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Green Building: The Latest Architecture and News

Is Integrating Building Performance Difficult at Your Firm?

In a study recently published by AIA, less than 13% of architectural firms have incorporated building performance as part of their practice. With buildings contributing 40% of total carbon emissions leading to climate change, just 25 projects are roughly equivalent to planting 1 million trees each year. In addition to that, teams that are able to showcase data-driven and performance-driven decision-making and feature an energy analysis in every pursuit are able to increase fees and generate more revenue. Although integrating building performance sounds like a no-brainer, it proves to be difficult at many firms, because in addition to the practical changes, it requires a culture shift. That culture shift can only happen if the tools are easy to use, accurate, and mesh well with current workflows. Right now is the perfect time to tackle these culture changes due to a few reasons:

Stefano Boeri Proposes Vertical Forests for Cairo

Courtesy of The Big Picture Courtesy of The Big Picture Courtesy of The Big Picture + 9

Stefano Boeri Architetti has unveiled its vision for the first vertical forests in Africa, in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. The 3 cubes or the 3 experimental edifices consisting of one hotel and two residential structures, will be part of the new administrative town plan, under construction in the southeast of the city.

5 Ways to Discuss Building Performance for Your Next Project Pursuit

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Today in the United States, buildings account for nearly 40% of carbon emissions (EESI) and 78% of electricity usage. The most sustainability-focused firms run energy simulations for less than 50% of their projects (10% for a typical firm) and only doing so late in the process when design changes are limited and insufficient to combat red flags found in the performance report (AIA 2030 report). We can make building performance widespread once we help the entire community discuss the subject in terms of investment and return. Especially during a project pursuit, since having the buy in from the whole team helps ensure the key project metrics are met. Owners are seeking out teams who are using actual metrics and data driven processes that affect their bottom line. This new approach to practice is what makes the younger teams’ standout and will benefit both the climate and the bottom-line. Here are 5 ways to talk about building performance in your project pursuits: 

Rwanda’s Bugesera International Airport to Set Records for Sustainability

Rwanda’s largest publicly funded project, Bugesera International Airport is on track to be the first certified green building in the region. A few pieces of this net zero emission complex include: a 30,000 square metre passenger terminal, 22 check-in counters, ten gates, and six passenger boarding bridges. Funded by Public Private Partnership, the project is cost estimated at $414 million USD. The international hub was only one of several initiatives discussed by the Africa Green Growth Forum (AGGF) in Kigali at the end of last year.

Call for Entries: 2018 UK Passivhaus Awards

The Oscars for building performance have returned! The 2018 UK Passivhaus Awards are free to enter for all certified Passivhaus & EnerPHit schemes that not only have architectural ambition, but can also prove their impeccable eco credentials.

Benefits of Entering:
• The UK Passivhaus Awards are the only dedicated awards for Passivhaus in the UK.
• All shortlisted projects in the awards will be promoted as exceptional examples of their sector through all the Passivhaus Trust marketing channels and the media.
• All finalists will present their project at the awards ceremony, due to take place on the 24th October 2018, at London

Greenbuild International Conference and Expo

Excitement is building as preparations take place for the 2017 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, scheduled for Nov. 8-10 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, MA.

Greenbuild, owned and operated by Informa Exhibitions and sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the nation’s largest conference and expo dedicated to sustainable building design and construction. The three-day conference attracts 18,000 attendees and over 500 exhibitors annually from across the green building sector, spanning commercial and residential professionals, architects, building owners and operators, students, advocates, and educators.

Vertical Village - SOM Leads Design of Major Mixed-Use District in Bangkok

Chicago-based Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) has unveiled plans for One Bangkok, a new 16Ha mixed-use development in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. Working in collaboration with architects, engineers, sustainability experts and landscape architects, both local and international, SOM seeks to create the single largest private-sector development in Thailand to date - a vertical village providing homes and places of work for an estimated 60,000 people. Through One Bangkok, SOM challenged themselves to translate the vibrancy and energy of Bangkok's neighborhoods into a vertical environment, whilst promoting a 'sense of place' and district-level sustainability.

