Page 1

HCMA’s Living Building for Kids 84 Passive House Hits a Tipping Point 52 Inside Perkins+Will’s Sprout Space 92 Notes from the EV Revolution 46 G R E E N B U I L D I N G & D E S I G N J A N U A R Y+ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 14

Guest Edited by David Abel



Leads to LEED Platinum ®

Innovation. Sustainability. Efficiency. BEFORE


Edith Green Federal Building Modernization Project


6 Otis Gen2Mod Systems w/Compass Destination Management

8 Elevators w/Gearless DC Machines

Space Savings Registered under the LEED® green building certification program

Energy Savings

Recycled Waste

Eliminated Lubricants

Improved Air Quality

The Otis Contribution Toward LEED® Platinum Certification


Space Savings:

Enhanced Ride Quality:

The Compass system enabled a 2-car reduction so former elevator shafts could be used to improve the building’s HVAC system.

Gen2 polyurethane-coated steel belts and use of Otis ULTRA roller guides offer a smoother, enhanced ride quality.

Energy Savings:

Elimination of Lubricants:

The Gen2Mod system’s ReGen drive (PF 0.98) uses 65% less energy compared to a conventional elevator. The Compass system reduces each elevator run time by 20-40%.

Gen2 belts and Glide P door operators require no lubrication; lubricants for wire ropes and conventional bearings were eliminated.

Minimizing Waste:

Coated-steel belts, permanent magnet motors and permanently sealed bearings eliminate airborne carbons and lubricants.

All materials removed were recycled to lessen landfill impact and enable steel reuse.



A ReGen Drive

Up to 75% more energyefficient than conventional systems with non-regenerative drives

B Compact Gearless Machine

70% smaller and up to 50% more efficient than conventional geared machines


Improved Air Quality:

C Pulse Belt Monitoring System

Greater assurance with continuous, accurate monitoring and reporting

D Flexible Coated Steel Belts

For outstanding design flexibility

Glide™ P Door Operator Permanent magnet technology with precision-engineered noise reduction eliminates carbon-brush dust and requires no lubrication.

Conventional Up/Down Button System Passengers choose their own elevators – results in disorganized travel paths.

Conventional Destination Management System Passengers going to the same destination are assigned to the same elevator.

Otis’ Patented SmartGrouping Technology Groups passengers and stops – Those going to the same destination are assigned to the same elevator and elevators are assigned to serve group of floors/zones.

Up to 50% Faster than Conventional Destination Management Systems

Learn in rooms full of light.

High-performance lighting for high-performance learning. The award-winning, ecomodular Sprout Space™ classroom from Perkins+Will features Acuity Brands LED lighting and digital controls — a core strategy in the achievement of a net-zero energy building. Learn more about Smart + Simple lighting solutions at

© 2013 Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc. All rights reserved.


In This Issue gb&d ®

January + February 2014 Volume 5, Issue 25

“I think women engineers have an appreciation for complexity and ambiguity. Women are good at dealing with chaos.”



An Unlikely Powerhouse How a Solar Decathlon team and two housing organizations built an affordable, net-zero home in DC



Fully Charged Los Angeles is the epicenter of electric vehicles and the new infrastructure they require




NRG Energy’s Robyn Beavers is upending the electrical grid with revolutionary microgrid technology

With Europeans on board for decades, three new projects prove Passive House is finally gaining traction stateside

Aiming to be Canada’s first Living Building, UniverCity’s new childcare center continues the town’s purpose as the proverbial “city upon a hill”

Why Smaller is Smarter

Passive House, USA

Nature + Nurture

january–february 2014



Table of Contents gb&d

Up Front


12 Guest Editor

24 New Systems = LEED

in Washington, DC

32 Anixter’s Eco-Friendly 38 Q&A: Tommy



Akridge and Mitsui Fudosan reach Platinum

BIM software brings big savings for corporate HQ

How the young veteran plans to change the system

David Abel is the best kind of policy wonk

14 Editor’s Picks

27 Urban Development

in Seattle

33 SIDCO’s Marketing


16 Notebook

Transit-oriented location fuels AMLI Residential

For sale: a net-zero home and a Tesla Model S

28 Auctioning Off a

35 Brazos Towers Gets


Expanding on a Houston senior housing mainstay

Products and projects pushing us forward Do LEED and data centers go together?

18 Defined Design

Brooks + Scarpa’s Yin Yang House

20 Testing Ground

Washington State tests highway LEDs

Net-Zero Home

De Young Properties raises millions for St. Jude’s

29 New Jersey’s

Emerging Market

Jaclyn Heights offers an alternative to Manhattan

40 The Nitty-Gritty of

Green Roofs

Welcome to the GRIT Lab—a data-rich testing ground in Toronto

44 The Best Laid Plants

Green gardens meet education at High Point University

48 Platinum Paradiso

The US Virgin Islands’ first LEED home is Platinum



18 6

january–february 2014


Inner Workings


Tough Builds

64 A Hurricane-

92 Meet Sprout Space

112 A Capitol for the 21st 124 Discussion Board

Hardened Fire Station

A green, indestructible station for Sarasota County, Florida

66 Is Active House

the Answer?

Architect Jeff Day completes the first US Active House

Inside Perkins+Will’s modular classroom

97 Under One Roof

Ohio State builds new without adding space

99 Spotlight: An Eco

Events Space

The story behind Chicago’s Loft on Lake

68 Inside an EcoArt


100 Federal Face-lift

Coconut Creek casino’s water-filtering sculpture

103 Shrinking a Carbon

‘Paw Print’

Inside Nestlé-Purina’s Danforth Center

An educational home for the EarthCraft community

106 Pedestrian Paradise


Renovating the Illinois State Capitol Building

Trade Winds

The remote facility behind the wind power

126 On the Boards

116 Harnessing Hawaii’s

Walkable, luxury apartments by Caruso Affiliated

Is there enough profit to drive market growth?

125 Material World Foamglas is an ideal insulation

118 Chemical Reactions

128 Toolbox

An upward expansion with Wilson Architects

Howard S. Wright reconstructs a Portland landmark

70 Net Zero at Serenbe

Punch List

Houston’s Marriott Marquis Passive products make perfect

129 On the Spot

With guest editor David Abel


110 Spotlight: Indigenous


Longhouses for the Puyallup Tribe

“The GRIT Lab project stands at the heart of a larger ecological discussion of urban infrastructure management in the face of climate change.” 40 gb&d

january–february 2014



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Benjamin van Loon, Christopher James Palafox CONTRIBUTORS

David Abel, Matt Alderton, Amy Coombs, Russ Klettke, Katrin Klingenberg, Jeff Link, Michelle Markelz, Alan Oakes, Lindsey Howald Patton, Kathryn Freeman Rathbone, Suchi Rudra, Julie Schaeffer, Tina Vasquez


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Jackie Brandys, Sarah Davis, Ben Fongers, Sara Garmon, Eric Henley, Jessica Holmes, Whitney Jude, Elliott Sheets


january–february 2014


Editor’s Note (Passive) House Party


We thought about getting a cake. And balloons. And then spelling P-A-S-S-I-V-E H-O-U-S-E with those balloons. That’s how seriously we’re taking the Passive House party around here. Did you get your invite? It should’ve come in the mail. Okay, your invitation more likely came from a client, or at a training, or maybe you’ve been here for years and we’re only now meeting (it’s a big party). It doesn’t matter how you found out about this gathering. The important thing is that you won’t want to leave. As Julie Torres Moskovitz puts it, “Once you’ve done one Passive House project, it’s hard to go back.” Moskovitz is the principal of Fabrica718, a Brooklyn-based design firm, and the author of 2013’s The Greenest Home: Superinsulated and Passive House Design, and her enthusiasm for this particular building standard, which prioritizes airtight envelopes and passive design strategies, comes from the fact that it’s all about numbers—and numbers don’t lie. Passive House designers use specific software to make truly informed energy calculations. Torres Moskovitz compares it to Excel—lots of “plug-ins and formulas”—and says that with it, architects are able to crunch the numbers regarding performance. Passive House isn’t new, but we’ve seen an uptick in interest in recent years, due in part to rising energy costs. Its rigorous goals, including an annual heating-and-cooling load of no more than 4.75 kBtu per square foot, often translate into massive savings for building owners. (Oh, did you think the certification was only for residential projects? It isn’t, one of many myths Katrin Klingenberg debunks on p. 62). Most importantly, when you couple these passive strategies with active systems such as solar panels, you have a recipe for a home that can affordably generate all its own power. That’s the crucial point. With an unlimited budget, any eighth grader can design a net-zero house. The difficulty comes when money is an object—and it always is. Affordability, therefore, is key to truly greening our built environment, and Passive House design, while it can necessitate certain gb&d

up-front costs, offers architects and developers a way to work smarter, not harder. Think about it this way. If a building’s energy use intensity (EUI) is 70 kBtu/ft2/yr and you want to achieve net-zero energy, you have to generate a substantial amount of kilowatt-hours of renewable energy. That may be cost-prohibitive, and so you scale things back, and in the end the building generates some, but not all, of its energy. Say 50 percent. But what if you’d focused on the first part of that equation, and worked to get the energy demand, the EUI, as low as possible? What if your starting number was 35 kBtu/ft2/yr, as it is for a Brooklyn home Torres Moskovitz recently renovated? Net-zero energy suddenly becomes more attainable because the same solar array that only accounted for 50 percent of the building’s energy is powering the whole thing easily. See what I mean? Smarter, not harder. For more on Passive House, turn to p. 52, or check out our cover story on the Empowerhouse (p. 74), a 2011 Solar Decathlon entry that followed Passive House standards and whose radical energy efficiency quickly caught the attention of Washington, DC, housing developers and the local Habitat for Humanity. I told you, it’s a party. See you inside,

Timothy A. Schuler, Managing Editor

ON THE COVER Martin Seck’s photo of the net-zero Empowerhouse (p. 74) was a perfect cover option—except for its width. To keep it full-size, we wrapped the photo and chose a clean, minimal design to best showcase the house.

january–february 2014



Index People & Companies

# A B C D E


8500 Burton Way, 107 Abel, David, 12 Active House Alliance, 66 Acuity Brands, 93 AireTrak, 30 Akridge, 24 Alsop, J. Richard, 113 Alvarez, Karolina, 30 American Association for the Advancement of Science, 24 Americana in Glendale, 109 AMLI Mark24, 27 AMLI Residential, 27 AMLI South Lake Union, 27 Andalusia, 59 Anixter, 32 Architecture for Humanity, 92 Arita-Poulson General Contracting, 116 Armstrong, Lukas, 57 Balfour Beatty Company, 101 Bayou Manor, 35 Beavers, Robyn, 122 Belfield Avenue Townhomes, 57 Bernards, 108 Bioroof Systems, 41 Blessing, Lonny, 36 Braun, Matthew, 101 Briggs, Laura, 76 Brooks + Scarpa Architects, 18 Brower, Kriz & Stynchcomb, 48 Brunk, Brenda, 58 Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, 86 Burts, Jess, 68 Calais, Keith, 20 Caruso Affiliated, 107 CBRE, 14 Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building, 97 Chevron Science Center, 119 Clayco, 32 Coconut Creek, 68 Costantino, Bernie, 97 Critical Facilities Services, 16 Culley, Lakiya, 80 D.R. Mon Group, 29 Daintree, 33 Danforth Learning Center, 103 Day, Jeff, 66 DC Department of Housing and Community Development, 76 De Young Properties, 28 De Young, Brandon, 28 Deanwood Learning Garden, 81 Dellinger, Frank, 49 DH Water Management, 41 DIALOG, 86 Discovery Green, 127 Eberly Hall, 119 Edith Green Wendall Wyatt Federal Building, 101 Ellis Square Visitor’s Center, 39 Empowerhouse, 76 Enck, Corey, 16 Jarnagin, Ron, 17 Energy All Over, 49

january–february 2014


Environmental Works, 110 Erickson, Arthur, 84 eVgo, 14 Fabrica718, 54 Fernandez, Waldo, 108 First Wind, 116 Flynn, 41 Foamglas, 125 Garrett, Cher, 99 Garrett, Steve, 99 General Services Administration, 101 GeoSpring, 30 German Landscape Research, Development and Construction Society, 41 Goodman, 30 Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory, 40 GreenWizard, 128 Guardian, 30 Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio, 46 Habitat for Humanity, 76 Hagaman, Ken, 32 Harris, Gordon, 84 Hawaiian Electric Company, 116 Heavy Materials, 49 Herndon, Diane, 103 Hetzel Design, 107 Hetzel, Branislav, 107 Hewlett Packard, 16 High Point University, 44 Hoag, Bill, 64 Hotson Bakker Architects, 86 Howard S. Wright, 101 Hudgins, Jim, 36 Hughes Condon Marler Architects, 87 Illinois State Capitol, 113 Imery Group, 70 Imery, Luis, 70 International Living Future Institute, 87 IRC Group, 41 Islcon VI, 48 Jaclyn Heights, 29 Jamestown Engineering, 45 Jeff Day & Associates Architecture, 66 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 14 Jones, Brendan, 46 Kawailoa Wind Project, 116 Kelly, Michael, 79 Klingenberg, Katrin, 70 Koppelman, Scott, 27 Kosik, Bill, 16 Kriz, Jarad, 48 Lewis, David, 76 Linstroth, Tommy, 38 Looney & Associates, 127 Looney, Jim, 127 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, 47 Lukas Armstrong Design + Consulting, 57 Mahal, Mohan, 33 Mahvash, Kourosh, 90 Margolis, Liat, 40 Mariana H. Qubein Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 44 Mark Line Industries, 93 Marler, Karen, 90


Marriott Marquis, 126 Martin, Chris, 119 Marvin Windows and Doors, 58, 128 Marvin, Christine, 58 Massey, Geoffrey, 84 McCoskey, Gene, 104 McDonald, Tim, 57 McKenna, Kevin, 32 McLennan, Jason, 87 Mercer Architecture, 44 Michael Singer Studio, 68 Mitsubishi, 49 Mitsui Fudosan, 24 Modular Building Institute, 92 Mojarrab, Vahid, 58 Mon, Dean R., 29 Morris Architects, 127 MSI Building Supplies, 49 Musk, Elon, 35 MVE & Partners, 107 Nestlé-Purina PetCare Company, 103 Nissan, 14, 46 Noble, Tom, 116 NRG Energy, 123 One Ohio State Framework Plan, 97 Onion Flats, 57 Otis Elevators, 102 Paletz, Laura, 127 Parsons The New School for Design, 76 Passive House Institute US, 54, 77 Passive House Planning Package, 54 Passivhaus Institut, 54 Pelli Clarke Pelli, 98 Perkins+Will, 92 Phase Change, 128 Philips Teletrol, 33 Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, 125 Platis, Helen, 42 Post, Allen, 92 Prinsen, Max, 102 ProudGreenHome, 70 Pugh, Alexander, 47 Pugh, Gwynne, 46 Purina Event Center, 103 Purina Farms, 103 Puyallup Tribal Housing Authority, 110 Qubein, Mariana, 44 Qubein, Nido, 44 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference, 81 Reggio Emilia, 90 Renner, Kristine, 120 RIDA Development Corporation, 126 Roethling, Jon, 45 Sarasota County, 64 Saskatchewan Conservation House, 77 Saskatchewan Research Council, 77 Schletter, 42 Schofield, Bob, 24 Seeley International, 128 Seminole Tribe of Florida, 68 Semple Gooder, 42 SERA Architects, 101 SFU Community Trust, 84 Simas Floor & Design Company, 29 Simas, Mark, 29


Simon Fraser University, 84 Siplast, 41 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 101 Sky Solar, 42 Small Homes Council, 77 Solar Decathlon, 76 South Coast Air Quality Management District, 46 Southern California Edison, 47 Spectrum Consultants, 35 Sprout Space, 92 St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway, 29 Staqable Symmetry Insulated Blocks, 49 State of Illinois, 113 Stevens Institute of Technology, 76 Stimmel and Associates, 45 STLAi, 41 Stubbs, John, 84 Sustainable Innovative Design and Construction, 33 Sweet Sparkman Architects, 64 Sykes, John, 108 TerraGen Solar, 42 Tesla, 33 The Greenest Home, 128 The Grove, 109 The Larder, 108 The New School for Public Engagement, 76 The Ohio State University, 97 The Place of Hidden Waters, 110 THW Design, 36 Tighthouse, 54 Toro, 41 Torres Moskovitz, Julie, 54 Toto EcoPower, 93 Trader Joe’s, 108 Tremco, 41 Trident Sustainability Group, 38 Triumph Modular, 93 UniverCity Childcare Centre, 87 UniverCity, 84 University of Missouri, 66 University of Pittsburgh, 119 University of Toronto, 40 Velez, Orlando, 79 WAMO Studio, 58 Washington State Department of Transportation, 20 Werner, Breana, 119 Weston E.I.D., 103 Weston, Craig, 103 Whisper, 30 Williams, Dave, 107 Wilson Architects, 119 WinDoor, 49 Workplace360, 14 Yin Yang House, 18 Zapino, 14 Zehnder, 128


Up Front Approach Trendsetters Green Typologies Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


12 Guest Editor

David Abel is the best kind of policy wonk

14 Editor’s Picks

Products and projects pushing us forward

16 Notebook

Do LEED and data centers go together?

18 Defined Design

Brooks + Scarpa’s Yin Yang House

20 Testing Ground

Washington State tests highway LEDs

january–february 2014


David Abel is the founder of ABL Inc., a California-based public policy consulting firm, and VerdeXchange, a Los Angeles conference that brings together professionals from all sectors of the sustainability industry to spur ideas for the green economy.


Guest Editor David Abel

It’s said that every Hollywood actor can be connected back to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less. You can play the same game with members of Southern California’s greentech community and David Abel. Working across industry sectors— including land use, transportation, water, infrastructure, and renewable energy—to drive the creation of a greener energy economy, David’s roles include entrepreneur, publisher, professor, and president of his own public policy consultancy, ABL Inc. As his resume suggests, he is a connector, a facilitator of civic initiatives and relationships—relationships often that become catalysts for community and global change. Over the past decade, David has leveraged his interests in public policy and sustainability to create the VerdeXchange Institute—an environmental think tank, publisher, and host to an annual B2B market-oriented clean tech and energy conference that assists global market-makers in both connecting the green dots and building successful business relationships that drive positive environmental change. Read our Q&A with David (right) and see all his contributions to the issue (below).


gb&d: Have you ever read Malcolm Gladwell’s piece on Lois Weisberg? At the time (1999), she was commissioner of cultural affairs for the City of Chicago. David Abel: I’ve read many of Gladwell’s essays and books, but I don’t recall that piece. gb&d: It was called “Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg” because she was a fabulous connector of people. You seem to play a similar role for the sustainable development community in LA. Have you always been gifted at facilitating connections between people? Abel: My prescient kindergarten teacher wrote a note to my parents some 50 years ago that said, “David will always have his finger in every pie.” I confess that she pegged me well. It’s part of my nature; I feel claustrophobic in silos. I’m a trained (but lapsed) lawyer, as well as an educator and an economist who is married to an accomplished architect. I’ve been fortunate to be involved in many professional, business, and civic endeavors. Clearly I must have attention deficit issues.


gb&d: VerdeXchange, your most recent endeavor, is a clean-technology event that seeks to connect the dots for those charged with pursuing new opportunities in the global green economy. When did you realize there was a need for such a global conference?

ABOVE In addition to choosing our Editor’s Picks, posing our Discussion Board question, and being subjected to our recurring questionnaire, Abel comments on two developments in LA (the ascent of the EV and new luxury apartments) and the net-zero Empowerhouse in DC.

 . The future of the electric car, p. 46 1 2. An affordable power house, p. 74 3. 8500 Burton Way, p. 106 4. Is green profitable? p. 124 5. The gb&d questionnaire, p. 129

Abel: VerdeXchange’s conference design mirrors my own cross-platform interests. I had no interest in competing with what I call the “vertical conferences,” dedicated exclusively to either wind, solar, green building, or water. I was seeking to attract private sector and public sector decision-makers with responsibility for their institution or corporation’s portfolio of energy needs, sustainable investments, and initiatives. VerdeXchange, it’s fair to say, is designed to meet the needs of a Chief Sustainability Officer, of global architecture and engineering firms, of investors The conversation continues on p. 17


january–february 2014



Editor’s Picks Future Forward

▼ eVgo eVgo (ee-vee-go) is creating the nation’s first privately funded, comprehensive electric-vehicle ecosystem by installing and maintaining a level-two charging dock (240V) in your garage or parking area, delivering 12 to 25 miles of range per charge hour.

By David Abel

 ZAPINO ELECTRIC SCOOTER The Zapino Electric Scooter 2012 has a new 5,000-watt wheel motor that reaches freeway speeds, and the lithium battery allows the scooter to travel more than 50 miles per charge.


january–february 2014

▲ WORKPLACE360 Workplace360 is CBRE’s “Alternate Workplace Strategy” initiative, which maximizes collaboration and productivity through technology, space utilization, sustainability, mobility, and flexibility. The firm’s global headquarters will soon occupy a Workplace360 in downtown Los Angeles.

▲ JET PROPULSION LABORATORY The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed by Caltech for NASA, is a VerdeXchange 2014 sponsor and has led the Curiosity Rover’s exploration of Mars, creating tons of patents with potential commercial applications along the way.


▲ NISSAN LEAF The 2014 Nissan Leaf’s advanced lithium-ion battery powers the 100-percent electric drive system, giving the Leaf the equivalent of 129 miles per gallon in the city. It’s been so popular that production at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee, plant has struggled to meet demand.

© 2013 Kawneer Company, Inc.

Kawneer’s innovative AA™250 and AA™425 Thermal Entrance Doors are a new line of defense against today’s challenging thermal requirements. In conjunction with Kawneer’s high performing frame, the doors are able to deliver improved thermal efficiency compared to a standard door. And, with our proven performance and welded corner construction, the AA250 and AA425 Thermal Entrance Doors are the ideal solution for any commercial or institutional application where strength and performance are required.

Architectural Aluminum Systems Entrances + Framing Curtain Walls Windows

Setting the standard in thermal innovation.


Notebook The Data Conundrum By Amy Coombs

In 2010, green data center designers hit a point of desperation. Server rooms were already struggling to earn LEED points because of their high energy-use and unique design, then ASHRAE and LEED revoked exemptions that excluded data centers from models of building energy cost. Data centers now had to meet the same energy-efficiency standards as any other commercial project, despite having greater power supply and cooling needs. “Everyone started to throw their hands up in the air and say, ‘Why try?’” says Bill Kosik, director of energy and sustainability at Hewlett Packard’s Critical Facilities Services, which designs data centers for private clients. “Because data centers are often dark and remotely located, we couldn’t earn many of the daylight and quality transit points available to other buildings.” This past November, the USGBC hoped to resolve the controversy by publishing new industry-specific compliance options for data centers. LEED V4 offers credits for the use of energy-efficient servers, power supplies, and cooling systems, and commissioners will be asked to review data center plans during construction and design. LEED V4 also clarifies the scope of Daylight and Thermal Comfort credits by explicitly allowing regularly occupied spaces inside a data center to earn points for the whole facility. So even if the computer room itself is too hot and dark to meet the credits, the office space adjacent to the server room can.


january–february 2014

“The goal is not just to earn points and meet standards. The point is to encourage greater energy reductions.” Bill Kosik, Hewlett Packard

BELOW A group of students tour the LEED Platinum, solar-powered data center built for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“It’s always been a mixed bag for data centers—they have had the benefit of being excluded and the difficulty of meeting standards,” says Corey Enck, director of LEED technical development for the USGBC. “Now that we have seen so much growth in the IT market, there is a real need to adapt standards to take data centers into consideration.” In the 1999 version of ASHRAE, data centers were not regulated by ASHRAE standard 90.1, which has the criteria referenced by LEED. This meant that LEED buildings also excluded data centers and server rooms as unregulated energy loads. This changed in 2010 when ASHRAE revised language to include data centers in whole-building energy calculations and drafted energy efficiency requirements for data centers. The new standards inspired some of the most innovative buildings in the world. To cut cooling costs, data centers began to actively harness outdoor resources like wind and winter frosts. This contrasted with the

insulated data centers of the past, which were constructed in the heart of a building to control exposure to humidity. In 2010, Hewlett Packard opened a building in Newcastle, United Kingdom, that uses seven-foot fans to pull cool ocean breezes into a duct system that spans the entire lower floor of the building. That same year, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) opened a data center in the Denver area that runs entirely on solar power. The LEED Platinum building pulls cool air from outside into a labyrinth of large cement ducts in the basement. And in 2012, Facebook implemented a similar design in its Prineville, Oregon, data center that earned LEED Gold certification. The building pulls in cool air from outside, evaporates water into the air to achieve further cooling, and then channels the chilled air to server rooms. These buildings have one thing in common—a system called an economizer that uses outdoor air to cool server racks. As of 2010, economizers were used in the baseline comparative models outlined in ASHRAE standard 90.1 Appendix G. LEED has always referenced ASHRAE, but LEED V4 is the first to reference the controversial 2010 standard that makes economizers a necessity. “According to the new standards you don’t have to use an economizer, but if you don’t, you have to make up for it by saving a lot of energy in some other way,” Enck says. “I haven’t seen any examples of people meeting the standard without an economizer, although this might change.”


DAVID ABEL Continued from p. 13 Is two months too long? Like gb&d on Facebook for updates. and pension funds searching the marketplace for what is in market, about to be in market, and needed in market in renewable energy, transportation, water, waste, ports, planning, architecture, and finance.


gb&d: You founded VerdeXchange, what, seven years ago?

To include an economizer in an exisiting data center, the building would have to be renovated to make room for innovative ductwork and custom evaporative systems, and some designers worry that economizers won’t work in hot desert climates or in big cities where pollution contaminates outside air. “There was a real standoff over this—the problem is that not all projects can bring in outside air, and sometimes dust and pollutants can damage machines,” says Ron Jarnagin of ASHRAE. In response to industry concerns that economizers are too expensive and constraining, Jarnagin drafted a new standard for large data centers that use more than 20 watts per square foot of energy. At the time of writing, ASHRAE standard 90.4 was set to go into effect late 2013 and will not likely require economization; economizers will instead be part of an alternative compliance pathway. Since 2010, 82 data centers have earned LEED certification; Kosik helped design 30 of the 82, and he asserts that economization is the best practice to reduce energy use. In a data center, the servers alone can account for 60 to 70 percent of a building’s energy use, and the cooling and electrical systems gb&d

needed to maintain server performance to make up the remainder, which is why installing efficient light bulbs, solar panels, and better insulation hardly makes a dent. Of the 82 projects, 12 received Platinum certification and 43 earned Gold. Many of these projects voluntarily used outdoor resources to cool air or water even though prior versions of LEED did not reference ASHRAE economizer criteria. Kosik says the changes to LEED and ASHRAE will help more data centers certify, but the final outcome is even more important. “After all the bugs are ironed out, data centers will have a true reduction of energy,” Kosik says. “The goal is not just to earn points and meet standards. The point is to encourage greater energy reductions.” It’s too early to say whether the standards will encourage widespread reform within the industry, but at the very least, the new criteria will help data centers save a lot of money. “There is a really good business case for energy reductions,” says Enck. “Data centers see a significant return on their investment when they incorporate energy-efficiency strategies, which is what the new standards encourage.” gb&d

ABOVE The NREL data center facility uses an outside-air economizer to help naturally cool the building’s many servers.

