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EPA Recognizes ‘Green Building’ Projects

Monday, October 19, 2009

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The U.S. EPA recently recognized innovative green-building design ideas that reduce the environmental and energy impacts of buildings, as part of the agency’s “Green Building Challenge” program. 

Arid-zone shade structure

Among the projects recognized are a recyclable modular temporary construction wall/barricade, an arid-zone shade structure, and the creation of “green jobs” related to maintenance of sustainable building elements. Also cited were an arboretum and research visitor’s center building in Kentucky, a modular-school prototype design, and a “modern, green home” built largely with reclaimed materials.

Bernheim Arboretum Visitors Center

The EPA and its partners—the American Institute of Architects, West Coast Green, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, and stopwaste.org—invited professionals and students nationwide to submit designs and ideas that support cost-effective disassembly and anticipate future use of building materials.

“These cutting edge designs are part of a new innovative trend in environmental protection,” said Jeff Scott, the EPA’s Waste Management Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “Lifecycle building strategies will help all of us get the most possible out of our natural resources and ultimately save money.” 

The EPA said lifecycle building emphasizes the design of buildings to facilitate disassembly and material reuse as ways to minimize waste, energy consumption, and associated greenhouse-gas emissions. Also known as design for disassembly and design for deconstruction, lifecycle building creates high-performance buildings that provide stocks of resources for the future.

The agency recently reported that doubling the reuse and recycling of construction and demolition debris would result in an emissions savings of 150 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, equal to the entire annual carbon emissions of the state of North Carolina.

The winning designs in the Pacific Southwest region were recently featured at a poster session at West Coast Green, a major conference on green innovation for the built environment.  They are the following.

• Professional Product Winner, Modular Temporary Construction Wall/Barricade, Douglas Spear and Aaron Barnes, ENVY Modular Wall Systems LLC, Las Vegas, NV. This modular temporary construction wall system consists of panels and extruded joining parts that are recyclable, reusable and can be recycled into new products with zero waste. It can replace wall systems that are used for a short period of time (one to 18 months) and often end up in a landfill. The modular temporary construction wall system is being used in the MGM Mirage City Center Project in Las Vegas, where it is expected to conserve more than 100 tons of construction debris.

Best Green Job Creation winner 

• Outstanding Achievement Award for Best Green Job Creation, ReAnimateLA: Center for Ecological & Urban Recovery, Hayley Stewart, Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona, CA. ReAnimate LA would create up to 100 green jobs for maintaining the sustainable elements of the building, such as the extraction and reuse of salvaged materials in construction, photovoltaic and ground-source heat-pump systems, and bioremediation planting.

• Student Building Honorable Mention, Political Ply—An Arid Zone Shade Structure, Jason Griffiths, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. Political Ply explores methods of re-purposing existing political campaign signs to form a temporary arid-zone shade structure. The structure is composed of hexagons, and each cell houses a self-contained cooling structure. The project is designed for disassembly, and each hexagonal cell is tapered to allow cells to stack together for convenient transportation.

The Green Building Challenge program also recognized the following.

• Student Building category: (Un) Modular design for deconstruction, David Fleming, University of Cincinnati. This construction trade-school design redefines “building” as a temporary resting place for materials to be traded, upgraded and reused. The adaptable structural system can create almost any column, beam and wall configuration.

• Professional Product category: Arboretum and Research Visitors' Center, Kira Gould, William McDonough + Partners.  The visitors center design, in Clermont, KY, roots the building firmly in its woodland context by blurring distinctions between the indoors and outdoors, and by incorporating the surrounding forest into the building's lifecycle analysis. The project performs 51% better than the ASHRAE-compliant base case used to measure the greenhouse gas reduction. The project was also recognized in the category of Best Greenhouse Gas Reduction.

• Outstanding Achievements category: School M.O.D., Yosuke Kawai and Ikue Nomura, University of Pennsylvania. This prototype school building focuses on feasibility and maximizing flexibility by combining modular (M), open (O), and dual structural (D) systems. This construction technique allows any individual to build with locally available materials to meet immediate needs while providing the opportunity for future growth.

More information on the winners, and gallery of winning submissions: www.lifecyclebuilding.org.

   

Tagged categories: EPA; Green building; Sustainability

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