Construction Zone: Green Design

April 1, 2007
Beyond LEED; Eco-friendly facility; Sustainable living; Respecting the Earth; Material design

Beyond LEED

The Guilford County School District is the first district in North Carolina to develop its own set of detailed green design specifications — the G3-Guilford Green Guide. The district encourages its architects and engineers to think beyond LEED to create holistic, innovative, green solutions that are tied to the curriculum.

Northern Guilford Middle School, Greensboro, N.C., is an example of the district's commitment to promoting sustainable design. The school features an innovative daylighting system, indirect lighting with photocells, and occupancy sensors. Its holistic water-cycle approach captures rainwater for toilet flushing, taking it to a living machine, through underground irrigation and to an aquifer. This is coupled with bio-swales and wetlands.

The building shell is energy-efficient with radiant barriers and white reflective roofs. The school has an under-floor air-distribution system, solar heating and photovoltaic systems. Three-dimensional experiential learning centers link the curriculum to sustainable design features. Recycled materials and local products were used when possible.

The architect for this project is Innovative Design Inc. (Raleigh, N.C.).

Eco-friendly facility

The Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences (TCES) is a laboratory and classroom building at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, Nev. It has applied for LEED platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

TCES is a unique partnership between public and private institutions of higher education in two states, including Sierra Nevada College; the University of California, Davis; the Desert Research Institute; the University of Nevada, Reno; and other research partners.

Sustainable building materials such as structural concrete with 25 percent fly ash, wheat board cabinets, and carpet tiles with recycled materials were used. Lighting techniques include light shelves that refract natural light from the sun inside the building up to 30 feet and interior glass walls that pass light to the corridors. A compressed natural refueling facility is situated behind the building.

Trees harvested from the forested building site were milled in place, saving transportation energy expenses. The milled wood was used for finish work, and unmilled wood was shredded and used for erosion control and ground cover.

The architect for this project is Lundahl and Associates, Architects (Reno, Nev.).

Start: Early 2005

Completion: August 2006

Project area: 45,000 sq. ft.

Cost: $33 million

Sustainable living

Centennial Hall at Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, Conn., and an adjacent parking garage have received LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The 128,000-square-foot residence hall includes 90 student suites, 12 suites for residential assistants, and one suite for the residential director. The four-story parking garage has spaces for 439 cars — enough for the new residence hall, as well as two other adjacent halls.

Daylighting strategies achieve natural light in 75 percent of all normally occupied areas. Light-colored, hard-paved surfaces and light-colored roofing materials reduce the heat-island effect. Low-flow fixtures reduce water use by 30 percent. The landscaping was designed so that no potable water is used for irrigation. Building systems commissioning was incorporated, and the project used construction materials with recycled content and low VOC-emitting materials, adhesives and carpets.

Konover Construction (Farmington, Conn.) is the design/builder for the project. Herbert S. Newman Partners Architects (New Haven, Conn.) is the design partner.

Material design

The Willow School, Gladstone, N.J., is a K-8 private elementary school surrounded by farmland, woodlands and wetlands.

Sustainable materials used in the school's design include salvaged bluestone walkways, hallways made of cork and all-natural linoleum, desks constructed of wood from trees harvested at the site, and bathroom stall doors made from recycled detergent bottles.

Rainwater runoff from the roof is collected and stored in a 57,000-gallon underground, 100 percent recycled tank. The roof is architectural stainless steel coated with a zinc/tin alloy.

The architect for this project is Farewell Mills Gatsch (Princeton, N.J.).

Respecting the Earth

The Pennsylvania State University School of Forest Resources, State College, Pa., is a five-story classroom and laboratory building. The Pennsylvania Forest Product Association coordinated an industry-wide donation of wood products, including an extensive application of Pennsylvania hardwoods, as paneling throughout major portions of the building, allied seating areas in public areas and millwork in many offices.

Additional green features include a 4,000-square-foot green roof, reduction in stormwater runoff, landscaping without an irrigation system, low-flow fixtures, building commissioning, and purchase of Green-e certified power.

The architect for this project is BLT Architects (Philadelphia).

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