NEWS – The U.S. Green Building Council New Jersey Chapter (USGBC NJ) celebrated nine New Jersey-based projects at its Annual Awards Gala. The Gala took place on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at the LEED registered Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick, NJ.
Each year, USGBC NJ recognizes and presents these distinguished awards to companies and individuals that have demonstrated outstanding achievement and best practices in green building and sustainability.
“The Annual Awards Gala is a stellar event,” said USGBC NJ Board Chair Daniel Topping, Principal with NK Architects. “It is our opportunity to celebrate innovative green New Jersey projects, while networking and financially supporting the mission of USGBC NJ. This year’s winners are exciting and inspiring. They range from corporate campuses, higher education facilities, sustainably built residential projects, a comprehensive green cleaning initiative and an urban resiliency park.”
Included as an honorable mention was the Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS) facility, a 107,500 square foot, LEED® Gold–certified science facility devoted to environmental and pharmaceutical life sciences research. CELS enables Montclair State University’s College of Science and Mathematics (CSAM) to build on its collaborative culture combining strengths across disciplines and building research programs of exceptional power. In the process, Montclair State University demonstrates that it can make a large impact on the advancement of science and technology, especially in the sustainable use of natural resources and improved human health. The building comprises of a comprehensive array of laboratories, seminar rooms, classrooms, and other facilities that enable collaborative transdisciplinary research in the pharmaceutical life sciences and environmental sciences. It joins three existing science buildings around a “learning and discovery landscape” to give science research a high-visibility position on the campus.
The Project Team
- Montclair State University Project Manager: Frank Cunha III, AIA
- Architect of Record: The S/L/A/M Collaborative, Inc.
- Engineer of Record: Vanderweil Engineers
- Contractor: Terminal Construction Corporation
- LEED Consultant: Green Building Center – New Jersey
- Commissioning Agent: NORESCO
Some of the LEED-specific features include:
- Both bus and rail transportation options within a half-mile walking distance.
- The building is situated on an area that was previously developed.
- The site is near to basic services such as places of worship, a convenience store, day care center, library, park, police department, school, restaurants, theaters, community center, fitness center, and museums.
- A green roof with sedum mats is located above the second floor. This absorbs stormwater, restores habitat, adds insulation to the building roof, and provides a scenic study site and retreat for building occupants.
- Exterior landscaping includes water efficient plantings and two rain gardens in front of the building.
- A 35 percent reduction of water use in flush & flow fixtures.
- Separate collection of refuse and recyclables with color-coded storage containers to avoid contamination of the waste stream.
- Smoking is prohibited in the building and within 25 feet of entries, outdoor intakes and operable windows.
- The building is mechanically ventilated with CO2 sensors programmed to generate an alarm when the conditions vary by 10 percent or more from the design value.
- The design outdoor air intake flow for all zones is 30 percent greater than the minimum outdoor air ventilation rate required by ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007, Ventilation Rate Procedure.
- Lighting controls include scene controllers and occupancy sensors for classrooms, conference rooms and open plan workstations, with task lighting provided.
Further reading about the facility:
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Warning: Only you can make a difference – Global smog recorded at all time high by Mauna Loa Observatory #Environment #ThinkGreen #Eco #ilmaBlogPosted: May 16, 2019
At the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, carbon dioxide levels were recorded at 415 parts per million last week. That is the highest level recorded there since it began such analyses in 1958. It’s also 100 parts per million higher than any point in the roughly 800,000 years for which scientists have data on global CO2. In other words, “levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now nearly 40 percent higher than ever in human history.” [Popular Science]
Governments of the world need to triple their current efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in order to prevent global warming of more than 2 °C by 2030, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said in its annual “emissions gap” report (Nov 27, 2018).
Drawdown Emissions – Big Ideas
Some “big think” solutions for CO2 gas emissions reduction can be found at the Drawdown website. These recommendations have been identified and ranked using an objective scientific method. Many of these ideas require engineering and scientific solutions, therefore, we offer the following as methods that you can get started today in doing your part towards reducing the emissions of C02.
Ten Ways to Reduce Greenhouse Gases – Start Small
Burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, oil and gasoline raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and global warming. You can help to reduce the demand for fossil fuels, which in turn reduces global warming, by using energy more wisely.
The following is a list of 10 steps YOU can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Use Less Heat and Air Conditioning
- Replace Your Light Bulbs
- Drive Less and Drive Smart
- Buy Energy-Efficient Products
- Use Less Hot Water
- Use the “Off” Switch
- Plant a Tree
- Get a Report Card from Your Utility Company
- Encourage Others to Conserve
These 10 steps found at this website will take you a long way toward reducing your energy use and saving you money. Less energy use means less dependence on the fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming.
We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!