Abel: Yes, following the sale of some transportation companies I’d helped found. For my next act, I quite honestly was inspired by my son’s interest in the environment. A recent Stanford grad and a Green Corps Fellow, he was drawn to environmental policy and technology. Having personally missed out on attending to his teenage music years—my love for classical and folk music was in no way in harmony with his 90s repertoire—I decided that in this next phase of life I needed to better appreciate what he was invested in, and thus I took the opportunity to create a platform for learning about clean and green technology. He now works for GE Renewable Energy and, as I had hoped, we have extended conversations in which he always blows me away with his expertise. gb&d: What’s in store at this month’s VX2014? Abel: We will have 50-plus panels and an energy-efficiency tract, which will highlight the uses of data analysis and embedded sensor networks to make energy uses more transparent and more efficient, and a water tract, which will address the nexus of energy and water, as well as how separately managed storm water, wastewater, and water importation systems ought to be treated as one integrated system. Our transportation panels will feature the innovations driving electrification and the design of autonomous vehicles, as well as rail and port investments in sustainability, including the twelve new rail lines being planned for metropolitan Los Angeles—perhaps the largest set of infrastructure investments in transportation in the world, besides China. VerdeXchange again includes a partnership with the Urban Land Institute of Los Angeles. Collaboratively we will offer six sustainable green-building case studies. Also included are panels on waste conversion technologies and waste-to-energy. gb&d: LA is, like Houston or Phoenix, a city of the automobile. I know there were several The conversation continues on p. 20

january–february 2014



Defined Design Yin Yang House By Christopher James Palafox

DETAILS LOCATION Venice, CA Size 4,700 ft2 Completed 2  011 Cost $1.7 million Architect B  rooks + Scarpa Architects General Contractor G  lenn Lyons Construction Structural Engineer C  harles Tan + Associates Landscape Architect Z Freedman Landscape Design Solar PanelsM & M Solar Solutions


january–february 2014

Calm. Relaxed. Organized. Brooks + Scarpa Architects’ net-zero Yin Yang House, selected as an AIA COTE Top Ten Green Project in 2013, is meant to contain a growing family with several children while being an effective commercial office and also teaching green living through its sustainable design. A series of courtyards and adaptable spaces connect the home’s interior, making the areas organized and simultaneously able to expand to suit the client’s work or family needs. multivalent / məl-tē-ˈvā-lənt / adjective Having many values, meanings, or appeals. A stylish private home that doubles as a professional business is the through-line for this home, but it was also important for the house to serve as a social space. The home’s offices double as children’s studying space, and the kitchen is kept open to also be an entertainment area. A 50-foot-long sliding door allows the courtyard to spill indoors or the living room to extend outdoors.


cantilever / kan-tə-ˌlē-vər / noun A projecting beam or member supported at only one end. The house’s roof is a large cantilever that shades the bedrooms from direct sunlight, reducing solar gain and increasing privacy while contributing natural light and ventilation. The fascia of the roof’s overhang also houses the 12-kilowatt photovoltaic system that loops continuously in and out of the building.


indivisible / in-də-ˈvi-zə-bəl / adjective Not divisible; unable to be divided or separated. Taijitu, the iconic symbol of the yin and yang concept, is exemplified in the home’s street-facing façade. Appearing to be solid, behind its recycled steel door is a courtyard that allows the area to be both sides of the same “space” coin. This theme is reiterated ostensibly in intentionally small and simple bedrooms that were designed to allow larger public spaces that emphasize family—compartmentalizing the home to bring family together. gb&d


january–february 2014



DAVID ABEL Continued from p. 17

Testing Ground A Great White Light

Abel: Metropolitan Los Angeles is on the cutting-edge of developing next generation mobility. In contrast to the stereotype you mentioned, Los Angeles voters recently approved investing between 30 to 40 billion dollars in our county’s transportation system. LA’s Metro is in the process of planning 12 new rail lines, an extensive light rail system is already in place, and Metro operates the largest alternatively fueled bus fleet in North America—100 percent compressed natural gas. And, believe it or not, the success of a new program, CicLAvia, has encouraged the creation of bicycle lanes and closing of streets to automobiles throughout LA. But to your point, global automobile design, the practical fusion of technology and entertainment, is centered in metropolitan Los Angeles. There probably isn’t a major car manufacturer that doesn’t have a design center here that isn’t engaged in developing the car of the 21st century. VX2014 will feature these innovations in mobility via autonomous automobile panels with experts from both JPL/Caltech (a new sponsor of VX2014), automobile manufacturers, and a transportation incubator called CalStart—I chaired the latter in the late 1990s. In terms of electric vehicles, also featured in VX2014 will be NRG, through its subsidiary eVgo, which began installing charging infrastructure in major cities like Houston and is now investing in similar arrangements in cities up and down California, from San Diego north.

With a single interchange lit with all LED light, Washington State is tracking performance— and could save up to $75,000 By Russ Klettke

gb&d: You also have been managing director of New Schools, Better Neighborhoods. Where does your passion for education and building better neighborhood-centered schools come from? Abel: Actually, it comes out of guilt. My lifelong interest in education survives me dropping out of a doctorate program in education administration at Harvard at the age of 22 in order to pursue law and business. Decades later, when the opportunity to seriously reengage in education came in 1999 with the passage of both state and local school bond measures for the construction of new schools—something that hadn’t been done in LA for 25 years—I was enticed to lead an initiative that advanced the notion that school districts ought to not only build new schools, The conversation continues on p. 125


january–february 2014

ABOVE The top photo shows the yellow glow of the HPS luminaires compared to the white light of the LED bulbs at the US 101 and Black Lake Boulevard ramp in Washington.

“Evidence-based design” is something of a buzzword, but the idea of doing what the numbers suggest is, in fact, an old concept and one that should fall into the category of “common sense.” The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) put the old idea into action with an LED pilot project at a single highway interchange. Given the evolving technologies of LEDs for public streets and highways, WSDOT plans to collect data before committing to any particular model for the state’s 7,000 miles of roadway and 3,000 vehicular bridges. “We’ve been looking at LEDs for five or six years now,” says Keith Calais, a signal and illumination engineer for WSDOT, “and it seems every one to two years a new generation comes out.” As with most municipal and state highway systems, WSDOT primarily uses high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights, most identified by their cobra-style fixtures. LEDs require an expensive replacement of those fixtures, but the promise of a 50 percent reduction in energy use and less maintenance (studies show that LEDs last longer than HPS, metal halide, and most other technologies) can more than make up for the cost. But several factors make it difficult to know with certainty exactly how those savings will accrue. One is that with new technologies no one is willing to predict with certainty what will happen over the next 10 or 15 years, even though the working numbers


sessions at last year’s VerdeXchange about electric vehicles. Where is LA on that front?


“There’s more to this than light bulbs and new fixtures.” Keith Calais, Washington State Department of Transportation

say that an LED bulb will last 50,000 hours versus 12,000 hours for an HPS light. Second, with energy prices that vary by state, the return on investment changes dramatically from place to place. The cost of electricity in California is 13.1 cents per kilowatt-hour while in Washington it is only 6.6 cents due to a plenitude of hydroelectric power in the state. Overall, that’s a good thing, but it means WSDOT’s return on investment could take almost twice as long as California’s. Acknowledging that the return could be as long as 12.5 years, Calais is candid and pragmatic. “We want information and knowledge about how LEDs work,” he says. “But we also need to know how to do it, how it works. There’s more to this than light bulbs and new fixtures.” That “more” part includes how LEDs handle such things as power surges and if there are ways to save additional energy. WSDOT will employ a dimming system that powers down lights during times of lightest traffic, such as after midnight. Before starting

this testing, WSDOT reviewed collision histories from illuminated versus non-illuminated areas to see if there were any concerns with testing this at night. WSDOT used a photometric calculation tool known as AGi32, which allows users to compute illuminance from a proposed lighting design before it is actually built. In the design, each luminaire is equipped with a light sensor, and collectively, these sensors communicate with the system’s central command to allow for necessary adjustments. Such adaptive systems of fixtures, bulbs, and sensors consequently cause shifts in the supply chain, prompting manufacturers to change from being component suppliers to providing comprehensive solutions for the whole system. In WSDOT’s experience, different manufacturers under the same parent company were able to provide multicomponent products that are technologically seamless. “Without these parts being paired together, there could be functional problems such as color control,” Calais says. The pilot project, launched in early 2013, included 88 poles at a US 101 interchange west of Olympia, Washington. The light is whiter and brighter than its predecessor, as expected, and this single installation could save the state $75,000 in maintenance and operating costs over the next 15 years. According to the Department of Energy, the widespread use of LEDs could generate $750 million in savings per year. gb&d

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7/9/2013 9:51:05 AM

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Up Front Approach Trendsetters Green Typologies Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


24 New Systems = LEED in

Washington, DC

Akridge and Mitsui Fudosan reach Platinum

27 Urban Development in Seattle

Transit-oriented location fuels AMLI Residential

28 Auctioning a Net-Zero Home

De Young Properties raises millions for St. Jude’s

29 New Jersey’s Emerging Market

Jaclyn Heights offers an alternative to Manhattan

32 Anixter’s Eco-Conscious Annex

BIM software brings big savings for corporate HQ

33 SIDCO’s Marketing Strategies

For sale: a net-zero home and a Tesla Model S

35 Brazos Towers Gets Greener

Expanding on a Houston senior housing mainstay

january–february 2014


APPROACH DEVELOPMENT Scheduled to open in the fall, this new DC office building is already 63% pre-leased and is expected to receive LEED Platinum certification.

New systems lead to LEED Platinum in DC

 An innovative HVAC system helps an Akridge office project reach LEED’s highest certification  Developers partner with Japan’s Mitsui Fudosan to deliver a trophy-class office space


january–february 2014

Bob Schofield, the vice president of development at Akridge, a commercial real estate firm based in Washington, DC, jokes that the company was doing LEED-level work before LEED standards were even developed—and he’s right. In 1995 (three years before LEED was developed), Akridge completed the headquarters for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a building that incorporated many of the features found in LEED Platinum buildings today. Since its inception, the award-winning commercial real estate firm has made every effort to be as sustainable as possible. Today, Akridge remains committed to establishing, supporting, and


“Many of our local competitors are now embracing the technology in their most current designs, but I believe we were the initial innovators in DC.” Bob Schofield, Akridge

ing green initiatives into every property it develops or manages. Akridge’s dedication to sustainability is evident at its 169,000-square-foot, trophy-class office project at 1200 Seventeenth Street, NW in Washington, DC. Akridge has partnered with Mitsui Fudosan, Japan’s largest real estate company, to develop the future home for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. “Mitsui Fudosan and Akridge share the same goals,” Schofield says. “We’re both long-term thinkers with a global perspective, and we value high quality projects. For both of us, sustainability aligns with our companies’ common philosophies.” The space is scheduled for completion in summer 2014 and hopes to achieve LEED Platinum certification. It will feature floor-to-ceiling glass and unique amenities—including a client-only fitness center, a green roof with entertainment space, bike storage and changing facilities, and an impressive lobby with stone and wood finishes. “The client was looking for a fresh trophy building that was both highly efficient and aesthetically beautiful,” Schofield says. “I also believe they recognized the long-term benefits of sustainability and understood that embracing green design was an important consideration in their search for a new office building.” The office will have the usual features associated with LEED buildings: low-flow fixtures, Energy Star-rated components, a green roof, and FSC-certified wood. Although the building’s existing structure wasn’t reused, it was recycled and portions were used as a supportive structure during excavation. The outside of the building will feature glazed terra-cotta elements, a component of a more modern building skin design. The glazed terra-cotta, however, is a building material that has been used since antiquity, which Schofield finds incredibly compelling. Schofield believes that the building’s differentiator will be its dedicated gb&d

Full of progressive amenities such as floorto-ceiling glass and cyclist-friendly facilities, the building’s most innovative feature is its dedicated-outside-air ventilation system.

outdoor air, variable-air-volume (DOAS VAV) system. Akridge was one of the first developers to begin using this kind of system in commercial applications within the DC area. The concept is pretty new and many firms were apprehensive to use it because of the high initial cost. “This technology was too good not to take advantage of,” Schofield says. “For many, it was a cost issue. We’ve worked diligently with our designers, contractors, and component suppliers to lower costs. Our latest design is about the same cost of a conventional HVAC system. Many of our local competitors are now embracing the technology in their most current designs, but I believe we were the initial innovators in DC.” In most office buildings, HVAC systems cool the air before the air is distributed, thus moving the energy through a conditioned volume of air. With a DOAS VAV design, the outdoor air is initially preconditioned as it enters the building in order to remove humidity. Much of the cooling, however, occurs downstream at

the ceiling VAV boxes, just before the air enters the individual rooms. The cooling energy is distributed to the VAV boxes by water in lieu of air. Since water requires less horsepower than air to distribute per BTU, the system is inherently more efficient. Additionally, since the only air moving in the system is the dedicated outside air necessary for breathing (not cooling), the ductwork can be reduced by approximately 75 percent. So a DOAS VAV isn’t really relying on new technology; it’s using conventional HVAC equipment configured in a new way. According to a study from ASHRAE, a DOAS can annually reduce energy consumption by 42 percent compared to a traditional system. “We always build on the lessons we’ve learned from past projects, and we’re dedicated to incorporating everything we’ve learned about sustainability into our new projects,” Schofield says. “We like being innovators. Akridge will remain at the forefront of sustainability, and with every project we push to develop an even better building product.” gb&d —Tina Vasquez january–february 2014


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The green roof that tops a portion of AMLI South Lake Union is accessible to tenants. Down below, bike rooms offering free maintenance equipment are located on the ground floor rather than in the basement.

Urban location fuels Seattle development  AMLI Residential unveils two projects that emphasize the importance of proximity  Bike storage rooms with repair services aid eco-friendly commuting For new development projects in Seattle, green ambitions exist long before architects, planners, and contractors are brought to the table because saying that a new project will offer “green living” is a big assertion—and one that Seattleites will take seriously. After all, the city allows development companies to skirt older building code requirements if a project’s design fosters innovative environmental improvement. With that kind of commitment to green initiatives, it comes as no surprise that Seattle developers are always finding new ways to push the green-building envelope. AMLI Residential, a leading developer for luxury apartment communities in 11 cities across the country, including Seattle, is no exception. “A number of years ago, AMLI made a commitment to reduce the impact our business has on the environment,” says Scott Koppelman, senior vice president of AMLI gb&d

Development. “This commitment was driven by our mission to create healthy, comfortable living spaces for residents and to be a responsible steward of our environment.” AMLI’s two new Seattle developments, AMLI South Lake Union (already LEED Silver certified) and AMLI Mark24 (pending LEED Silver certification), both include all the trappings of luxury living—high-end finishes, fitness and recreation centers, and outdoor sky decks—but their locations were selected as a central component of each project’s green design. “We located our new Seattle developments in close proximity to employment centers, and in walkable neighborhoods offering the services, restaurants, parks and recreation opportunities, and other cultural amenities that make urban living so wonderful,” Koppelman says.

“Our bike rooms allow residents to take the elevator to the ground floor, grab their bike from the bike room, and hit the trails quickly and easily.” Scott Koppelman, AMLI Residential

Mark24 is located in Ballard, one of Seattle’s most popular mixed-use neighborhoods, and South Lake Union is located in the up-and-coming South Lake Union district. “The South Lake Union neighborhood has evolved into a significant employment center with the Amazon campus, Gates Foundation, UW Medical Research Campus, and many others,” Koppelman says. “On the heels of that employment growth, the range of housing options, services, and bars and restaurants is constantly evolving, making it a very dynamic living environment.” South Lake Union and Mark24 have the now common green features—smokefree environments, low-VOC paints, community recycling programs, sustainable landscaping, and energy-efficient products and appliances—but they also have an unusual green feature: bike storage rooms with self-service repair shops. “Rather than tuck these bike rooms away in the lower levels of the parking garage, we are bringing them up to the ground floor and increasing their size,” Koppelman says. “Our bike rooms have more convenient locations, allowing residents to take the elevator to the ground floor, grab their bike from the bike room, and hit the trails quickly and easily. We are also adding equipment within those rooms such as bike-repair stands and tools, along with workbenches and air pumps to make maintaining your bicycle as convenient as possible.” Combined, the bike rooms’ location and features directly contribute to Seattle’s reduced car-dependency ambitions by making january–february 2014




Our Mission: Provide an Outstanding Living Environment for Our Residents AMLI’s commitment to sustainability is driven by our mission to create healthy, happy living spaces for residents and to be a responsible steward of our environment. To ensure our practices are effective, AMLI has committed to designing and constructing new developments to meet the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system or similar green building programs. As long-term citizens and investors in our local communities, we believe in minimizing the impact our developments have on the environment. Using land more responsibly, offering improved indoor air quality, consuming less energy and water, and incorporating renewable or recycled materials mean a healthier home today and a better environment tomorrow.

Both Mark 24 and South Lake Union use

18% 30% less energy and

less water than comparable buildings

bike transportation more feasible for residents, a goal that’s also central to AMLI’s responsibility mission. When both Mark24 and South Lake Union open to residents in spring 2014, Seattle dwellers are sure to be pleased with the buildings’ seamless integration of green design features, making living a daily green existence even easier than before. But that doesn’t mean that Koppelman and his AMLI Development team won’t stop improving on their own model; topping their previous designs is inherently part of their mission. “With each new development, we improve upon what we did in prior projects,” he says. “We determine which features achieve their sustainability goals and which ones don’t. We learn from that and adjust our sustainability program on the next project.” In Seattle, residents will be waiting to see what AMLI comes up with next. gb&d —Kathryn Freeman Rathbone

Auctioning off a net-zero home  California-based homebuilder De Young Properties donates a 2,535-square-foot ultra-efficient house for children’s cancer research Family owned and operated since 1951

Proud Partners with De Young Properties

888-835-0440 3550 Power Inn Road | Sacramento, CA 95826 28

january–february 2014

Since it was founded in 1974, the Fresno, California-based company De Young Properties has built more than 7,000 quality crafted homes in the Central Valley of California. Prompted by both changing market attitudes and a “history of innovation,” as described by Brandon De Young, vice president of operations for the family-owned business, the firm has fully committed itself to sustainability, as evidenced by the 2,064-square-foot


Beating California’s Energy Code 40% De Young Properties’ highest efficiency

30% De Young Properties’ mimimum efficiency California Advanced Homes Program (CAHP) Tier 2 15% California Advanced Homes Program (CAHP) Tier 1 By auctioning off a home, De Young Properties helped raise almost $5.5 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2012.

De Young Net Zero EnergySmart Home it constructed for the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway in 2012. “We’re always striving for innovation,” De Young says. “The rising cost of energy, especially in California, is becoming more and more of an expense for consumers, so they want more energy-efficient homes. We’ve been the major donor and builder of the St. Jude Dream Home in the Central Valley for seven years. It’s really impactful to see how the giveaway benefits both the winner of the home each year, as well as the children fighting life-threatening diseases at St. Jude’s.” Homebuilders like De Young Properties saw project volumes and revenues peak in the years leading up to the economic crash of 2008. But the crash, which necessitated self-assessment in both the scope of its impact and its suddenness, forced homebuilders to reassess what is truly important for housing. In response to this, De Young Properties, which is actively building in five communities, also builds all of its new homes to be up to 40 percent more energy-efficient than California’s stringent building code. “We take a whole-house approach when designing our energy-efficient homes,” De Young says. “Every aspect

Baseline California Energy Code

of the home’s energy-related systems is addressed.” The house has Energy Star-rated water heaters, exhaust fans, and dishwashers; energy-efficient HVAC systems; argon gasfilled, dual-pane, low-E windows; radiant barrier reflective insulation; cool roof tiles; high-efficiency lighting; and formaldehyde-free insulation. Simas Floor & Design Company has worked with De Young on a number of projects, including the Dream Home, and has helped select greener flooring options, such as Shaw’s Nottoway Hickory Hardwood. “The Nottoway hardwood is made with Shaw’s EnviroCore, a high-density fiber core derived from recycled wood fiber, which means fewer trees are used with less waste,” says Mark Simas, president of Simas Floor & Design. In addition to green materials, a solar photovoltaic system offsets the home’s annual electricity use to bring 2012’s Dream Home to its net-zero status. St. Jude Children’s Hospital is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, and is the largest children’s cancer research hospital in the world. It created the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway in 1991, which raffles off a home at $100 per ticket, the proceeds of which are donated to children’s cancer research. In addition to De Young Properties, the program has sponsors from all over the US and has raised more than $224 million to date. Spurred partly by the publicity and partly by the charitable opportunity, it encourages builders to test new ideas, employ new technologies, and—in the case of De Young Properties, which is now modeling net-zero-energy homes—set new precedents for what is a “basic” home.

“We’re always striving for innovation. The rising cost of energy, especially in California, is becoming more and more of an expense for consumers, so they want more energy-efficient homes.” Brandon De Young, De Young Properties gb&d

The Dream Home isn’t De Young’s first foray into energy-efficient homebuilding; since 2009, the company has been building to the rigorous California Advanced Homes Program Tier 2 level or even 10 percent above the strict standards. “We receive great feedback from our customers regarding their energy bills,” De Young says. “Sustainability isn’t going anywhere—it’s the new norm.” gb&d —Benjamin van Loon

New Jersey an emerging market for green living  D.R. Mon Group meets demand for New York area residential development with triple-certified condos at Jaclyn Heights While the longstanding battle between New Yorkers who live in New York and those who live in New Jersey continues, a new development in the Garden State is presenting a strong case for the latter. Demand, says developer Dean R. Mon, president and CEO of D.R. Mon Group, has spurred the need for residential development in New Jersey. It’s a densely populated state situated next to one of the largest and most vibrant cities in the world—a city that is a hub of financial activity as well as an entry point to the United States for immigrants seeking better employment opportunities. In building Jaclyn Heights, a development located in West New York, New Jersey, Mon hoped to satisfy the need for housing in the New York metropolitan area and offer an example of green urban january–february 2014



Dean R. Mon


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living. “We believe in striking a balance between the environment and need of people to have affordable and healthy housing,” says Karolina Alvarez, green project manager for D.R. Mon Group. Jaclyn Heights, which has 55 condominiums in two buildings, will be certified under LEED for Homes, NAHB Green, and Energy Star programs. “It’s one of the few condominium communities in New Jersey that meets the standards for all three certifications,” Alvarez says. The units were designed with sustainable elements that aren’t readily available in today’s market. High-efficiency, split-system heat pumps from Goodman were used in the building’s HVAC system because of their SEER 15 rating. Combined with energy-saving programmable thermostats and leak-free ductwork, the HVAC system operates at peak efficiency. Energy use is further reduced with Energy Star-rated GeoSpring hybrid hot-water heaters, which use up to 62 percent less energy than standard water heaters and can save tenants up to $325 a year, and Energy Star-rated Whisper ceiling-mounted ventilation fans controlled by AireTrak bathroom fan controllers that set fans to operate intermittently or continuously at variable speeds as needed. The kitchen cabinets were certified by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association Environmental Stewardship Program, which addresses recycled content, air quality, and recyclability among other features. And Guardian fiberglass insulation and the building’s paints, adhesives, and carpets are all VOC-free. The final significant feature is the development’s walkability. “It’s close to shops, restaurants, offices—everything a resident needs—and also has easy access to public transportation,” Alvarez says. Given its urban setting, ease of access, and sustainable features, Jaclyn Heights in West New York offers a green lifestyle to a growing population. gb&d —Julie Schaeffer



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CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF USGBC MEMBERSHIP AND MORE THAN 8 MILLION SQUARE FEET OF LEED CERTIFIED PROJECTS Since 2003, Heitman Architects has designed more than 8 Million Square Feet of LEED Certified buildings, beginning with Anixter’s Alsip facility, which was the first privately held industrial building in the State of Illinois to receive LEED Certification. Now 10 years later, Heitman Architects is pleased to announce our latest LEED Certified building: Anixter’s Corporate Headquarter Annex, in Glenview Illinois.

Use your smart phone to scan this code and visit for more projects and information.


Inside Anixter’s eco-conscious annex  Chicago-area corporate headquarters features a host of cutting-edge control systems  Clayco leverages BIM to complete 61,000-square-foot project in eight months Anixter, a leading global supplier of communication and security products, is a staple name in the communications industry. But here are some things industry insiders may not know: More than 50 of the company’s global locations have installed high-efficiency lighting systems that include automatic scheduling, intensity-controlled ballasts, and motion detectors; the company was at the forefront of LEED certification when 10 years ago it certified its largest global location, designed by Heitman Architects in Alsip, Illinois; and it followed with a LEED Silver-certified 195,000-square-foot facility in Edmonton, Alberta. Anixter’s latest and greatest green accomplishment is in another of its own facilities:


january–february 2014

an addition to its corporate headquarters in Glenview, Illinois. When it came time to move forward on plans for building a 61,000-square-foot annex to house several global operations teams, Ken Hagaman, director of real estate at Anixter, knew to reach out to Clayco, a national full-service design-build construction company who had assisted Hagaman and his team in achieving LEED certification for its Alsip warehouse. “We had a great working relationship with Clayco, and as we began planning for the annex in 2012, we knew we would turn to them for this project,” Hagaman says. “It was going to be a very tight deadline, and we knew from the start we would be pursuing LEED certi-

fication on the annex. It was short-term stress for long-term success.” That “tight deadline” was an eightmonth turnaround. Construction began in August 2012 and everything was set to be completed—with employees moved into their offices—by March 2013. Using BIM software not only helped to expedite the process, but Kevin McKenna, Clayco’s senior vice president and partner, says that finalizing the design prior to construction using the 3-D model was actually the greenest aspect of the entire project. “You completely minimize all risk by mapping out the lighting efficiency, the design, the electrical work—you map out every detail in real time, and this has an extraordinary impact on the savings and reduction of waste,” McKenna says. “It’s a win-win, both for Anixter and the environment, and I truly believe this is the most sustainable thing you can do. If you’re not using BIM, you’re far behind the curve.” McKenna wanted to make the annex a cohesive part of the campus so the employees wouldn’t feel like they were relegated to a particular area. It was obviously a separate structure, but the goal was to use luxurious finishes and integrate the buildings using similar design. The annex’s skin is exposed aggregate precast concrete that has been acid washed, which makes it look like brown and red marble. Precast concrete was also used as the building’s main structural


Anixter uses energy-efficient processes for its 7 million square feet of warehouse and office space, including its corporate headquarters addition.


“It was going to be a very tight deadline, and we knew from the start we would be pursuing LEED certification on the annex. It was short-term stress for long-term success.” Ken Hagaman, Anixter

nent, which is not only more affordable, but concrete has a natural cooling affect. “We didn’t want the annex to feel like sitting in a tin box,” McKenna says. “The phrase I kept using for the project was ‘separate but inclusive.’ Because it’s sustainable and will have LEED certification, the features are different from the main building, but the annex is equally as beautiful and well-designed.” The annex features top-of-the-line sustainable elements, including a Daintree wireless control lighting system that is tied in with the building automation system. Occupancy sensors are a large part of the smart design, enabling lights to shut off when the sensors don’t detect movement in certain areas. All of the lighting can also be controlled remotely from a laptop or smartphone. The lighting system administrator can even adjust the building’s light levels depending on the time of day or the season. McKenna estimates that the lighting system will save Anixter up to 70 percent on costs. Similar technology is in place for the Philips Teletrol heating, ventilation, and HVAC system. McKenna says the automa-

The annex has an energyefficient lighting system with occupancy sensors that is estimated to save the facility 70% on lighting costs.

tion system is standard in LEED-certified buildings and uses sensors to make heating and cooling adjustments. “None of this would have been possible without a team effort,” McKenna says. “There is a commitment to sustainability and quality at Anixter that goes from the bottom all the way up to the CEO. This is what it’s all about: cultivating relationships, minimizing risks, achieving the goal, and being good to the environment along the way.” gb&d —Tina Vasquez

A net-zero home, plus a Tesla  SIDCO owner Mohan Mahal tests a new idea for marketing a sustainable home renovation project The best feature of a net-zero home may not be its insulation, HVAC system, or solar panels because the owner of that home is most likely driving an internal combustion engine automobile to and from the house every day. The key is to create a sustainable lifestyle, which is why Mohan Mahal, owner and CEO of Sustainable Innovative Design and Construction (SIDCO), was selling a newly renovated, net-zero home with a Tesla Model S sitting in the garage. “I wanted to do more than flip a house to make a quick buck,” says Mahal, a mechanical engineer who started the real estate development firm in Silicon Valley in 2010. “I wanted to create a totally different market for homes.” Before he had the idea for including the Tesla car, Mahal had a good deal of work to do after buying the 9,200-squarefoot house at 1151 Koch Lane in Willow Glen, California: he had to modify the floor plan, relocate the kitchen, and add a bedroom and bathroom. After all this work, Mahal started working on the home’s energy efficiency. The roof, for example, is constructed from radiant

“This is definitely giving me the opportunity to get the word out that we can and should build energy-efficient homes.” Mohan Mahal, Sustainable Innovative Design and Construction gb&d

january–february 2014


... Is a sustainable Future. It’s not just about the buildings. It’s about the people that will use them every day. Because beyond these walls there’s a cure. There’s a scientific breakthrough, a cleaner world, a better future. Beyond every BuIldIng Is a purpose.

