Residents of the Holy Cross Neighborhood participated in the design selection. Construction is expected to begin there early in 2007. The model development will include a 12-unit multifamily apartment building, six single-family houses, and a community center.
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The workshop/apd project was carefully thought out and documented to respond to energy conservation and other "green" measures and to make the neighborhood socially sustainable as well. They describe their design as "infiltrating all scales of production and consumption, from the macro-scale of global distribution networks and community rezoning, to the micro-scale of site strategies, individual building systems, and social interaction."
To emphasize the breadth of their approach, the designers dubbed their winning entry: "GreeN.O.LA: Permaculture and the Rebuilding of Life and Verdancy in Holy Cross." Environmental engineering consultation was provided by Raj Parikh of Metropolitan Building Consulting Group.
Green for New Orleans
The goal of physical sustainability governed workshop/apd's choice of materials and systems: bamboo flooring, low-consumption toilets, and Energy Star appliances. Conceptual sustainability, harder to define, is expected to manifest in the social atmosphere inherent in the mixed-use site configuration and design of structures.
A shared common green space and vegetable garden will support an active neighborhood life. The development will also include its own recycling center, bus stop, and daycare center. A park will provide a venue for street musicians and cultural performances.
The architects adopted a prefabricated modular approach to design to minimize construction costs and improve overall quality. The modular units will be made of lightweight metal framing and structural insulated panels (SIPs) with durable, environmentally friendly finishes.
The units will also feature vegetated "green roofs" and facade screens, a graywater recycling system, solar panels, and a rainwater collection system. Durable buildings are more resilient in adverse weather conditions, requiring less repair and upkeep over their lifetime.
Importantly, the prototype will not result in vast numbers of identical units. Residents can design their own house or apartment configuration by choosing from a matrix of options for room layouts, porches, balconies, and so on. With so many permutations possible, Greenola can accommodate single people, small families, large families, or people with special needs.
The on-site energy consumption in the Greenola development is expected to be 60 percent less than equivalent housing documented in the 2005 U.S. Department of Energy Buildings Energy Data Book.
The buildings will be highly insulated and oriented to exploit natural ventilation and passive heating and cooling. Controlled construction assemblies will reduce air leakage in the structure, resulting in greater climate control of interior spaces and efficient use of mechanical systems.
Controlled fresh air ventilation systems will reduce the need for mechanical cooling by 30 percent. Heat pipe dehumidification will make room temperatures comfort able at 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Centigrade) rather than 78F. (25 C.). And a centralized geothermal system will provide chilled water to the heat pumps for efficient cooling.
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