Background on Public Private Partnerships (P3’s):
Many institutions of higher education are facing mounting pressure on their mission to deliver high-quality, affordable education to students and perform world-class research. Reductions in public funding support and concerns about overall affordability present substantial near-term and longer-term budget challenges for many institutions.
Public institutions are predominantly affected, having been constrained by suspensions or reductions in state funding. State appropriations across the US grew by just 0.5% annually between 2005 and 2015. State funding has still not recovered to 2008 levels, the last year in which state funding decisions would not have been affected by the Great Recession.
(Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) — state appropriations revenue divided by total fall enrollment, 2005–15)
Public-private partnership models are continuing to proliferate as cash-strapped colleges and universities seek to replace or update aging and outdated infrastructure amid tight finances.
(Source: Proliferating Partnerships)
What is the P3 Delivery Model?
A public-private partnership, or P3, is long-term agreement between a public entity and a private industry team that is tasked with designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining a public facility. The past decade has seen a steady increase in the use of P3 structures, both inside and outside higher education. In 2016, something of a watershed year for P3, multiple high-profile projects came online in response to a variety of public needs, including a $1-billion-plus water infrastructure project servicing San Antonio, and a $300-million-plus renovation of the Denver International Airport’s Great Hall.
“Public” is a non-profit institutional or governmental entity that engages a “private” for-profit entity to pay for a particular project.
The “private” partner provides funding (and often expertise) to deliver (and often operate) the project used by the “public” entity to meet its purposes.
In return for its capital, the “private” entity gets a revenue flow from the asset it has paid for.
The emergence of the P3 option is happening where it matters most: projects that would be otherwise unattainable under the traditional public-improvement delivery models. For instance, 10 years ago, only a handful of higher education P3 projects were up and running; today, we are approaching three dozen such projects.
The biggest challenge is, of course, the financing component, but P3 teams bring much more to the table than money — they give public entities access to expertise and innovation that can add significant value to projects at each phase of development.
Motivations for P3 transactions vary widely, but include:
- Supplementing traditional debt instruments. These include private capital, using off balance sheet or alternative mechanisms.
- Transfer of risk. Historically, universities have born all or most of the risk of facilities-related projects themselves. A P3 is a way to either transfer or at least share the risk.
- Speed and efficiency. A P3 allows for a faster development process, and time to completion is generally shorter and on schedule. The sole focus of the private entity is to complete the project on budget and on time. University infrastructure tends to have competing priorities across all-campus facility needs.
- Outsourcing provision of non-core assets. Outsourcing allows institutions to focus investment of internal resources and capabilities on those functions that are closer to the academic needs of its students.
- Experience. Private partners often have much more experience and skills in a particular development area (e.g., facility architecture and infrastructure, student housing needs) and are able to better accommodate the needs of students, faculty, administrators, etc.
- Planning and budgeting. Private partners offer experience and know-how in long-term maintenance planning and whole life cycle budgeting.
The four types of P3s:
- Operating contract/management agreement. Short- to medium-term contract with private firm for operating services
- Ground lease/facility lease. Long-term lease with private developer who commits to construct, operate and maintain the project
- Availability payment concession. Long-term concession with private developer to construct, operate, maintain and finance the project in exchange for annual payments subject to abatement for nonperformance
- Demand-risk concession. Long-term concession with private developer to construct, operate, maintain and finance the project in exchange for rights to collect revenues related to the project
Pro’s and Con’s of P3’s:
Since their emergence in student housing several years ago, P3s have become important strategies for higher education institutions because of the many benefits they offer, including:
- Lower developer costs
- Developer expertise
- Operational expertise
- Access to capital
- Preservation of debt capacity
- More favorable balance sheets and credit statements
- Risk mitigation
- Faster procurement and project delivery (It can typically take a university about 5 years to get a project built. With a P3, that process can be reduced to just 2 years. Additionally, P3s can save approximately 25% in costs compared to typical projects.)
Beyond the above, the indirect advantages of P3s in student housing are numerous, such as they:
- Provide better housing for students
- Expand campus capacity
- Create high-quality facilities
- Expand the tax base for both a city and county
- Provide an economic boost to surrounding areas, which likely lead to private growth and other improvements
It is important to note that, while there are many benefits of P3s for higher education institutions, these agreements also have disadvantages that need to be considered, including:
- High cost of capital
- Reduced control for the university
- Complexity of deals
- Multi-party roles and responsibilities
- Limitation on future university development
A LOOK AHEAD
Where Are We Heading?
