Thursday, May 6, 2010

Methods in Green Architecture

As it stands today, buildings account for 39% of energy use in the United States. There are a variety of approaches to greening our architecture. As the Oak Beach project hits the one year mark, I was curious how the series of alternative energy features (photovoltaic, white roof, reclaimed lumber, geothermal, high-efficiency windows, blown-in insulation, passive design, and radiant heating) were functioning in terms of enegy costs. According to the fab client, her system seems to be cranking the power out. Even with the lack of sun this winter she's over the expected production according to the installer. Talk about over achieving.
Another way to green architecture is to use what already exists. Instead of discarding a building to start over, retrofitting a building with better windows and insulation, reusing and restoring what already exists seems like another important option. The Islip Fire Department had contemplated taking down their current and outdated fire house built in the 1920's, but James worked with them to find ways to improve the building and keep it intact. Still under construction, this building maintains its historical significance in town while becoming more efficient in terms of function and energy use.

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