Posts Tagged ‘water conservation

06
May
08

Dinkins Gardens: Innovative Ventilation Only One of Many Features

Harlem Overlook

Recently, Anuradha Kher reported in Multi-Housing News on the completion of an ambitious project, an 85-unit apartment complex designed for both sustainability and affordability. Located in Harlem, David & Joyce Dinkins Gardens allots nearly one-third of its apartments to young people who have graduated out of foster care situations, with the remainder of the units meant for residents who make less than the area’s median income. (Incidentally, since an illustration of Dinkins Gardens was not available, the photo above is one titled “Harlem Overlook.”)

Designed by Dattner Architects, the building was created with the reduction of both energy demands and water use in mind. The mechanical systems are energy-efficient, and each apartment has its own electric meter, so tenants can experience the satisfaction of seeing a cause-and-effect relationship between their good conservation habits and their electric bills. There is a modular green roof system. Rainwater is harvested from the roof, stored in tanks, and used for the community garden. The roof terrace and backyard garden are important components in the quality-of-life goals the designers aimed for.

During construction, non-toxic paints and sealants were used as much as possible, and many of the materials used were recycled or locally made. As an energy-saving bonus, Dinkins Gardens lies nearby to mass transit. Solar shading, high-performance insulation, and operable windows are all part of the HVAC plan, and in fact the most innovative thing about the project seems to be the individually ventilated apartments, as described by Kher:

Fresh air is drawn into each apartment through window “trickle vents” and expelled horizontally at the façade through voids in the concrete plank. Instead of using vertical ducts that can allow smoke or smells to be transferred between apartments, each apartment is individually ventilated, resulting in better indoor air quality.

The project was developed by Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) a non-profit interfaith group comprising more than 90 congregations, which owns and manages the building. In keeping with the organization’s mission, Dinkins Gardens also contains space for the Construction Trades Academy, HCCI’s job training and job placement program specializing in access to construction industry careers.

The co-developer is Jonathan Rose Companies, which incidentally produces a marvelous newsletter that is not just a PR vehicle, but contains many articles with substance. Kher quotes Jonathan Rose:

“Dinkins Gardens is the new model for affordable housing. Green projects like these are tremendous investments in the future of the community. By integrating social services, job training, affordable housing and green design, we’re modeling what the future of Harlem and New York City – in fact, cities nationwide – can be….Green building is particularly important for affordable housing because it protects residents from rising energy costs and promotes good health.”

Dinkins Gardens is not the only such Harlem project to reach completion in April. The Kalahari is a mixed-income development of 249 units, built to LEED Certification standards. A quarter of its energy needs will be supplied by solar and wind sources.

New York City has been making sustainability news lately. The executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council, New York chapter, announced his picks for ten green places in the metropolis, including the Conde Nast Building, the Schermerhorn Building, General Theological Seminary, the Visitor Center at Queens Botanical Garden, and the offices of the Natural Resource Defense Council. In lower Manhattan, Battery Park City boasts four LEED-certified buildings.

The venerable YMCA Young Men’s Institute, which opened in 1885 and later became a loft co-op, will soon house a 3,000-square-foot Green Depot showroom.

Now that New York City has made such an excellent start, is there any limit to how green it can become?

SOURCE: ” $19.5M Affordable, Green Project Opens in New York City” 4/01/08
photo courtesy of striatic , used under this Creative Commons license

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11
Apr
08

World’s Largest Green Building: the Palazzo Las Vegas

Palazzo Las Vegas

Nevada’s governor Jim Gibbons was there, and so was U.S. Department of Energy official David E. Rodgers. Along with many other exuberant well-wishers, they celebrated the awarding of a Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certificate to the largest “green” building on earth, the glitzy Palazzo Resort Hotel in Las Vegas. This announcement came via press release from Ron Reese and Mindy Eras, spokespeople for the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which is justifiably proud of this recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council. Additionally, the building also received the “Energy Innovator’s Award” from the U.S. Department of Energy. This honor recognizes the successful use of energy-efficient, and/or renewable, technology.

The Palazzo employs such effective environmentally-efficient technologies that it conserves enough water to provide each Nevada citizen with 266 eight-ounce glasses of water for a year and saves enough energy to light a 100 watt light bulb for 12,100 years. It even promotes alternative modes of transportation by offering valet parking – for bicycles.

Features include showers, toilets and faucets that conserve a whopping 37%, and a watering system for the plant life that uses 75% less water. The swimming pools are solar-heated with enough left over to help out with the hot-water system for the rest of the hotel. In the Palazzo’s 3000 suites, the air conditioning is so smart, it cuts back when nobody’s around, and returns to the guest’s desired level when the room is occupied.

Architect James R. Rimelspach (The Stubbins Associates), developer Sheldon Adelson (incidentally, the third wealthiest man in the United States), and the rest of the team worked closely with consultants from LEED right from the start of the project. The framing used 66,000 tons of steel, averaging 95% recycled content, and the 10,000-yard core foundation pour utilized 26% recycled concrete. There are eight below-ground levels, allowing for a 4,400-space parking garage whose excavation took an entire year, displacing a million cubic yards. It’s interesting to look back to September of 2005 when, at the project’s inception, Las Vegas Sands Executive VP Brad Stone told reviewjournal.com that the excavation added as much as $60 million to the price tag.

“This was born out of necessity,” Stone said. “We wanted to have a certain size property and we only had so much land to work with. We realized we had to put the parking underground, so we came up with a plan and put it in place. When you look at the cost of an acre of land on the Strip, you need to make your best usage of that land.”

Supported by several hundred pilings 120 feet deep, the structure rises 50 stories above ground and encompasses over 60 luxury boutiques, along with 20 other high-end retail establishments, including the first Lamborghini dealership to grace the Strip. The Palazzo’s Grand Opening was celebrated in January of this year, with festivities that included a Diana Ross concert, fireworks, and an abundance of celebrity guests. That was a great event in its way, but this week’s validation from the U.S Green Building Council was a historically significant event. How long, we wonder, will it be before a new “largest green building” comes along?

SOURCE: “The Palazzo Las Vegas Named Largest ‘Green’ Building in the World” 04/09/08
photo courtesy of Bernardo Wolff , used under this Creative Commons license