- More political involvement and pressure to consider P3
- Pre-development Risks – Many projects failing to close
- Issues with Construction Pricing & Labor Shortages
- An increasing number of developers are getting in the on-campus business; however, developers are being more strategic on which projects/procurements to respond to
- Exploration of other sources of funds like tax credits, USDA, and opportunity zones
- Shared governance continues to grow
- Larger, more complex P3 projects including long term concessions, availability payment models, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Bundling of Procurements (food, housing (including faculty), academic buildings, hotel, energy, facility maintenance, etc.)
- State of the P3 Higher Education Industry by Brailsford & Dunlavey http://programmanagers.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/P3-State-of-the-Industry-Final_Small.pdf
- Should your University enter into a Public/Private Partnership – the Pro’s and Con’s https://edualliancegroup.blog/2017/06/26/should-your-university-enter-into-a-publicprivate-partnership-the-pros-and-cons
- No Free Lunch: The Pros and Cons of Public-Private Partnerships for Infrastructure Financing https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2017/02/09/no-free-lunch-the-pros-and-cons-of-public-private-partnerships-for-infrastructure-financing
We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!
The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Environmental Center
The nickname for the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Environmental Center is the Grass Building, and it perfectly captures its spirit. It’s a structure so thoughtfully designed it’s almost as energy-efficient and low impact as the greenery that surrounds it.
The Maryland building is part of an educational farm on the Potomac River Watershed that the Alice Ferguson Foundation used to teach people about the natural world. This new building—which became the 13th in the world to receive full Living Building Challenge certification in June 2017—is an educational facility designed to blur the lines between indoors and out, while still providing shelter as needed. “Part of the intent of the building is to be in the landscape and still have a bathroom to use,” says Scott Kelly, principal-in-charge at Re:Vision, a Philadelphia-based architecture and design studio.
Brock Environmental Center
Drawing thousands of students, the Brock Environmental Center is a regional hub for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, supporting its education and wetlands restoration initiatives. A connection to nature defines the building’s siting, which provides sweeping views of the marsh and also anticipates sea-level rise and storm surges with its raised design. Parts were sourced from salvage: Its maple floors once belonged to a local gymnasium while school bleachers, complete with graffiti, were used for interior wood trim. The center was recognized for its positive footprint: It has composting toilets, captures and treats rainfall for use as drinking water, and produces 80 percent more energy than it uses, selling the excess to the grid.
Discovery Elementary School
Students have three distinct, age-appropriate playgrounds—with natural elements such as rocks and fallen trees—at Arlington, Virginia’s Discovery Elementary School. The name honors astronaut John Glenn, who returned to space on the Discovery shuttle and once lived in the neighborhood. Exploration is a theme at the school, whose interior focuses on forests, oceans, atmosphere, and the solar system. The largest zero-energy school in the country, it offers “hands-on learning around energy efficiency and generation,” jurors noted. The school maximizes natural light and provides views to the outside in all classrooms.
Bristol Community College
A laboratory is an energy-intensive enterprise, with specialized lighting and ventilation needs. That’s why jurors praised the airy health and science building at Bristol Community College, in Fall River, Massachusetts, for its net-zero energy achievement, “a difficult feat,” they noted, “in a cold climate like New England’s.” The move saves $103,000 in annual operating costs and allows the college, which offers a suite of courses in sustainability and energy, to practice what it teaches. Part of a holistic campus redesign, the new building’s location increases the density—and thus walkability—of campus for students.
Central Energy Facility
Orange and red pipes flaunt their role in “heat recovery” at Stanford University’s Central Energy Facility. The center for powering the California campus—more than a thousand buildings—the facility was transformed from an aging gas-fired plant to one fueled mostly by an off-site solar farm, fulfilling a goal of carbon neutrality and reducing energy use by a third. With large health care and research buildings, the campus needs as much heating as cooling; now a unique recovery system taps heat created in cooling processes to supply 93 percent of the heating and hot water required for campus buildings. The plant reduces Stanford emissions by 68 percent and potable water usage by 18 percent, potentially saving millions of dollars and one of the state’s scarce resources.
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
Like other buildings in Singapore, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital incorporates parks, green roofs, and vertical plantings throughout its campus. But the city-state’s hospitals haven’t traditionally offered direct access to fresh air, light, and outdoor views. This hospital marks a dramatic change, optimizing each for patients. About 70 percent of the facility is naturally ventilated and cooled by fans, cross-ventilation, and exterior shading, saving on precious water resources. The building uses 38 percent less energy than a typical hospital in the area.
Eden Hall Farm, Chatham University
After receiving the donation of 388-acre Eden Hall Farm, 20 miles north, Pittsburgh’s Chatham University created a satellite campus centered around a sustainable living experiment. The university views the landscape—an agricultural area adjacent to an urban center—as critical to supporting cities of the future. The original buildings are complemented by new facilities for 250 residential students (and eventually 1,200), including a dormitory, greenhouse, dining commons, and classrooms. Students get hands-on experience in renewable energy systems—the campus generates more than it uses—sustainable agriculture and aquaculture, waste treatment, and water management. Now home to the Falk School of Sustainability, the farm is producing the next generation of environmental stewards, who follow in the footsteps of alum Rachel Carson.
Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University
At George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, located in the nation’s capital, design embodies well-being. Built around an atrium that admits light and air, the structure encourages physical activity with a staircase that spans its eight levels. A green roof reduces storm runoff; rainwater is collected and stored for plumbing, resulting in a 41 percent reduction in toilet fixtures’ water use. Limestone panels (left) were salvaged from the previous building on the site. Materials used throughout the building contain recycled content.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Inouye Regional Center
Located at the heart of Pearl Harbor, on Oahu’s Ford Island, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Inouye Regional Center repurposed two airplane hangars—which narrowly escaped destruction in the 1941 attack—linking them with a new steel and glass building (right). The research and office facility for 800 employees was raised to guard it from rising sea levels. Given the size of the hangars, daylight illuminated only a small fraction of the space, so specially crafted lanterns reflect sunlight further into their interiors. Necessity required invention: Due to anti-terrorism regulations, no operable windows were allowed in the space. Through a passive downdraft system that taps prevailing sea breezes, the building is completely naturally ventilated. The adjacent waterfront was returned to a more natural state with native vegetation.
R.W. Kern Center
Serving as the gateway to Hampshire College, in Amherst, Massachusetts, the multipurpose R.W. Kern Center holds classrooms, offices, a café, and gallery space—and is the place where prospective students are introduced to campus. The school converted what was once an oval driveway into a wildflower meadow, now encouraging a pedestrian approach (seen above). The center is self-sustaining, generating its own energy through a rooftop solar array, harvesting its water from rainfall, and processing its own waste. Its gray water treatment system is in a pilot program for the state, and may pave the way for others.
Manhattan 1/2/5 Garage & Salt Shed
Two buildings belonging to New York City’s sanitation department redefine municipal architecture. Resembling a grain of salt, the cubist form of the Spring Street Salt Shed holds 5,000 tons for clearing icy streets. The Manhattan 1/2/5 Garage (background), whose floors are color-coded for each of the three districts, is home to 150 vehicles, wash and repair facilities, and space for 250 workers. The garage is wrapped in 2,600 aluminum “fins,” shading devices that pivot with the sun’s rays, reducing heat gain and glare through the glazed walls while still allowing views to the outside. Municipal steam heats and cools the building, so no fuels are burned. A 1.5-acre green roof reduces heat-island effect and filters rainwater. A condensate by-product of the steam is also captured, and, along with the rainwater, used for toilets and the truck wash. Combined with low-flow fixtures, the process reduced water consumption by 77 percent.
Starbucks Hillsboro, Oregon
Starbucks has been a leader in the development and implementation of a scalable green building program for over a decade .Starbucks joined the U.S. Green Building Council® (USGBC) in 2001 and collaborated with them to develop the LEED® for Retail program, an effort to adapt LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) to new construction and commercial interior strategies for retail businesses. In 2008,Starbucks challenged themselves to use LEED certification not just for flagship stores and larger buildings, but for all new, company-operated stores. Many people, even internally, were skeptical, especially with Starbucks growth across the globe. But by collaborating with USGBC and other like-minded organizations, we have been able to integrate green building design not only into new stores but also into our existing store portfolio. Starbucks has also succeeded in providing a practical certification option for retailers of all sizes.
The Edge, Deloitte
The Edge, located in Amsterdam, is a model of sustainability.is billed as the world’s most sustainable office building and has the certification to prove it. But, it’s more than that. The place is, well, fun. And interesting. And inviting. So much so that professionals are actually applying for employment with Deloitte Netherlands because they want to work in the building. That it has become a recruiting tool is a satisfying side effect of a project designed to both redefine efficiency and change the way people work. “We wanted to ensure that our building not only had the right sustainability credentials, but was also a real innovative and inspiring place for our employees,” says Deloitte Netherlands CEO Peter Bommel.
