The auto repair business is fraught with toxic chemicals and opportunities to pollute. That's why it's so inspiring when a service business like this takes on the task of building a LEED-certified facility and creates a healthy working environment for its employees..AND practices environmentalism on a daily basis.
Energy-saving lighting plan, including healthful daylighting, window views in all work areas, low mercury fluorescent bulbs, and T5 high efficiency lighting
Building envelope using "Cool Roof" roofing technology and recycled and recyclable structural steel, and EcoBatt recycled glass insulation in offices, and polished concrete floor
Energy plan featuring radiant heat in slab, floor heating system, and geothermal heating and cooling
Low VOC wall paint
Xlerator hand dryers
The building is impressive, but even before they built their new facility, Don and Melinda Seader were dedicated to green practices, and they follow them even more easily from their new facility. The business does the following on a regular basis:
purchases recycled content office and shop supply products.
uses proper disposal channels for all hazardous waste materials, electronics, fluorescent bulbs, tires, etc.
purchases shop supplies in bulk, using refillable product dispensers vs single use containers.
uses an aqueous (hot water only) parts cleaning system vs chemical solvents.
This kind of green business leadership is to be congratulated and emulated.
My posts will be much much shorter going forward, as I become a proponent of Microblogging. Reasons: 1) I like working in the limits imposed by the mobile world (and because of my job at ChaCha I have become accustomed to shorter information). 2) I just don't have time to do the longer posts I have done in the past, so posts will be very brief but (I hope) more frequent.
The picture to the right is a storefront in Gary, IN. I leave you with a question: who will recycle Gary?
Geothermal heat is the principal heat source, w/electric heat only as backup
Green roof featuring 10 varieties of cedum plants (this may conflict with cistern rain water collection; green roofs are notable for not allowing runoff; they also help keep the building cooler in summer and warmer in winter)
Live wall in the basement, contributing to air quality and allowing natural light to conference rooms
Abundant windows and lighting that only kicks on when daylighting is insufficient
8,000 square feet of brick were recycled from the original structure on this site; that building was ruled unsafe to inhabit
Indiana Limestone was donated by Rich and Alice Johnson through the Indiana Limestone Company
I like to post inspirational examples of green architecture. Sometimes what is "inspirational" is not really practical or affordable. That's why this article in the NYT about whole tree building was so satisfying.
"In this quiet farming community, where people may not have a lot of
money to spend, but do have plenty of wood and straw, word of the
beauty and practicality of Mr. Gundersen’s structures has spread. Solar
greenhouses made of local materials can extend the growing season
through winter, even in a place where temperatures can drop to 30 or 40
below. In the last 18 years, Whole Trees Architecture has built 25 of them here."
Building with whole trees has some advantages:
It uses smaller trees that loggers pass over.
Smaller trees are bendable and curves are stronger than straight lines, so bent trees can support a lot of weight.
In fact, a whole unmilled tree can support 50% more weight than a piece of milled lumber from the same tree.
Harvesting smaller trees can pull in more light to a dense forest, a part of forest stewardship.
Was inspired by a Bloomington Herald-Times article last week. Faced with no budget for a library, the 540 citizens of Chrisney, IN just went ahead anyway. See fuller coverage in the Evansville Courier-Press.
"They had no money to build a library, no viable existing buildings or
partnerships for a shared storefront library, and their public library
district adamantly refused to support capital or operating costs for a
new branch." --Bill Brown, project architect on the Chrisney library building, and now Director of the IU Office of Sustainability
The building got land and maintenance commitment donated from the town, a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and $66,000 in matching funds from the citizens of the town. (Remember, there are only 540 citizens in the town.) The result:
A 9.6-kilowatt grid-tied photovoltaic system provides all the electricity needed
A geothermal heating and cooling system heats and cools without combustion
A passive solar design uses free sunlight to light the building and provide supplemental heat
Transparent solar panels roof the Learning Power Pavilion and provide a classroom for the elementary school’s outdoor learning lab.
Congratulations to the town of Chrisney, Indiana for their foresight, initiative and innovation.
Significant reduction in sound levels inside the building
Moderation of heat island effect
Not to mention that they offset tons of carbon dioxide.
BMH's roof will be 23,000 square feet, and I'm sure their heating and cooling bills will soon start to make the investment pay off. BMH has estimated that they will save about $50,000 annually by reducing energy usage and by slowing roof repairs. (Green Roofs help roofs last longer.)
"Small footprints designed to reduce energy and resource use;
Overhangs for heat gain in the winter and shade in summer;
Vegetated trellises designed to shade lower windows;
Super insulated walls and roofing;
Straw bales at north, east, and west walls;
High efficiency, operable windows;
Solar shades on window interiors;
Insulated night and light shades at windows;
Concrete floor as thermal mass;
Energy Star appliances and CFLs;
Low flow plumbing fixtures;
Solar hot water heating and power from a 33.8 kW photovoltaic system;
Rainwater catchment for toilet flushing, washing machines, and stormwater control. "
The community is called Common Ground and is the latest project of the Lopez Island Community Land Trust, whose mission, among other things, is to create sustainable and permanently affordable housing.
Schools, churches, corporations, local governments and seemingly any group that owns a non-residential building can sign up to take the Energy Star Challenge which calls on them to reduce their energy use by 10%. This is a terrific program that also provides the information and tools with which to accomplish the goal, including communication materials to share information and success stories.
get started and achieve "quick wins" with easy, proven energy savers
analyze larger opportunities
track energy usage and calculate resulting savings
materials and resources to "green your congregation"
Similarly appropriate materials and resources are provided for schools k-12 and higher education institutions -- from teaching tools, info on how to finance improvements, and guidelines for energy management. Bringing green building techniques to school settings is particularly gratifying because multiple tests have shown that better air quality and daylighting improve student test scores.