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GE Green Architecture Think Tank homework :: Only two participants so far... People? It's all about follow-up, so where are you?


Darek Shapiro

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Think Tank Notes

A 50% increase in electrical cost over the next 14 months.
will make CT the most expensive state for electric cost per watt in the USA.

On site energy generation for buildings.

AIT High School
Magnet School at old Clairol site.
5 Megawatt generation at sewage plant. Possible peaking power generation facility there also.

Residential : Young families and end users most interested.
Schools: When children get involved parents will come around.
Commercial: Renters in commercial buildings.

Demonstrate a cost neutral solution or better using Life cycle cost analysis.
Some things don't have as direct a payback like certified wood or recycled materials.
Get groups other than architects to pitch the advantages of green building to make the sale.

Locally State Senator John McKinney has helped build a bipartisan coalition that nearly passed
green legislation last fall session. Lets build momentum in the state legislature by writing our
local state senators about green building being the low hanging fruit part of the CT
Action plan, it make a big difference.

10 Stories high.
1st floor 30% open to weather. 60% commercial space. 10% circulation.
2nd floor garage with 200 sq. ft allotment to each unit for parking.
Day Care center at third floor at south winter garden solarium. Gym also on third floor.
5 and 1/2 floors of residential and commercial mixed use. Restaurant on 1/2 of top floor.

Operable windows.
Natural convection using stack effect to minimize cooling loads.
ERV'S ( energy recovery ventilators) to provide tempered fresh air in summer and winter.

Maximum of 30,000 BTU per sq. ft.
Stack ventilation flows through a roof turbine to make hydrogen using wind power
through Avalence system. (Avalence Company Milford, CT.)
Geothermal heat pumps to heat and cool the building.
Loads should be balanced as as not to heat or cool the earth excessively.
IE: similar loads for heating and cooling in winter and summer.

P.V. ( solar electric module) mountable surfaces at spandrel beam and patio railing.
Solar hot water collectors on roof, such as for potable water.

Point of use Filtration using reverse-osmosis system to filter city water.
Grey water systems from sink and shower drainage to be used for flushing water.
Rainwater is best harvested for irrigation use.

Structure is Steel frame
High performance building envelope with Low-E glass
Green roof with low maintenance plants such as sedum, and possible food garden area.
Use Green Spec website.
Bamboo plywood flooring
Plastic wood decking
Floor shoe cleaners at entry areas.
FSC certified lumber for finishes such as casing.
Zero formaldehyde bonding agents.No VOC glues. Low VOC materials.

Darek Shapiro
Environmental Architecture LLC


Michele Helou

Monday, January 09, 2006

My message is that green building can be more effort and can be more expensive - so it’s important to understand that a better product will be valuable to building clients for a variety of other reasons that in the end are sometimes more compelling than dollars and cents. Of course, energy and other utility measures that may cost more upfront but save money over time are a big incentive for green building, but there are other selling points even when the numbers don’t work in your favor. Different clients will be attracted to different aspects of green building. Schools, hospitals, and daycare centers will be concerned about choosing healthy, non-toxic building materials, good indoor air and general environmental quality. There are many studies that link high performance kids to high performance schools, faster healing rates to healthy hospital environments, and non-toxic materials to healthy growing bodies. Companies and organizations may find that green building aligns with their business mission and offers a good story to tell about their commitment in addition to improving staff productivity. Even speculative builders will choose green if they see an increased marketing potential. Cities and towns will be attracted to high building standards because it will attract good attention and investment into making thriving, livable communities.

Ultimately all of these decisions come down to people’s values, and it is very true, that most often, people will want to do good things even if it costs a little more. We all consider purchasing organic foods, taking mass transit, or buying local, not because there is a financial payback, but because ultimately we value the improved health, convenience, and good community and environmental quality they offer.

What a fun time on the building charrette – let’s do more of this! The goal in my practice is to get clients and design participants to realize that good green design starts at the very beginning because the first thoughts about design orientation, building massing, occupancy type and schedule, and zoning systems turn out to be the most critical for improved energy and environmental performance – and they usually do not increase the cost. It is possible for the building itself to passively harness the free resources from the sun, wind, daylight and earth if you’ve got a design team that knows how to do it. As with anything complex, there are many trade-offs – capturing the sun’s heat in winter is great – but do it in the summer and you increase cooling loads to the point where you’ve negated any energy savings you had in winter. Orient windows south not only because you pick up some solar from low-angle sun in winter but because it is easy to shade high angle summer sun with a simple overhang! Look at all the site and building resources – wind – geothermal – water cooling – sun – daylight - first! Once we get the heating, cooling, and ventilation loads down as low as we can – then we start thinking about the mechanical equipment or renewable sources of energy on-site. Conservation first – then efficiency – that’s the way to do it and meet the budget! There is a fundamental difference between building envelope dominated (your house) and internally load dominated buildings where heat from people, lights, and equipment, put the building in a cooling mode a good portion of the year. This gets very complex so it is critical to have someone at the table who understands the problems to solve before a solution is prescribed – green design is a process!

Michele Helou
Green Building Services  


More to come...

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