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    Re-Skinning Awards


    355 11th's new skin not only prevents solar gain and provides passive cooling of the interior while meeting heritage-listed building planning constraints, it also gives the building a facelift, transforming it from a mundane, run-down structure to an aesthetically attractive modern building. Because of its natural ventilation and lighting and thermal buffer, among some other green features, the building is extremely energy-efficient and has received Gold-level LEED certification. The re-skinning methods used on 355 11th are both low-tech and cost-effective, and could be replicated on a global scale.

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    Sparkasse Vorderpfalz

    Category: Large Commercial
    Location: Ludwigshafen, Germany
    Developer/ Owner: Sparkasse Vorderpfalz
    Architects/ Engineers: Egon Weiß (1974), Thiemo Ebbert/ imagine envelope (2009)
    Date Constructed: 2008-2009

    Sparkasse Vorderpfalz is a German regional bank with its headquarters in Ludwigshafen on the River Rhine. The building, constructed in 1974 and comprising a three-story base and nine-story office tower, is located on the most prominent square in the city center and is a feature of the city's skyline.

    By 2006, problems of weather penetration and poor insulation, as well as an outmoded appearance, led the bank to initiate a refurbishment of the building's facade and its heating and cooling services. A condition of the project was that the retrofitting had to be carried out "without staining the carpet" — the building's interior had been recently renovated, and the bank insisted that the work should cause minimal disruption to its operations.

    The architects' solution was to take advantage of the existing service platforms on the outside of the tower section of the building to fit a new skin of laminated glass mounted on a steel frame. This created a weatherproof envelope and a cavity between the new facade and the original exterior of the building within which the retrofitting work could proceed without interrupting the building's occupants. Venetian blinds are mounted inside the cavity to reduce solar gain while at the same time deflecting some of the sunlight into the building to reduce the need for electric lighting. The cavity is also used to mount a distributed system of small HVAC systems that allow for local environmental control.

    The aluminum corner sections of the tower were removed, cleaned, recoated, insulated and replaced. The base section has also been clad with an extra laminated glass skin, with additional measures to ensure proper thermal insulation and weatherproofing.

    The new skin has enabled the use of a number of smart building systems. In summer, the cavity created by the new skin is opened at the top, allowing the natural updraft to drag used air from the building. In winter, the cavity is opened at the bottom so that air can be warmed by the sun before entering the heating systems. Furthermore, the temperature in each section of the cavity on the four sides of the building is constantly monitored, and warm air can be moved from one section to another as required.

    In addition, the decentralized HVAC system means that fresh air is brought in and conditioned only when and where it is needed, eliminating the need for transporting air within the building. Occupants can control the temperature and lighting of their individual offices and sensors switch equipment off when there is no one present.

    The better thermal insulation provided by the new skin, the intelligent HVAC systems and the daylight-deflecting sun blinds have led to an almost 65 percent improvement in the building's energy performance. Furthermore, the refurbishment has significantly improved the occupants' control of their individual environments and their overall comfort inside the building. The energy savings and improved maintenance means that the investment in the re-skinning should pay back within 13 years. The refurbished building has been certified as a Green Building by the German Energy Agency, one of only around 160 such certified buildings in Europe.

    The original building's design and materials are common to many buildings constructed in Europe in the 1960s and '70s, and therefore the Sparkasse Vorderpfalz re-skinning process could be reproduced on a wide scale. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the project in terms of reproducibility is the fact that it was completed with minimal disruption for the occupants. The expense and lost work time that conventional recladding methods cause is a major deterrent for many organizations when they contemplate improving the energy efficiency of their buildings.

    Eichhorster Weg

    Category: Large Residential
    Location: Berlin, Germany
    Developer/ Owner: Gesobau AG (State of Berlin)
    Architects/ Engineers: Oswald Mathias Ungers (1964), DAHM Architekten + Ingenieure
    Date Constructed: 2008-2009

    Eichhorster Weg 32-44 is a 538-apartment complex in Berlin's Märkisches Viertel district. Part of a showpiece 1960s housing development, the apartments were aging and no longer met social demands, nor modern energy-efficiency requirements. In 2007, Eichhorster Weg's builder and owner, the Gesobau housing company owned by the State of Berlin, decided to refurbish the apartments. Its aims were to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the buildings in line with the German Energy Conservation Directive, halve primary energy consumption, create a more appropriate set of living spaces and enhance the neighborhood.

    Key to improving energy efficiency was the re-skinning of the buildings with a composite insulation system and the installation of double-glazed plastic windows. Further efficiencies were achieved by refurbishing all internal heating systems, including the replacement of radiators and pipes, the insulation of pipes and the installation of thermostat valves.