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january–february 2014



Sale price of the house


Cost of Tesla Model S lease


Cost of 13 solar panels

Because a brand-new Tesla Model S can cost up to $100,000, SIDCO offered a three-year lease, worth $40,000, to make the car and the house more affordable. Mahal

plywood sheeting, R30 insulation is used above the ceiling and R13 in all walls, windows and doors are double paneled, and all ducts in the house were sealed and thoroughly tested for leakage. The attic contains a heating system that is 95 percent efficient, and he had all 70 lights in the house changed to LEDs and installed Energy Star appliances. “These changes came in handy when installing solar panels,” Mahal says. “We covered the home’s entire energy needs with just 13 panels, which is half the number typically used on homes in the neighborhood, and that cut the cost from $30,000 to $15,000.” Mahal kept the home’s existing plumbing but added a new water heater and a recirculating pump that has a timer, which can be programmed for times that warm water is most needed such as the morning and evening. “You normally have to wait a few minutes to get hot

“My realtor initially said, ‘What have you done to me? All of these people want to see the car, but none want to buy the house.’” Mohan Mahal, Sustainable Innovative Design and Construction gb&d

water, and by offering it Tesla Model S on demand, we’re saving water and energy,” says Mahal, who also installed low-flow faucets and dual-flush toilets in the house. It was when he was installing the charging station for an electric car in the home’s garage that Mahal started thinking, How can I promote the use of an electric car? Which gave Mahal, a longtime fan of Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, the idea to sell an electric vehicle with the house. “I could bring one to the site and let people look at it,” he says, “but it seemed more of a statement to sell a car with the house.” Mahal couldn’t afford to buy a $100,000 car and give it away—“I don’t even have that much profit in the project,” he says—but after speaking with Tesla, he realized leasing the car was an option. Mahal arranged a three-year prepaid lease worth $40,000 with Tesla, gave the company a $5,000 deposit, and put the car in the garage to be sold with the house—and it worked. The car generated some serious publicity when the house hit the market. “We had an open house, and so many people came to see the car,” Mahal says. “My realtor initially said, ‘What have you done to me? All of these


Efficiency of HVAC system

people want to see the car, but none want to buy the house.’” The publicity did lead to the sale of the house, but ironically, without the car. Mahal says the couple who ended up purchasing the house already had two cars, so they asked for the house without the Tesla and negotiated the price down. Mahal, however, is undeterred from this marketing plan. “This is definitely giving me the opportunity to get the word out that we can and should build energy-efficient homes,” he says. “And next time, I’m going to do it differently. I’m not going to market the car as coming with the house, but I’m going to add one—probably a Nissan Leaf—as a nice surprise.” gb&d —Julie Schaeffer

Brazos Towers helps green senior housing  Spectrum Consultants’ new LEED Silver project promotes an active, healthy lifestyle Simply put, the senior housing market isn’t the easiest to work in. Residents expect certain amenities, such as community spaces, which can be hard to balance with space for apartment homes that generate more revenue. It’s a lot to consider when starting to build a senior housing development, but it is exactly this challenge that North Carolina’s Spectrum Consultants has faced—and increasingly expertly solved—since 1978. When the company was tasked with oversight for the renovation and expansion of Bayou Manor, a 50-year-old, january–february 2014






LOCATION Houston Size 306,855 ft2 Completed2015 Program Senior living apartment homes, common areas, lobby, café, events, and fitness space Awards 2012 NAHB 50+ Housing Award “Gold Achievement Award”

DEVELOPER Spectrum Consultants Client Brazos Presbyterian Homes Architect T  HW Design General Contractor Lend Lease MEP Engineer Barrett Woodyard Associates Structural Engineer Uzun + Case

CERTIFICATION LEED Silver (expected) Site Brownfield redevelopment, public transportation access, bicycle storage Materials 75% of construction waste recycled, local and recycled materials, low-VOC paints, adhesives, and finishes Water Low-flow fixtures reduce usage by 30% Energy LED lighting, lighting control system for public spaces, high-efficiency HVAC system Landscape Native and naturalized plants used, green roof planters on three levels

Brazos Towers is part of a 50-year-old senior living community in Houston. To promote a healthy lifestyle, water aerobics will be offered in the pool.

Houston-based senior living community on a seven-acre campus, Lonny Blessing, Spectrum’s vice president of development, knew he could entrust the actual construction of the new Brazos Towers at Bayou Manor to the firm’s longtime partner, THW Design, with building the LEED-certified, 14-story high-rise. This time, Blessing had a decidedly different set of responsibilities to attend to. It was Blessing’s job to reposition Bayou Manor as a sustainable senior living community geared toward an active, healthy lifestyle, and Spectrum chose to go for LEED Silver certification for the


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Brazos Towers project. THW Design president Jim Hudgins says that the goal for Brazos Towers is to go beyond just energy savings and to use building elements to create a beneficial living space for residents. “It was about creating a healthier living environment for seniors, who can be vulnerable to poor air quality,” Hudgins says. “These issues are addressed by careful selection of nontoxic cleaning agents and low-VOC materials for paints, carpet adhesives, and low-formaldehyde cabinetry. As part of our certification requirements, we will also be using regional as well as recycled materials.”

The building will include a great deal of glass for plenty of natural light, known to boost moods and increase productivity, and signs will be posted throughout the building to educate residents on Brazos Towers’ many green features. “There aren’t many LEED-certified senior housing communities, so this is going to be a project we can all be proud of,” Hudgins says. For the residents who wouldn’t be sold solely on the sustainable aspects of the community, Blessing did some research into what amenities could be added to better fit senior citizens’ unique needs. What kind of research? He sat down to do one-on-one interviews with current and future residents. “People who are in their 60s and 70s are planning to move into the community,” Blessing said. “For many people, they’re moving out of a home they lived in for 40 years in order to join a community. It’s not an easy decision to make, but by having certain amenities in place it can make the transition easier and a lot more appealing.” Residents expressed interest in doing water aerobics and water walking, so Blessing made sure the pool would be large and deep enough for these exercise options. Because seniors often have vision issues, the lighting levels in the hallway were adjusted to be brighter. Extra handrails and lean rails were added around the building for those who have balance issues, and vanities and sinks were also raised for easier use. “They seem like small details, but these are the details that will make people feel comfortable in their new home,” Blessing says. With all of these special touches, Brazos Towers is primed for senior citizens who want a green senior living community—but it is also a great place for those who don’t put an emphasis on sustainable features because they just might learn a thing or two about green design after moving in. gb&d —Tina Vasquez


Up Front Approach Trendsetters Green Typologies Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


38 Q&A: Tommy Linstroth

How the young veteran is planning to change the system

40 The Nitty-Gritty of Green Roofs

Welcome to the GRIT Lab—a data-rich testing ground

44 The Best Laid Plants

Green gardens meet education at High Point University

46 Fully Charged

Los Angeles is the epicenter of EV infrastructure

48 Platinum Paradiso

The US Virgin Islands’ first LEED home reaches Platinum

january–february 2014



FIND THE SOURCE For Tommy Linstroth, sustainability isn’t about alleviating symptoms—it’s about changing the system Interview by Benjamin van Loon

If you look at Tommy Linstroth’s career, you’d think he was a veteran. He founded Trident Sustainability Group, his own consultancy, in 2010; he was instrumental in forming the USGBC Georgia Chapter; he’s served on various advisory, director, and trustee boards; he’s been honored for his leadership in myriad publications. But Linstroth is still a member of the “under 40” set, and his work has only begun. We sat down with Linstroth to talk about origins—and destinations. gb&d: As an undergrad, you studied business administration. Now you’re a major leader for sustainability in Georgia. What’s the story? Tommy Linstroth: It started during my undergraduate career. I would come back home every summer and see more and more urban sprawl popping up around where I grew up. My local farms and woods were being turned into these runof-the-mill subdivisions. But there were also moments from my youth. When I was growing up and there were all of these houses being built around me, I would go to these construction sites and pull cans and recyclable waste out of the dumpsters, and I’d go recycle it to make a few bucks. At the time, I didn’t realize that it was also good for the planet, but now I see that was a formative experience. I’m trying to teach these Fortune 500 companies the same thing—you can profit while doing the right thing. gb&d: So, in a way, your junior high dumpster dives are what led you to found Trident in 2010. Linstroth: Yes. Prior to Trident, I was working in real estate development as director of sustainability. I had just gotten my master’s in environmental science, and I really got a lot of hands-on experience, coming from the owner/developer perspective for new construction as well as how to manage a real estate portfolio


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“If you’re throwing it out or recycling it, you’ve already admitted that you have inefficiencies in your system.” TOMMY LINSTROTH, TRIDENT SUSTAINABILITY GROUP

recycling it, you’ve already admitted that you have inefficiencies in your system. What we’re trying to do is change and correct the systems in place that lead to waste creation in the first place. gb&d: What are some challenges you face when selling this idea of the importance of sustainability for a business?

sustainably. I learned what worked and what didn’t work, and I’ve been able to leverage that at my consultancy. gb&d: Where is most of your consultancy’s work focused right now? Linstroth: Our work primarily focuses on sustainable design and building, which often means helping clients achieve LEED certification in cost-effective manners while building as sustainably as possible. But we also work with big and small organizations—from local groups in Savannah to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies—to help them develop competitive sustainability strategies and integrate those strategies into their greater business plans. A comprehensive sustainability strategy can help create new customers, open up markets, and differentiate brands. gb&d: If we consider, say, waste as an example of a place for sustainability strategy to be implemented, how would you assess this strategy? Linstroth: Rather than diverting or recycling waste, the first step should be eliminating waste. It’s most important to eliminate the processes that generate waste. It’s not just what you’re doing with the output. If you’re throwing it out or gb&d

FROM THE PORTFOLIO ELLIS SQUARE VISITOR’S CENTER The Ellis Square Visitor’s Center in downtown Savannah, GA—the City of Savannah’s first LEED-certified project—not only stands as a green statement, but a picture of how the idea of the “death of downtown” might just be a myth. Designed by Lominack Koleman Smith on a $3 million budget, the 1,200-square-foot visitor’s center replaces an old parking deck with opened public space in the historic City Market. Trident Sustainability Group led the green charge for the project, seeing to the implementation of low-flow fixtures, high-efficiency equipment, and state-ofthe-art technologies to bring a historic corner of downtown into the 21st century.

Linstroth: On the building side, there are still challenges and education that needs to be done. People say they want a green building, but they often don’t want to change their design and protocol to make that happen. We want great integrated design and to work together to get as green of a building as possible. On the business and corporate side, people might address us skeptically at first, but by the end of the training that we offer— once we get people in a room and walk people through a process—they can start to see the value of sustainability efforts. We’re trying to work that up and down an organization so that it has a whole cadre of people that are truly open to the value of sustainability. gb&d: As you said, you’re working with a wide variety of clients. Who do you see as having the most capability to lead the charge of sustainability? Linstroth: The public sector can really drive some of these initiatives because they’re here to stay, and they’re doing this work to make their communities better. When Chatham County [Savannah] mandates that all of its buildings will be LEED certified, this really drives the market because all of a sudden, these folks who hadn’t done green building are forced to get up to speed, and it becomes common vocabulary. The private sector also has a lot of great corporate leaders who are doing a lot to drive sustainability forward. They’re touching tens of thousands of people in their own organizations. There is always work to be done. gb&d january–february 2014



THE NITTY-GRITTY OF GREEN ROOFS As a hotbed of tech innovation, Toronto is the perfect testing ground for green roof systems, and with 270 sensors tracking 33 individual plantings, Liat Margolis’s GRIT Lab is poised to inform what has become a booming industry By Jeff Link


january–february 2014

When the City of Toronto passed a bylaw in May 2009 requiring all new buildings with a gross floor area larger than 2,000 square meters to be built with a green roof, Liat Margolis saw her opportunity. The following year she launched the Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory, or GRIT Lab, a windswept research perch on the rooftop of the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design building. Here, a multidisciplinary team of landscape architects, civil engineers, building scientists, and biologists study nearly every metric associated with the environmental performance of green roofs—from storm-water retention and evaporative cooling to biodiversity and life cycle costs. “We’re studying the synergy of the system for its capacity to deal with both water and thermal energy, as well as how these cycles affect plant growth and vice versa,” says Margolis, an assistant professor of landscape architecture and the project’s principal investigator. Before the GRIT Lab, Margolis served as director of the Materials Collection at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and director of research at Material ConneXion, where she developed a materials database and consulted for a broad range of design firms and manufacturers. She’s a living systems luminary who speaks beyond property boundaries and municipalities to parks and river systems that are “the muscle tissue and veins of any region.” For her, the GRIT Lab project stands at the heart of a larger ecological discussion of urban infrastructure management in the face of climate change. “In some cases, green roofs are studied in biology or engineering departments with attention to plant growth, water balance, and cooling as isolated subjects,” Margolis says. “The key aspect of this initiative is its multidisciplinary collaboration.”


WIRING A LIVING LAB With a view of the famed CN Tower jutting from Toronto’s skyline, the GRIT Lab’s 33 test beds are arranged in raised, 4-by-8-foot, membrane-coated, flashedwood boxes that resemble miniature wildflower meadows or xeric habitats. Tawny grasses and low-growing herbaceous plants are planted in lightweight, 4- to 6-inch-deep soil-less growing media and monitored by 270 sensors connected to more than 5,000 linear feet of wiring. Data is collected constantly. Each bed is equipped with thermal and moisture sensors, a rain gauge, and an infrared radiometer. These systems record soil moisture, effluent flow rates, and temperature measurements every five minutes and analyze them against climate data from an on-site weather station. But all the raw data is worthless without an ability to measure the impact to plant growth, water balance, and thermal cooling performances. This is where the school’s masters and PhD candidates come in. Their work—recording weekly observational notes about plant cover, phenology, and succession as well as monitoring and analyzing the sensor data—is supported by more than $500,000 in grant funding, as well as in-kind contributions from industry partners, such as Tremco, Bioroof Systems, IRC Group, Flynn, Siplast, DH Water Management, Toro, and STLAi. One of project’s major goals is to study how green roofs mitigate urban heat island effect by cooling the air surrounding buildings. Because of the prevalence of dark roof membranes and non-reflective paved surfaces that absorb solar radiation and release it back in the form of heat into the atmosphere, cities tend to be warmer than forested or vegetated environments. Green roofs help counteract this phenomenon through a biological process known as evapotranspiration; plants act as an external air-conditioning system, absorbing rainwater through their root systems and releasing cooler gb&d

  


 An infrared radiometer measures average surface temperature.

 An irrometer monitors

 Probes record ambient

 Subsoil probes record

temperatures at two inches and six inches.

soil moisture and controls irrigation. temperatures below both the surface and planting media.

air to the surrounding environment through stomata in their leaves. Researchers are also evaluating how growing media and depth optimize storm-water retention. As older cities such as Toronto, Chicago, Boston, and New York City have expanded and added impervious surfaces, their combined sewer and storm-water systems, many a century old, have become unfit for handling peaks in water volume. Extreme weather events, such as torrential rains, tornadoes, hurricanes, that are more common as a result of climate change can cause these systems to overflow, leading to significant structural damage and contamination of the water supply. Green roofs relieve pressure on these systems by acting as natural sponges, soaking up rainwater before it finds its way into storm drains. MEDIA BIAS It’s remarkably difficult to determine which growing media provides the greatest water retention while supporting healthy plant growth and ensuring the highest rate of evaporative cooling. A product approved by the German Landscape Research, Development and Construction Society (the German name is abbreviated as FLL), a nonprofit plant research organization, is widely considered the industry standard. The FLL popularized a non-organic, lightweight, low-maintenance, mineral aggregate similar to gravel or lava rock. It puts minimal strain on the load capacity of building roofs, requires little upkeep, and provides an adequate substrate for sedum, the drought-tolerant succulent that is a favorite among green roof designers. Sedum undoubtedly has its advantages because it evolved in a water-scarce environment and requires little water and nutrients to survive, but it has one drawback—it evapotranspires at night, not during the day when cooling is most important. In addition, the FLL soil media may not have the optimal retention cajanuary–february 2014


TRENDSETTERS University of Toronto GRIT Lab

“We’re studying the synergy of the system for its capacity to deal with both water and thermal energy, as well as how these cycles affect plant growth and vice versa.” LIAT MARGOLIS, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO GRIT LAB

pacity for increasingly heavy rains. So, in phase one of the GRIT Lab project, Sky esis that green roofs and photovoltaic Solar (whose vice president Helen Platis addition to evaluating the above composolar panels exist in a symbiotic relationwas instrumental in pulling the project nents, the GRIT Lab is testing two altership that magnifies the sustainability together), Schletter, Semple Gooder, natives: a 40–50 percent organic growing benefits of each. Several studies have and TerraGen Solar are contributing to a media, developed by Bioroof Systems, shown that reducing the operating temsecond phase of the project, which from and a biodiverse meadow planting mix, perature of photovoltaic panels increases 2013 to 2016 will investigate the hypothboth of which are thought to have higher their conversion efficiency by as much as water-retention capacity and evapotrans0.5 percent per 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit, piration rates. and lowering operating temperatures Although Margolis cautions that the minimizes the degradation of the panels. study is in its beginning phases, she is The thinking is that installing photoobserving distinct differences among test voltaic arrays above a vegetative surface beds with respect to plant growth and will allow plants to cool the solar panels associated growing conditions. She has through evapotranspiration and solar found that irrigation has been critical reflectance, which in turn will improve for plant diversity but less important for solar energy production and increase the plant cover and biomass; growing media potential return on investment for green type has proved significant for plant roof developers and owners. gb&d cover but not for plant diversity; sedum was significantly less affected by changes to protect ourselves from weather rials in a very hands-on way. As DIALOGUE LIAT MARGOLIS growing media and irrigation systems or harness their energy specifiers of material, designers than non-sedum; and meadow for constructive purposes. are rarely involved in the actual species planted in a 40–50 design of materials or their study. gb&d: Was this a natural extengb&d: How do you see the role In the context of green roofs, I sion of the research you did at percent organic media display of the designer or landscape want so see how all the systems Material ConneXion or a leap into much higher plant cover than architect evolving in the future of work, evaluate them, and influsomething new? That is, how did meadow species planted in green roofs? ence the direction the industry is you become interested in green FLL’s non-organic soil media. headed next. roofs with your background in The embedded energy costs Margolis: Ultimately, as academic materials? associated with green roof maresearchers we don’t have a huge gb&d: Okay, so how do green roof terials are an important part stake in the financial outcome of materials differ from those used in Liat Margolis: To me they are still of the study. “The embedded the green roof business. There is other built environments? materials. Material in the most energy cost of the high-organic more at stake for industry, which basic way is a composition of growing media we are testing has to withstand the financial conMargolis: The main principle is to elements. It has certain properties. is relatively low because sequences of changes to policy think of a green roof as a system For instance, if you look at a tree it utilizes a waste product and standards. The dilemma lies in constant flux rather than a fixed or a wooden beam or a sheet which would otherwise go in the gap between the economic product. It is a set of standards of paper, these are all material to a landfill,” Margolis says. reality of industry and policy on that we need to customize for systems that have to do with nat“In contrast, FLL aggregate one hand, and aspirations toward specific ecological and climate reural systems and anthropogenic is quarried, processed, and effective environmental technolgions and management priorities. cycles, in which a tree becomes sometimes transported great ogies on the other. Designers Green roofs cannot be conceived a sheet of paper, or conversely, if distances. For instance, in the should not accept the one-sizein the same category as other placed in the fireplace, it becomes case of Toronto, the aggregate fits-all environmental claims of building products, like bricks and fire. We try to organize and reorprevailing “green” technologies is typically sourced from the mortar—they are a living system ganize them to manage our built de facto but take a more critical that is part of a larger hydro-ecoenvironments in whatever way US or Quebec, which translates approach to current green-buildlogical system. Because we live best suits our needs. to high energy costs.” NEXT: SOLAR SYNERGIES In addition to the industry partners associated with


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Building upon its renowned gardens with an innovative School of Education building, High Point University uses multifunction wetlands to offset new construction By Jeff Link

When Mariana Qubein was traveling with her husband in Paris, a raised flower bed skirting the perimeter of a Champs-Elysees roundabout caught her eye. She wanted to install something similar at High Point University, an 89-yearold institution in North Carolina where her husband is the university president. Today, an adapted version of the Parisian garden, with conifers, hellebores, and winter flowering irises, greets prospective students at the university’s main entrance. Since Nido Qubein, a successful businessman and speaker, became the head of the university in 2005, he has focused on raising the school’s profile, and the Mariana H. Qubein Arboretum & Botanical Gardens is just one of his many projects. Although many liberal arts universities boast attractive campus gardens, few are as expansive—or ecolog-


january–february 2014

ically minded—as the welcoming garden at High Point. Opened in 2006, the 24-garden collection sits among stately red brick buildings and forms the bucolic backdrop for a 330-acre campus designated as a “Tree Campus USA” for the past four years by the Arbor Day Foundation. The garden’s plant collection is young, but it features more than 2,000 different species and cultivars and serves as an innovative example of how constructed wetland environments can limit storm-water runoff and improve water quality. But High Point University’s commitment to sustainability and energy conservation extends beyond its gardens to the built environment. The 31,000-squarefoot School of Education building, designed by Mercer Architecture and opened in August 2012, is targeting LEED Silver certification. The building houses

the education and psychology departments in a brick-faced Georgian architectural style with a grand, colonnaded entry, prominent bay windows, and technologically sophisticated classrooms, computer labs, and offices. With intelligent lighting, plumbing, and irrigation systems, water use is cut by 30 percent inside the building and by 50 percent outdoors, while energy use is reduced by 24 percent. As a learning tool and sanctuary for students, the campus gardens are an impressive achievement. Statues of historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Galileo, and Martin Luther King Jr. rise from brick pathways that wind past meticulously trimmed boxwood hedges, walls of espaliered plants, and numerous residence halls. Students can take refuge under palm boughs and banana trees in the tropical garden, a microclimate that takes advantage of radiant heat and northerly wind protection from the nearby Slane Student Center to grow showcase plants that are typically 1 to 1.5 zones warmer than the city of High Point. There is an azalea path, a wisteria arbor, a dogwood grove, a rose garden, a butterfly garden, a culinary herb garden—all neatly labeled with botanical and common plant names and routinely used by students in the

With roughly 275 different species and cultivars of trees on its campus, High Point University has been designated as a Tree Campus USA by the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources for four consecutive years, in recognition of its promotion of healthy urban forest management.

school’s biology and environmental science programs as a living laboratory for plant and ecology study. For a growing school with newfound cache—High Point University was recently ranked No. 1 in the South twice in the regional rankings of U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 edition of America’s Best Colleges—the gardens also serve a more pragmatic function: providing a sufficient amount of green space to offset the ecological impact of new construction. Since Qubein’s arrival nine years ago, the school has added 47 new buildings, increased its size from 92 to 330 acres, and expanded its building footprint from 675,000 to 3 million square feet. As building development has created new impervious surfaces and altered the campus’s hydrologic cycle, the school has sought the counsel of landscape architects from Stimmel and Associates and engineers from Jamestown Engineering to put its plants to work on an innovative watershed plan. Four bioretention sites at High Point, including one at the university’s Greek Village, use constructed pond systems to mimic the organic filtration processes of natural wetlands. Three-foot-deep depressions are planted with leafy, water-tolerant species, such as sedges, inkberry gb&d

hollies, and viburnums, to slow runoff and improve water quality by temporarily storing rainwater in shallow ponds. Leafy vegetation and accumulated plant litter help decompose organic compounds and cleanse the water of suspended solids, heavy metals, nitrogen, petroleum, and other pollutants before the water drains into a piping system connected to the local water supply. “As you add impervious surface, you don’t want that rolling off into your storm water,” says Jon Roethling, the university’s curator of grounds. “This slows it down and filters out impurities. We are in an area with some of the most innovative nurseries, plant breeders, and horticulturists and can draw from that in creating the gardens. Many of these nurseries are very open to sharing plant material that is hard to find, just coming on the market, or simply a great plant that is often overlooked. It is these relationships with the industry that are such a great asset.” gb&d A MESSAGE FROM CONSULTANT ENGINEERING SERVICE, INC. 

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LEARNING TO TEACH INSIDE HIGH POINT UNIVERSITY’S SCHOOL OF EDUCATION BUILDING The School of Education building’s energy-efficient design is enhanced with learning tools that combine technological sophistication with the more traditional elements found in the primary and secondary classrooms. Students have access both to SMART boards—widescreen, computerized white boards that allow professors to share digital notes while pulling up images from the Web—and a methods lab cast in primary colors with a sink-lined counter, cubbies, and small tables and chairs. The design planted four “jewels”—five-sided rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows used variously as seminar rooms, classrooms, conference rooms, and student gathering area—at the corners of the building, and HVAC equipment is installed in wells on the roof, cleverly kept out of sight while preserving green space near the building. Consultant Engineering Service helped offset pressure on the energy and water systems with 80 nLIGHT sensors, which detect movement and dim light according to natural light levels; Moen sink faucets that intelligently respond to human activity; and low-flow toilets, which limit water release to 1.28 gallons per flush.

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LOS ANGELES, FULLY CHARGED If anyone is still trying to kill the electric car, they don’t live in Los Angeles. Thanks to a 360-degree commitment from public officials and carmakers alike, the city leads the US in EV sales. What does this mean for its built environment? By Matt Alderton

It may be the City of Angels, but on most mornings in the 1960s, Los Angeles didn’t look so heavenly. Instead, it looked like its namesake angels had taken God’s car for a joyride down an old dirt road. A hazy blanket of brown over the city’s skyline, the smog was so bad some days that it made Angelenos cough and cry. Today, the view is clearer because the air is cleaner. In fact, the average number of high ozone days in Los Angeles fell by more than half from 2000 to 2009—from 189.5 to 91.5, respectively—even though the number of people and cars in the city has tripled. Despite improvements, however, Los Angeles still has the worst air in the nation according to the American Lung Association, which gave the city an ‘F’ in its 2013 “State of the Air” report. The culprit: the 16.6 million motor vehicles that are registered in the greater Los Angeles five-county region—the largest amount of any metropolitan area in the United States. Clearly, Los Angeles has a problem too big for clean-air regulations alone to solve. That’s why the city and its residents are embracing a new solution to their decades-old problem: electric vehicles.

EV ORIGINS Electric vehicles (EVs) aren’t a new solution at all. In 1989, the South Coast Air Quality Management District submitted its first “Air Quality Management Plan,” which called for wide use of EVs across the Southland. A year later, in 1990, California passed a law requiring automakers to sell zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) in order to do business there. Although most major automakers introduced a car in response, they ultimately defeated the regulation and abandoned EV production until their resurgence in 2010, when Los Angeles quickly emerged as a hotbed of EV activity. “The environment overall in Los Angeles is ripe for EV adoption,” explains Brendan Jones, director of electric vehicle infrastructure strategy for Nissan North America, whose all-electric car— the Nissan Leaf—averages approximately 2,000 sales per month nationwide. But what makes Los Angeles such a good market for EVs? For one, the city is famous for its car culture. There are 2.5 million vehicles registered in just the City of Los Angeles—a half million more than New York City, which has nearly 4.5 million more people. Two, Californians tend to be more environmentally

GUEST EDITOR DAVID ABEL California is ground zero in North America for alternative-fuel vehicles. State and local governments believe so strongly in the energy, power, and environmental benefits of EVs that they have joined hands with the manufacturers, the utilities, those who make charging stations and equipment, local governments, air-pollution regulators, consumers, and public-health advocates to ensure that EV adoption is smooth and straightforward, thus ensuring that California remains a hub of the emerging EV industry.


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conscious than other Americans. “People are appreciative of California’s natural beauty; they realize that we have a very precious environment, and that we should all be doing our part to take care of it,” says architect Gwynne Pugh, principal of Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio in Santa Monica, California, whose previous firm—Pugh + Scarpa—designed a six-car, solar-powered EV charging station in front of Santa Monica City Hall in 1997. “When you look, in particular, at the Los Angeles Basin in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, the smog conditions were very, very severe. That made a lot of Southern Californians sensitive to the consequences of a petrochemical-driven society.” Then there’s infrastructure. Although California’s ZEV mandate failed to kickstart an EV movement in the ’90s, it gave California a running start on building EV infrastructure, including residential, commercial, and public charging stations. “In the ’90s, hundreds of publicly available charging stations were installed throughout Southern California,” says

Gwynne Pugh helped design and install this solar-powered, six-car EV-charging station in Santa Monica, CA, in 1997.


TOP 5 US CITIES FOR NEW ELECTRIC-VEHICLE SALES 1. Los Angeles (1,330) 2. San Francisco (1,253) 3. Seattle (556) 4. San Diego (389) 5. Portland, OR (269) Source: R.L. Polk, 2012

TOP 5 BEST-SELLING PLUG-IN VEHICLES 1. Chevrolet Volt (14,994) 2. Nissan Leaf (14,123) pictured 3. Tesla Model S (10,750) 4. Toyota Prius Plug-in (5,031) 5. Ford C-Max Energi (2,915) Source: Inside EVs, “Monthly Plug-In Sales Scorecard,” 8/2013 YTD


Alexander Pugh, who is a senior project manager for policy and project management at Southern California Edison, and who also happens to be Gwynne Pugh’s son. “So, we have a good infrastructure backbone with a lot of prime sites already having charging stations installed.”

