Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sustainable Design A Little Closer to Home

Today were presented with listening to a variety of different presentations on sustainability. My group was given the privilege of presenting on “Smart Design”. The presentation went well and we talked about two different case studies about smart design, one from the book “Geography of Hope” and a local case study. After researching and finding information on the local case study which was the “Gulf Islands National Park Reserve Operations Center” in Sidney, B.C. it caught my attention and made me super interested. This building has been designed to be very efficient and LEED certified. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system that promotes Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The “Gulf Islands National Park Operations Center” is a first of its kind that I have seen with my own two eyes that blows me away. This three story building located on the water front of Tsehum Harbour houses many remarkable features for sustainability in conserving water, saving energy, materials and resources, sustainable site, and indoor environmental quality. This outstanding building is Platinum LEED certified, which is one of the highest certifications that can be achieved. The innovative features that this building has are as follows:
Site considerations:
• Close to public transit system
• Limited Parking - 15 parking spaces for 60 employees to encourage carpooling or other ways or transportation to help decrease carbon emissions.
• Native Garden - was designed with drought resistant plant species which do not require irrigation

Conserving Water:
• Rainfall Collection - Rainfall is collected on the roof and drains into a storage tank underneath the building. The rain water that is collected is then used in the bathrooms for the duel flushing toilets and for use in the marine operations area for washing equipment. Surplus rainwater passes through a sediment and oil separator before being discharged into the ocean.
• Permeable parking lot - which would consist of paving blocks or cobble stones to help water infiltrate back into the ground so that there is no stagnate water pooling on the surface.

Saving Energy:
• Windows and skylights - for natural lighting, the building is designed so that natural light shines in on every work station in the building.
Heating and cooling system - The only heat source for the building is the ocean. Ocean water is piped to a heat exchanger and heat pump system, Heat is then extracted from the water and transferred by the heat exchanger to the buildings heating system and to a domestic hot water tank.

Indoor Environmental Quality: Natural ventilation, and each employees working spaces have a thermostat to control the temperature in that space and have access to open the windows for a breath of fresh air.

Overall, the “Gulf Islands National Park Operations Center” was build and designed with sustainability of all aspects in mind. The development and design, has a cradle-to-cradle mentality in mind for the site, with using environmentally friendly building materials and supplies and incorporating efficiency of water and energy into their building design, they all contribute to a cleaner and greener environment. The limited parking spaces for the mass amounts of employees and the close proximity to the bus routes has helped in carpooling and promoting greener solutions. This design and development of this building is a great example of sustainability within a community and business area and will be a new standard or leader for when future developments are in the planning stages, these considerations should be taken into mind to help in a more sustainable world.

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