International Rescue Committee in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, is dedicated to the integration of sustainability in communities worldwide. Learn more about his work and travels on his blog Afritekt.
While in a small southern town of the Democratic Republic of Congo in mid-2012, a colleague of mine approached me for some guidance on a large health proposal he was putting together. A portion of the grant would be earmarked for the construction of hundreds of clinics across the DR Congo, and he mentioned that the donor would be very interested in “green” building standards. Knowing that I was a LEED Accredited Professional, he began asking how we might be able to incorporate such building standards into the designs for the pending projects. I rattled off some general guidelines such as using local materials – recycled ones if available, incorporating existing infrastructure, natural ventilation, etc. He jotted down a few notes, then began to pry a little deeper. “What about the LEED point system? Could we incorporate that into our strategy?”
My response was frank: “No, not really. LEED doesn’t work here in rural Africa.”
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has appointed HOK’s green-building leader Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, to a consulting position as a Resident Fellow. In this position, Lazarus will help guide and influence a program heavily based in sustainability and health as the AIA implements its ten-year pledge to the Decade of Design: Global Urban Solutions Challenge, a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action. The purpose of the commitment is to document, envision and implement solutions that leverage the design of urban environments through research, community participation, and design frameworks. It is a commitment based in the interest of public health with special attention to the use of natural, economic, and human resources.
More about Mary Ann Lazarus’s work and future at the AIA after the break.
Similar to what LEED did for buildings, City Protocol promises to do for cities. The first certification system for smart cities, due to come out in April 2013, is being developed with the guidance of over 30 organizations. It will provide a framework for designing sustainable systems in a model that integrates the vast number of elements that contribute to urban development. This global thinking expands upon the goals of the LEED certification system, which provides a more isolated, building specific agenda for architects.
More about the City Protocal Certification Program after the break.
At this point, it’s fairly uncontroversial to say that the Earth is under siege. From us, from our resource-consuming ways, ultimately, from our thoughtlessness.
Green Design is not just a catch-phrase, but a mindset. As Architects, implementing the principles of Green Design means putting thoughtfulness back into our actions, conscientiously considering our built environment, and reversing the havoc we have wreaked on our resources.
To do that, we need to know what Green Design means, and be able to evaluate what it is and isn’t. Using Earth Day as our excuse then, let’s examine the single most influential factor on the future of Green Design: LEED.
To its credit, LEED has moved a mountain: it has taken the “mysticism” out of Green Design and made Big Business realize its financial benefits, incentivizing and legitimizing it on a grand scale.
But as LEED gains popularity, its strength becomes its weakness; it’s becoming dangerously close to creating a blind numbers game, one that, instead of inspiring innovative, forward-looking design, will freeze us in the past.
Read the 10 Pros & Cons of LEED, after the break…
Understanding that environmental responsibility is an integral part of design excellence, Perkins + Will’s new Atlantic office, known as 1315 Peachtree, serves as an example on how current technologies can be used to achieve LEED Platinum Certification, meet the 2030 Challenge and help reduce toxic materials from our building products.
1315 Peachtree is an adaptive reuse of a 1985 office structure transformed into a high performance civic-focused building. Located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta across from the High Museum of Art, the new building continues to house the Peachtree Branch of the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library and introduces a new street-level tenant space occupied by the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA). The Perkins+Will Atlanta office occupies the top four floors with office space for up to 240 employees. Continue reading for more information on the highest LEED score building in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Y.S Sun Green Building Research Center at National Kung University in Taiwan has recently been awarded top honors by the USGBC, in addition to receiving the Taiwan Ecology, Waste Reduction and Health Diamond Certification from the Ministry of Interior. The three-story 4800 square meter building utilizes 13 different sustainable building techniques in order to achieve a 65% energy savings and a 50% water savings over typical office buildings.
Architect: Line and Space, LLC
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Completion Date: 2011
Project Area: 52, 700SqFt
Client: US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management
Contractor: Straub Construction
Structural Engineer: Holben, Martin, and White Consulting Structural Engineers
Civil Engineer: GLHN Architects and Engineers
Exhibit/Interpretive Consultant: Hilferty and Associates
Photography: Robert Reck, Henry Tom
Architect: Line and Space, LLC
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Project Year: 2008
Project Size: 25,000 SqFt
Client: City of Phoenix
Contractor: Linthicum Constructors Inc.
Structural Engineer: Caruso Turley Scott
Civil Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineer: Energy Systems Design
Landscape Architect: McGann and Associates
Photography: Bill Timmerman, Henry Tom
Architect: Ehrlich Architects
Location: Beverly Hills, California
Project Year: 2009
Client: City of Beverly Hills
Contractor: Bayley Construction
Structural Engineer: John A. Martin & Associates Inc.
MEP Engineer: IBE Consulting Engineer
Civil Engineer: KPFF
Landscape Design: LRM Inc.
Acoustic Consultant: Schaffer Acoustics Inc.
Lighting Consultant: HLB Lighting Design
Cost Estimation: C.P. O’Halloran Associates
Specifications: CSI Specifications
Photography: RMA Architectural Photographers