LEADING BY EXAMPLE Utilities have played a large role in promoting EV adoption in and around Los Angeles. Southern California Edison, for instance—whose customers represent 10 percent of national EV sales—has an EV microsite dedicated to consumer education as well as a team of “Home Fuel Advisors” who work with EV customers to develop a customized EV power plan. The company also offers discounted rates to EV owners to make home charging more affordable. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the City of Los Angeles’ municipal utility, offers similar discounts, as well as rebates to help customers with the cost of installing EV chargers in their homes and businesses, which can run anywhere from $500 to $2,000. “LADWP has a history [of supporting EV adoption] that goes back to the begb&d

ginning of the EV movement,” Jones says. “Its progressive nature makes installing EV infrastructure very, very easy.” In Los Angeles, that infrastructure is growing quickly thanks to the combined efforts of government and industry. As of August 2013, there were 350 public EV charging sites in Los Angeles, including the city’s first DC fast charger, which was installed in 2012 and can charge an EV to 80 percent full in 30 minutes, compared to six to eight hours for the Level 2 chargers that constitute the rest of the city’s public chargers. Meanwhile, automakers such as Nissan also are installing charging stations. “We just completed a process to install 20 DC fast chargers at California [Nissan] dealerships—many of which are in the Los Angeles area,” says Jones, who adds that there are currently more than 300 DC fast chargers nationwide, mostly on the West Coast. More public charging stations in Los Angeles and elsewhere means more “range confidence”—confidence that an EV will go an adequate distance without losing its charge—which in turn will increase EV adoption. Still, for the majority of drivers, charging is taking place mostly at home and at work, and so improving access where people live and work will have the most direct benefit to EV drivers. With that in mind, cities should work to streamline charging-station installation permitting for residential and commercial sites. In fact, one of the most important things Los Angeles has done for EVs concerns building codes. As of 2011, the city requires EV readiness for all residential and commercial new construction. “Because retrofitting can be expensive, getting new construction to be EV-ready

“How the urban design environment is developed is tremendously important. As architects, we think of sustainability as being as obvious and necessary as structure.” GWYNNE PUGH, GWYNNE PUGH URBAN STUDIO

from the outset really helps the industry in the long term,” Alexander Pugh says. THE WAY FORWARD EVs are still far from mainstream, but their rapid growth in Los Angeles makes the city a national model for EV adoption. Although challenges remain—multifamily housing, for instance, raises numerous questions about shared charging—the model illustrates the ability to solve them by forging strong partnerships between municipal government and private industry, both of which must rely on architects and designers to seamlessly integrate EV infrastructure into built environments. “How the urban design environment is developed is tremendously important,” concludes Gwynne Pugh, who says architects are critical to EV adoption in Los Angeles and elsewhere for their role in optimizing infrastructure function, aesthetics, convenience, and safety. “As architects, we think of sustainability as being as obvious and necessary as structure. … Maybe Los Angeles was a bit late in coming to this realization, but it has been very active and proactive about addressing it in the past 10 to 15 years, and it will be better for it in the long term.” gb&d january–february 2014



PLATINUM PARADISO Industry veteran Jarad Kriz details the passive strategies and brand-new materials that helped make the US Virgin Islands’ first LEED-certified home a Platinum one By Julie Schaeffer When Kelly and Ryan Uszenski asked Jarad Kriz to help them build an green home on St. Thomas, one of the US Virgin Islands, Kriz suggested they go even further and build to LEED Platinum standards. The fact that Kriz had never been involved with a LEED home project proved to be no obstacle. Eighteen months after the Uszenskis approached him, Kriz had earned his LEED AP for Homes accreditation and helped them build the first LEED Platinum home in the US Virgin Islands. INHERITING AN ISLAND VENTURE Kriz was a clear fit for the job. With degrees in engineering and applied sciences from Penn State University and the University of Alabama as well as graduate certificates in sustainable building design and construction and sustainable residential design from Boston Architectural College, the 30-year veteran of the construction industry also had 14 years of experience in the US Virgin Islands. Kriz started his career working as an engineer for companies that specialized in power plant and industrial construction. Later, he helped found Brower, Kriz & Stynchcomb (BKS), a Houston-based construction project management and construction claims analysis firm. In 2001, Kriz answered a call for assistance from a friend who owned a construction company that was building a Ritz-Carlton in the US Virgin Islands. Not long after, the friend passed away,


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and Kriz took over the business. “He was a good friend, and it was both an honor and a challenge to continue his legacy,” says Kriz, who managed to split his time between the Washington, DC, office of BKS and the company in St. Thomas. Four years later, Kriz sold the company to a US construction firm that wanted to establish itself in the US Virgin Islands market, and Kriz formed his own company, Islcon VI, and continues to do projects in the area. The US Virgin Islands, comprising St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas, and Water Island, along with many other surrounding minor islands, encompass 133 square miles of land just 40 miles east of Puerto Rico. Home to just more than 100,000 people, the islands have a tropical savanna climate affected by moderate trade wind, meaning it’s hot and humid with temperatures ranging from 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. A FREE ENERGY SOURCE As a part-time resident of the US Virgin Islands, Kriz has worked extensively in the tropical environment, and in doing so, has seen the skyrocketing energy costs it brings. The islands, he says, have no natural resources, such as coal and natural gas, to generate electricity, and in recent years, no means of refining those resources. “There used to be an oil refinery on an adjoining island about 60 miles away, but [it] closed down, so now oil used to generate power will have to be brought in from more distant locations,” Kriz says. “As a result, energy costs in the US Virgin Islands are slightly below 60 cents a kilowatt hour. By way of comparison, you probably pay about 12 cents. So it’s five times the normal national energy cost, and it’s just not affordable

This wave-making LEED Platinum island home features Mitsubishi units that reduce air-conditioning bills by 50 percent.

to operate a house on the islands given the price of electricity. Businesses face the same energy cost burden.” These economic issues—in addition to a passion for the environment—got Kriz interested in solar power. “We have such a plentiful resource [in] the sun, but only recently has the use of solar power gained popularity in the US Virgin Islands,” Kriz says. Kriz got his opportunity to break new ground, so to speak, when the Uszenski’s asked him to help consult on their new family home on St. Thomas. He recommended solar power, and when the topic of cost arose, Kriz suggested they take a new approach. Others on the island were using solar, Kriz says, but no one had thought holistically about how to design a house for overall energy efficiency. In order for solar to be as effective as possible, it needs to work in the context of a sustainably designed house that prioritizes passive strategies—a tight envelope and efficient air-conditioning, appliances, and lighting. Kriz suggested that the Uszenskis, who were already conscious of environmental issues, raise the bar and pursue LEED certification. The Uszenskis liked the idea and came up with a floor plan, after which Kriz consulted with a local engineer to transform what the couple wanted into a sustainable house. During construction, Kriz continued to add to his knowledge of green building practices. Already armed with a LEED AP BD+C accreditation, LEED Green Rater Training, and being a RESNET HERS


“Whenever anything new happens down there, it’s watched closely, and this home is no exception.” JARAD KRIZ, ISLCON VI

er, Kriz added a LEED AP Homes accreditation so that he could certify the house on the US Virgin Islands. It took months, but Kriz says the journey was worth it. “It helped me do everything I needed to counsel the homeowners on the requirements to get the home to LEED Platinum,” he says. A NEW BRAND OF BLOCK Being the first LEED-certified home on the US Virgin Islands wasn’t the project’s only pioneering venture. Kriz specified Staqable Symmetry Insulated Blocks, concrete blocks with superior insulation values developed in Clarence, New York, and tested at Oakridge National Laboratory. The blocks had yet to be used on a construction project. “Someone had to be first to try it, and I commend the Uszenskis for doing so,” Kriz says. Conventional non-insulated block allows cold air to escape from (or in colder climates, permeate into) a home through thermal bridges called webs. As a result, conventional blocks offer R-values of 0.88 to 1.28, depending on thickness—4-inch and 12inch, respectively, for the aforementioned figures. Staqable Symmetry’s insulated blocks, however, have a calculated R-value of 15.3, which is among the highest tested R-value of any block on the market. Not only are the Staqable blocks super-insulated, but their structural stability is also perfectly suited for earthquakeand hurricane-prone areas. In flexural tests conducted by the National Concrete Masonry Association, the reinforced bars in fully grouted cells offered a performance comparable to conventional reinforced concrete masonry walls. And the blocks don’t let any water through—a plus in the wet Caribbean climate. Water infiltration tests performed on uncoated Staqable blocks by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) showed that no water migrated through the blocks’ foam interior using the standard visual test. Kriz says Staqable Symmetry went one step further and requested the gb&d

NAHB perform a more detailed inspection that involved dismantling one face of the block. The result: Absolutely no water migrated through the foam, even when five inches of water stood against the block wall. The last of the blocks’ benefits were shown in the construction phase. Concrete block structures are common in the US Virgin Islands, and Kriz says the process of using the Staqable blocks was surprisingly simple. Under the guidance of Dellinger Construction’s Frank Dellinger, who constructed the laboratory test walls for Staqable Symmetry, local craftsmen installed the blocks without issues. Although the tropical climate and rocky site weren’t challenges (island-based construction firms are used to working in the heat and performing rock excavation), importing the Staqable blocks was cost-prohibitive. The solution: a specialized mold was shipped over so that Heavy Materials could cast the Staqable blocks on the island.

THE ACTIVE SYSTEMS With the home protected from hurricanes, heat loss and gain, and water, it was time to focus on the energy generation part of the equation. Photovoltaic panels were installed on the low-pitched concrete roof above the deck and walkway, which doubles as a shade for some of the home’s windows. The panels, supplied by Energy All Over, generate 4.5 kilowatts of power and use a net-metering system that allows daytime solar

power to spin the home’s electrical meter backward (it reverses at night when energy is being consumed and no solar power is generated). All told, the home uses about two-thirds less electricity than a conventional home of the same size. “My three-bedroom condo in the US Virgin Islands uses $400 a month of electricity when I’m not there,” Kriz says, “and this five-bedroom single-family home that’s occupied by two adults and a child uses less energy than my condo.” Other key elements include high-performance WinDoor windows and glass doors with a slight tint that helps keep the sun out. Following Kriz’s recommendation, the Uszenskis also used high-efficiency Mitsubishi air-conditioning units, high-efficiency tankless water heaters, Energy Star appliances, and energy-efficient lighting fixtures. Even the light-colored insulated metal roof helps reduce energy consumption. “People usually choose based on architectural preferences,” Kriz says. “These homeowners chose based on solar reflectivity.” The house also used FSC-certified wood provided by MSI Building Supplies. SETTING A PRECEDENT Despite being the first of its kind, the 3,000-square-foot home, which was completed in fall 2012, earned LEED Platinum with 88 points. Additionally, as part of the LEED certification process, the home went through extensive energy-performance testing, the results of which earned it a HERS 5 Star Plus rating—the highest possible. “Whenever anything new happens down there, it’s watched closely, and this home is no exception,” says Kriz, who has presented about the home to the Virgin Islands Energy Office and the US Department of Energy’s Energy Development for Island Nations program. “It’s consistent with the whole theme of the US Virgin Islands—it’s about maintaining the natural beauty by using resources efficiently.” gb&d january–february 2014



Up Front Approach Trendsetters Green Typologies Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


52 Welcome to the Passive

House Party

With Europeans on board for decades, Passive House is finally gaining traction stateside

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After a decades-long dormancy here in the United States, the alternative certification is ready for the limelight, and a survey of three recent projects proves that Passive House isn’t constrained to one building type or climate. By Kathryn Freeman Rathbone


Passive House Par 52

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The Belfield Avenue Townhomes, Philadelphia’s first certified Passive House units, are set back from the street, creating space for contemporary planters and neighbor interaction. Inside, all electricity use is rigorously monitored.


Germany, has been officially studying building practices and materials performance since 1996, using their findings to outline the Passive House building code. While other Passive House certifying organizations do exist in Europe, it is the PHI that sets research standards. In the United States, the Passive House Institute US has been adapting this code for the past seven years, taking the European principles and refining them so that Passive House buildings can optimally function in the varied American climatic zones. “It’s just in its infancy here in the US,” says Julie Torres Moskovitz, author of the 2013 book The Greenest Home: Superinsulated and Passive House Design and the principal of Fabrica718, which designed Tighthouse, New York City’s first certified Passive House project. “It took 15 years in Germany for Passive House to take off. Here, it’s just getting started.” To anchor the movement stateside, PHIUS has laid out a set of straight-

TIGHTHOUSE Why it’s notable: Tighthouse is New York City’s first certified Passive House. It is so well insulated that a winter thermal image registered the home in all blue tones, meaning it leaked almost no heat. Type of structure: Tighthouse is actually a renovation of an original Brooklyn brownstone, proving that Passive House retrofits can be as effective as new homes. Design elements: The home’s looks keep in line with its contemporary energy ambitions. The architect chose a sharp, dark gray for its exterior and finished its interior in bright whites to play up the sunlight that streams through the home’s large windows. Energy solutions: To avoid air escape as much as possible, the Tighthouse’s builders taped every joint for all the windows and doors. The process took two weeks to complete.


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DETAILS LOCATION New York City Size 3,265 ft2 Completed 2012 (originally built in 1899) CertificationPHI Climate Zone Cold Energy Use Intensity35.2 kBtu/ft2/yr Architects F  abrica718 (Julie Torres Moskovitz, Minyoung Song, Michael Vanreusel, Natalya Egon, Kim Letven, Jade Yang, Corey Yurkovich) in conjunction with Studio Cicetti Structural Engineer A  nastos Engineering Associates Passive House Consultant/Mechanical DesignerZeroEnergy Design General Contractor WM Dorvillier & Co.

forward Passive House characteristics. According to the published standards, Passive House buildings “achieve overall energy savings of 60 to 70 percent and 90 percent of space heating without applying expensive ‘active’ technologies like photovoltaics or solar thermal hot-water systems.” Their designs incorporate “superinsulation, airtight envelopes, energy recovery ventilation, [and] high performance windows” to accomplish this drastic energy reduction. Unlike with LEED, energy performance can be precisely predicted because energy consumption and output is carefully calculated for each Passive House structure using Passive House Planning Package


A building’s energy performance goes hand in hand with its design. In the United States, LEED has set the standards and certifications that many developers, architects, engineers, and builders aim to hit in each project they construct. Since the classification system’s rollout in 1993, thousands of buildings worldwide have earned official LEED ratings, and “achieving LEED certification” has become a talking point so well known that it’s commonplace even in popular culture. Yet LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is hardly the only standard in green building, and one in particular is on the rise: Passive House. Passive House (sometimes spelled the German way, passivhaus), is a building standard that, although it shares its main goal with LEED—to help create a more sustainable world by reducing architecture’s impact on the natural environment—predates the USGBC’s prescriptive system. Its origins can be traced back to superinsulated homes developed in the US in the 1970s. To date, 30,000 buildings worldwide have been built to its strict energy performance specifications. It’s the go-to standard for green building in Europe, but stateside, it’s just now picking up steam. Two primary institutions are responsible for developing the tools and applications central to Passive House construction. In Europe, the Passivhaus Institut (PHI), headquartered in Dormstadt,

To bring natural light to all four levels of this renovated Brooklyn brownstone, New York City’s first certified Passive House, staircases all fall within the light path of a large skylight and have perforated stainless steel treads.

Check out the Zehnder HRV unit used in this project on p. 128


“As a designer, once you’ve done one Passive House project, it’s hard to go back. You can’t help but apply its techniques to all your projects in the future.” JULIE TORRES MOSKOVITZ, FABRICA718


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DIALOGUE Lukas Armstrong

(PHPP) software, a program developed initially in Europe. Designers deploy PHPP in the early design phase, making energy performance central to each Passive House building. “It’s similar to Excel,” Torres Moskovitz says of the software. “It’s all plug-ins and formulas that relate to building science. When you use it, you input all the details—a structure’s materials, its design, its local weather— and PHPP runs the details and gives you a model that tells you about building decision trade-offs.” “It’s really useful,” she adds, “because you instantaneously see a building’s performance results.” Armed with the PHPP predictive model, designers can make informed decisions about each element that goes into a building’s total design. And as a project evolves, different decisions can be made to counteract any other design changes that would otherwise increase energy output or consumption. It’s a smart checks and balances system of building, and it’s been consistently proven to work. “Passive House is very simple because it’s numbers based, so you have to be accountable,” says Tim McDonald, a Passive House specialist whose firm, Onion Flats, developed the Belfield Avenue Townhomes, Philadelphia’s first certified Passive House project. To McDonald, the numbers-don’t-lie approach pushes architects to engage the question, “How do we get buildings to sustain themselves and hit net zero?” And when it comes down to actually answering that question, the extensive training required to become a Certified Passive House Consultant (CHPC) certainly makes architects, builders, and craftsmen well acquainted with all the numbers that go into a building’s energy calculations. PHIUS divides the rigorous CHPC program into two learning phases. Phase one requires 24 hours of classroom instruction, and introduces participants to heat transfer, air tightness, thermal gb&d

“[Passive House] is a clearly measured metric that focuses closely on energy efficiency and uses sophisticated math to prove it. It’s science, and it works.” LUKAS ARMSTRONG, LUKAS ARMSTRONG DESIGN + CONSULTING bridge free detailing, superinsulation, highly efficient ventilation, and moisture control principles. Phase two teaches participants how to use the PHPP software via case studies that model real Passive House buildings. A final software-competencies exam and take-home modeling case study compose the certification exam. “Learning how to track your work from the design side makes you rethink the process of how things get structured on the outside in relationship to the inside,” McDonald says. More than one CPHC can work on a project, and often designers team up with other CPHC engineers and builders, minimizing the chance that a Passive House project will compromise its design intent. Torres Moskovitz prefers this method of building a CPHC team. “I always want to work with a CPHC engineer because they understand the smallest ins and

You grew up on a 160-acre, solar-powered ranch in British Columbia. How did that experience shape your views on energy use and dependency? When you’re dealing with solar power—and we had other alternative energy sources like wood and a little solar thermal—you really become intensely aware of the amount of energy that you have available and how hard it is to get. When I started designing buildings it only made sense to minimize energy use and thereby your costs. When did you first learn about Passive House? It was about two years ago, when I took the Passive House course offered by the Canadian Passive House Institute in Vancouver. What made you want to get so involved? When I started getting into residential design of my own, I looked around to see what was on the cutting edge and realized Passive House was the most aggressive energy-efficiency standard in the world. Besides its stringent standards, what else about Passive House attracted you to it? It’s a clearly measured metric that focuses closely on energy efficiency and uses sophisticated math to prove it. It’s science, and it works. So we’re using science to create buildings that respond to our climate-change situation. What are you doing to get others involved? I’ve spoken both regionally and provincially on Passive House, and I expect to, at some point through digital media, be able to reach out and influence the public and my peers. And, of course, marketing to my clients. I’m going to do anything I can to get the word out. What sort of limitations do you think it has? Potentially the only shortcoming is overcoming the legislation that allows bad buildings to be built. We need to educate the public, the building professionals, the contractors, the construction industry, and more importantly, we have to have our governments change legislation and insist on this building standard. Interview by Christopher James Palafox

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DIALOGUE Vahid Mojarrab

When did you first learn about Passive House? [It was] after reading an article on how you can heat your whole house with a hair dryer—I think that was the most brilliant marketing sentence I have ever read. It just hit the core with everybody. I participated in the first Passive House US training in Champaign, Illinois, in the summer of 2008, and I was among the first group of people that got trained in Passive House. What compelled you to get involved? It was proven in Europe, and it just seemed to work. It has other benefits for us—it improves the indoor air quality, it forces the building to be built better so that it’s longer lasting. For most of our projects, we try to achieve site-zero energy, and Passive House allows site-zero energy with little effort. It became compelling to present this to clients and tell them that by investing in 1.5- or 2-kilowatt photovoltaic systems they can attain site-zero. Does the climate affect your approach? [New Mexico is] in Climate Zone 5, which is a cold and dry climate, and we have the problem of overheating because of high solar gain. We’re doing a project right now where we tried to play with the overhang for a particularly large picture window. Coming up with the perfect overhang is almost impossible. You either don’t get enough solar gain, or you’re overheating. So we chose to go to an active system—in this case, it was an exterior shading device. Then we hit the sweet spot in no time. That’s something that might be different or unique to our region—many of our projects require exterior active shading to achieve the ultimate balance throughout the year. How does your current work illustrate intelligent Passive House design methods? When we talk about possible energy-efficiency improvements in the residential sector, we always hear about single-family homes. Multifamily housing has an automatic energy efficiency in some way designed into it. The whole geometry and sharing of walls make energy efficiency inherent with the multifamily. Less saving comes from the envelope or HVAC design, and more of it comes from the water-heating efficiency and appliances. It’s a significant opportunity to bundle energy-saving methods. Interview by Christopher James Palafox


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outs of the software,” she says. “When it comes to building, I like to work with CPHC builders and tradesmen, too. It just makes accomplishing your Passive House goals that much easier when everybody understands why we’re working toward Passive House certification on a project and how, when building, we can actually adjust the design to get there.” Her point is a good one: a Passive House predictive model is only good if the Passive House building is actually built so that it can achieve its reduced energy numbers. Strong communication among the entire building and design team is essential. “When we were building Tighthouse, we put up a sign that said, ‘Report any air penetration to the outside to Julie,’” she says. “It was a simple approach, but it helped everybody stay on track. I could tweak the design, and we could all work together to solve materials and construction problems so that we could make an airtight building.” At Tighthouse, hitting the Passive House numbers meant thwarting as many thermal bridges between inside and outside as possible—a common goal for all Passive House projects. The home is actually a retrofit of an old Brooklyn brownstone, and large doors and windows and doors puncture both its front and rear façades. Its design required taping around as many joints as possible so that the home could remain

superinsulated. “We taped everything— especially around the windows—on every overlapping surface so that nothing was leaking,” Torres Moskovitz says. The windows themselves are a tilt-and-turn model commonly used in Europe. Torres Moskovitz sourced them from a European company and had them imported because similar American-made models weren’t available. Which is common. Because Passive House building design is still relatively young in the US, architects and builders are forced to source PHI-approved materials from Europe. However, American building materials manufacturers are beginning to come to market with products certified by PHIUS. In 2013, Marvin Windows and Doors, based in Warroad, Minnesota, earned the PHIUS stamp of approval for its Ultimate Casement window. “It’s been in the works for some time,” says Christine Marvin, director of marketing for the family-owned business. “Marvin has always been focused on the voice of the customer. Years ago, we heard about Passive House from our customers, and we knew we had to respond with product options and find solutions to meet their needs. We also anticipated that the movement would pick up momentum in the US.” “We’ve been approached from Georgia to Portland,” adds Brenda Brunk, a Marvin product planner behind the Pas-

“[I learned about Passive House] after reading an article on how you can heat your whole house with a hair dryer—I think that was the most brilliant marketing sentence I have ever read.” VAHID MOJARRAB, WAMO STUDIO


Vahid Mojarrab designed Andalusia in New Mexico to Passive House guidelines, but the multiunit component of the project also helps save on energy because of the efficiency inherent in shared walls.


sive House Ultimate Casement project. “People are very passionate about getting American products for Passive House projects.” Working in tandem with PHIUS, Marvin’s research and development team learned how to refine its traditional Ultimate Casement window design in order to meet the Passive House materials certification benchmarks. The Passive House Ultimate Casement model meets the standards for the climatic conditions of US Zone 3 and Marine South, and it’s available in triple and quadruple glazing. As American-made products arrive on the market, architects can achieve Passive House designs that don’t sacrifice style, an issue that’s often raised as one of the standard’s drawbacks. “There are many beautiful Passive Home buildings around the world,” McDonald says. “One of the problems [in the US] is that there just aren’t enough excellent architects designing Passive House buildings yet. But you really don’t have to compromise style for a Passive House. It’s a symbiotic relationship between one’s design and the Passive House parameters.” Regardless of architectural style, the mechanical nuts and bolts of each Passive House project remain relatively constant. Unsurprisingly, superinsulated buildings require high performance insulation that gb&d

keeps heat transfer to a minimum; for most of the US, a Passive House thermal envelope typically requires at least twice the R-value as required by the building code. Superinsulated Passive Home projects, since they are so well sealed, also require a special ventilation system— what McDonald refers to as a “lung” for the building—that also provides energy recovery. The energy recovery ventilator, or ERV, works by bringing in fresh air from the outside, while exhausting stale air out. “The air from the outside absorbs the heat from the exhaust air as it’s vented into the house, leaving the air that’s vented outside a cooler temperature,” McDonald explains. This, of course, reduces energy losses to the exterior, and the constant air exchange works in tandem with the superinsulation so that buildings do not need to be heated and cooled to such extremes. The goal is to construct a structure that’s so well insulated and regulated that it remains a constant temperature, even when heating and cooling are cut. McDonald used an ERV in his project, but Torres Moskovitz used a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) in her project, which is similar and can become an ERV by just switching out a part. The energy reductions in both projects’ PHPP models have so far proven accurate. “The Tighthouse owners are amazed by their utility bills,” Torres Moskovitz says. “In that project, we literally monitor the electrical load of every circuit so we can adjust anything that’s off.” McDonald’s experience has been similar in the Belfield Townhomes, where he also monitors all electrical circuits and compares electrical usage across the three-unit complex. “Since we have a multifamily complex, we like to

ANDALUSIA Why it’s notable: Andalusia mitigates New Mexico’s temperamental climate with an exterior sun-shading system. The screen covers the building’s façade so that perfect solar radiation levels can be achieved and the natural energy can be harnessed to fuel the complex’s energy needs. Type of structure: Composed of two buildings, the multifamily complex features both an existing structure and a more modern building that sits adjacent. Design elements: The new building references the renovated structure, deploying minimal finishes and square volumes that are typical to the area. Parking is also planned in a lane and streetscape style, eliminating the need for a large surface lot and keeping the complex integrated with the neighborhood’s street grid pattern. Energy solutions: The sunscreen and solar array optimizes solar energy capture, eliminating the need for additional large power sources.

DETAILS LOCATION Clovis, NM Size 2.4 acres Completed Under construction Certification P  HIUS (expected) Climate Zone M  ixed-dry Energy Use Intensity N  ot applicable Client C  ity of Clovis Architect W  AMO Studio (Vahid Mojarrab and Carol Ware)

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they’re confident that it won’t take much more time to really take off. “More young people who are designing homes or who are having them designed are moving toward Passive House because they see it as a tool, not as a hindrance,” Torres Moskovitz says. “As a designer, once you’ve done one Passive House project, it’s hard to go back. You can’t help but apply its techniques to all your projects in the future.”

“The amazing thing about Passive House is that it works. You design a building, run it through the software, build it, and it just works.”

TIM MCDONALD, ONION FLATS McDonald phrases this idea a bit differently, but the sentiment is the same. “Passive House is a standard that really allows buildings to be what I call ‘Net-Zero-Energy-Capable,’” he says. “And if you look at a project holistically, as we do, they don’t have to cost any more money. If you can design and build a building that can achieve net-zero energy at a zero premium, there should be zero debate.” This is the ultimate Passive House goal, and as the building industry continues to green itself, it’s a safe bet that many will do so through the calculated, cost-effective strategies outlined by the Passive House standard. gb&d


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BELFIELD AVENUE TOWNHOMES Why it’s notable: Commissioned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the Belfield Townhomes actually are affordable housing. The complex houses three families and, at completion in 2012, became Philadelphia’s first Passive House-certified project. Type of structure: The walk-ups clock in at nearly 6,000 combined square feet. Each townhome contains four or five bedrooms, and the structures themselves are composed of modular, factory-built units. Design elements: A pared-down aesthetic pays homage to the complex’s modular construction, and big front stoops let the Belfield tenants connect with their neighbors. Energy solutions: McDonald and his team monitor every electrical circuit in all three homes so that energy use can be carefully controlled. A solar array also helps power the units.

DETAILS LOCATION Philadelphia Size 1,920 ft2 Completed 2012 CertificationPHIUS+ Passive House Climate ZoneCold Energy Use Intensity38 kBtu/ft2/yr (expected) Client Raise of Hope, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority Developer/Architect O  nion Flats/ Plumbob (Tim McDonald, Howard Steinberg, Ted Singer, Dan Magno) General Contractor JIG Inc.


show each of the families and the landlord all the statistics so they can see and compare how they’re using energy,” he says. “The key to all of this is to educate people about value of understanding their energy consumption, something that’s not common in this country.” It’s this clear, results-oriented approach, coupled with the movement’s scalability and long-term financial practicality, that’s inspiring architects and builders to adopt Passive House practices. “The amazing thing about Passive House is that it works,” McDonald says. “You design a building, run it through the software, build it, and it just works. Occupant behavior, however, is the greatest variable, but this comes with education.” Both architects are hopeful for the Passive House movement’s success, and

Belfield Avenue Townhomes show that Passive House standards can work perfectly for multifamily developments. Each of its three affordable housing townhouse units are expected to use only 10% of the energy of a comparable home.


