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    Sustainability Northeast

    by ArchitectureWeek

    "Green" Building design, as it becomes increasingly adopted by U.S. architects, is about more than conserving energy and natural resources. In green building, design criteria broaden to include fostering a sense of community, maintaining healthy environments, and preserving historic properties. These were some of the themes of the 2003 awards program of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), which recently made awards to workplaces, schools, and residential projects.

    The first prize in the places-of-work category went to Banwell Architects, Energysmiths, and Bruss Construction for the French Wing addition to the Conservation Center of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests in Concord. The owner's goal was to create a "delightful" office space for eight conservation groups incorporating environmentally responsible design and showcasing native woods from well-managed forests.

    Peeled logs from on-site trees for the French Wing's timber frame evoke the local forest landscape. With composting toilets and low-flow plumbing fixtures, the project uses 90 percent less water than a similar conventional building. The architect notes that orchestrating the design/ construction approach required the cooperation of an motivated client, a knowledgeable environmental consultant, a construction manager experienced in green building, and an "air-sealing czar" subcontractor to ensure air-tightness.

    First prize in the places-of-learning category went to L. Robert Kimball & Associates, Architects and Engineers for the Clearview Elementary School in Hanover, Pennsylvania. An integrated design process, conducted with substantial input from analysis and evaluation software, incorporated passive solar heating and cooling strategies, exterior lighting designed to eliminate light pollution, heat recovery air-handling units that separate ventilation air from conditioned air, and triple-glazed windows that eliminate the need for perimeter heating systems.

    Clearview was oriented along an east-west axis, providing due north and south exposures to all primary classrooms, using the single-loaded corridor on the south side as a passive solar collector. The corridor is shaded by exterior "reverse baffle" solar shades and a curved screen wall that doubles as a sundial so students can observe solar phenomena. The architects exceeded their goal for LEED certification at a project cost only two percent higher than typical elementary schools in the region.

    The top honor for a residential project went to David Danois Architects, PC, MCII Associates, and environmental consultant Steven Winter Associates for Melrose Commons. This project in South Bronx, New York provides affordable housing to 90 families who would otherwise not have access to green homes. The structure's low-maintenance, panelized concrete and brick building system reduced construction waste and created a tight envelope.

    The units include a variety of high-efficiency appliances and interior finishes low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Education was a key component of the Melrose development. New homeowners were given manuals that explain maintenance procedures and energy-saving features. The project is part of a federal effort to act as a catalyst for change in the homebuilding industry.

    Another top NESEA award winner is the MATCH School in Boston, designed by HMFH Architects, Inc., Cited as an exemplary solar electric building, the charter high school is housed in a 1919 structure. The adaptive reuse featured a 20-kilowatt photovoltaic system producing 14 percent of the facility's electricity and daylighting with Solarban high-shading windows to minimize excess solar heat gain.

    The MATCH School's historic window openings were restored and many classrooms do not require electric lights during the day. The expansive glazing also connects students with their urban context. The awards jury noted: "This school shows how to adapt an existing structure responsibly for a new use....The photovoltaic system is on a large enough scale to make a meaningful contribution to the building's electricity needs and fits well with the educational mission and curriculum of the school."

    Tying for first prize in the places-of-work category was the Philip Merrill Environmental Center, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, by SmithGroup, Inc. Student Clement Ka Man Cheng, of Carnegie Mellon University, won the student award for his integration of subsystems in a design proposal for the McKelvy Elementary School.

    Judges for this year's competition were architect Daniel Arons, AIA, co-chair of the Boston Society of Architects Committee on the Environment; architect Christine Benedict, New York City; Andrea Dermody, interior designer, Green Roundtable Consultant; Leon Glicksman, professor of Building Technology and Mechanical Engineering at MIT, and architect William Reed, AIA, principal of Natural Logic. This awards program was co-sponsored by the NESEA and the Renewable Energy Trust of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

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    Banwell Architects received one of the design awards from the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association for the French Wing office addition to the Conservation Center of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.
    Photo: Courtesy Banwell Architects

    ArchWeek Image

    Robert Kimball & Associates, Architects and Engineers designed the Clearview Elementary School with an exterior curved screen wall that doubles as a sundial.
    Photo: Courtesy L. Robert Kimball & Associates, Architects and Engineers

    ArchWeek Image

    David Danois Architects received an NESEA award for Melrose Commons, affordable green housing in South Bronx, New York.
    Photo: Courtesy David Danois Architects, PC

    ArchWeek Image

    The MATCH School in Boston, designed by HMFH Architects, was cited as an exemplary solar electric building.
    Photo: Courtesy HMFH Architects, Inc.

     

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