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Sustainable

Microclimate – Bringing Biophilia to Child Care: The Child Care Center at Hort Woods

[The following is an excerpt from Volume 23 of The ReeSource, which was published in August of 2012. This volume was a special issue which focused on the innovative design features of the Child Care Center at Hort Woods – the first Penn State University building ever awarded a LEED Platinum Certification. An online version of this project feature is still viewable on the Penn State University Sustainability Institute’s website at www.sustainability.psu.edu/hortwoods.] From the beginning of the first design charettes, the Hort Woods were always viewed as central to the Child Care Center, as their use for outdoor play and... Read More

Integrated Design – Bringing Biophilia to Child Care: The Child Care Center at Hort Woods

[The following is an excerpt from Volume 23 of The ReeSource, which was published in August of 2012. This volume was a special issue which focused on the innovative design features of the Child Care Center at Hort Woods – the first Penn State University building ever awarded a LEED Platinum Certification. An online version of this project feature is still viewable on the Penn State University Sustainability Institute’s website at www.sustainability.psu.edu/hortwoods.] Before the twentieth century and the architectural engineer, the window was the only means of ventilation, cooling, and suitable lighting. Today’s architects and engineers are very good at... Read More

Hybrid Ventilation – Bringing Biophilia to Child Care: The Child Care Center at Hort Woods

[The following is an excerpt from Volume 23 of The ReeSource, which was published in August of 2012. This volume was a special issue which focused on the innovative design features of the Child Care Center at Hort Woods – the first Penn State University building ever awarded a LEED Platinum Certification. An online version of this project feature is still viewable on the Penn State University Sustainability Institute’s website at www.sustainability.psu.edu/hortwoods.] Without even accounting for microclimate, our energy model identified a potential reduction in annual cooling energy of nearly 45%. However, up to this point, potential was all we... Read More

Nothing but Net Zero Energy Building

Have you heard the term ‘net zero energy building’ and wondered what it means? If so, you are not alone. Its definition can vary significantly depending on which country you are in and with whom you are speaking. At one end of the spectrum, a net zero site energy building is one that collects the same amount of energy on site as it uses from energy utilities over a year. One step up from this is a net zero source energy building, which collects the same amount of energy on site that is consumed at the source to generate the... Read More

Thermal/Infrared Imaging: More Than Meets the Eye

Imagine for a moment that you have heat vision and can virtually ‘see the unseen’ by sensing temperature, just like a scene out of a sci-fi movie. This is essentially what thermal/infrared (T/IR) imaging is – the ability to view the normally invisible infrared (or heat) waves radiating from an object. An actual T/IR camera translates varying radiant temperatures into colors to produce a visible image that can offer numerous benefits in the area of preventive maintenance. In fact, a preventive maintenance program involving regular T/IR imaging inspections of various building elements and systems, such as the electrical distribution, envelope,... Read More

Next Year’s Model

It is an interesting time to be in the building design industry. Combine the growing awareness in sustainability and the technology becoming available to designers, and you have the reason why. For those that have the vision and courage to embrace these changes, the full potential has yet to be defined. With buildings responsible for over 50% of the world’s energy consumption, these changes could help shape the future of the planet. Ten years ago, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system was in its infancy, and building energy modeling software was just beginning to move from... Read More

Sustaining a Green Future

Whether the topic is global warming, pollution of water supplies, loss of fish and animal species, or depletion of natural resources, the facts are alarming. On July 9, 2002 an article entitled Wake-Up Call for the Planet Earth stated, “Since 1970, populations of the world’s forest species declined by 15 percent, marine species populations by 35 percent, and freshwater species populations by 54 percent.” The article further predicted that “…standards of living and human development will start to plummet throughout the world by 2030”. The severity of the situation varies depending on the resource referenced, but it is clear that... Read More