Putting Passive House in Order

At the beginning of 2012, there were only about a dozen certified Passive House projects in the US. That was two years ago, and now we’re about to pass the 100 mark for PHIUS certifications. With standards that cut building energy consumption by 60 to 80 percent and an expanding core of passive design and construction professionals, we only expect that amount of growth to continue. But there are associated growing pains that can hinder understanding and adoption—starting with the misconceptions about the term “passive house.” THE (UNFORTUNATE) NAME The name Passive House is unfortunate. It was retranslated into English from the German term passivhaus (more on that in a minute), it often leads people to believe that you can only build passive houses— as in single-family residences. In fact, passive house is a generic term referring to a set of design and construction principles, as well as a quantifiable energy performance standard that has evolved to be applicable to any type of building. Yes, PHIUS is known for certifying residential projects, but it has also certified commercial projects, and other applications are growing quickly. As a result, here in the United States and Canada, it actually makes more sense to use the term “passive building.” Because of the sometimes-used German spelling passivhaus, there’s a common misunderstanding that passive house principles—superinsulation, airtightness, high-performance windows, energy recovery ventilation, and solar gain management—originated in Europe. Those principles were actually pioneered in the United States and Canada, and the term was coined by an American physicist named William Shurcliff in the early 1980s. The Germans adopted the term from the North American pioneers and translated it directly into passivhaus. Although advancing the principles fell dormant in North America for a variety


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little extra effort, several PHIUS-certified projects have also earned LEED status.

By Katrin Klingenberg

Empowerhouse, p. 74

of reasons, the Europeans did terrific work refining them and spawning a burst of high-performance buildings and manufacturing of Passive House building components in Europe. THE LEED COMPARISON Another common misconception: that Passive House is like LEED and therefore is a direct competitor. Passive house differs from LEED in its intense focus on energy performance; it uses sophisticated modeling software to verify predicted performance at the design stage. As most know, LEED is checklist-based, and as such, it is what is known as a prescriptive rather than a performance standard. But, LEED and PHIUS certification are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Accomplishing PHIUS requires, tacitly, meeting a majority of the LEED prescriptive checklist requirements. And, with just a

THE MAGIC NUMBER And that leads to the next frontier in terms of making passive building mainstream: The standard itself. The Europeans arrived at a magic number in terms of consumption for heating and cooling energy: 15 kWh/m2/yr. That figure is indeed realistic for the Central European climate zone and in similar North American climate zones such as the Pacific Northwest. A precept of the European passivhaus concept is that the figure is universal, achievable, and cost-effective virtually everywhere. As compelling and alluring as that Holy Grail is, having reviewed and consulted on projects across North America’s much more varied and extreme climates, we’ve learned one size does not fit all. In some cases, the cost of hitting that number is prohibitive and provides a disincentive to passive building. And in others—parts of California, for example— the standard actually is too easy to attain, and projects can hit the mark while leaving cost-effective energy savings on the table. Finally, that fixed number is actually harder to attain in small buildings—which runs counter to reducing energy consumption and carbon levels. Acknowledging that the standard is not universal is considered heresy by some, but it is absolutely necessary if we are to achieve the potential energy savings that the passive approach can yield in new and retrofit scenarios. Consequently, the PHIUS Technical Committee—a volunteer body of experienced passive-building and building-science experts—is undertaking the task of adjusting the standard according to all the DOE climate zones. gb&d Katrin Klingenberg is the cofounder and executive director of the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) in Urbana, Illinois.


Up Front Approach Trendsetters Green Typologies Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


64 A Hurricane-Hardened

Fire Station

Sarasota County, Florida, builds a green, indestructible facility

66 Is Active House the Answer?

Architect Jeff Day completes the first US Active House

68 Inside an EcoArt Piece

Coconut Creek casino’s water- filtering sculpture

70 Net Zero at Serenbe

An educational home for the EarthCraft community

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Sarasota County Fire Station No. 1 Sweet Sparkman Architects replaces an outdated structure with a hurricane-hardened, super-efficient home for the county’s firefighters

Sarasota County Fire Station No. 1 is proof of a municipal government marrying sustainability with style. The fresh, brickfaçade building replaced the declining, 1960s-era station in downtown Sarasota in 2010 and scored LEED Silver, which isn’t exactly unique in Sarasota these days. In 2005, Sarasota became the first county in Florida to adopt a resolution committed to building greener. This station, designed by Sweet Sparkman Architects, is just one example of Sarasota making good on that commitment—seven county buildings have already been LEED certified, and there are more on the way. Bill Hoag, Sarasota County’s assistant fire chief, goes through the ins and outs of this environmentally friendly flagship fire station. By Lindsey Howald Patton


LOCATION Sarasota, FL Size 12,894 ft2 Completed 2  010 Cost $3.1 million Program Fire station

CERTIFICATION LEED Silver Site Remediated contaminated site, access to transit, bicycle storage and changing rooms Materials C  oncrete flooring, high albedo roof, 85% construction waste diversion rate, recycled materials, FSC-certified wood Water L  ow-flow fixtures, rainwater harvesting system for cleaning, fire truck tanks, and irrigation Energy E  nergy-efficient outdoor lighting, occupancy sensors for indoor lighting Landscape S  torm-water runoff management using bioswales, water-efficient landscaping

TEAM CLIENT Sarasota County Fire Department Architect Sweet Sparkman Architects Contractor DeAngelis Diamond Construction

Floor Plan 1. Apparatus bay 2. Kitchen 3. Bunk rooms 4. Day room 5. Fitness room 6. Screened porch 7. Meeting / training room 8. Gear storage / support 9. Entry 10. Cistern 11. Greywater 12. Emergency generator 13. Green space



Fire Station No. 1 is built to with-

The main challenge in fire-station

stand Category 4 hurricanes, which can blast buildings with wind gusts up to 140 miles per hour. Even the large doors of the bay, which feature windows to let plenty of natural light into the space, will hold up against this kind of weather (1). “A lot of older facilities aren’t hurricane hardened,” Hoag says. “Now, anytime we build a new fire station, we build them to those specifications.” Not PLAN only does this guarantee the build1. Aparratus Bay ing at least its 50-year life, it allows 2. Kitchen 3. Bunk Rooms the firefighters do their job when 4. Day Room 5. Fitness Room 6. Screened Porchthey’re needed most. “It gives us the 7. Public Meeting / Training Room ability to be there after a storm and, 8. Gear Storage / Support 9. Entry after everything calms down, go 10. Cistern 11. Grey Water back out into the field,” he says. 12. Emergency Generator

design is that they are 24/7 facilities used in unique ways. This is the only municipal building in Sarasota County where the employees sleep, shower, shave, and cook their meals together—it’s basically a home away from home for the firefighters. And as with all family-style environments, remembering to turn the lights off tends to be an issue. “When I was a station lieutenant, I was kind of a tyrant about the lights,” Hoag says. In Fire Station No. 1, occupancy sensors give the station lieutenant a break and decrease overall energy consumption.

13. Green Space

0 5 10


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This is one of four on-site rainwater cisterns that capture up to 240,000 gallons of water to be reused for the fire trucks, irrigation, and cleaning.

In contrast with these large rain barrels, the fire station’s light variegated brick exterior is designed to blend with downtown Sarasota’s Rosemary District. “One of the things we strived for is for the building to fit into the community,” says assistant fire chief Bill Hoag.




The durable concrete floors of

The fire station’s brick exterior is part of

One of

the bay require a lot of water for a full scrub-down, but the station has four on-site cistern barrels that capture more than 240,000 gallons of rainwater each year, reducing or completely eliminating municipal water use during the firefighters’ regular Saturday cleanings (2). In the first year, water from the cisterns was used to establish the Florida-friendly landscaping on-site; now the water is used to top off the fire-truck tanks after putting out small fires around the community.

a cavity wall, behind which lies a skeleton of masonry and metal trusses. The heightened insulation is one of the biggest improvements over the inefficient metal fire stations of the old days (3). “We used a lot of air-conditioning to cool the older, metal buildings,” Hoag says. Today, Fire Station No. 1’s variable air-handling system also helps cut down on energy costs. It includes outside air pretreatment and air exchange, which takes the hot Floridian air, removes the humidity, cools it slightly, and then transfers the lighter load into the conditioning system.

the biggest challenges of the project was how to deal with runoff. The solution? Vegetated bioswales, a kind of obstacle course for water to run as it sheds pollutants. “It was such a tight site,” says Kim Humphrey, vertical project manager with Sarasota County’s Public Works Department. “We had to mitigate storm water as part of our site development, and the bioswale environment was a very creative way to do it.” gb&d


An Active Approach Some say the LEED system was designed for large-scale developers, not individual homebuilders. Is Active House the answer? By Russ Klettke

Actually getting LEED certification for a new home can cost anywhere between $5,000 to $22,000, sometimes making the prevalent green-building certification unattainable. There are other programs, of course: Passive House, Living Building Challenge, and a handful of local rating systems. But according to St. Louis architect Jeff Day, Active House certification can open green doors for a number of homeowners. Jeff Day & Associates Architecture was asked by a client to design an Active House, a program tailored to holistic, sustainable homebuilding through emphases on occupant comfort, renewable energy, and environmental context. Active House-certified homes can be found in Russia and throughout Europe, and some are in the works in Canada, but the house Day worked on is the first of its kind in North America, and it drew immediate attention. “About 2,400 people came to the open house,” he says of the 2,500-square-foot home in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.

GREEN HOMES BY DIFFERENT MEASURES ACTIVE HOUSE has three legs—comfort, energy, and environment. Comfort seeks to use natural daylight and fresh air however possible; energy is used with utmost efficiency and comes exclusively from renewable sources; and the environment component encompasses both a context-friendly design and a minimized impact on the Earth. PASSIVE HOUSE strives for a 75 percent reduction in heating and cooling through energy-efficient design and extremely tight building envelopes. As many as 25,000 such buildings exist in Europe, but fewer than 20 are found in the US. (See p.52 for more info.) LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE, created by the International Living Future Institute, is considered the most stringent of the green-building programs. To date, no North American residence has achieved this certification.


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“The next day we received a half-dozen calls from people who were interested in the natural daylighting and sustainable indoor climate features for their next homes.” St. Louis’s varying climate and weather make it a great candidate to test the new certification in the United States. The average temperature in January is below freezing while much of July tips above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Day explains that a St. Louis house needs a tight building envelope adaptable to winter and summer. “We use deep overhangs on porches to permit low-angle winter sun and awnings on the south exposures to reduce summer heat,” he says. A goal for the house is net-zero energy, achieved in part with photovoltaic and solar thermal energy rooftop panels. Of the approximately 120 homes Day and his team of architects work on in any given year, many are green but only three or four apply for LEED certification. “The paperwork can be onerous and expensive,” Day says. “An Active House certification costs much less.” Not only is an Active House certification more attainable, but the label can also be an attractive marketing feature in a home’s resale. Not that the Webster Groves clients will consider moving anytime soon. The home has the full complement of energy-efficient features, low-VOC materials, FSC-certified wood, Energy Star-rated mechanical systems and appliances, and solar-power harvesting. Building to the family’s specifications, the architects made sure the Active House elements also fit the client’s goals. The home’s design pointedly strives for aesthetic harmony within its community. It looks a lot like its neighbors, a collection of predominantly pre-WWII Arts and Crafts-style homes that might not easily receive a modernist structure. That the house does not grandstand its greenness is another aspect of Active House—it is respectfully contextual. And had the lot offered existing vegetation,

“About 2,400 people came to the open house. The next day we received a half-dozen calls from people who were interested in [these elements] for their next homes.” Jeff Day, Jeff Day & Associates Architecture it would have been preserved during construction. A critical component of the Active House pilot project is how the homeowners are educated on its operations and maintenance. Working through the University of Missouri’s Center for Sustainable Energy and Midwest Energy Efficiency Research Consortium and the Belgium-based Active House Alliance, the building is being monitored and analyzed. That information will be shared with the occupants to help them maximize the performance over time. Day’s green buildings are typically cost-conscious, and this project was no exception. The home stayed within its $500,000 budget, including a detached three-car garage and room to expand in the attic. Day says local lenders are getting on board with sustainability in ways to make it more affordable and by offering one percent less on the APR if the structure is a green building. As banks are helping incentivize green building, Day is helping homes achieve it through new certifications. gb&d A MESSAGE FROM LOEWEN

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Inside an EcoArt Piece Michael Singer’s solar-powered biofiltration wall at the Coconut Creek casino harnesses Florida’s two most abundant natural resources into an educational piece of art By Michelle Markelz

The Seminole Tribe of Florida took a bit of a gamble embarking on a $115 million fast-track renovation and construction project for its Coconut Creek casino, but it is now cashing in on the rewards. Sustainability informed the design of the casino’s 1.3 million-squarefoot garage addition, 126,650-square-foot casino expansion, and 40,000-square-foot renovation, but green design is featured most prominently at the core of Coconut Creek’s public art installment: its sculptural biofiltration wall. Set among six retention ponds playing host to diverse ecosystems, the casino has the unique opportunity to directly impact the health of its local environment. Designed by Michael Singer Studio, the wall directs water from the ponds and nearby canal down the side of the parking garage and into an irrigation system that feeds the site’s plant life, which includes a host of species both historically meaningful to the Seminole tribe—zamia pumila coontie, a traditional root used for flour, for example—and conducive to flourishing butterfly populations. Filtering 150,000 gallons of water each day, the system draws water first through the filtration chambers within the wall, then channels it to aquatic gardens, which support the beneficial aerobic bacteria that break down organic impurities in the water. In its final step, ultraviolet and mechanical filters purify the water for reuse. On top of the garage, a 23-kilowatt photovoltaic array powers the wall’s pumps, filters, and lighting as well as the garage’s lighting, elevators, and electric-car charging stations. “In Florida, your best opportunities for sustainable design have to do with sunlight and water,” says Jess Burts, Seminole’s vice president of construction. “If you can utilize those two elements, there is a lot of room to be imaginative.” The casino’s interior provided fewer opportunities by the nature of its age—some parts of the property are 15


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Water from Coconut Creek’s ponds is naturally filtered through its lily ponds and aquatic gardens.

Inside the casino, water is conserved thanks to waterefficient fixtures that replaced outdated plumbing.

years old—but LED lighting replaced less efficient fixtures, old plumbing was changed out for water-efficient fixtures, and a new HVAC system was installed to efficiently handle the demand Florida’s warm and humid climate puts on the facility. Three of the building’s exterior walls were torn down during renovation, which lasted eight months, and two new ones were constructed. All the while, guests were able to enjoy the casino’s amenities uninterrupted. Upon completion, the award-winning NYY Steak restaurant, the casino’s 1,200-seat entertainment venue, pavilion, and more than 32,000 square feet of retail space enhanced the experience. Most importantly, Coconut Creek, which was not submitted for LEED certification but followed many of its guidelines, is serving as Seminole’s sustainability showpiece. gb&d

The casino garage PV array provides enough energy to power two to three average Florida homes.

“In Florida, your best opportunities for sustainable design have to do with sunlight and water. If you can utilize those two elements, there is a lot of room to be imaginative.” Jess Burts, Seminole Casinos

1. Rainwater is harvested with solar rooftop canopies.

2. Water travels through sculptural biofiltration chambers.

3. Aquatic gardens and a lilly pond provide further filtration.

5. Water is stored in four 2,500-gallon rainwater tanks.

4. A water intake from the retention ponds runs underneath the plaza.


Serenbe Residence In a community of 120 energy-efficient homes, Imery Group constructs the holy grail of energy use: a net-zero residence that educates the public

Just outside the metropolitan hum of Atlanta in a pioneering community of EarthCraft-certified homes called Serenbe, Luis Imery is building the area’s first ProudGreenHome net-zero residence. The 1,400 acres of this sustainable development feature 120 homes with 300 residents and several homes targeting net-zero-energy status. Imery, however, wanted to “blow everyone’s mind in terms of performance and aesthetics.” His cutting-edge 2,600-square-foot home, which will be offered at a lower price point than other Serenbe homes because of its size and energy efficiency, was completed in June 2013. By then, Imery had already been asked to build a second home in Serenbe. By Suchi Rudra

PROJECT LOCATION Chattahoochee Hills, GA Size 2,547 ft2 Completed 2  013 ProgramSingle-family residence

You don’t see a rainwater cistern because Serenbe takes a district approach to stormwater, collecting all runoff and filtering it before returning to homes for irrigation.

TEAM GENERAL CONTRACTOR Imery Group Architect LG Squared Client ProudGreenHome



When local advocacy network

Imery and his team walked through

ProudGreenHome approached Imery’s company, Imery Group, to create a consumer-oriented and educational home for the Serenbe community, Imery drew inspiration from the basic reality of the real estate market. “If you don’t have a nice home with great curb appeal and that is designed well, then it’s never going to sell,” he says. Imery could either build a very efficient home without renewables or make a net-zero home. He decided to go for net zero so it would “have another mechanism to leverage what we are doing—which is consumer awareness,” he says. Although the house incorporates Passive House ideas, Imery says the design had to remain simple and stick to conventional techniques to prove to potential buyers that a net-zero home could indeed be built with traditional methods.

the entire Serenbe community and finally zoomed in on a lakeside lot that faced a wooded area and was surrounded by a network of trails for easy access to anywhere within the community. A shade study was conducted to determine placement of shading devices (1), but reducing the window area in the west wall while encouraging high-efficiency design was difficult because of the lake views. To solve the problem, Imery used French doors that open up to an outdoor trellis (2) and added shading devices to reduce heat gain.



CERTIFICATION EarthCraft Platinum Site Conducted shade study before building Water W  aterSense fixtures, structure plumbing, solarthermal water heating Energy Energy-efficient insulation techniques, HERS index rating of 45, solar panels LandscapeNative plants, sensor-controlled rain irrigation

 70

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ABOVE Imery Group had to use a crane to hoist the 24-gauge standing seam Energy Star-rated metal roofing. RIGHT The home has engineered lumber products, such as Huber’s R-Board sheathing, for the roof, siding, and flooring, offering higher insulation technology and values.




The house uses structure plumb-

Imery and his team wanted to build

The overall goal was to keep the

ing, WaterSense fixtures, native landscaping with a minimal amount of sod (3), and sensor-controlled rain irrigation according to each plant’s requirements. Imery says the house would have had a water tank, but Serenbe uses a collective approach to capture all of its storm-water runoff to recharge underground water and also has a water biotreatment plant, so all wastewater is diverted to the system, filtered through the wetlands, and finally pumped back to each lot to be used for irrigation.

a home that had a projected HERS index of 45 before incorporating any renewables. The national average of an existing home has a HERS index of 130, but a new home built to code in Georgia would have a HERS index of 90. To achieve net zero in the Serenbe home, the home will need to generate 10 kilowatts per year. The roof features both photovoltaic and solar-thermal water heating panels (4).

shell as airtight and insulated as possible. To that end, the house features two-by-six framing, which increases the amount of insulation space and reduces the amount of lumber on the exterior wall when used with advanced framing techniques. One inch of rigid foam insulation was used between the exterior sheathing and wall to minimize cooling and heating loads. Imery also insulated the edge of the foundation with high-density fiberglass to reduce heat lost through the slab edge. And what especially is unique, Imery notes, is the use of a mini-split system to deliver heating and cooling into the home. gb&d


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Up Front Approach Trendsetters Green Typologies Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


74 An Unlikely Powerhouse

How a Solar Decathlon team and two housing organizations built an affordable net-zero home for Washington, DC

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By Michelle Markelz


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 REEN GAME CHANGER G Empowerhouse is the first Solar Decathlon entry to earn a life beyond the competition by becoming a working home for two lucky families in Washington, DC. The Decathlon team designed the duplex to Passive House standards for only $229,000, setting a new standard for what affordable housing can accomplish.


LOCATIONWashington, DC Completed 2012 Size 2,700 ft2 Certification P  HIUS+ Design Team Parsons The New School for Design, The New School for Public Engagement, Stevens Institute of Technology Developers DC Department of Housing and Community Development, Habitat for Humanity


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When the Passive House-inspired Empowerhouse earned top marks in the Solar Decathlon for its affordability, housing developers took notice and helped turn the house into a home. Now, it may offer the industry a model for a net-zero future.

Deanwood has long been defined by self-reliance and resilience, a shelter in the slow march toward justice. In the eastern corner of Washington, DC, land that once grew tobacco was tilled first by slaves and then again by free African Americans who sought four walls and a roof. During the postbellum era, the community was a haven from prejudice; later, it was the stomping ground and stage for influential agents of change such as Marvin Gaye and Martin Luther King Jr. Poised to continue this tradition, the neighborhood is the fitting location of a project that, less than a year after completion, is inspiring new attitudes toward affordable housing and sustainable design and has sparked further discussion on the viability of Passive House in the United States. From the minds of students competing in the Solar Decathlon to the blueprints of housing authorities and nonprofit developers, people are looking to Deanwood and the aptly named Empowerhouse as a model for affordable, net-zero-energy homes.


As they were preparing in 2009 for the Solar Decathlon—the 10-category competition put on by the Department of Energy that challenges college students to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses—students at Parsons The New School for Design and The New School for Public Engagement, in partnership with the Stevens Institute of Technology, decided they wanted to avoid the tragic fate of most Decathlon entries: after the awards are given and the houses have run their course being displayed on the National Mall,


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two years’ worth of work is dismantled without the chance to provide anything beyond a handful of good ideas. The students thought if the purpose of the Decathlon is to produce something renewable, their design should be given a second life. The Parsons team, led by faculty members Laura Briggs and David Lewis, wanted to reconstruct its entry after the 2011 competition—a first for the Decathlon—but needed a community partner. With the intention of incorporating social responsibility and community development (two important components of the New School’s approach) into the project, they found their ideal partner in Habitat for Humanity of Washington, DC. The Habitat model uses volunteerism and sponsorship to sell constructed homes to low-income families at less than the cost to build them. Empowerhouse would be DC Habitat’s first foray into Passive House and the first home built to Passive House standards in the District of Columbia. Working with the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to identify a prospective homeowner, students had the opportunity to design not just an architecturally rich or environmentally friendly home, but also one that both complements the community’s heritage and responds to the unique needs of its inhabitants.


Certified homes are defined by their insulation, air-tightness, and naturally occurring temperature regulation. That doesn’t mean the standard is easy to achieve. There are two metrics used to



measure performance. To be certified by the Passive House Institute US, a dwelling must demonstrate no more than 0.6 air changes per hour at a building pressure of 50 Pascal, and annual energy for heating and cooling cannot exceed 4.75 kBtu per square foot (the US average is 53 kBtu). Orientation is equally important. South-facing fronts and triple-glazed glass allow for heat gain in winter months while high-performance insulation and a nearly nonexistent thermal bridge provide comfort in all weather. Combined, the latter two trap heat generated by mechanical systems, inhabitants, and sunlight to provide warmth in winter months. What all this means for a homeowner is significant. A typical household in Deanwood spends approximately $2,300

per year on energy, but a similarly sized home built to Passive House standards would cost merely $690, less than a third of the original cost. Add a photovoltaic array, as the Parsons team did, and that number drops to zero. For at least three decades, Passive House largely has been a topic of European, particularly German, discussion— even at Parsons, Briggs says a special course was created to provide an informational foundation for the little-known philosophy—but some of the movement’s forerunners were constructed in North America. At the University of Illinois, the Small Homes Council research group designed the Lo-Cal, or Low Calorie, house in 1976, which outperformed traditionally built homes in energy consumption without the use of new technology but

A typical household in Deanwood spends approximately $2,300 per year on energy, but a similarly sized home built to Passive House standards would cost merely $690. Add a photovoltaic array and that number drops to zero. gb&d

ABOVE The house uses an open plan with plenty of windows to bring light all the way to the second level. What little lighting is actually needed is provided by LED lights that reflect off the interior’s surfaces. Coupled with task-lighting, the combination creates a varied living environment.

rather with thoughtful design. Shortly after, in 1977, the Saskatchewan Research Council built the Saskatchewan Conservation House, which was lauded for its thermal envelope, insulation—especially in hard-to-reach areas—and the affordability of such features. Following Passive House guidelines, the Empowerhouse features maximized solar gain and shading, high-performance windows and doors, and strategically arranged mechanical systems, which are grouped in a “wet” module located near the kitchen and bathroom, requiring minimal infrastructure (saving on materials) and improving heat retention. Yet what holds it all together, literally and figuratively, are the walls. The students’ wall design, which uses engineered wood I-joists surrounded by two layers of wood sheathing and blown-in january–february 2014


The exterior envelope is made of engineered wood I-joists between layers of wood sheathing.

The high-gain windows let the sun naturally warm the home.

A deep porch is covered with a large overhang that helps block unwanted sunlight.

Permeable pavers allow rainwater to soak through to the ground.

MATCHING THE PATCHWORK The Empowerhouse echoes Deanwood’s architectural history with a prominent porch designed to be a gathering place for neighbors. The home also has inspired a community garden down the street.

Rain gardens filter storm-water runoff to be reused in the actual garden.


“Empowerhouse has the ability to be transformative. It is a [symbol] of how communities can embrace sustainability.” Michael Kelly, DC Department of Housing and Community Development cellulose insulation, is super resistant to moisture. It is not necessarily revolutionary, but it is incredibly efficient and so easily replicable that Habitat volunteers were able to construct the home without special training. But this home had to be more than efficient—it had to be livable.


And it is an acknowledgement of the community’s roots and its Southern influence that the Empowerhouse’s front porch lines up perfectly with those of its neighbors on Gault Place. Stand on that porch, look to your left or right, and you have a snapshot of the neighborhood, framed by the cutaways that allow for an easy chat between neighbors. “It could be a typical DC August, hot and muggy, and you’ll still find families visiting each other across the porches,” says Orlando Velez, who worked on the Empowerhouse as a Parsons student and, rather appropriately, now manages housing services for Habitat for Humanity in Washington, DC. With Deanwood’s architectural patchwork of Folk, Craftsman, and Colonial Revival styles, the design team also had to be cognizant of the historical aesthetic of the neighborhood even while trying to revitalize it. As an organization devoted to increasing homeownership in underserved communities through the creation of affordable housing and economic opportunity, it was the DHCD

that identified Deanwood as the project’s potential site. The agency’s director, Michael Kelly, says the neighborhood presented the right conditions—a need for housing, receptiveness to sustainable goals, and the potential to function as a showpiece for successful change—for a broader renewal effort. In the months leading up to the Empowerhouse’s construction, the Parsons team conducted workshops to engage residents about the sustainable lifestyles the home is meant to inspire. The homeowners would have the benefit of a digital system that provides feedback

ABOVE One of homeowner Lakiya Culley’s sons stares out the window of his new home. Windows by Intus are all triple-paned, and the solarpowered Empowerhouse serves as a teaching tool for the community and generations to come. During construction, the Parsons team held workshops for neighborhood residents to learn about the sustainable features of the home.


Renewable energy (PV) DEANWOOD DATA A study of household energy costs in the DC neighborhood found that Passive House design plus renewable energy created the greatest savings.

$960 Savings $2,300 Energy costs per year

$1,610 Savings

$1,340 Energy costs per year

$690 Energy costs per year

Energy-Efficient House

Passive House

$2,300 Savings $0 Energy costs

Source: PEPCO, Washington Gas

Typical Deanwood House



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PASSIVE SYSTEMS The design features that help the home perform

A ballasted racking system for the solar panels sits on the roof, minimizing thermal bridging by not penetrating the envelope.

The Huber ZIP System helps form a continuous airtight barrier that controls temperature and energy flows.

The envelope is made of a layer of National Fiber cellulose insulation, achieving a thermal resistance value of more than R-40.

The Intus windows are triple-paned. Large high-gain windows on the south side allow the winter sun to warm the home.

ACTIVE SYSTEMS The technology that makes the Empowerhouse tick

Modular green-roof trays reduce rooftop temperatures, enhancing the performance of the solar panels.

Siga tape seals all seams in the exterior walls, floor, and roof to eliminate uncontrolled air infiltration.

Sixteen monocrystalline solar panels by Yingli have a capacity of 4.2kW at peak direct current production, enough to power the home.

A flexible plumbing system with Kohler fixtures and a Viega manifold groups plumbing fixtures together for greater efficiency.

