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How a Living Building Comes to Life

How a Living Building ComestoLife Living Building Challenge (LBC) is widely considered the world's most rigorous building performance standard. A Living Building generates all of its own energy through clean, renewable resources; captures and treats its own water; incorporates only non-toxic, appropriately sourced materials; and operates efficiently and for maximum beauty. A building must perform as designed for one full year of occupancy and pass a third-party audit before receiving certification as "living." Here's how Seattle's Bertschi School Science Classroom Addition became the West Coast's first Certified Living Building. Runs On Net-Zero Energy and Water A PV solar system installed on an adjacent building produces all of the electricity for the building and allows students to participate in real-time monitoring of the building's energy use and solar power production. Excess energy goes back to the electrical grid. Energy Produced December 2011-November 2012: 20,115 kWh (the average household uses 14,000 kWh per year according to the Dept. of Energy) Energy There is no sub-metering on this project. There is a single catch-all electric meter that measures instantaneous kW and keeps a running tally of total kWh for whole project. All the water needed for the building is collected and treated on site. Rainwater is collected from the building's metal roof area as well as an adjacent building's roof area for all of the building's and site's water needs. Storm water collected from the green roofs along with the storm water that overflows from the potable water cistern contributes to the irrigation cistern. Greywater from sinks is collected in two filtration units, and pumped up to the indoor green wall for irrigation, reducing the need for rainwater for irrigation purposes and treating all greywater within the building envelope. Blackwater is collected and treated by a composting toilet. Water Total water used by an average of 20 students per day = 56.3 gal, reducing usage to nearly half of what would be typical. Designed for Good Health The inclusion of the green wall of plants to treat Interior finishes were reduced and products were selected to virtually eliminate any off-gassing. greywater has the added benefit of helping to purify the air. The students play an active role in their healthy indoor environment Energy Recovery Ventilator provides fresh air to classroom by controlling the lighting, natural ventilation and caring for the space and exhausts Co2-rich air into an ecohouse where plants on indoor plants that all contribute to a successful space. the living wall are located. Materials Were Carefully Sourced and Used The requirement for natural, non-toxic, and appropriately sourced materials also helped to support life-cycle considerations. Materials were reduced throughout the project including the elimination of needless finishes and synthetic materials. All 46,200 pounds of construction waste was sorted by hand with a 100% diversion rate to prevent waste from going into landfills or being burned. The school employs a rigid recycling and compost program. Students learn to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost waste as well as understanding some of the larger global issues of waste streams. Careful consideration was given to the majority of the building's architectural and mechanical features to allow for easy upgrade or deconstruction and reuse if necessary. Functions As A Sustainability Laboratory Inspiration and Education is one of the Living Building Challenge's 20 Imperatives for all projects. Here's how that imperative was applied to an educational science building: All sustainable features are visible so students can learn about ecological concepts. They participate in real-time monitoring of the building's energy and water use to understand sustainable practices and witness the impact of their daily choices on the building's performance. Equity is an imperative as well. In order to be truly sustainable, the building needs to provide for everyone and encourage a sense of community and stewardship of nature. In designing for a space that was to be used by young students, it was crucial that the design be comfortable and not create distraction. The classroom was designed to provide a lecture space that is more appropriately sized for sitting while the tall ecohouse space was scaled for standing experiments and housing the large green wall. The project site is small, and care was taken to ensure that the space was "right-sized" for the programmed use. Although this building is located within the secure perimeter of a private school, Bertschi does provide free tours to the general public and offers student summer courses that are open to the public. SKANSKA

How a Living Building Comes to Life

shared by SkanskaUSA on Jun 04
The more we push ourselves to design and build as sustainably as possible, the easier it will be to achieve the Green City of the not-to-distant future. So, when the Bertschi School in Seattle needed ...


Skanska USA


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