Sustainability Pays Off
by Michael Miller, AIA
Conventional wisdom holds that the best way to formally "green" a project is to integrate sustainable thinking into the design process from the beginning. Getting everyone on the team working together early toward this common goal is still the best approach. But it's not the only way to design a sustainable building.
That's a lesson learned by the design team — led by Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, Inc. (HOK) — that designed Emory University's new eight-story, 325,000-square-foot (30,000-square-meter) Whitehead Research Building in Atlanta, Georgia, now the largest biomedical research building in the southeastern United States.
Taking Aim at LEED
A few months after Whiting-Turner began construction in March 1999, Emory policy made LEED certification mandatory for all new campus projects. LEED is the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design rating system from the U.S. Green Building Council. University officials decided to see how close they could get to a LEED rating with the Whitehead Research Building, even though design was complete and construction underway.
Although the HOK Atlanta team did not work with the LEED checklist from the beginning, they found that many of its requirements had been satisfied as part of their standard design process. Stuart Lewis, HOK's sustainable design manager for the project, had already been developing environmentally conscious specifications. The team had incorporated sensible architectural features such as daylighting and energy-efficient building systems, including energy recovery and lighting controls. >>>
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Whitehead Biomedical Research Building, at Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo: Chris Hayne
Each lab has its own controls for electrical and HVAC systems so Emory can easily modify labs without affecting adjacent modules.
Photo: Jim Roof
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