One Bangkok will provide retail, hotels, offices, as well as homes for 60,000 people. Image Courtesy of SOM via Atchain Situated adjacent to Lumphini Park, the scheme offers 8Ha of public space. Image Courtesy of SOM via Atchain Streetscapes, public plazas and greenspaces all contribute to a welcoming sense of place. Image Courtesy of SOM via Atchain A variety of towers will feature individual identities such as green terraces and sky gardens. Image Courtesy of SOM via Atchain + 4

Fact-Finding Mission to Germany: Energy Efficiency in Buildings

The fact-finding mission to Germany for US Architects is part of the "Energy Efficiency - Made in Germany" initiative of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy and is organized by energiewaechter GmbH and the German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. in New York. Joining the fact-finding mission to Frankfurt and Darmstadt will give US Architects the opportunity to learn about innovative German technologies and services in the field of energy efficient buildings and passive house.

Natural Building Techniques Inspired From Traditional Constructions

The workshop is organized by SADAS-PEA (Greek Architects Association) in order to promote the principle of environmentally friendly architecture. It is addressed to young architects and students of architecture. It will take place at the Stamos Stournas guesthouse near the city of Volos, Greece between September 17th and September 25th 2016.

Are Tree-Covered Skyscrapers Really All They Set Out to Be?

Are tree covered buildings really in tune with ecological and sustainable principles, or are they just a form of greenwashing? This is the question posed by Kurt Kohlstedt in his essay, Renderings vs. Reality: The Improbable Rise of Tree-Covered Skyscrapers, for 99% Invisible. The author notes that vegetated designs come about for myriad reasons – the appearance of sustainability, better air and views, investment intrigue – but that most of these concepts will never leave the realm of paper or virtual architecture. For as many reasons that these buildings have become popular, there are detractors for why they simply cannot be built, including daunting construction hurdles (extra concrete and steel), vast irrigation systems, added wind load complexities, and the trees themselves having difficulty adapting to their vertiginous conditions.

"Grassroots Cactivism": Using Cacti and Eco-Tourism to Combat Drought in California

Although global warming may only be partially to blame for California’s now four-year, record-breaking drought – intensifying it by 15 to 20 percent, say scientists – the long term implications of the weather phenomenon are a preview of a drier future with less predictable weather patterns.[1] As ecology and architecture begin to share responsibility in the implications of climate change, future solutions will need to balance architectural needs with ecological imperatives. Many designers are accounting for water scarcity in schemes for the drought-stricken state, but only recently have ideas addressed this issue head-on. “Grassroots Cactivism,” an award-winning proposal by Ali Chen, suggests that the drought-tolerant nopales cactus, with a variety of uses, is an ideal candidate for aiding water-conservation in California.

Read on for more about this biological breakthrough in water conservation.

Resort Cafe. Image Courtesy of Ali Chen Cacti Yard Aerial, Day. Image Courtesy of Ali Chen Cacti Pond, Water Treatment Tanks. Image Courtesy of Ali Chen Resort + Cacti Yard Aerial, Sunset. Image Courtesy of Ali Chen + 7

Finalists Create Next Generation of Sustainable Building Products

In attempts to better define what it really means to be green, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, in partnership with Make it Right, has selected products from ten companies as finalists in the Product Innovation Challenge. 144 applicants were screened by toxicologists and building professionals, proposing new alternatives from insulation grown from fungi and bricks from living organisms, to roofing made from waste limestone and recycled plastic. The ten finalists represent the shared values of practical sustainability and entrepreneurship, creating "a building product that is safe, healthy, affordable, effective and designed to be returned safely to nature or industry after use."

Three winners will ultimately be announced on November 15, 2013 at the Institute's Innovation Celebration in New York City, offering a $250,000 cash prize: $125,000 for first place, $75,000 for second and $50,000 for third. The jury members, who include executives from Google, US Green Building Council and the Schmidt Family Foundation, will judge each product based on five categories: material health, material reutilization, water stewardship, renewable energy and social fairness.

Without further ado, the 10 finalists are…

Harvard Reaches 50 LEED Certified Projects

10 Akron Street © Harvard Office for Sustainability
10 Akron Street © Harvard Office for Sustainability

The U.S. Green Building Council has recently announced that Harvard University has achieved a worldwide first – the construction and completion of 50 LEED certified buildings. It is also a great feat for an institution as large as Harvard. They were able to successfully coordinate a decentralized campus with separate buildings that each have their own organizational structures. Read more about the five lessons they learned along the way after the break.