Last month on September 12, the United Nations Economic Council on Europe (UNECE) and the Green Building Alliance (GBA) signed an agreement launching the Greater Pittsburgh International Center of Excellence on High Performance Buildings. Pittsburgh is the second city in the world to participate in the program following New York City’s Building Energy Exchange, and will join a network of sustainability experts in an effort to reduce the effects of climate change and “distill best practices in design, construction, training, and policy into scalable solutions.” As one out of five commissions of the United Nations, UNECE works to improve access to clean energy and help reduce greenhouse emissions in order to meet Sustainable Development Goals as outlined in the Paris Agreement. Founded in 1993, GBA works to advance innovation in the built environment by “empowering people to create environmentally, economically, and socially vibrant places.” “Of all the approaches to addressing the world’s climate challenge, improving the energy performance of buildings stands out. Beyond reducing our carbon footprint, this action will enhance quality of life, reduce energy bills, improve health, create jobs and encourage innovation,” said Scott Foster, UNECE director of Sustainable Energy, at the launch ceremony. The Center will follow the UNECE’s Framework Guidelines for Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings and will be a collaboration between regional partners, including the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. In following the framework, the Center will conduct training programs for design professionals, host discussions, and advocate for local and state policy changes regarding building codes and energy regulations. Pittsburgh has been well on its way to meeting these goals already. In early September, Pittsburgh's Mayor Bill Peduto introduced legislation that would require all government buildings to be net-zero energy efficient, just weeks after the city released its first energy benchmarking report. Pittsburgh also has the world’s largest 2030 District, which strives toward 50 percent reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by 2030. "The International Centers transform how we build cities, from the materials we use to building design and construction, to the policies that set new standards for the future," said GBA executive director Jenna Cramer in a statement. Both GBA and UNECE hopes the Center will unite the area’s most influential developers, business leaders, and policymakers to “dramatically advance sustainable solutions.”
Posts tagged with "Green Building":
Hosted by the Pacific Region communities of the U.S. Green Building Council, GreenerBuilder is a one-day conference and expo for green building professionals. The annual event unites all of the key players in greening the Pacific Region’s built environment—including architects, engineers and contractors—to discuss industry trends, new research and emerging technologies. GreenerBuilder is where you can get the strategies and tools to help create a more sustainable future in the region.
GreenerBuilder, hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is a one-day conference and expo convening hundreds of general contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers, design professionals, advocates and policy makers to discuss key green building trends, new research and emerging technologies in the building industry. GreenerBuilder unites all of the key players to discuss how the built environment can help California and the entire Pacific region meet ambitious climate change mitigation and energy conservation goals. Speakers include experts in green construction, architects, project managers, engineers, code experts and representatives from USGBC. Topics of discussion will include the latest trends in green building such as CALGreen building code updates, net zero energy, affordable housing, climate change, resiliency and public health. The conference is designed for those involved in construction, engineering, architecture, city planning and LEED project management. Register Today at greenerbuilder.usgbc.org
In 2013, Rotterdam-based MVRDV won the competition to design and masterplan the so-called Sustainable Business Park at Shanghai Hongqiao. With the firm's design set to open in early 2016, the first and main structure of the masterplan, the Flower Building, is now complete. MVRDV designed the Flower Building to have both strong formal identity and rental flexibility. Due to its programmatic adaptability and environmental aspects, the Flower Building is set to receive the 3-star Green Building Label, the highest energy performance rating in China. The project was developed by Sincere Property Group. The master plan will also include nine other MVRDV office buildings and one Aedas underground shopping center, that, together, will total 1.2 million square feet of offices, 506,000 square feet of retail space, and 590,000 square feet of parking. The Sustainable Business Park is adjacent to a high speed train station and Shanghai Hongqiao, the fourth busiest airport in mainland China. Originally dominated by boulevards and expressways, the complex is scaling down to embrace the pedestrian with walking streets and plazas, some meandering through the Flower Building itself. Four "legs" merge as they rise to form a single building topped with plazas and pathways. The ground floor consists of retail, and the top floor is connected, fitting either one or multiple tenants. The exterior facade consists of insulated paneling arranged in a shifting grid, creating a transparent ground level that becomes more opaque as the building rises. This contraction in the facade at the upper levels, along with the self-shading, cantilevered form, reduces the need for air-conditioning, according to MVRDV. All ten MVRDV buildings will have green roofs meant to create habitat for local species. With this environmental sensitivity, along with proximity to public transportation, rainwater collection, and permeable road surfaces, the entire Sustainable Business Park will receive 3 stars for the Chinese Green Building Label.