The Federal EPA has implemented several strategies to enhance sustainability, including:
- Conducting retro-commissioning and re-commissioning to improve energy performance
- Using the most efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment and lighting
- Assessing for compliance with ventilation and thermal comfort standards
- Installing renewable energy systems
- Replacing plumbing fixtures with higher efficiency models
- Installing advanced energy and water meters
- Reducing irrigated landscape areas
- Retrofitting buildings and landscapes with low impact development features
- Using integrated pest management techniques
- Contracting green cleaning services
- Purchasing environmentally preferable materials
- Implementing materials reduction, reuse, recycling and composting programs
Airtight construction controls the transfer of heat and moisture into and through the building envelope. Thermal bridge-free assemblies avoid the envelope penetrations that sap buildings of energy, comfort, and durability. Continuous insulation keeps heat where it’s wanted. Excellent windows and doors limit heat loss while capturing daylight and passive solar energy. Shading elements shield the building from passive solar gains when unwanted. And a constant supply of filtered fresh air comes in through a balanced heat recovery (or energy recovery) ventilation system that recaptures the thermal energy of exhaust air and keeps it inside the building. “Envelope-first” focus design consideration dramatically reduces the energy demand to heat and cool high-performance building. In fact, Passive House buildings routinely reduce heating and cooling energy by up to 90%.
The research will further build on the results of the Well Living Lab’s latest study findings, published in Building and Environment. The study found that temperature, noise, and lighting in open office environments affect employees’ ability to get work done. This was a proof-of concept study that demonstrated the strength of living lab methodology in measuring realistic occupant responses to select environmental changes in an open office. Specifically, it indicated that employees are most sensitive to thermal conditions, followed by work-related noise such as conversations and lack of natural light from windows when working in open office environments. These factors affected work environment satisfaction, productivity, and even carried over into the mood of employees and their sleep.
- Creating High Performance Buildings through Integrative Design Process
- What is a High Performance School?
- You Know LEED, But Do You Know WELL?
- Exclusive #EcoMonday Interview with Architect Bill Reed
We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!
Ask the Architect
by Frank Cunha III
What is a High Performance School?
A “High Performance School” is a well-designed facility can enhance performance and make education more enjoyable and rewarding. A “High Performance School” is healthy and thermally, visually, and acoustically comfortable. It is also energy, material, and water efficient. A “High Performance School” must be safe and secure; easy to maintain and operate; commissioned; environmentally responsive site. Most of all a “High Performance School” is one that teaches and is a community resource. It should also be stimulating as well as adaptable to changing needs.
Improved Student Performance
Evidence is growing that high performance schools can provide learning environments that lead to improved student performance. Recent studies show that effective daylighting has contributed to improved student test scores by 10-20%. Intuitively quieter, comfortable classrooms with good lighting and good air quality yield better students/teachers. Low- and no-emission building materials can reduce odors, sensory irritation, and toxicity hazards. Efficient windows also reduce outside noise distractions. Improved heating and cooling systems permit students to hear the teacher better and avoid room temperature swings. Adequate lighting improves students’ ability to read books and see the blackboard. Considerations for “High Performance Schools”include: siting; indoor environmental quality; energy; water; materials; community; faculty and student performance; commissioning; and facilities performance evaluation.
Siting is critical for “High Performance Schools” with regards to the environment, energy consumption, and indoor environmental quality, transportation, greenfields, endangered species, wetlands concerns, existing pollution on the site, and stormwater management. A key factor in site design is orientation of the building, which can influence passive heating, natural ventilation, and daylighting. Optimal orientation can reduce year-round heating and cooling costs and optimizes natural lighting. If possible orient buildings so that the majority of windows face either north or south. Strategic placement of vegetation can be used when this orientation cannot be utilized.
Positive affects on the energy and environmental performance of a school include primary consideration for the environmentally sound school building. A school building should complement its environment. Working around existing vegetation to shade building and outside cooling equipment to reduce HVAC load help ensure good environmental performance of school by lowering energy bills and reducing local pollution. Locating a school near public transportation and within walking distance to a majority of students will further reduce energy use, while lowering local traffic and pollution.
Stormwater management is vital to safety and ecological health of a school’s site. Moving stormwater quickly to gutters, downspouts, catch basins, and pipes increases water quantity and velocity requiring large and expensive drainage infrastructure. Water should be captured in cisterns and ponds, or absorbed in groundwater aquifers and vegetated areas. Remaining water runoff should be slowed down and spread across roof and paved surfaces evenly before entering bioswales and creeks. Perforated drainpipe and filters, and “Green” roofs promote water absorption.
“High Performance Schools” promote student safety and security. Visibility of school entrances from main office and general accessibility of the school grounds can affect security. Lighting quality in halls and corridors is also critical.
Indoor environmental quality (IEQ)
“High Performance Schools “ optimize IEQ by considering it throughout the design and construction process. IEQ includes indoor air quality; acoustics; daylighting; lighting quality; and thermal comfort. Benefits include: reduction in student and teacher absences; increase student performance; reduction of illnesses related to indoor toxins; improved teacher retention rates; reduced distractions; improved comfort levels; and maintenance of healthy students, teachers and staff.
