Page E2.1 . 14 May 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - Environment Department
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Indoor Air Quality for the EPA

by Sandra F. Mendler and William Odell

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Research Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is the new home to one of the largest multidisciplinary groups of environmental scientists in the world. Designing and building this 1.1 million-square-foot (100,000-square-meter) campus presented the agency with an opportunity to demonstrate its environmental ethics.

EPA's goal was to balance concerns related to cost, function, and the environment as every decision was made, to improve building performance and limit environmental impacts within their fixed design and construction budget.

If done right, the agency believed, its facility could become a real model for the greening of other public and private sector facilities, helping advance sustainable design and construction as an industry-wide practice.

However, when the project began, in 1991, the sustainable design movement was still in its infancy, and consensus had not yet emerged on what issues should be considered or how success would be measured. Performance benchmarks, which compare building performance against established norms, were actively sought out to help the entire team identify typical and improved performance.

The design team had the unique opportunity to develop an indoor air quality (IAQ) program together with the same EPA researchers who had provided indoor air criteria for a landmark State of Washington program. Together they worked to minimize potential sources of contamination during design and construction and to develop an integrated IAQ management plan for the operations and maintenance phase.   >>>

This article is excerpted from The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design by Sandra F. Mendler and William Odell, with permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons.



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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Research Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, designed by HOK, is a showcase for EPA's environmental ethics.
Photo: HOK

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Site planning for the research center involved trying to minimize site disturbance and maintain existing open space and habitat areas.
Photo: HOK


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