- - Meeting and Exceeding Energy Objectives in Wood Buildings
- - Connection Solutions for Modern Wood Buildings
- - The Wood Use Paradox
- - Rethinking Wood as a Material of Choice
- - Seismic-Resistive Design of Wood Buildings
- - Wood Products and Green Building
- - Wind-Resistive Design of Wood Buildings
- - Multi-Story Wood Construction
- - Cross Laminated Timber
- - Design is in the Details (Durability)
- - Wood and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)
- - The Human Response to Wood
- - Fire Protection in Wood Buildings
- - Calculating Carbon Footprint
- - Evolving Building Codes and the Wood Revolution
- - Tall Wood Takes a Stand
- - Wood Scores A+ for Schools and Student Housing
In September the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) gathered high-minded designers, developers and engineers for a conference in Shanghai. CTBUH, which often partners with AN on conferences, including our own Facades+ events, invited me to serve as a special media correspondent for the conference, held September 16–19. I spent most of the time conducting video interviews with the symposium guests, which we'll post here on the AN blog as they become available. For now, here' a quick overview of the topics discussed. The theme of this year's conference was “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism.” It was an especially relevant topic given the venue—held in the elegant, SOM-designed Jin Mao Tower, the conference looked for lessons (and warnings) in the kind of supertall, super-dense development that turned the Lujiazui area of Shanghai's Pudong district from farmland into a world financial center in just 20 years. Symposium presenters tackled sustainability from several angles. Matthew Clifford, head of energy and sustainability services for North Asia at JLL, stressed building operation and management is as important as design when it comes to energy use and building performance. Cathy Yang, manager of Taipei 101, recounted how “greening” the 101-story building did not turn a profit until the initiative's sixth year, but then made up for it in just three years. The Taiwanese supertall remains the largest LEED Platinum–certified building in the world. Jianping Gu of Shanghai Tower Construction and Development espoused the benefits of the “stereoscopic” form of his building, which at 2,073 feet is set to become the tallest building in China upon completion next year. “If you compare Shanghai Tower to Taipei 101, Petronas Towers, those were all isolated," Gu said. "There were already two towers in the vicinity when we started. We had to pay particular attention to harmonizing with those buildings. We consider this an issue of sustainability.” But towering, monumental architecture may not be for everyone. David Gianotten, an OMA partner heading the firm's Hong Kong office, told me OMA gets so many briefs seeking “iconic” design that the word has begun to lose its meaning. “If everything's special, then nothing's special,” he said. That debate continued onto the conference floor, where developers discussed how China's third- and fourth-tier cities should embrace the tall building boom—or whether they should at all. On the conference's final day, Mun Summ Wong of Singapore-based WOHA talked about the psychological environment of horizontal cities, and how tall buildings should better embrace the human scale. “The idea is to inject more urban life into the high-rise city,” Wong said. “We introduce horizontal movement in the high-rise building because it changes the dynamic. When you talk to the people next to you in an ordinary high-rise, it is considered rude. But in the street, you talk to people, build relationships and bonds.” Similarly, Yang Wu of the Bund Finance Center warned of the risks of homogeneous skylines. “When I open my eyes in the morning and I am in Shenzhen, I still think I am in Shanghai because they look the same,” he said. “[China is] duplicating buildings and the mistakes of the West. There is focus on building bizarre and tall buildings but ignorance of the connotations–resulting in cold buildings for cold cities. As a developer, I call on architects: you need to have your own independent ideas that bring vitality.” You can read more about the conference on CTBUH's website. Check back here as we post video interviews.
If you still think green building is a primarily coastal pursuit, you would be wrong. According to the USGBC, Illinois ranks third in square footage of certified green building per capita in 2011 (2.69 square feet a person) behind the District of Columbia (31.50!) and the state of Colorado (2.74). The leading states are scattered far and wide, with Texas (#8 with 1.99) outranking crunchy California (1.92). New York is even further behind (1.89), just edging out Minnesota's 1.81 square feet per person.