GUEST EDITOR DAVID ABEL The Solar Decathalon’s recognition in 2011 of the Empowerhouse offers a window into the evolution and marketability of net-zero affordable housing. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Washington, DC, and the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, the team designed a Passive House prototype for America’s inner-cities. VX2014, in partnership with ULI-LA, will expand upon this project and afford an opportunity for industry and government to double down on building net-zero homes.


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The Mitsubishi electric reversible heat pump system both heats and cools the home depending on the season.

A Zehnder energy recovery ventilator transfers heat and moisture between incoming and outgoing air and ensures that the air is fresh.


The AirGenerate heat-pump water heater provides hot water for the home, reusing waste-heat from the condensing dryer.


The Empowerhouse inspired Habitat for Humanity of Washington, DC, to incorporate Passive House design into six new projects in 2013.

on the home’s resource use as well as a handbook on maintaining and maximizing the entire structure’s potential, but community members interested in general green living also learned about ways to incorporate practices such as rainwater harvesting and personal gardening into their existing properties. Kelly says the home has inspired a spin-off community garden, and plans are under way for a learning garden in the neighborhood.


In the affordability category (new in 2011), the Empowerhouse earned full points. With a final cost of only $229,000, it beat every other entry. Even pursuing Passive House standards and generating 100 percent of its own energy, Velez

says that his colleagues found that the up-front cost of the photovoltaic array and specialized materials to improve the home’s air-tightness and thermal envelope only increased the build-out cost between nine and fifteen percent. Given this data, Velez says DC Habitat will be incorporating passive design into more of its projects, and in July 2013, the group constructed six units that did just that. The history of Deanwood tells a story of empowerment. For more than a century residents have determined their own paths with the simple ethics of pride in community and desire for improvement. Civil rights activists turned the force of brutality against itself by challenging the notion of self-defense. Passivity became an offensive. Similarly, the Empower-

LEFT Lakiya Culley and her three sons moved into the Empowerhouse in January 2013. Culley can expect to pay almost nothing for utilities throughout the year because of the home’s net-zero design.

house stands as a symbol of the power of passivity and of the commitment by everyone involved to resist the status quo— whether it is inefficient and wasteful buildings, unaffordable or inadequate housing, or a lack of access to fresh food. The families living in the Empowerhouse are at the epicenter of a movement, and as vegetables begin to sprout at the nearby learning garden and the DHCD shares the home at the 2013 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference, it’s clear that a sustainable vision is spreading beyond just the four walls of the house. With that vision, the students at Parsons, the volunteers with DC Habitat, the employees of the DHCD, and the residents of Deanwood all have the ability to continue to create change. The Empowerhouse is a ticket to a greener, healthier community, and these people are the vehicles. “Empowerhouse has the ability to be transformative,” Kelly says. “It is a symbolic, almost sculptural representation of how communities can embrace sustainability by wrapping their hearts and minds around it.” gb&d

MEET THE HOMEOWNER LAKIYA CULLEY Furnishings may be sparse at 4609 Gault Place, but the mirror on the wall reflects three rambunctious boys, a proud mother, and the interior of the home they have made in the Empowerhouse. Lakiya Culley and her family were chosen by Habitat for Humanity of Washington, DC, to purchase the Passive House-inspired home after interviewing with the nonprofit organization. Culley, who works at the State Department, had already been looking for a home in Deanwood to keep her family close to her job and to her children’s school. Although its inner workings are what define the home from a sustainability perspective, Culley says her favorite feature is the rooftop deck. Overlooking the path that leads to Marvin Gaye Park, the porch provides a relaxing escape, especially in the summer when the Culleys spend evenings enjoying the weather and the view.


Living in the first Passive House in the District of Columbia has drawn some attention, and the homeowner has taken it in stride. In the months since Culley stood on her front porch and cut the big, red ribbon that wrapped around it, she says questions come less from reporters and more from passersby. “The question people always ask first is, ‘How does it work?’” Culley says. When asked if she’s become an expert by now, she replies, “I’ve tried.” Some spectators are bolder than others, assuming Culley is a tenant and asking for her landlord’s number. And those who don’t quite know what to make of it simply ask, “Is it some type of special house?” To Culley and her boys, it certainly is. It wasn’t long ago that Culley was debating a move to Maryland, but thanks to the Empowerhouse, the family is keeping its roots planted in Deanwood and hope to put down new ones in its vegetable garden this spring.

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Up Front Approach Trendsetters Green Typologies Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


84 Nature + Nurture

UniverCity aims to have the first Living Building in Canada

92 Meet Sprout Space

Inside Perkins+Will’s modular classroom

97 Under One Roof

Ohio State builds new without adding space

99 Spotlight: An Eco Events Space

The story behind Chicago’s Loft on Lake

100 Federal Face-Lift

Howard S. Wright reconstructs a Portland landmark

103 Shrinking a Carbon ‘Paw Print’

Inside Nestlé-Purina’s Danforth Learning Center

106 Pedestrian Paradise

Walkable, luxury apartments by Caruso Affiliated

110 Spotlight: Indigenous Design

Longhouses for the Puyallup Tribe in Washington

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Hughes Condon Marler Architects’ UniverCity Childcare Centre merges education and development to create a living laboratory in pursuit of the Living Building Challenge By Lindsey Howald Patton

There is a city on a hill in Burnaby, British Columbia. The city is UniverCity; the hill is Burnaby Mountain; and much like the proverbial city upon a hill, its purpose is to be an exemplar for the rest of us. Here, at 1,214 feet above sea level, you’ll find a relatively isolated test community putting front-of-the-pack sustainability into practice. UniverCity is a part of Simon Fraser University (SFU), a top-ranking Canadian university named after a Scottish American who crossed borders in the early 19th century, traded fur all over Canada, and helped chart out much of British Columbia in the process. SFU’s main campus is here atop Burnaby, laid out according to a 1963 master plan by architects Arthur Erickson and Geoffrey Massey (it was an


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early project for Erickson, one of British Columbia’s major 20th-century architects, and he delivered the style for which he would become well known: modernism executed in concrete). Although a residential development was always part of the mix—Erickson and Massey originally put it to the west of the campus—for 30 years that land remained wooded and wild. “Until a decade ago, SFU was essentially a commuter university, a weekend wasteland where no one was here unless they had to be,” says Gordon Harris, president and CEO of SFU Community Trust, an entity created in the 1990s to change exactly that. Planning began in 1995 with thenSFU president John Stubbs at the helm, this time with 160 acres to the east of


The net-zero-waste UniverCity Childcare Centre has an on-site compost pile, and the three-, four-, and five-year-olds are being taught to compost the leftovers from their morning snacks.


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PROJECT LOCATION Burnaby, BC Size5,700 ft2 Completed 2  012 Program Child-care facility Awards 2013 Canadian Society Landscape Architects Award of Excellence; 2012 Vancouver Regional Construction Association Silver Award of Excellence; 2012 City of Burnaby Environment Award; 2012 Urban Development Institute Award for Excellence in Urban Development

TEAM ARCHITECT Hughes Condon Marler Architects ClientSimon Fraser University Community Trust, in partnership with SFU Childcare Society and SFU Faculty of Early Childcare Development General Contractor Ledcor Group Structural Engineer F  ast+Epp Mechanical Engineer C  obalt Engineering Wastewater TreatmentECOfluid Systems Electrical Engineer M  MM Group Landscape S  pace2Place

campus. Stubbs set two values down even before the first cornerstone, and they haven’t changed since: UniverCity is to be a model sustainable community, and the development should create wealth for an SFU endowment for teaching research. It combines two sectors that are often left apart: public and private, or in another sense, research and development. Governmental agencies and educational institutions often invest in testing supremely sustainable technologies but do so purely in the name of exploration (and usually, therefore, on a lack of return). On the other side are developers, who, being unfunded by grants and endowments, invest in green building as far as it gives back in profit. The UniverCity project would be about taking idealism out of the ivory tower and throwing it into the streets. SFU donated more than 320 hectares (about 1.2 square miles) of land to the city for inclusion in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area and in return got zoning approval for what would become UniverCity, and in 2000, design and master planning was awarded to Hotson Bakker Architects (now DIALOG). The first residential building went up in 2003;

“We want to build a community that’s livable. We’ve seen other projects where it’s obvious that they’re different. We’re trying to be different— without being obvious.” Gordon Harris, SFU Community Trust

its residents arrived the next year, and a grocery store, school, hospital, cafés, and restaurants all followed. Currently, there are approximately 3,400 residents living in the community with plans for a total population between 8,500 to 10,000. Surprisingly, the residences—many of which are offered at well below market rates resulting in a comparatively

GREEN CERTIFICATION Living Building Challenge (expected 2014) Site Children’s play structures created by local artists and craftspeople, reused site Materials N  o toxic materials, local materials Water N  et-zero water, sustainable water discharge EnergyNet-zero energy, ability to give to and pull from UniverCity’s district energy system Landscape N  ative and droughtresistant plants, no irrigation system


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UniverCity Childcare Centre SPACES


affordable community in one of Canada’s priciest regions—aren’t all just de facto student housing. About 20 percent of residents are currently students with faculty members and other professionals connected to SFU making up another 20 percent. The remaining 60 percent, however, are people who just want to be there. “It’s a livable, affordable, and sustainable community that’s well-served by transit, central to the region, and 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver without having to cross a bridge,” Harris says. Plus, there’s the view. URBAN EXPERIMENTATION Attracting long-term residents and not frightening them off by the experimental nature of UniverCity is a balancing act, and buildings are of an understated, modern-day West Coast design. “We want to build a community that’s livable,” Harris says. “We’ve seen other projects where it’s obvious that they’re different. We’re trying to be different—without being obvious.” Still, the community is currently implementing a number of initiatives that aren’t run-of-the-mill at all, like a district energy system serving residences via an underground piping gb&d

network, which will be fueled mainly by recycled construction wood and will save nearly 2,000 tons of greenhouse gases. A green zoning bylaw—the first of its kind in North America—dictates that all new buildings built by the trust’s development partners must be at least 30 percent more energy-efficient and 40 percent more water-efficient than the national requirement. If developers exceed either standard by 50 percent—say, doing 45 percent better on energy—then the trust doles out a higher density limit it holds in reserve as an award. Soon, however, UniverCity’s greatest claim to fame may be the UniverCity Childcare Centre. The small, 5,700-square-foot project, designed for 50 preschoolers and nine staff, is striving for green building’s most rigorous, ambitious, and erudite certification: the Living Building Challenge (LBC). Designed by Hughes Condon Marler Architects (HCMA), the Childcare Centre was completed in 2012 and is currently undergoing a yearlong trial period assessing its performance. Only after it proves to be completely energy- and water-independent, among a number of other requirements, can it achieve LBC status. If all

ABOVECanadian sculptor and basket-weaver Alastair Heseltine was one of four local artists who contributed work to the UniverCity Childcare Centre. Providing the opportunity to work with local artists is part of the Materials petal of the Living Building Challenge.

goes according to design, the child-care building will be the first LBC-certified project standing on Canadian soil—and only the fifth in the world. CREATING A LIVING BUILDING The “Living Building” was first defined by Jason McLennan, CEO of the Seattle nonprofit International Living Future Institute. Instead of inanimate objects that suck away our resources, imagine buildings that give back. A living building could be thought of the way you would a tree, which, even as it “consumes” water and sunlight, breathes into the environment and replenishes something essential. The most current version of the LBC certification system starts with some familiar suspects: site, water, energy, and materials. Then it adds three more— health, equity, and beauty. Health deals january–february 2014



Hughes Condon Marler Architects’ design creates an interactive experience for children through which they can explore water, air, light, gravity, vegetation, and seasonal change. From the playground, children can see the 36-panel rooftop solar array that generates almost 70,000kWh of energy for the facility.


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UniverCity Childcare Centre SPACES

“We heard things like … they want water to play with and they want to play in the sand. They want a fire-breathing dragon tunnel.” PHOTO: MARTIN TESSLER

Karen Marler, Hughes Condon Marler Architects


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“LEED is very prescriptive … whereas the Living Building Challenge is very performance-based. They tell you how the building will have to perform, but not how to get there.” Karen Marler, Hughes Condon Marler Architects

with air quality and “biophilia,” an attentiveness to developing a greater bond between the end users and nature. Beauty requires “design features intended solely for human delight” and mandates the availability of educational materials relating to the project. Equity constrains scale to human-sized, rather than carsized, developments, and mandates an equal-access policy to transportation as well as air, sunlight, and waterways. Within these categories—called “petals” in LBC parlance, each of which contains “imperatives”—architects, developers, and clients find some pretty cut-and-dried performance requirements. To partially fulfill the Site petal, the project can only be constructed on previously

SUPERLATIVES UNIVERCITY CHILDCARE CENTRE Biggest Project HurdleSatisfying the Living Building Challenge’s Materials petal by balancing local sourcing while ensuring nontoxic content. Most Innovative CollaborationUniverCity’s district energy utility rents the rooftop array from the child-care center, covering maintenance and operation while pulling extra energy into the grid and distributing elsewhere into the community. Best Boost to CertificationThe tiny size of the UniverCity Childcare Centre site made it difficult to have totally independent rainwater and energy systems, but a Living Building Challenge strategy called “scale jumping” allows the project to share UniverCity’s sustainable infrastructure. Closest Material SourceLighting fixtures by Propellor, less than nine miles away from the project. Most Tempting Artwork Brent Comber’s Nightswimming, carved out of the fallen trunk of a 19-foot western red cedar. Best AccoladeJason McLennan, the creator of the Living Building Challenge, called this “the greenest child care on the planet.”


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developed sites. There are also mandatory agricultural allowances in percentages of project area. Energy is even more straightforward. From the manual: “One hundred percent of the project’s energy needs must be supplied by on-site renewable energy on a net annual basis.” End quote. HCMA had never designed a project like this before. Although the Vancouver-based firm had completed a number of LEED projects in the past and is known for a commitment to sustainability, HCMA partner Karen Marler says it was immediately apparent that LEED and the LBC were nothing alike. “LEED, I would say, is very prescriptive,” she says. “They tell you what you need to do and how you need to get there. Whereas the Living Building Challenge is very performance-based. They tell you how the building will have to perform, but they don’t tell you how to get there. So it has been a very interesting and informative process.” Take the Materials petal. Rather than earning points for certain sustainable or certified materials, you get a “red list” of the materials and chemicals you can’t use, even in part. No asbestos, lead, mercury, cadmium, HCFCs or CFCs, halogenated flame retardants, phthalates, PVCs, petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides, wood treatments containing pentachlorophenol or arsenic, the list goes on. The materials that you do use are up to you, provided of course that you meet the other imperatives for the certification of sustainability and fair labor in raw materials and appropriate sourcing restrictions. If you’ve ever asked a manufacturer, “What’s in this product, exactly?” you won’t be surprised to hear that avoiding red-listed materials was by far the most challenging piece. “Many felt that it was proprietary information,” says Kourosh Mahvash, a sustainable research leader at HCMA who took on the work of picking up the phone and calling manufacturers of materials under consideration. What ended up working best was to simply send over the red list and ask for

confirmation that nothing listed was in the top-secret recipe. The project turned into one of the most collaborative experiences the firm has ever had. “In the LEED process, we effectively tell the general contractor and subcontractors what to do and how they have to do it,” Marler says. “But during the Living Building Challenge, they become an important part of the whole process. I heard from the electrical subcontractor on the project that he had never spoken with an industrial designer or manufacturer before, [but on this project,] he got to go all the way back to the source to get confirmation that the fixtures didn’t contain any of these red-list materials, and to ensure they came from within a certain radius of the project.” The material research process also gave HCMA the opportunity to hash out occasionally warring ideals. Some materials had to be sourced outside regional boundaries—the curvilinear slide that carries kids the fun way from the rooftop to the ground level comes from Germany, and a local recycled rubber flooring was scrapped for a different product from California—after HCMA decided that materials without red-listed chemicals were far more important than where they came from. “Living Building has clarified that human health issues are more important than regional considerations,” Mahvash says. “They’re very clear about that.” As if LBC wasn’t a challenge enough, the SFU Community Trust had a second requirement: the building needed to be designed to integrate with a Reggio Emilia educational philosophy. Reggio Emilia is an Italian city whose educators and residents, after World War II, inspired a worldwide child-as-an-empowered-individual-type pedagogy. Reggio Emilia child care dictates that there are three teachers: the instructor, the parents, and lastly, the environment itself. In this approach, the children have to be given an amount of control over their space. So HCMA conducted a sort

UniverCity Childcare Centre SPACES

of focus group with the children during the design process. The results were predictably adorable. “We heard things like, they want to go up really high, they want to go fast, they want water to play with, and they want to play in the sand,” Marler says. “They want a fire-breathing dragon tunnel.” So what do you find at UniverCity Childcare? “Up really high” plus “water to play with” translates to rooftop puddles of safely filtered rainwater. “Fire-breathing dragon tunnel” and “going fast” becomes a two-story outdoor slide sloping from the roof to the play area. The thing about having “cutting edge” as a part of your mission is that the edge keeps moving forward, and you have to move with it, or, as Harris says, “the world keeps catching up to you.” Next up at UniverCity? Maybe a high-speed mountainside gondola, which would carry residents to and from the regional SkyTrain transit hub. It would also cut mountain diesel bus routes and greenhouse gases in half. As the worldwide building community gets greener and greener, UniverCity keeps looking for new ways to be a city upon a hill. gb&d

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MEET SPRO UT SPACE* Most modular classrooms outlive their intended lifespan, making them dangerous environments for children. Perkins+Will is addressing the problem head-on with its new net-zero classroom that creates a regenerative space for kids. By Tina Vasquez


ccording to the Modular Building Institute, there are approximately 300,000 portable classrooms currently in use across the United States. More than half of these units are located in California, Florida, and Texas (three of the four most populous states). As school budgets were slashed and classrooms became increasingly overcrowded, these modular learning environments seemed like inexpensive, temporary fixes; instead, many have turned into permanent problems, posing serious health risks to the eight million children who learn in them each day. Although most modular classrooms are built to be used for a mere two years— after which they begin developing structural problems that lead to leaks that can cause mold—the average age of a temporary classroom facility is 19 years. The pressed wood and vinyl that often compose the insides of these structures emit dangerous fumes, and traces of pesticides, arsenic, and mold are commonplace. Scientists studying portable classrooms in California found that the air contained formaldehyde fumes and higher than normal concentrations of carbon dioxide. They estimate that more than 60 percent of these classrooms are way past their shelf life. Adding to this concerning realization is that children are highly susceptible to

respiratory issues because their bodies are still developing; kids breathe more air, pound for pound, than adults. Kids also are lower to the ground, putting them closer to the pollutants, and younger children spend a great deal of their time in classrooms sitting on the floor, where they directly contact the materials most likely to make them sick. All of this disturbing information was swirling around in Allen Post’s head when he and his fellow Perkins+Will colleagues submitted a modular classroom design to the 2009 Classroom of the Future competition held by Architecture for Humanity. Post, a father of three, works in the firm’s K-12 education group, and modular design has been on his radar since he was a student at Colum-


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bia’s graduate school of architecture and spent a month in South Africa studying modular construction techniques. Perkins+Will’s submission won the Architecture for Humanity award, and Post’s design eventually led to a game-changing initiative: Sprout Space, a sustainable modular classroom solution that addresses issues of resiliency,


“A healthy learning environment should be a basic requirement for any classroom.” Allen Post, Perkins+Will


A new best friend for kids—and administrators

self-sufficiency, mobility, and indoor air quality in learning environments. Launched at the beginning of 2013 in partnership with Triumph Modular, the distributor, and Mark Line Industries, the modular building company, Sprout Space classrooms are built in a controlled environment and can be transported to any school in the United States, reducing costs and construction time (the latter on average by 40 percent) and resulting in less construction waste, longer building life, and the elimination of mold growth during construction. Plus, the classrooms generate all their own energy. Sprout Space is designed to encourage various teaching styles and seating arrangements, impromptu collaboration,

and outdoor learning through the addition of exterior teaching walls and its set of three all-glass double doors. Besides being a health nightmare, Post believes that the average modular classroom is not at all conducive to learning. Most are nothing more than a claustrophobic box, dark and poorly ventilated with a small window or two at the most—and that’s what he really set out to change. “There’s no denying that the modular classrooms currently on many schools’ campuses are harmful to children’s health, but many modulars do not even serve the basic requirements for learning,” Post says. “A healthy learning environment should be a basic requirement for any classroom because the classroom

At the National Building Museum, Perkins+Will’s sustainable update on modular classrooms glows with highefficiency lighting.

SPROUT SPACE THE GREEN LIST HVAC L  G VRF Multi-V mini heat pump, RenewAire EV450 energy recovery unit Lighting LED down lights, occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, and controls by Acuity Brands Plumbing Fixtures Toto EcoPower faucets and Flushometer ADA toilet FlooringForbo Flooring Systems Marmoleum tiles Acoustical Ceiling Tile/Grid U  SG Corporation Windows/Doors Kawneer Trifab 451 system InsulationGuardian Building Products batt and rigid insulation Wall Framing Over 50 percent FSCcertified lumber Exterior Wall Surface James Hardie panel fiber cement rainscreen Walk-Off Mat Interface SuperFlor carpet tiles Decking Bison Innovative Products modular wood decking

Allen Post, Perkins+Will

ABOVEThe three double doors at the rear of the modular classroom lead to an outdoor deck, which creates extra space, brings in tons of fresh air, and makes it easy to have outdoor lessons.


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environment has a direct impact on learning. Studies show that a well-designed classroom with plenty of natural light helps children be more attentive and engaged—it’s just a happier environment all around.” Although it’s true that greener modular classrooms aren’t a new thing, it’s an entirely different ball game when a world-class design firm begins offering a high-performance option specifically designed by school experts. Sprout Space classrooms are the only modular classrooms with the ability to expand the learning space to the outside, are designed to LEED specifications, and meet LEED for Schools’ fresh air requirement for classrooms. The classrooms contain no harmful off-gassing materials or formaldehyde and feature cutting-edge sustainable features and fixtures, such as LED down lights, occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, and controls from Acuity Brands, and Toto EcoPower faucets and flushometer toilets. Perhaps the most ingenious feature is the classroom itself—it’s designed to be used as a real-life teaching tool. “The butterfly-shaped roof enables the classroom to catch rainwater, which can be turned into a lesson itself, and the water can even be used for the classroom garden,” Post says. “There are marker and tack

boards inside and outside with the hope being that it encourages teachers and students to go outside and make the outdoors just as big a part of their learning environment as the indoors. The students can also learn about the features of their classroom. All of the ductwork is made out of fabric, so you can see it expand and contract as fresh air enters the classroom. It’s quiet, so it doesn’t distract, but this is yet another learning feature that encourages them to study their environment.” Sprout Space’s $120 per square foot price tag is incredibly affordable, especially considering the amenities and customizable features, not to mention the 90-day turnaround time. Even though Sprout Space has only been available for a year, Post receives about five inquiries a week and is already talking to 10 schools about the green modular classrooms. Perkins+Will’s design also has received attention from a few countries outside the United States whose education departments are looking to invest in high-performance modular classrooms. “That would be a huge success,” Post says. “We’re talking about changing the educational dynamics of an entire country. If we can turn the tide and influence the creation of more high-quality, eco-friendly, healthy, sustainable modular classrooms, I think we’ve done our job.” gb&d


“All of the ductwork is made out of fabric, so you can see it expand and contract as fresh air enters the classroom. This is yet another learning feature that encourages [the kids] to study their environment.”



Healthier classrooms and active learning styles mean happier and more productive students and teachers. That’s why our products and programs utilize holistic and sustainable building practices that support social and environmental responsibility.

School Specialty’s Projects by Design® partners with you to achieve learning environments that foster student success. This no-cost, turnkey service helps you choose the right furniture, equipment and educational products for your learning facilities – saving you time and money.

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Find out how our experts can help you: 888.388.3224 / gb&d

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Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects


Because lab spaces need constant air exchange but offices and classrooms do not, Ohio State will consolidate each type in the new CBEC to optimize the HVAC.


Breaking with tradition, a new building at Ohio State brings together two separate academic departments to push scientific research—and green building standards—to the next level The two-story student lounge on the sixth floor will be almost entirely daylit and will overlook the landscaped courtyard area.

By Kathryn Freeman Rathbone


ogether, the chemical and biomolecular engineering and chemistry departments at The Ohio State University produce a large volume of the university’s innovative scientific research. Even though they’re technically housed under two different colleges—the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences, respectively—they have a history of collaborating on projects. And by the end of 2014, they will share space in the new Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building, one of Ohio State’s most transformative projects. The building, already known on campus as CBEC, broke ground in June 2012, but the need had been discussed for nearly ten years prior to its formal approval. “Both … departments needed new buildings,” says Bernie Costantino, the university architect and interim director of design and construction within gb&d

the facilities operations and development office at Ohio State. “The departments have a history of collaborating on their work, so we had to develop buildings that could accommodate the partnership.” But instead of buildings, plural, Ohio State’s planning team proposed a solution that in academia is somewhat radical: construct one new building that would house both departments under one roof. This would not only unite two distinct departments in one space, but it would also bring together facilities for two separate colleges. For Ohio State, the CBEC proposal puts forth an idea that has yet to be tested in any other building project. “It’s the first building on campus designed for a space type and not just the needs of one college,” Costantino explains. In other words, CBEC prioritizes the demands of cross-college research over the individual colleges’ space needs and recognizes that the best pioneering science will be

accomplished if departments in separate yet related fields can share laboratories, classrooms, and administrative spaces. The one-building solution also upholds Ohio State’s ambitious commitment to sustainability, which was launched officially in 2008 with the signing of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. When completed, CBEC will have a footprint of 225,000 square feet, but it will only add new—not extra—square footage to the campus. “Ohio State’s One Ohio State Framework Plan (the university’s long-range plan) calls for no net new academic space,” Costantino says. “We already have enough building space on campus, but it’s not all at the quality we desire. For CBEC, we’ve demolished four obsolete buildings to make way for the new building.” When finished, the new CBEC building will look nothing like the squat, brick buildings it has replaced. Its design, january–february 2014



“[CBEC is] the first building on campus designed for a space type and not just the needs of one college.” Bernie Costantino, The Ohio State University




LOCATION Columbus, OH Size 225,000 ft2 Completed 2  014 (expected) Program Laboratory spaces, classrooms, administrative, and academic offices

CLIENT The Ohio State University Project Architect Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Architect of Record S  tantec Architecture Construction Management Gilbane Building Company Commissioning H  eapy Engineering

CERTIFICATION LEED Silver (expected), Labs21 Certification (expected) SiteExisting built site, orientation maximizes green space Landscape Usable outdoor space for students and faculty Materials Exterior curtainwall and façade glazing Air A  dvanced airflow efficiency

conceived by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, meets the required benchmarks for both LEED Silver and the EPA’s Labs21 certifications. The building itself is programmed into two main sections, a four-story laboratory block, and a six-story office tower connected by footbridges on the second, third, and fourth floors. University classroom space and a public lobby occupy its ground floor. “Putting the classroom space and meeting spaces on the ground floor means that students, faculty, and staff won’t have to go in and out of the lab,” Costantino says. “It will


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help make the building more useful for the entire university.” Utility translates to the building’s site, too, as Pelli Clarke Pelli maximized green space by pushing CBEC’s footprint to its lot’s eastern edge. Ohio State plans to landscape the area with benches, footpaths, and gathering spots so that students, faculty, and staff can enjoy the new public place between classes and on the weekends. And inside, CBEC will always feel connected to the outdoors due to its transparent glass construction. “We hope that being able to look outside from inside all the labs,

offices, and classrooms will inspire everybody’s work,” Costantino says. It’s this openness, both literal and figurative, that Costantino believes the Ohio State community will most appreciate about CBEC’s design. For the university at large, it will serve as a model for future development. And for its new tenants, it will help maximize the collaborative work that is already being done. But one element, Costantino knows, is definitely certain: the chemical and biomolecular engineering and chemistry departments can’t wait to move in. gb&d




When Steve and Cher Garrett first rehabbed an industrial building on Lake Street in Chicago’s West Loop, they planned on using it as office and studio space for their graphic design and photography businesses. Once they finished, they realized that the building had another great function—as an event space. Filled with sustainable fixtures and finishes, BizBash called Loft on Lake Chicago’s “Best New Venue” when it opened. Steve and Cher take us back to the beginning. —Interview by Julie Schaeffer

After events such as music video shoots, the space is cleaned with EnviroSmart products, a brand developed by Cher.

