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Leed 3

March 11, 2010 at 9:52 am | Category: Remodeling Contractor

Solar panels and green roofs two of the most important emerging green technologies; Yet most engineers say that solar panels have limited applications on large buildings, and reflective roofs can save as much energy as “green” ones covered with plants. But, nothing beats publicity like having your project, with its green roof, PV [photovoltaic, or solar, power] system, and LEED Gold plaque highlighted as a lead story on the 6 o’clock or 10 o’clock network news station in your city. You well get on camera; dozens, possibly hundreds of clients, prospective employees, and others in your industry will see it, almost guaranteed.
New York architect Chris Benedict–whose residential buildings use only 15% as much energy for heat and hot water as the typical New York apartment building–says, “I’ve spent hours explaining my systems-based approach to a newspaper reporter, and at the end, the photographer asked me, ‘Do you have a solar panel or something I could photograph?'” With her design partner, Henry Gifford, a former boiler mechanic, Benedict delves into the infrastructure of buildings, incorporating basic factors such as heavy-duty insulation, radiant heating and cooling, room-by-room temperature controls, and thicker glass
Benedict, who works outside the LEED structure, says that environmental constraints free her creativity, citing a building in the Bronx where dramatically deep sills shade the south-facing windows. Certain clichés of modern architecture, like the glass curtain walls of One Bryant Park, the future headquarters of USGBC board member Bank of America, are another story. “It’s pretty frustrating that there’s going to be a LEED platinum-rated glass building,” Benedict says. “It’s going to use obscene amounts of energy. At times, it will need to be heated and air-conditioned at the same time.”
Jordan Barowitz, director of external affairs at the Durst Organization, the developers of One Bryant Park, counters, “You could make a building that’s very energy-efficient by not having any windows in it and having only one elevator, but this is not a building that people are going to want to work in.”(2)
So what should define a green building? It’s not necessarily shiny or pretty, and it starts from the minute the site is chosen. LEED began with the goal of getting attention for energy-efficient building. Now that it is dominant in the marketplace, it could be adjusted to better reflect–and exploit–its newfound power.
Over the last 10 years, the gravity of the global environmental situation has become more obvious. So I think, if anything, we need to redouble our efforts, and not only go for greater market share but increased stringency at the same time.

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