The Proposed Oregon Sustainability Center
A proposal to build a massive net-zero energy facility has sparked controversy over its worth as a public investment. The Oregon Sustainability Center would not only be a net-zero energy building–meaning that it produces as much energy as it uses–it would also be water independent.
The goal would be to achieve Living Building Challenge Certification, which requires that a building demonstrate 12 consecutive months of net-zero energy and water use, while using locally sourced, non-toxic materials in its operations.
These cutting edge performance goals highlight some of the most impressive advancements in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Unfortunately, they come at a price: the building would cost roughly 3 times the cost of a “traditional commercial building,” turning some public officials and taxpayers into critics.
The Oregon Sustainability Center would be a kind of hub for sustainability related businesses, non-profits, educational programs and government agencies. So is it worth the investment? Sustainable Business Oregon seems to think so.
Read the full story on the Oregon Sustainability Center here.
Article Points to Non-Environmental Benefits of Green Buildings
Green Buildings May Increase Worker Productivity and Health
The first and foremost aim of green building standards is to reduce environmental impact, but recent reporting indicates that green buildings may also help increase productivity and promote better health. The article credits increased natural ventilation and daylight exposure modifications with driving worker output and improving employees’ overall well-being.
Studies suggest that green building and retrofitting can significantly contribute to reductions in sick leave, headaches, fatigue and can even boost typing speed and accuracy. However, results have varied and are not yet conclusive.
It will doubtless take years to definitively prove a correlation between green building standards like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) and worker productivity. One thing is certain, however: meeting green standards substantially increases real estate value and demand for sustainable buildings is showing no signs of slowing its rapid growth. Read the full article here.
How Sustainable Design is Shaping Everything from Architecture to Agriculture
Sustainable Design is Transforming Our Markets, Our Society, and Our Environment
We’ve previously talked about sustainable agriculture on this blog, but it should be said that this only one of many forms of the broader movement toward “sustainable design.” Sustainable design encompasses everything from architecture and urban planning to industrial design and, of course, agriculture.
Its basic intention is twofold: (1) to reduce or outright eliminate negative environmental impacts and (2) to reconnect people with nature and more holistic considerations of their place within it. Those overall aims go hand-in-hand, yet they are being pursued in a variety of different ways.
Below, we will discuss some of the basic principles of sustainable design alongside concrete examples of how it is shaping practices across a wide range of industries and disciplines. Continue reading