What drew you to this space? Steve: It wasn’t much to look at initially. It had been a manufacturing building, then was purchased and separated into three units. The developer had done some hard-core work like sandblasting, but the space was still rough when we saw it. It had no windows or doors, a gravel floor, and all the brick inside had been covered over with gray paint. Despite its state, the space had a compelling quality that we both recognized. What was the renovation process like? Steve: The interior was open, so we didn’t need to do any demolition. The developer put in windows and a skylight, replaced some of the brick, and restored much of the original bow-truss ceiling. Cher and I designed all the interior spaces, and the construction of bathrooms, kitchens, and offices was done by our two sons, Evan and Joel, and me. Cher and our daughter Jessica selected cabinetry, fixtures, paints, and decor. Evan designed and installed all the security systems and digital technologies. It was truly a family affair!


What was the impetus for making it sustainable? Cher: We wanted the building to be true to its origins and began with restoration, using recycled and salvaged materials as much as possible. From there it just made sense that the new materials we brought in be sustainable, such as soy-based paints and stains.

A 65-foot skylight provides enough daylight that the energy consumption for lighting is negligible.

How did you begin using it as an event venue? Cher: When we completed the build-out, visitors would say, “This is a great space; you should have events here.” Even though we had no initial idea of hosting events, the momentum for doing so was strong. And I had experience in corporate events from my career in advertising. Now, we host corporate events, product launches, and photo shoots during the week and private events such as weddings on the weekends. gb&d


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The aluminum reeds on the west façade reduce solar heat gain by roughly 50% without obstructing the view.

This renovated government building in Portland, OR, is on track for LEED Platinum certification and uses up to 65% less energy than a comparable office building of the same size.


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LOCATION Portland, OR Size 5  25,000 ft2 Built 1975 Renovated 2013 Cost $139 million Program Federal office building

A new skin, next-gen elevators, and 12,000 square feet of new leasable space (without expanding the building footprint) help make Portland’s 40-year-old Green-Wyatt Federal Building a LEED Platinum landmark


By Benjamin van Loon


GENERAL CONTRACTOR Howard S. Wright Architect S  ERA Architects Client G  eneral Services Administration Civil and Structural Engineer K  PFF Consulting Mechanical Engineer S  tantec Plumbing EngineerInterface Engineering Electrical EngineerPAE Consulting Engineers Landscape Consultant A  telier Dreiseitl Acoustic Consultant C  harles M. Salter Associates, Acoustic Design Studio Roof Consultant P  rofessional Roof Consultants Elevator System O  tis Elevators



CERTIFICATION LEED Platinum (expected) Energy 180kW rooftop photovoltaic array, EUI reduced from 78 to between 32 and 34 kBtu/ft2/yr Air Quality D  edicated outdoor air supply provides fresh air to interior Water 137,000-gallon rainwater cistern Elevators Otis elevators generate power during descent Daylight S  olar shading on west elevation reduces solar gain by 50%



amed for former Oregonian Congress members Edith Green and Wendell Wyatt, the Green-Wyatt Federal Building in downtown Portland, Oregon, was opened in 1975 as the home for various federal agencies for the State of Oregon. Originally designed in the International Style by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the 17-story steel-framed building had a façade of a drab, precast, rectilinear concrete grid checkered with dark, recessed windows, and after more than 30 years of operation, the building was showing signs of age. With various federal incentives in place—including those prompted or provided by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—SERA Architects and Howard S. Wright, a Balfour Beatty Company, were selected by the General Services Administration to perform a $139 million interior and exterior overhaul of the building that started in 2009. Completed in 2013 and on track for LEED Platinum, the Green-Wyatt Building is now one of the greenest buildings owned by the GSA, with a bright glass exterior, visually dynamic solar shading, a 713-panel photovoltaic rooftop, and myriad green strategies and technologies.

“When we came in on this project, we realized pretty quickly that we could save a lot more money and do a lot more good for the local economy if we actually emptied the building,” says Matthew Braun, project manager for Howard S. Wright. “Working with our contractors, design teams, and owner, we were able to establish a workable budget and scope— and we were still able to meet all of the initiatives set forth.” A redesign of the building required that the structure be stripped down to its steel frame, and rebuilt from there. Doing this initially allowed the building to be compliant with updated fire, life, and safety codes, as well as delivering on an owner-driven ‘Smart Buildings’ initiative, which, as Braun explains, “is a way of tying in the entire GSA portfolio to a standard operations center—open, converged, normalized data regarding the building’s performance.” In other words, Howard S. Wright was able to set a standard to allow building users to track data cataloging energy, generators, photovoltaic-supplied power, and other in-building mechanical systems. Prior to renovations at the building, its average EUI was 78 kBtu per square foot per year, which was less than the national average but higher than the designers’ ideal. In addition to upgrading all of the building’s mechanical january–february 2014



Matthew Braun, Howard S. Wright


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LEFT The architecture firm added cutouts on the first floor that bring daylight into the subterranean ground floor, creating one large daylit lobby. RIGHTThe hydronic heating and cooling system is not only energy efficient, but it’s use of space is efficient as well. The system uses 50% less floor space than typical mechanical equipment, so that extra area can be used for other green features.

Because the bulk of the heating and cooling needs are satisfied by the radiant ceiling panels, large HVAC ducts in the Green-Wyatt building were no longer necessary, not only allowing the duct sizes to be reduced—thus raising the ceiling height by 12 inches—but also allowing the building to use a dedicated outside air supply, which affords 100 percent air replacement. Braun adds that the team hit even more EISA standards by converting an old shooting range in the basement of the building into a 170,000-gallon rainwater cistern. The system is expected to displace more than 740,000 gallons of potable water consumption in the building every year. “This reads and feels like a brand-new building,” Braun says of the completed structure, which hopefully will set a precedent for a new type of “old” office building, in Portland and beyond. gb&d


“When we came in on this project, we realized pretty quickly that we could save a lot more money and do a lot more good for the local economy if we actually emptied the building.”

systems, save the two eight-year-old chillers preserved during demolition, and in order to first begin improving energy efficiency, the design called for a new building skin. The prior skin left a big gap between floor slabs and the skin itself, so Howard S. Wright expanded the slabs by a total of 27 inches, not only increasing leasable space by 12,000 square feet (roughly one leasable floor) but also increasing envelope efficiency. Further complemented by upgraded systems—radiant heating and cooling panels on the ceilings; a 13,000-squarefoot, 180-kilowatt rooftop solar array producing three percent of the annual electrical needs; energy-efficient lighting operating 40 percent under Oregon code; a 170,000-gallon rainwater collection cistern, and low-flow plumbing reducing water use by 60 percent under average office building numbers—Green-Wyatt is now operating between 32 and 34 kBtu per square foot per year. Additionally, an innovative elevator system, the Gen2Mod by Otis Elevators, actually creates energy to be used elsewhere in the building while another Otis technology reduces the number of necessary elevators from eight to six. “The combined energy savings and efficient space management of the systems [in the building] is a blueprint for existing buildings around the country,” says Max Prinsen, a regional modernization technical specialist at Otis. The two extra elevator shafts are now being used for shaft space and more efficient core layouts throughout the structure.


REDUCING PURINA’S CARBON ‘PAW PRINT’ Nestlé-Purina’s LEEDcertified Danforth Learning Center draws environmentally minded employees and responds to consumer attitudes

The Danforth Learning Center in St. Louis has a photovoltaic array that generates 25kW of power.

By Russ Klettke



n the competition for talented workers, Nestlé-Purina PetCare Company has a natural advantage: employees can bring their dogs to work. The dogs make sense—the company markets some of the most recognized dog and cat food brands in America—but this St. Louis firm believes its commitment to sustainable buildings is a draw as well. “Sustainable building attributes reflect our corporate culture, which helps us to attract top talent,” says Diane Herndon, manager of sustainability at Nestlé-Purina. Herndon cites company studies that show a high percent of pet owners care about the environment. And as the World Green Building Council reported in “The Business Case for Green Building,” published in 2013, multiple corporate studies reflect strong employee preferences to work in green buildings. The company responds with Earth-friendly manufacturing and distribution processes: reduced water use, reduced energy use, use of renewable energy at several manufacturing facilities, participation in the EPA’s SmartWay transportation program, and smarter and lighter packaging materials. Overall, energy management programs have reduced consumption at the headquarters by 10 percent over the past decade. The campus has a wide range of buildings—research labs, offices, and gb&d

“If you can measure realtime energy use by building and review trends, you can make effective adjustments in how energy is used.” Gene McCoskey, Nestlé-Purina PetCare Company

a pilot plant, including two that are more than 100 years old—on 55 acres in downtown St. Louis. The newest is the $15 million LEED Gold-certified Danforth Learning Center building, designed by Weston E.I.D., an architecture firm that has been building energy-efficient and solar-powered homes since the 1980s. “When Nestlé-Purina approached us

for the Danforth Center, they requested LEED certification,” says Craig Weston, principal of Weston E.I.D. “When we evaluated our first internal LEED checklist, we knew it would be possible to achieve LEED Gold.” The Danforth Center isn’t the only LEED-certified structure built by Nestlé-Purina—the 84,000-square-foot, LEED Silver Purina Event Center, a pet show venue, opened at Purina Farms in Gray Summit, Missouri, in 2010—and Nestlé-Purina’s St. Louis environmental footprint extends beyond new construction. “All buildings are linked through our Integrated Energy Control System,” says Gene McCoskey, the managing director of site services, whose group oversees the downtown headquarters campus and Purina Farms. “If you can measure real-time energy use by building and review trends, you can make january–february 2014





LOCATION St. Louis Size56,000 ft2 Completed2012 Program Office and employee training space

CERTIFICATION LEED Gold SiteInfill within existing corporate campus Materials Recycled and locally sourced materials, construction waste diverted for reuse, polished concrete Water Low-flow fixtures Energy 25kW photovoltaic system, thermal system to supplement heating, Energy Star-rated equipment, wind RECs, fabric HVAC ducts

TEAM CLIENT Nestlé-Purina PetCare Company Architects Weston E.I.D. (building design), Gray Design (interiors) General Contractor LANDCO Construction LEED Consultant Hellmuth+Bicknese Architects

ABOVEThe Danforth Center made use of the 202 sunny days per year in St. Louis by daylighting most of the office spaces.

effective adjustments in how energy is used. We are also currently piloting new lighting control technologies and installing energy-efficient office and parking lot lighting.” On any given day, an estimated 70 to 80 dogs can be found at Nestlé-Purina, in offices or playing in an on-site dog park. But it is humans who make up Nestlé-Purina’s Green Paws program, which is composed of about 200 employee-volunteers who raise awareness about sustainable living among their colleagues, tend to urban gardens, and collect recyclables at the nearby St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium. With such a large group of volunteers, these employees suggest that it is the people inside the buildings, not just the structures, that make an enterprise wholly sustainable. gb&d LANDCO is proud to have collaborated with Nestlé-Purina PetCare Company and Arcturis, Inc. in “building their vision” of a sustainable state-of-the-art facility, designed specifically for dog shows. The new Purina Event Center is currently under consideration for LEED Gold Certification. Key involvement in the planning process, documentation of critical information, attention to detail, and quality craftsmanship were delivered to accomplish this goal. We look forward to future projects combining our firm’s respective expertise in sustainable design and construction practices.


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Photography by Jeff Wellman

Nestle Purina Danforth Center – LEED® Gold LANDCO CONSTRUCTION | 2 CityPlace, Suite 10 | Creve Coeur, MO 63141 | 314.275.7400 |

Nestlé Purina Danforth Center

Weston E.I.D., Inc. - Architects Architect and Project Manager – Craig James Weston, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP Project Architect – Eric Hinrichs, AIA, LEED AP | Structural Engineer – John Zhang, P.E., S.E.

WESTON E.I.D. Architects

Lake Saint Louis, MO gb&d


Photographs by Jad Ryherd january–february 2014




On the border between Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, 8500 Burton Way offers unrivaled luxury and creates a walkable urban node within car-congested SoCal

By Lindsey Howald Patton

Hetzel Design incorporated a large oculus into 8500 Burton Way to make the building iconic and dramatic.


The rooftop lounge and pool deck uses sustainable ipe.



LOCATION Los Angeles Size250,000 ft2 Completed 2012 Program Mixed-use, luxury residential apartments AwardsLos Angeles Business Journal 2013 Commercial Real Estate Gold Award; Gold Nugget Residential Project of the Year; Golden Nugget Grand Award for Mixed Used, Multi-Family Housing, and Urban Infill Site Plan

CERTIFICATION Not applicable Site Water filtration system in sidewalk planters, EV-charging stations, cool roof, bike-sharing program MaterialsIpe wood deck, doublepane glass windows and doors, recycling on-site, Green Sweep supplies Water S  mart irrigation system with automated controls, low-flow faucets and toilet fixtures Energy 50kW photovoltaic array, solar-heated pool, energy-efficient residential appliances Landscape Canopy trees reduce heating and cooling costs for lowerlevel spaces, garden-level green roof

TEAM DEVELOPER Caruso Affiliated Architect M  VE & Partners Building FaçadeHetzel Design Interior DesignersBAMO, Waldo Fernandez Landscape Architect Lifescapes International Construction Services B  ernards


uilding an icon isn’t easy. The biggest challenge to building 8500 Burton Way, a new luxury residential development in Los Angeles by Caruso Affiliated, came with a last-minute decision to switch to a new exterior design. “The bar is very high, and it’s always a little nerve-racking when you’re in the risky business of designing something that you want to be iconic,” says Dave Williams, the executive vice president of architecture at Caruso, with a laugh. Williams hired MVE & Partners, a highly regarded, nearly 40-year-old firm with thousands of buildings in Southern California to its name, “to tweak our original idea and make the building layout efficient structurally and mechanically,” he says. With the efficiency of the building perfected—Caruso builds to LEED Silver standards but doesn’t get the buildings certified—Caruso decided to switch gears on 8500’s façade, seeking something that “would feel very fresh, very current, but timeless.” The design only makes sense in Hollywood terms. Williams says it’s like Entourage—an HBO show featuring the grinning, tousle-haired Adrian Grenier as an up-and-coming film star, hanging in Hollywood with his buddies—meets Mad Men—the television drama about suave, sharply dressed, Manhattan-drinking advertising execs in 1960s New York. Caruso brought Hetzel Design onto the project to achieve this effect. Branislav Hetzel, the firm’s principal, is known for iconic projects all around the world, including the “The Ring of Life,” the steel circular landmark in Shenfu, China, that somewhat resembles a 515-foot-tall Dyson bladeless fan. Caruso’s requested blend of fresh and timeless resulted in a smooth, unbroken skin of bright cast-in-place concrete and aquamarine glass. The triangular, eight-story building is shaped exactly like the corner pocket on a billiards january–february 2014



“Nobody walks in LA, but they walk around this building. We didn’t know if we could change people’s habits and attitudes in this neighborhood—but we think we have.” Dave Williams, Caruso Affiliated

table—its rounded corners a throwback to mid-20th-century mod design, and the unexpected shape and wall-to-wall, floorto-ceiling windows an homage to the architectural styles of today. Inside 8500, custom design reigns. With the cost of rent being what Williams calls a “tertiary” matter for Caruso’s target market on this luxury project, hitting the perfect iconic look—inside and out—would better attract the LA entertainment and design industry elite. “The location and iconic design are standout elements,” says John Sykes, project executive with Bernards, which provided preconstruction and construction services. “The roof amenities rival some of the finest hotels in the area.” Rent one of the building’s 87 apartments (they start at $4,500 per month) and you have access to the following amenities: indoor fitness center, rooftop pool, dog-walking services, housekeeping and laundry service, concierge, valet, car service, personal shopping, furniture rentals, and room service. The eighthfloor swimming pool and spa offers an unhampered view of Beverly Hills. You can lounge there, “order a pitcher of margaritas and lunch and have it delivered,” Williams says—just like a resort vacation. Rent tops out at $40,000, for what Variety called the project’s pièce de résistance: the penthouse, 4,000-square-feet designed and decorated by Waldo Fernandez, whose client list includes Elizabeth Taylor, Brad Pitt, and Tobey Maguire. Like a luxury hotel, the emphasis is on a five-star sort of convenience. Apart-

Although Caruso Affiliated doesn’t seek LEED certification on its projects, 8500 Burton Way would have received Silver for features such as zero-waste construction and the use of recycled metal for the building’s backbone.

ments are part-time homes to plenty of jetsetters who are more than happy to pay higher rents to eliminate the hassle of parking, figuring out where to eat, joining a gym, washing the sheets, and so on. “It’s kind of remarkable that more developers haven’t tapped into this,” Williams says, noting that Caruso incorporates high-end amenities and services into all of its mixed-use projects, so “it’s second nature to us.”

GUEST EDITOR DAVID ABEL This project profile offers but a glimpse into the contributions to the built environment and the real estate successes of Caruso Affiliated. Rick Caruso’s market-wise attention to detail and cuttingedge commitment to livability have catapulted his company into its standing as one of the largest privately held real estate companies in the nation. If cities are interested in learning how their environmental policies might be practically and creatively incorporated into a mixed-use development, they will find few better partners than Caruso Affiliated with which to collaborate.


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What’s most interesting is that 8500 is as bold in its contributions to a healthier LA as it is in its emphasis on luxury. The greenest element of the building is both the most difficult to achieve and the least quantifiable: the creation of a truly walkable area. The long side of 8500’s triangle faces Burton Way, just where it’s swallowed by San Vicente Boulevard and runs into La Cienega. This is the gateway between Beverly Hills and Los Angeles though 8500 technically stands in the latter, which is a boon for the developer considering 90210’s strict height restrictions. The base of the building actually draws foot traffic with a Trader Joe’s grocery store and a high-end café called The Larder. Nearby, La Cienega—once a pricey restaurant row that Williams says is poised for a renaissance—is a popular street for shopping and eating, as are Third Street, Melrose Boulevard, and

Caruso Affiliated SPACES

The luxury apartment building has double-paned windows all across its façade to naturally light the units and keep it insulated.

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Robertson Boulevard, all in easy walking distance. Creating a walkable area aligns perfectly with Caruso’s business plan. This isn’t the first project by Caruso, one of the largest privately held real estate companies in the nation, to emphasize shopping, eating, and finding entertainment nearby. The Grove, a shopping mall and movie theater just down the road from 8500, and the Americana in Glendale, which combines more than 300 residences with shopping and entertainment nearby, are both examples of mixed-use trying to lessen the load on LA’s roads. “Nobody walks in LA, but they walk around this building, which is very satisfying and remarkable to us,” Williams says. “We hoped it would happen but didn’t know if we could change people’s habits and attitudes in this neighborhood—but we think we have.” gb&d gb&d

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Filled with reclaimed cedar and other green features, the residences blend the architecture of the traditional longhouse with the modern townhouse.



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The Washington-area Puyallup Tribal Housing Authority wanted to provide its residents with decent, affordable housing, and the group trumped “decent” and won the 2012 LEED For Homes Project of the Year award. Overlooking the Puget Sound tidal flats, the complex—which includes the longhouses, a community building, a future sweat lodge, a remodeled gymnasium, and a restored habitat corridor—contains ten LEED Platinum apartments that were designed by mixing traditional shed-roofed longhouses with modern courtyard townhouses. A central, open-roof common area eliminates corridors and encourages ventilation and illumination, calling back to the traditional strategy of removing roof planks. Ample roof overhangs maximize passive solar energy and daylight, and the buildings have north- and south-facing windows, promoting natural ventilation. The community building preserved an existing building’s cedar siding, another synthesis of old and new. gb&d


Up Front Approach Trendsetters Green Typologies Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


112 A Capitol for the 21st Century

Renovating the Illinois State Capitol Building

The remote facility behind Hawaii’s wind power

116 Harnessing the Trade Winds 118 Chemical Reactions

An upward expansion with Wilson Architects

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By Alan Oakes


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$43m 40 Project budget

Years since the building’s last HVAC renovation


Workers on-site every day

PROJECT LOCATION Springfield, IL Size57,480 ft2 Completed2013 Cost $  43 million ProgramHistorical renovation of capitol building and office spaces

TEAM ARCHITECT J. Richard Alsop, Architect of the Capitol Architect of Record Vinci Hamp Architects Client State of Illinois General Contractor C  ORE Construction MEP Engineer Henneman Engineering Woodworking Imperial Woodworking Company Decorative Painting EverGreene Architectural Arts



CERTIFICATION LEED Gold (expected) Materials Reused sourced locally or regionally, low-VOC chemicals and solvents Energy High-efficiency mechanical system, insulated glass, occupancy sensors, CFL and LED lighting Water C  omplete plumbing upgrade, low-flow toilet fixtures Equity ADA and life-safety upgrades

 ne of the most challenging O portions of the renovation was preserving an iconic mural by Gustav Fuchs in the public space of the west wing. The mural had to be separately conditioned and protected during construction.


57,480 Square feet renovated, roughly 20% of the structure


On a gentle rise of Illinois prairie in the heart of downtown Springfield, the elegant Second Empire-style Illinois State Capitol building continues to be a symbol of the optimistic resilience of the citizens of the state. Built on land originally slated to be the final resting ground of Abraham Lincoln after his shocking assassination in the wake of a civil war that devastated the nation, the state house stands as a noble reminder of the will of the people to overcome a difficult past while welcoming a prosperous future. Throughout the years, however, maintenance was deferred, codes changed or were not followed, building systems became outdated and inefficient, and space had to be repurposed. “The west wing, like many areas of the capitol, was code deficient for both life-safety standards and accessibility standards for those with disabilities,” says J. Richard Alsop, the architect of the capitol for the State of Illinois. “In addition, all of the infrastructure systems including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and IT were outdated, inefficient, and needing constant maintenance as they were all past their useful life.” Renovating an existing structure to bring it up to LEED standards can be complicated, but when the building is almost 150 years old, the job becomes even more difficult. Alsop and his team were tasked with overhauling the west wing of the 293,367-square-foot capitol building, and the $43 million project wasn’t going to happen overnight. After two years planning the extensive renovation, Alsop’s work reinforces the saying, “success is not an accident.”


Although the project was intended to restore the building to the appearance of its period of historic significance (1867–1908), Alsop wanted to make sure sustainable elements were incorporated. He thought it was critical for this renovation to not only follow LEED guidelines, january–february 2014


TOPA new emergency egress stair was installed in the west wing to enhance life-safety of the building’s users.

BOTTOMTemporary air-handling units had to be installed during the renovation. To not blemish the façade, the supports were attached to the mortar of the exterior and not into the stone itself.

but also get official certification. “While typically a mandate for new construction, I made it a goal to achieve LEED certification for this major renovation,” Alsop says, who adds that though the renovation work required specialists, there were surprisingly few out-of-the-ordinary challenges for such an aged structure. The statehouse is a true load-bearing masonry building with some walls as thick as 17 feet and foundations resting on bedrock 25 feet deep. It boasts original opulent wall finishes of marble, wood wainscot, or three-coat plaster over wood lath attached to the masonry. Alsop’s team preserved and restored the plaster walls and ceilings, many of which were decoratively painted with ornate stencil work with highlights of gold or silver leafing. An entire mezzanine level above the second floor that was not a part of the original structure was removed to let the tall, two-story windows bring as much daylight into the wing’s interiors as possible.


The team installed a highly efficient mechanical system, using the original vertical ventilation chases that run the height of


january–february 2014


TOUGH BUILDS Illinois Capitol Building West Wing


“This building … is a true reflection of the human spirit through architecture.” J. Richard Alsop, Architect of the Capitol, State of Illinois

the building as infrastructure ducts, a solution that—combined with occupancy sensors, CFL and LED lighting, and lowflow fixtures—will achieve substantial efficiencies in thermal comfort, electricity, and water use. New, insulated glass was set in original window frames. The project team diverted construction materials from landfills and set up containers for recyclable materials. In lieu of new ones, the team reused existing materials whenever possible. Any new materials that were required came from local and regional manufacturers,

and environmentally safe cleaning products were used after the project was completed. Commissioning, measurement, and verification procedures were put into place to ensure the building is achieving target operational efficiencies. “Designing to a standard is not the same thing as obtaining recognition of having achieved that standard,” Alsop says. “A lot can happen between the end of design and occupancy that compromises design intent.” He believes the project has a real possibility of achieving LEED Gold, making it one of the oldest

structures in the United States to do so. “We have set the bar for subsequent renovations,” he says. The restoration of the west wing of the State of Illinois Capitol is proof positive of citizens desiring a sustainable future. Alsop is well aware of the significance of the project. “This building just as easily symbolizes the best attributes of the entire population of Illinois,” he says. “It is a building our citizens should be proud to own, and it is a true reflection of the human spirit through architecture.” gb&d

We’ve seen many changes over the last 50 years, but some things still remain the same: Our commitment to and focus on quality, service and craftsmanship. We’d like to thank our dedicated employees, loyal customers, steadfast business partners, and dependable vendors, without whom we could not have achieved such accomplishments.

Art + Science + Construction 212.244.2800 gb&d

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310 North Woodwork Lane | Palatine, IL 60067 847-358-6920 |

Springgeld, IL

january–february 2014






To build the Kawailoa Wind Project’s Operations and Maintenance building on the north shore of Oahu in Hawaii, Arita-Poulson General Contracting traversed a twomile stretch of gravel road. This included hauling in a 50-ton crane and self-contained fire systems and storage tanks— all weighty matters necessary for the construction of a wind farm’s command center. These same gravel paths helped carry even larger wind turbine components: 53-meter-long blade assemblies at 22 tons each, the nacelles (gearbox and generator) at 90.4 tons, and towers that weigh 175 tons. With 34 turbines producing 51 megawatts of power, this is the largest wind project in Hawaii to date. Since opening in late 2012, the Kawailoa project alone generates enough energy to meet roughly 10 percent of the electrical need for the entire island of Oahu, reducing the annual consumption of imported oil by 300,000 barrels. It is the 80-meter tall turbines endlessly rotating on Pacific trade winds that get all the attention. But every wind farm needs a farmhouse, so to speak—an Operations and Management (O&M) building that houses the people and equipment that keep it running on a 24/7/365 basis. The challenge in constructing Kawailoa’s O&M building was its remote location. Because the wind farm, like most, is sited far from populated areas where wind is most plentiful, the Kawailoa project is a lone inhabitant within the least populated part of Oahu, five miles inland from the famous beachside town of Haleiwa. “The wind farm is on a flat area within very hilly terrain,” says Tom Noble, the project manager with Arita-Poulson. “It’s where the wind is, with no other structures to block it.” Noble clarifies that the biggest problem was not the gravel road or physical site but the amount of tourist traffic on the existing one-lane


january–february 2014

highway leading to that gravel access road. And, in an area widely revered for its natural landscape, some community members voiced concerns about the wind farm. As the contractor working for Boston-based First Wind, which operates the facility and then sells the power to Hawaiian Electric Company through a power-purchase agreement, Arita-Poulson remained respectful of aloha aina, or “love of the land,” and was sensitive to the area throughout the build.

“Hawaii has one of the highest costs of living in the US. Anything that can lower that is a good thing.” Tom Noble, Arita-Poulson General Contracting


Hawaii is appropriately described as a paradise, often spoken about as one of the most beautiful places on Earth. But its remoteness and longstanding need to import energy ranks the state as number one in another regard: Hawaii has the highest electricity rates in America. Residents of Oahu pay approximately 35 cents per kilowatt-hour, and on the Island of Hawaii, that rate can be as high as 45 cents, whereas the price ranges from 7 to 18 cents per kilowatt-hour in the other 49 states. Beginning a decade ago, the state incentivized all forms of wind and solar energy generation and the construction of energy-efficient buildings to reduce demand. Naturally, incentives to build sustainable structures were applicable for the wind farm’s O&M facility. Arita-Poulson has been building green structures since

2008, long enough to understand the challenges to achieving LEED Silver with this facility. Noble explains sustainability goals impose a bigger challenge to meeting project budgets in Hawaii, given requirements for such things as local materials sourcing. But the company had the support of the Kamehameha Schools, which leases the property to First Wind and is part of a long-held family trust (the Bishop Estate, portrayed loosely in the 2011 film The Descendants). The trust has dedicated the large tract of wind-farm land and foundation money to educational, agricultural, and sustainability causes. Endeavors include a sustainability teaching institute, a historic fishpond restoration, an archaeology school, the modernization of an agricultural water system, and research on solar and hydroelectric power, in addition to the Kawailoa wind farm. Kamehameha Schools sought input from nearby residents before embarking on the project. Although some people in the community opposed the development largely for aesthetic and historical reasons, most Hawaiians appreciate more renewable energy. “Hawaii has one of the highest costs of living in the US,” Noble says. “Anything that can lower that is a good thing.”