Proper siting contributes to positive daylighting potentials and acoustics. Building envelope design affects thermal comfort, daylighting, and indoor air quality. Material choices can also have a positive affect on IEQ. Construction process and the operations and maintenance affect Indoor Air Quality. Key elements of building’s indoor environment affecting occupant comfort and health include: Thermal comfort – temperature, radiant heat, relative humidity, draftiness; light – amount and quality, lack of glare, direct sunlight; noise – levels and kinds, classroom acoustics, inside and outside sources; ventilation, heating & cooling – fresh air intake, re-circulation, exhaust; microbiologic agents – infectious disease, mold, bacteria, allergens; and chemical agents in air or surface dust –volatile organics (formaldehyde), pesticides, lead, asbestos, radon;
Ill health effects associated with poor IEQ can cause students, teachers, and administrative staff to experience a range of acute or chronic symptoms and illnesses including: headaches and fatigue (from VOCs and glare); irritation of eyes, nose, and throat (from VOCs, particles, low relative humidity); respiratory symptoms – allergic reactions (from mold, animal allergens, dust mites); breathing difficulties – increase in asthma symptoms (from allergens, particles, cold); increased transmission rates of colds and flu’s (due to poor ventilation); and poor IEQ can also lead to excessive exposure of classroom occupants to some carcinogens.
Important decisions school designers should pay particular attention to key buildings elements: building materials and surfaces (low-emitting for chemicals); ventilation systems (quiet, efficient filters, adequate fresh air); fenestration (adequate and operable windows); site drainage; envelope flashing and caulking; ande ase of maintenance for building components (e.g., floor cleaning, filter changing).
Common IEQ problems in classrooms include: excessive levels of volatile organic compounds, like formaldehyde, which can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation and pose cancer risks (these compounds are emitted from new pressed wood materials, and in some other building materials and furnishings, especially in new or remodeled classrooms); although classrooms have individual control of HVAC systems, these systems are often noisy and are not continuously operated (causing large swings in both temperature and humidity levels, and allowing indoor air pollutant levels to build up); moisture problems are sometimes present in roofing, floors, walls, and exterior doors; operable windows are often small or absent; siting can be problematic relative to pollutant and noise sources, poor site drainage, and shading.
It is critical to manage and conserve natural resources in “High Performance Schools.” This can be done by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by using renewable energy resources; integration of concerns with design process; building siting and orientation; buildings shape; and landscaping; lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation sources. Integrated design can yield long and short-term savings. Reduced heat from an energy efficient lighting system and good natural ventilation designs can reduce the cooling demand, and thus the size and cost of the air conditioning units. All members of the design team should meet early on in the planning process and continue to coordinate integrated design concepts throughout the project in order to reduce energy costs.
The end result of integrated design is reduced overall energy consumption, thus saving construction costs through the downsizing of the systems and on-going costs of operation through reduced utility bills.
Many programs are available to help schools build energy-efficient facilities. Educate students about energy issues and to install renewable energy systems in schools. By taking advantage of these programs, schools can realize cost savings, better educate their students and help to ensure a cleaner, more stable environment for the future.
During the rush to construct new school buildings, districts often focus on short-term construction costs instead of long-term, life-cycle savings. The key to getting a high-performance school is to ask for an energy-efficient design in your request for proposals (RFP) and to select architects who are experienced in making sure that energy considerations are fully addressed in design and construction. Unless a school district directs its architect to design energy-efficient buildings, new schools may be as inefficient as old ones, or they may incorporate only modest energy efficiency measures.
Total construction costs for energy-efficient schools are often the same as costs for traditional schools, but most architects acknowledge a slight increase in the capital costs maybe necessary (as some energy efficient building features may cost more.) Efficient buildings have reduced building energy loads and take better advantage of local climate. A properly day lit school, for example, with reduced electrical lighting usage and energy efficient windows can permit downsized cooling equipment. Savings from this equipment helps defer costs of daylighting features. Even when construction costs are higher, resulting annual energy cost savings can pay for additional upfront capital costs quickly.
Older “cool” fluorescents had low quality of light that gives human skin a sickly bluish color. Newer fluorescent lights are both higher light quality and higher efficacy. Daylight, the highest quality of light, can help reduce energy use if the lighting system is properly integrated, with ambient light sensors and dimming mechanisms.
The design and construction of a school’s daylighting systems can cost more money. Properly day lit school (with associated reduced electrical lighting usage) can lead to downsized cooling equipment. The savings from this smaller equipment helps defer the costs of the daylighting features. Hiring an architect or engineering firm that is experienced in good daylighting design, especially in schools, will minimize any additional costs from the design end of a project. As with any building feature, effective daylighting requires good design.
Today’s window technology and proven design practices can ensure that daylighting does not cause distributive glare or temperature swings. Exterior overhangs and interior cloth baffles (hung in skylight wells) eliminate direct sunlight, while letting evenly distributed daylight into rooms. “Daylight” is in effect controlled “sunlight” manipulated to provide useful natural light to classroom activities. Moreover, daylight by nature produces less heat than that given off by artificial lighting.