    The energy-efficiency gains from the re-skinning of the apartments in Eichhorster Weg and elsewhere in the Märkisches Viertel development meant that the old natural gas district heating system would have excess capacity. For this reason, and to reduce CO2 emissions from heating, Gesobau is working with the local energy company Fernheizwerk Märkisches Viertel to replace the old system with a combined-heat-and-power, biomass-fed district heating plant. The plant will use wood fuel from renewable sources, and will produce 5 megawatts to feed into the local power grid in addition to the 30-megawatt output to serve Märkisches Viertel's housing requirements.

    The lower fuel costs from the energy-efficiency measures has enabled Gesobau to increase the rents of the apartments while increasing the net payments of the tenants only slightly. The rent increase helps to pay for the investment in the refurbishment while giving tenants greatly improved living conditions for a small increase in outlays. Gesobau expects a payback on investment of 14 years.

    Now House

    Category: Small Residential
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    Developer/ Owner: Now House Project
    Architects/ Engineers: Lorraine Gauthier/ Work Worth Doing
    Date Constructed: 2008-2009

    Now House is a process for retrofitting older houses to turn them into net-zero-energy homes. The first application was to a 60-year-old wartime house in Toronto, which is similar in layout and footprint to a million other houses in Canada where the process could be replicated.

    University of Technology Tower

    Category: Future of Re-Skinning
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    Developer/ Owner: University of Technology, Sydney
    Architects/ Engineers: Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA)
    Date Constructed: Proposal

    Built in 1979 and a beacon for the university, the University of Technology Tower nevertheless is widely denigrated as ugly, outdated and energy-inefficient. However, while the overall UTS campus is undergoing a transformation with major refurbishing and new buildings scheduled for completion by 2020, the tower is not included in the plan. LAVA has proposed an innovative new skin that would provide a cost-effective means to rejuvenate the building's aesthetics and simultaneously improve its overall environmental performance. The proposed skin is a three-dimensional lightweight, high performance, composite mesh textile.

    The winners of the 2010 Re-Skinning Awards were selected by an international jury of nine leading environmentalists, engineers, architects, designers and academics: Thomas Auer, partner and managing director of Transsolar GmbH building energy design consultancy; Andrew Bowerbank, president of the EC3 Initiative for a low-carbon economy; George Baird, dean, Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, and professor of architecture, University of Toronto, and partner, Baird Sampson Neuert Architects; Stefan Behnisch, partner, Behnisch Architekten; Fiona Cousins, principal and leader of sustainability team, Arup, New York City; Judith DiMaio, dean, School of Architecture & Design, NYIT; Rick Huijbregts, director of real estate solutions for emerging markets, Cisco Canada; Edward Mazria, founder and executive director, Architecture 2030; William McDonough, founding principal, William McDonough + Partners, and cofounder and principal, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC).   >>>

    Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...

    Zerofootprint is an enterprise with a mission to apply technology, design thinking, and risk management to the massive reduction of our environmental footprint. Zerofootprint operates both in the for-profit and non-profit domains through two entities: Zerofootprint Software and Zerofootprint Foundation.

    This article is excerpted from Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Awards 2010, copyright © 2010, with permission of the publisher, Zerofootprint.



    ArchWeek Image

    The Sparkasse Vorderpfalz headquarters building in Ludwigshafen, Germany, was designed by Egon Weiß and completed in 1974. Prior to renovation, the poorly insulated bank building had been damaged by water penetration.
    Photo: © 2010 Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Awards Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Designed by imagine envelope, the upgrade to the envelope of the Sparkasse Vorderpfalz headquarters respects the rhythm of the original facade, replacing the late-Modern brise-soleil with a second layer of glazing and adding significant amounts of insulation.
    Photo: © 2010 Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Awards Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Many aging postwar homes across North America, like the Now House in Toronto, were built with simple and cheap design features and are riddled with thermal leaks.
    Photo: © 2010 Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Awards Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The Now House pilot project was designed by Work Worth Doing to demonstrate a process for retrofitting older homes to improve their energy efficiency.
    Photo: © 2010 Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Awards Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Eichhorster Weg 32-44 is a 538-unit housing cluster in Berlin, Germany, designed by Oswald Mathias Ungers and built in 1964. The project is the first part of a large-scale ongoing renovation of housing in the Märkisches Viertel district.
    Photo: © 2010 Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Awards Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    In 2007, DAHM Architekten + Ingenieure designed a retrofit of Eichhorster Weg 32-44 that included the installation of double-glazed windows and the addition of an exterior composite insulation system. The buildings' aging heating systems were also refurbished.
    Photo: © 2010 Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Awards

    ArchWeek Image

    The University of Technology Tower (1979) is a 27-story concrete-and-glass-clad academic building in Sydney, Australia.
    Photo: © 2010 Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Awards Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Laboratory for Visionary Architecture's proposed renovation of the University of Technology Tower would encase the existing building in a tensile skin of high-performance composite mesh textile supported by a light steel frame anchored to the original building.
    Photo: © 2010 Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Awards Extra Large Image


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