The O&M building itself is not much to look at, but it serves as the working base for the 10 or so people occupied there on a regular basis. They include engineers, maintenance workers, and a biologist, who is tasked with studying and mitigating the impact of the facility on the local ecosystem. It is a single-story building, just more than 22 feet tall with a 7,000-square-foot base plus an additional 1,349-square-foot storage area on the roof. Arita-Poulson used recycled steel, energy-efficient mechanical systems, water-efficient fixtures, recycled insulation and drywall, FSC-certified wood,


51 mW

Amount of power produced by the 24 turbines at Kawailoa Wind Project—enough to power 10% of Oahu

40% more * efficient

Sustainably engineered by

University of Pittsburgh Chevron Chemistry Annex Run-ARound HeAt RecoveRy SyStem

PROJECT LOCATION Haleiwa, HI Size 8,349 ft2 Completed 2012 Program Operations, management, equipment storage, biological monitoring

and no-VOC paints and adhesives during construction of the facility. The building draws its electricity from the Oahu grid, but water for the building’s operations has to be trucked in, so the team chose to lessen that load with water-conservation measures. It makes sense for a wind farm building to be sustainable from a public relations standpoint, but it’s also a very practical matter in Hawaii, where tax credits can be achieved with LEED certifications. Utility companies on the islands are on track to source at least 40 percent of islanders’ current energy needs from renewables by 2030 as consumption concurrently drops by 30 percent, reducing net fossil fuel consumption by a full 70 percent. Although solar has obvious advantages in this tropical state, particularly to homeowners who can benefit from net-metering programs, wind power is the renewable source that has significant commercial-scale potential in Hawaii. Ambitious plans include establishing 200 more turbines on the windier Lanai and Molokai islands that will power Honolulu and other cities via an underwater cable system. Natives are not finished debating whether wind, traditionally revered as a god in Hawaiian culture, should be harnessed for environmental and financial well-being, but few quibble over the wisdom of energy-efficient buildings—attractive or not, seen and unseen. gb&d gb&d



PATTI WILSON 301.509.6730

Illustration © Affiliated engineers, Inc.

*compared to previous chemistry building

GENERAL CONTRACTOR Arita-Poulson General Contracting Developer Kamehameha Schools ArchitectMedia5 Architecture Civil Engineer Hida Okamoto & Associates Structural Engineer Allison-Ide Structural Engineers Mechanical Engineer Prepose Engineering Systems Electrical Engineer KCL Engineering

GREEN CERTIFICATION LEED Silver MaterialsSheet metal roof and wall panels, recycled steel, FSC-certified wood, no-VOC paints and adhesives Energy Energy-efficient HVAC system Water L  ow-flow and efficient fixtures Insulation Dual-glazed windows, recycled insulation and drywall

More than 40 years of sustainable design, spanning the Pacific rim. january–february 2014





The new university building is clad in terra-cotta, a cost-effective material that features 20% recycled content by weight.

Because of the site’s hilly terrain and abandoned mines, Wilson Architects proposed expanding upward rather than outward.


Chevron Annex new skin

Existing tower

Chevron Annex lab

New support structure

Renovated Chevron tower lab floor

PROJECT LOCATION Pittsburgh Completed2012 Size 33,675 ft2 Program University chemistry laboratories Awards2012 Boston Society of Architects Educational Facilities Award; 2012 SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture, Honor Award; 2012 AIA Pittsburgh Honor Award

TEAM ARCHITECT Wilson Architects Associate Architect Renaissance 3 Architects Client University of Pittsburgh Engineers T  he Gateway Engineers, Barber & Hoffman, Affiliated Engineers Metro DC General Contractor M  ascaro Construction Company Landscape Architect Brown Sardina


GREEN CERTIFICATIONLEED Gold (expected) Site Air-rights structure preserves limited open space Energy25% reduction via occupancy sensors, daylighting, and grouped systems in lab spaces HVAC High-efficiency systems including low-flow fume hoods, energy-recovery air-handling units Materials T  erra-cotta with recycled content, FSC-certified wood-based materials, 97.7% of construction waste recycled

North-south building section



The University of Pittsburgh takes science seriously. Perhaps its most famous contribution to the field was Jonas Salk’s development of the famous polio vaccine on campus, but it has successfully educated thousands of scientists who also have made lasting contributions to modern society across a host of disciplines. To continue this legacy, buildings must be kept up to date, and the university’s chemistry department hired Wilson Architects to consolidate and improve its facilities—the first major upgrading since the 1970s. Specifically, the department wanted to enhance opportunities for synthetic chemistry with new research space and sought to provide greater connectivity between the existing Chevron Science Center and Eberly Hall chemistry buildings. Another requirement: shared departmental resources, such as the chemistry library, needed a more central location. All the while, the school knew it needed to revitalize the existing Chevron Plaza, an outdoor public gathering space between the two aforementioned buildings. As the department and Wilson Architects assessed these needs, it became apparent that the best design solution was to locate any new facilities at the Chevron Science Center, which is situated on a steeply graded wedge of land once designated to be a part of Henry Hornbostel’s Acropolis Plan, the first campus master plan circa 1907. The site, however, had no buildable space because the university wanted to preserve the adjacent wooded hillside. To solve the site problem, Wilson Architects proposed erecting an air-rights addition above the existing Ashe Auditorium, a three-story structure next to the science center’s laboratory research tower. The new Chevron Annex, as it would be named, was designed to sit on top of a steel transfer structure resting on a discrete number of steel columned micro-piles that finger down through

Renovated Ashe lobby

New building entry

HOW IT WORKS CHEVRON ANNEX This air-rights addition to the Chevron Science Center at the University of Pittsburgh relies on six strategically located columns that drop 45 feet into the existing lobby and classrooms to anchor the addition. These structural supports are integrated into the existing space.

the roof of the auditorium. “The annex’s structural frame is unique because it provides a stable air-rights platform for vibration-sensitive analytical chemistry equipment while also minimizing the impact to the auditorium,” says Chris Martin, Wilson Architects’ principal-in-charge. This innovative engineering choice allowed the department to place the synthetic and analytical chemistry laboratory spaces in close proximity to the existing chemistry facilities. The arrangement helped revitalize the undergraduate and graduate chemistry experience at the university while maintaining campus open space by preserving the wooded hillside.


From any angle, the new annex is an elegant addition to the Chevron Science Center. A buff terra-cotta exterior finish was used as a nod to the classic limestone of neighboring buildings, and the modularity and curtainwall patterning of the façade pick up on the cadence of those same structures. “The terra-cotta selection was a cost-effective and durable option offering a green solution since it contains up to 20 percent recycled materials by weight,” says Breana Werner, a project designer at Wilson Architects. january–february 2014


TOUGH BUILDS Chevron Annex

Metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions reduced each year


Percent of occupied spaces that have an exterior view

Beneath the annex’s refined exterior is a highly efficient facility housing innovative learning spaces. Selecting a “ballroom” laboratory layout where multiple laboratory modules of space are grouped together in an open setting promoted better collaboration, flexibility of use, and more open lines of sight for safety. The layout also reduces energy demand by grouping high-energy laboratory spaces and separating them from office and write-up areas via a glass partition. Originally slated for LEED Silver certification by the university, the design team decided instead to raise the bar, striving for Gold. It created an energy model, which included a baseline and a proposed design as part of the LEED certification process. Using multiple strategies, including the ballroom laboratory, low-flow fume hoods, energy-recovery air-handling units, smart façade and fenestration design, daylight harvesting, and numerous occupancy controls, the team reduced predicted site energy to 25.3 percent less than the baseline. “This enormous energy savings equates to a reduction of 621 metric tons of carbon


january–february 2014

33,675 97.7

Gross square feet distributed over two floors

dioxide emissions per year, or approximately the amount of carbon dioxide emitted [in powering] 32 single-family homes,” says Kristine Renner, Wilson Architects’ sustainability leader.


The annex’s open plan means views of science-in-action are maintained throughout the research floors. The high level of internal transparency is a teaching and learning opportunity for students and researchers alike. Capitalizing on the building’s perched location and interior-exterior transparency, the facility creates a collaborative environment meant to bolster innovation. “The chemistry labs are designed to be highly functional, efficient, flexible, and safe for students,” Martin says. “The clear sight lines, natural light, panoramic views and open student spaces, create a collaborative setting for the users.” Additionally, the original and underutilized Ashe lobby underwent a complete transformation as a result of the integration of the annex support structure. A hole in the exterior wall for a micro-pile rig led to the installation of a

Percent of construction waste recycled

LEFT Energy-intensive laboratory spaces are grouped and separated from office and write-up areas by glass partitions that are designed to maximize daylighting and communication and promote student safety. The sloped ceilings also enhance light coming in from the continuous windows. RIGHTThe renovated lobby space is a great area for students to study and socialize, and a new stair was added to connect the lobby floors.

new window that brings in much needed light and views. Overall, more than 95 percent of the annex space is daylit, a remarkable achievement for a scientific laboratory facility. “The Chevron Annex seamlessly aligns the goals of the client, user, and designer,” Martin says. “The university sought to bring optimism and purpose back to its chemistry complex, and we guided them to a design solution that embodies that vision.” gb&d




Up Front Approach Trendsetters Green Typologies Inner Workings Features Spaces Tough Builds Punch List


122 Person of Interest

NRG Energy’s Robyn Beavers is upending the electrical grid

124 Discussion Board

Is there enough profit to drive market growth?

125 Material World

Foamglas is an ideal insulation

126 On the Boards

Houston’s Marriott Marquis

128 Toolbox

Passive products make perfect

129 On the Spot

With guest editor David Abel

january–february 2014


“We are in a time when everything is a threat. So we’ve decided to actively take a disruptive approach.” Robyn Beavers, NRG Energy


Person of Interest Robyn Beavers

A smarter power transmission grid is central to America’s energy future. But according to NRG Energy’s Robyn Beavers, smarter might mean smaller, where microgrid networks of homes and businesses can supply energy to their neighbors. That sounds disruptive and chaotic—which is exactly what her R&D team thrives on. Interview by Russ Klettke gb&d: You’re the senior vice president of innovation at NRG Energy, one of the largest power companies in the US. What does your job entail? Robyn Beavers: I founded a new innovation group called Station A, which is essentially an internal start-up. We took our name from a retired, circa-1890 power plant in San Francisco, which is also where we located our office. We do product development, which includes business strategies for those products. Right now, we are developing solutions for a more distributed, interactive electrical grid. gb&d: Isn’t the electrical grid made up of huge, multistate infrastructures? Are you talking about rebuilding it? Beavers: We aren’t trying to rebuild the grid but provide alternative and compatible infrastructure that can improve environmental performance, reduce outages, and become more resilient for end users. Perhaps the best analogy is how computing formerly was based on a mainframe system, but of course computing since went in the opposite direction, smaller and diffused.


gb&d: So how does that happen? Beavers: It’s about creating a distributed generation system. We think a microgrid can connect people with things like rooftop solar, storage, and micro-combinedheat-and-power generators to use their unused power generation. The goal is to gb&d

create a real market to distribute surplus supply when the demand is there. gb&d: That sounds disruptive—to both the business model of a company such as yours as well as within states where energy regulation might get in the way. Beavers: There is a lot to be worked out from the policy side and the financial side. That’s part of what we do. As for the disruptive nature of how it would affect traditional energy generators and distributors, we are in a time when everything is a threat. So we’ve decided to actively take a disruptive approach. The existing power infrastructure is impressive and old, and old doesn’t always work so well. We are taking a long-term view even though it’s unclear who it will help and who it will hurt. gb&d: Female civil engineers are unusual. Are you a natural disrupter? Beavers: There were only two women in my engineering class [at Stanford University], and often in my past jobs, I was the only woman in the room (Beavers has worked for Google, the Department of Energy, Vestas Wind Systems, and DEKA Research). But a majority of my team at NRG is women. All engineers want to get to the solution, but I think women engineers have an appreciation for complexity and ambiguity. We can find the elegant solution even when it is not the simple route. Women are good at dealing with chaos.

gb&d: Has being a woman ever made it hard to sell ideas to senior management? Beavers: I think I’ve been really lucky. I’ve always worked with amazing leaders who trusted what I gave them. gb&d: You speak on the roles technologies play in sustainability. In particular, you cite work you’ve done in third-world countries and what you learned from those experiences. How can advanced societies learn from places where electricity is hard to come by? Beavers: Global companies like Google don’t just work in advanced countries. The trick is to come up with smart solutions that work in new and old markets. I learn best by doing, which is what we did in India where we built solar hot-water capabilities for an office there. What they get to do is leapfrog older technologies and go straight to newer systems. gb&d: How feasible is this microgrid idea, both technologically and financially? Beavers: We are in the prototypes phase with tons of trials going on. Not just by us, but in government, universities, and big companies. The goal is to productize it, which includes gaining cultural acceptance and participation. gb&d: So other companies are buying into this “go small” idea with energy grids? Beavers: Everyone is headed in that direction, and it’s getting competitive! When I helped Google implement rooftop solar on their corporate building in 2006, the big news was that it was one of the largest corporate installations in the world. Now the news in the industry is that smaller residential rooftop solar systems is one of the fastest growing categories— which works with microgrids. gb&d january–february 2014



Discussion Board Profits vs. Incentives


“Our clients and their expectations for innovation and sustainability, without relying on government incentives, are the drivers in all of our green projects. UniverCity Childcare is achieving all the Living Building Challenge certification goals while costing 18 percent less to build than conventional child-care centers elsewhere in our region.”

“Profit is driving the private sector as it rushes to meet the requirements of government institutions from the GSA to municipal governments that require new facilities to be LEED certified. This alone has driven more people who never wanted to or knew how to design or build green to do it or lose out on a lot of potential business.”

“We are definitely at the point where well-designed, environmentally sustainable, and energy-efficient buildings can be constructed within a modest budget. That was the goal with our high-performance modular classroom. Including solar panels, we can manufacture Sprout Space for $150 per square foot.”

“In today’s market, being green pays as much as it saves. Clients no longer simply focus on the question of cost. The common question now is ‘How much energy will this save?’ The new emerging priority is a balance between economics and energy savings. Mainstream markets are demanding highly efficient solutions.”

Allen Post, Perkins+Will,

Kristine J. Renner, Wilson

Karen Marler, Hughes

Tommy Linstroth, Trident

p. 92

Architects, p. 118

Condon Marler Architects,

Sustainability Group, p. 38

p. 84


january–february 2014

“There is definitely interest in sustainability; however, we haven’t reached a point where manufacturers are convinced that there is enough demand. I did my part last week to convince a rep from an insulation company that their eco-products should be sold in the US. The recovered US economy has brought a fiscal conservativism that challenges every design decision. I will keep fighting for it on all fronts.” Julie Torres Moskovitz, Fabrica718, p. 52


Are we at a point where profits, rather than incentives, can drive market growth?


Material World The Glass Ceiling

Pittsburgh Corning uses cellular glass to create a highly efficient and highly renewable insulation Pittsburgh Corning Corporation has been innovating with glass for more than 75 years, building its business with glass blocks before adding Foamglas, a type of cellular glass insulation, to its production lines. Created from sand, limestone, and soda ash, Foamglas is free of CFCs, HFCs, and HCFCs, and the product’s lightweight, rigid material is marked with high compressive strength, non-combustibility, corrosion-resistance, dimensional stability, and moisture resistance. Melting the raw materials and combining the resulting glass with a cellulating agent creates insulating blocks that can

then be trimmed to be used as roof and wall insulation or fabricated into other shapes to fit around pipes. Other insulating materials, such as polyisocyanurate or polystyrene, have higher initial insulating value, but Foamglas has a longer useful life even if exposed to moisture. Using Foamglas on a project will contribute to LEED credits, stemming from its uses in creating an energy-efficient building envelope and its lack of harmful gas emissions. It also works well with a vegetated roof because of its strength and moisture-resisting qualities. The manufacturing process of the cellular glass aims to be as green as possible; Pittsburgh Corning’s furnaces are fueled by natural gas and electricity. Also, waste heat is reused to preheat combustion air, and water is recirculated using minimal amounts of fresh water. gb&d —Christopher James Palafox

Foamglas can withstand temperatures ranging from —450º to 900º Fahrenheit.

Closed glass cells means Foamglas will not swell, warp, or shrink if exposed to liquid or vapor.

DAVID ABEL Continued from p. 20

but that new schools should serve as community-centered, joint-use facilities that would blur the line between school and community resources. I thought we could use the 100 billion dollars for school construction statewide and the now 14 billion dollars in the LA Unified School District to site and build schools in inner-city and inner-suburban neighborhoods that would draw on campus health care professionals, libraries, park resources, and adult and after-school care programs that would enrich the school and the health of the neighborhood and community. NSBN’s work had some influence on state policy and Los Angeles’s school construction program: new school facility siting and environmental design criteria were incorporated into state and local planning for school building. But truthfully, resistance to the notion of school sites being joint-use centers became difficult to overcome. gb&d: Where did the resistance stem from? Abel: The golden rule of politics, as many of your readers know, is: “He who has the money makes the rules.” School districts had the bond money, and the idea of sharing their facilities with other jurisdictions and users that didn’t have the resources to complement theirs, served to fuel resistance. “It’s our money, it’s our school, we don’t need a library run by the city librarian on our campus, we don’t need a health center run by a community health center, we don’t need a park run by the park department. These facilities are paid for through school bonds, and we’ll decide how to use them.” Now, that might not be every school district’s view, but it became a predominant view of LAUSD, especially as funding for education became scarce. gb&d: Are there opportunities with non-public schools, such as charter schools? Abel: Of course. But centrifugal institutional forces that favor silo-like investments are very, very strong. gb&d: Across all industries, I’m afraid.

The 18 x 24-inch blocks are easily cut to shape and the scraps are recyclable.

Abel: As Malcolm Gladwell actually noted, we need political, enterprise, and civic leadership to inspire us to rise above the daily fray, crisscross the institutional silos, and integrate the disciplines and our best ideas and innovations. The conversation continues on p. 129


january–february 2014



On the Boards Houston’s Marriott Marquis

Why fear the heat? The new Marriott Marquis will promote business and play in Houston’s great outdoors

Houston’s humid subtropical climate might be attractive in January, but with temperatures frequently hitting triple digits in summer months, it’s hard to hide the fact that Houston gets hot. Yet instead of shying away from the heat, city leaders have decided to own it. The city’s largest current construction project is the 1,000-room Marriott Marquis hotel, led by Houston-based RIDA Development Corporation. The addition of the hotel is designed to help book the 26-year-old George R. Brown Convention 

Retail and restaurants on the street level will encourage a walking culture and lively street life, something that is often missing in car-culture downtowns.

Discovery Green, nearby sports venues, and a vibrant downtown arts scene are expected to keep visitors out of their cars and instead walking around downtown Houston.

Building glass will resist solar heat gain as well as hurricane-force winds.



A Leader in


LOCATION Houston Cost $335 million Completed 2016 (expected) Developer Rida Development Architect M  orris Architects Interior ArchitectLooney & Associates General Contractors Balfour Beatty Construction, Welbro Construction

UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain, the compact, mixed-use, transit-oriented community adjacent to Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, models best practices in sustainable community building. For more, visit UniverCitySFU

Center, but just as important, its architecture and location offer new and better ideas on how visitors and cities interact. Hotels in Houston and elsewhere often turn their backs on the outdoors, with windowless conference areas and inward-looking lobbies, pre-function areas, and circulation spaces. This building instead goes inside-out. “The interior space will be outward looking, with lots of glass,” says Jim Looney of Looney & Associates, a Dallas firm charged with the project’s interior design. Morris Architects, which designed the structure, put the lobby on a public plaza that faces Discovery Green, Houston’s 12-acre public park completed in 2008, a notable departure from car drop-off lobbies that often are in parking garages or on hotel backsides. Looney will be incorporating interior elements that can gb&d


UniverCity Quarter Page Ad FINAL.indd 1

The “lazy river” rooftop feature is a circulating stream that traces the outline of Texas, effectively turning the hot outdoors into an amenity.

tolerate what nature throws at Houston, such as perforated vinyl wall coverings that “breathe” in higher humidity and meetings rooms that take advantage of natural daylighting. The structure is aiming for a LEED Silver certification. Laura Paletz, senior associate of construction for RIDA, says that sustainable components are attractive to meeting planners but “the whole world is looking for green now.” That includes families, and a 63,348-square-foot recreation deck that sits atop the hotel ballroom will provide activities to the extended-stay conventioneer as well as any visitor who wants an active Lone Star State experience. gb&d —Russ Klettke


Founded by Jim Looney in 1995, Looney & Associates is an architectural and interior design firm with offices in Dallas and Chicago. Specializing in hospitality design, the company has created impressive concepts for many of the world’s most luxurious resorts and hotels, including work for Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, Omni Hotels & Resorts, RIDA Development, Forest City Development, Jones Lang LaSalle, Deloitte, Global Hyatt Corporation, Hines, Strategic Hotels & Resorts, and Grupo Empresas, Ltd. Notable projects include The Hyatt Regency New Orleans, The Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, California, and the upcoming Omni Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.



january–february 2014



Toolbox Passive Makes Perfect

Passive doesn’t mean weak. Here are a few tough Passive House-inspired products to tighten your building envelope and reduce heating loads. By Lindsey Howald Patton

 ZEHNDER COMFOAIR 550 HRV Don’t be fooled by its compact size; the ComfoAir 550 is Passive House certified and rated at 84 percent efficiency. It handles up to 324 cubic feet of air per minute and comes equipped with extras like automatic frost protection and a wireless remote control. Find it in Fabrica718’s retrofitted Tighthouse on p. 54, and its ERV cousin in the Empowerhouse on p. 74.  PHASE CHANGE BIOPCMAT Tuck this stuff into insulated roofs, ceilings, and walls, then sit back and watch your energy costs drop. Made of a soy-based wax material that changes from liquid to solid and back again at certain temperatures, the BioPCmat soaks in and stores excess heat during the day and then releases it back into the building at night when it’s cooler. You can even pick your target temperature.

▲ THE GREENEST HOME Julie Torres Moskovitz, founder of the Brooklyn-based design firm Fabrica718 (p. 52), brings you nearly 200 pages of illustrated inspiration in her book The Greenest Home. Inside, learn about 18 gorgeous projects that are among the world’s most insulated. Many are certified by the Passive House Institute. GREENWIZARD WORKFLOW PRO (not pictured) You’re starting a new project. What was that flooring product that worked so well for a client in 2007? Or was it for a house a few years before? And didn’t you hear that someone in the LA office found something even better? This software helps you build a company-wide digital archive system that will save you the time you just spent tapping your forehead.

▲ SEELEY INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE WIZARD Last year this Aussie product was among the winners of the 2013 World Ag Expo Top 10 New Products Competition. The indirect evaporative cooling system directs water and supply air into separate channels to avoid added moisture, and then brings the returning air through the wet channels to evaporate outdoors. Use it as a standalone system or make it your air conditioner’s sidekick.


january–february 2014

MARVIN ULTIMATE CASEMENT WINDOW As one of the first US-produced Passive Housecertified products, this window features low-E argon insulating glass and a variety of beautiful wood jamb finishes. But a homeowner’s favorite feature might be that it’s just plain easy to clean. Flip the handle open, crank it, then rotate the window completely around. No more standing outside and hosing the thing down; you can wipe and clean both sides from indoors.


On the Spot David Abel

DAVID ABEL Continued from p. 125

gb&d: Your view that education is important and that schools can be anchors in communities—how does that frame your approach to VerdeXchange? Abel: Very perceptive. Yes, integration of cross-disciplinary, environmental best practices is in the DNA of VerdeXchange. The cross-platform nature of our conference design, like our approach to the building of new schools, suggests that opportunities for innovation follow from leveraging disciplines and out-of-the-box thinking. For example, transit-oriented development necessitates the linking of land use and planning with advanced transportation infrastructure investment, and successful water conservation follows from planning and integrating wastewater and storm-water investments with policies that preserve regional watersheds and the siting of neighborhood parks that are able to use treated water.

The VerdeXchange founder has some surprising (and surprisingly funny) answers to our questionnaire: Are you paying attention to religious scholars in Turkey? What about David’s unborn grandchild? Abel is betting both will change the world.



Elon Musk’s ‘hyperloop’ transport.




Robert Caro’s The Power Broker.

Tech Review.



The Library of



FAVORITE PLACE YOU’VE TRAVELED Galapogos Islands. CAUSE YOU’D SUPPORT IF YOU HAD A BILLION DOLLARS The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis at



answering any


gb&d: How often do you publish The Planning Report (a newsletter on urban planning and infrastructure in Southern California)? Abel: Once a month for 25 years. You’re probably too young to know the old [Remington Shaver] commercial, where the fellow says, “I liked the product so much, I bought the company.” I was a subscriber to the original Planning Report, which was produced by a developer/expediter here in LA who was about to leave town and discontinue the newsletter. I asked if he would let me run with it. He consented, and I hired a couple of young, talented folks to edit and manage it, and that’s the way it began.


The Planning Report, mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s former senior advisor on energy and water policy on upgrading LA’s energy infrastructure. THE THOUGHT OR IDEA THAT CENTERS YOU There, but for the grace of

God, go I.

My unborn grandchild.


technology is undermining

western values. WHAT YOU’D PITCH TO PRESIDENT OBAMA IF YOU HAD 30 SECONDS Having the FCC limit cross-ownership rules and


a religious scholar in Istanbul investigating the water quality of the Bosphorus.

mandate five minutes of news per hour on radio in exchange for having a license. TREND YOU HOPE WILL NEVER GO OUT OF FASHION



Questioning. WHAT YOU’D TELL THE GREEN MOVEMENT IF IT WAS YOUR CHILD The best is often the enemy of


the good.

gb&d: Where does the United States rank right now in terms of growing a green and sustainable economy and actually implementing some of the climate policy initiatives featured over the years at VerdeXchange? Abel: The simple answer is that the US has made great progress reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adopting policies that encourage sustainability, and California has led the way. In fact, the state’s policies and innovation economy now attract more venture capital to the renewable energy sector, broadly speaking, than any other jurisdiction in the world. But as Tom Friedman noted, the Earth is increasing flat. These technologies and investments are oblivious to national borders. So, it’s difficult to rank the United States. gb&d

january–february 2014



Index Advertisers

A Acuity Brands, 4 404.853.1400

K Kawneer, 15 877.767.9107

S Soderstrom Architects, 23 503.228.5617

Affiliated Engineers, 117 301.509.6730

KONE, 104 877.276.8691

Sarasota County, 21 941.861.5000

Akridge, 26 202.624.8605

L LiveRoof, 113 LANDCO Construction, 105 314.275.7400

Schletter, 41 519.946.3800

AMC Glass Company, 34 408.288.8206 AMLI Residential, 28 909.476.9795 B Bernards, 109 818.898.1521 C Champion Electrical Contracting, 67 561.296.4144 Clayco, 34 312.658.0747 Consultant Engineering Service, 41 336.724.0139 CPA Architecture, 30 201.868.0701 E Evergreene Architectural Arts, 115 212.244.2800

Lighting Analysts, 21 303.972.8852 LiveRoof / LiveWall, 91, 800.875.1392, 877.554.4065 Loewen, 67 800.563.9367 Looney & Associates, 127 214.720.4477

N NestlĂŠ-Purina PetCare Company, 72

january–february 2014

U UniverCity, 127 604.291.3000 W Weston E.I.D., 105 636.474.1550

Sky Solar, 41 905.889.9188 Stantec, 98 216.454.2151 Suffolk Construction, 67 617.445.3500

Mitsui Fudosan, 26

G GE Appliances, 30 800.626.2005

I Imperial Woodworking Company, 115 847.358.6920

Tremco, 41 800.668.9879

Mitsubishi Electric, 50 800.433.4822

MPW Engineering, 127 918.582.4088

Huber Engineered Woods, 131 800.933.9220

Simas Floor & Design Company, 28 888.835.0440

T THW Design, 34 770.916.2220

M Media5 Architecture, 117 808.524.2040

F FOAMGLAS, 109 800.327.6100

H Heitman Architects, 31 630.773.3551


Lend Lease, 34 212.592.6800

School Specialty, 95 888.388.3224

Sustainable Growth Technologies, 72 908.334.2397

O Otis Elevator Company, 2 888.441.6847 P Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, 96 203.777.2515 R reThink Wood, 82 312.321.5131

INTERESTED IN ADVERTISING? Download the gb&d media kit at or email Laura Heidenreich at for more information on print, iPad, Web, and E-newsletter advertising as well as media partnership options.

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“Empowerhouse has the ability to be transformative. It is a symbolic, almost sculptural, representation of how communities can embrace sustainability by wrapping their hearts and minds around it.” 74

The magazine for today’s leading green professional.

Green Building & Design (gb&d) #25  

January/February 2014, #25. The Passive House Party. gb&d is the magazine for today's leading green professional.