The application of daylighting without control of sun penetration and/or without photo controls for electric lights can actually increase energy use. Design for daylighting utilizes many techniques to increase light gain while minimizing the heat gain, making it different from passive solar in a number of ways. First of all, the fenestration (or glazing) of the windows is different. In a day lit building, the glazing is designed to let in the full spectrum of visible light, but block out both ultra violet and infrared light. Whereas, in a passive solar building, the fenestration allows for the full spectrum of light to enter the building (including UV and Infra red), but the windows are designed to trap the heat inside the building. In addition, in day lit rooms, it is undesirable to allow sunlight in through the window. Instead, it is important to capture ambient daylight, which is much more diffusing than sunlight, this is often achieved by blocking direct southern exposure, and optimizing shaded light and northern exposure. Passive solar maximizes south facing windows, and minimizes north-facing windows, thus increasing heat gain, and minimizing heat loss.
As population growth increases demand for water increases. A “High Performance School” must reduce water consumption and use limited water resources wisely. This can be achieved by utilizing: water-efficient landscape techniques; water-efficient fixtures and controls in indoor and outdoor plumbing systems. The largest use of water in schools is in cooling and heating systems (evaporative cooling systems, single-pass cooling systems, etc.), kitchens, maintenance operations, landscaping irrigation, locker rooms, and restrooms. Good landscaping design including specifying native plants, proper spacing, and low-flow irrigation (that runs at night) will reduce a school’s water demand and expenditures.
High-efficiency irrigation technologies such as micro-irrigation, moisture sensors, or weather data-based controllers save water by reducing evaporation and operating only when needed. In urban areas, municipally supplied, reclaimed water is an available, less-expensive, and equally effective source for irrigation. The siting of a school and the shape of the land upon which is resides have tremendous impact on water resources. Selecting drought-tolerant plants will naturally lessen the requirement for water. In addition, using mulch around plants will help reduce evaporation, resulting in decreased need for watering plants or trees.
Drip irrigation systems with efficiencies of up to 95% rather conventional spray systems with efficiencies of only 50 to 60%.
The treatment of sewage is a costly process taken on by the local utility at the customer’s expense. The wastewater is typically treated and released back to the environment. Waste materials extracted from the wastewater must be further disposed of according to local codes. Considering on site water treatment will reduce the load on the local utility, offer an opportunity for students to learn about the biological and chemical processes involved in water treatment, and reduce operational expenses by avoiding a utility bill.
Greywater is water that has been used in sinks, drinking fountains, and showers. Black water is water that has been used in toilets. Greywater is fairly simple and safe to clean and reuse, whereas there are more health risks associated with black water.
“High Performance Schools” utilize material efficiency, which includes durable, reused, salvaged, and refurbished or recycled content. Recyclable materials manufactured using environmentally friendly practices.
Material efficiency can often save schools money by reducing the need to buy new materials and by reducing the amount of waste taken to the landfill. “high Performance Schools can reduce the amount of materials needed by: reusing onsite materials; eliminating waste created in the construction and demolition process; choosing materials that are safe, healthy, aesthetically pleasing, environmentally preferable, and contain low embodied energy.
Waste reduction planning is essential for school districts. These wastes represent a significant loss of natural resources and school district funds as well as a potential threat to student/staff health and the environment. To be responsible stewards of environmental quality, school districts should review new school construction, processes and operations, and even curriculum choices and evaluate the economic, educational, and environmental benefits of implementing effective waste reduction measures. Incorporating waste reduction as part of the school district’s overall way of doing business can provide a number of important benefits: reduced disposal costs; improved worker safety; reduced long-term liability; increased efficiency of school operations; and decreased associated purchasing costs.
Building materials may have a number of associated operating costs beyond the straightforward, initial capital costs. Proper selection is essential to minimize these secondary costs. Building materials may pose future health hazards, costing schools absentee time and lost student and faculty productivity. Consider the dangers of volatile organic compounds, dust, and moisture when selecting materials. Keeping these indoor pollutants at a minimum will ensure a healthy indoor environment and improve the learning environment.
Consider also the composition of the materials and how recyclable, durable, and refinishable they are. Keeping each of these characteristics in mind when selecting materials, the building will provide better service and reduce maintenance and operating costs. Source building materials from local distributors and save transportation energy costs if possible.
Transportation costs are sometimes referred to as part of a material’s embodied cost (and energy). Purchase building materials with low embodied costs such as local regional certified wood harvested from sustainable and well-managed forests. Onsite waste reduction and reuse during demolition and construction can save money by reducing amount of money spent at landfill, and by reducing initial amount of money spent on new materials. Save on labor costs by providing a Construction and Demolition waste plans before starting operations and identifying where to recycle materials and what materials to salvage.
The location where a “High Performance School” is constructed impacts the surrounding community. It can affect pedestrian and automobile traffic; quantity and quality of open space in the neighborhood; location within the community; and may be used as a tool to revitalize a community.
Once the school site is determined, the school’s design, construction, and use should be considered. Aspects such as the exterior design, amenities that it may provide and environmental design features can be a source of pride to the community. Schools can be a center for teaching and learning, and also add functional value within the community by providing access to facilities and play fields, and services such as after-school daycare and extended education.
High performance design for schools can be a selling point in bond elections because energy, indoor air quality, and other improvements translate to more comfortable classrooms for students, reduced energy bills, and lower operating and maintenance costs. Schools become healthier learning environments, reduce waste, and have less impact on the environment. Good indoor environmental quality has been proven to increase average daily attendance of students.
Faculty & Student Performance in High Performance Schools
Challenges include: tight budgets; an ever-increasing student enrollment; growing need for the renovation and building of many schools; higher expectation of faculty and student performance among these compelling circumstances. Sustainable schools can have a favorable impact on the school’s budget; help protect our environment; and encourage better performance of faculty and students as a result of a better learning environment.
“High Performance Schools” integrate today’s best technologies with architectural design strategies to achieve a better learning environment. These include: lighting – integration of daylighting and electrical lighting technologies; reduced noise levels by using acoustic materials and low-noise mechanical systems; healthy air quality, temperature, humidity levels – indoor air quality; thermal comfort; HVAC systems; low-emission materials; and reduce distractions and create environments where students and teachers can see and communicate with one another clearly and comfortably.
Without properly commissioning a school, many sustainable design elements can be compromised. In the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Guideline, The Commissioning Process is defined as follows: “The Commissioning Process is a quality-oriented process for achieving, verifying, and documenting that the performance of facilities, systems, and assemblies meet defined objectives and criteria. The Commissioning Process begins at project inception (during the pre-design phase) and continues for the life of the facility through the occupancy and operation phase. The commissioning process includes specific tasks to be conducted during each phase in order to verify that design, construction, and training meets the Owner’s Project Requirements.” By implementing a commissioning plan, a school can be sure that all of the systems function at optimum levels.
Facilities Performance Evaluation
Building and its systems are tested one year after completion and occupancy. Surveys are conducted to evaluate the satisfaction of occupants and maintenance and operations personnel. Alert school to system operational performance errors and potential hazards created by poorly operating systems. These problems can be corrected.
Data can be provided to school districts on what building attributes do and don’t work for their schools. Schools can develop guidelines and protocols that can help create better schools in the future.
Key Benefits of a High Performance School
Benefits include higher test scores, increased average daily attendance, increased teacher satisfaction and retention, reduced liability exposure, and sustainable school design.
Financing and incentives
Total construction costs for high performance schools are often the same as costs for conventional schools. Design costs may be slighting higher, but resulting capital and long-term operation costs can be lower. Properly designed day lit school with reduced electrical lighting usage can permit downsized cooling equipment. Even when construction costs are higher, resulting annual operational cost savings can pay for the additional upfront in a short period of time. High performance schools are falsely understood to be high-budget construction projects. Schools can find ways to finance a school beyond the State Allocation Board process. A collection of financial incentives in relation to energy, water, materials, siting, green building, landscaping and transportation from the Federal, State, Local, and Utility sectors may be available.
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Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook
FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.
The built environment is the major source of global demand for energy and materials that produce by-product greenhouse gases (GHG). Planning decisions not only affect building energy consumptions and GHG emissions, but transportation energy consumption and water use as well, both of which have large environmental implications.
In 2008, Architecture 2030 issued The 2030 Challenge for Planning asking the global architecture and planning community to adopt the following targets:
- All new and renovated developments / neighborhoods / towns / cities / regions immediately adopt and implement a 60% reduction standard below the regional average for fossil-fuel operating energy consumption for new and renovated buildings and infrastructure and a 50% fossil-fuel reduction standard for the embodied energy consumption of materials.
- The fossil-fuel reduction standard for all new buildings, major renovations, and embodied energy consumption of materials shall be increased to:
- 70% in 2015
- 80% in 2020
- 90% in 2025
- Carbon-neutral in 2030 (using no fossil fuel GHG emitting energy to operate or construct).
- These targets may be accomplished by implementing innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable power and/or purchasing renewable energy (20% maximum).
- All new and renovated developments / neighborhoods / towns / cities / regions immediately adopt and implement a 50% reduction standard below the regional average for:
- Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) for auto and freight and
- water consumption.