What Kind of Green Building is Going on in Raleigh and the Triangle

What kind of green building is going on in Raleigh and the Triangle.
How to save money while saving the Planet.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has been accredited as an official Standards Developing Organization by the American National Standards Insitute.

Many Raleigh and Triangle based buildings are certified or in the process of certification.

LEED Certification has many advantages to the community and to building owners.

For the community it means that the building has been built or retrofitted to National Standards that the design and construction meets the standards to a specific level.

For the owner of the building it means that the design and construction will provide the owner with the level of energy efficiency and environment friendliness that was sought.

LEED Certification by the USGBC provides four levels of certification. This reflects the willingness to be green and the economic constraints on the building. The only Gold building in North Carolina is the Third Creek Elementary School in Statesville. With a new building of this type Gold Certification is possible without breaking the budget.

Gold Certified buildings have a long structural life, better long term economic profile and are better fit for a use. On the down side they can have a steep learning curve for the owners and users of the building. A lot of education must occur for people used to facilities that look and behave differently.

Silver Certification buildings, of which North Carolina has a number, are somewhat more affordable and thus we can expect to see a lot of these among well financed organizations. Duke and the City of Raleigh either have, or are seeking to have, buildings with Silver certification. This is like getting an environmental B+.

Bronze Certification buildings are somewhat rarer at this time. This certification is a compromise that shows the owners good intentions but for some reason, probably financial, they had some constraints on how far to take the design.

Certification without a metal color indicates that the owner is seeking to build an environmentally sustainable building but probably has to make compromises in order to do the project. Another reason that just simple certification is sought is that the higher levels of certification are planned for later phases. For example the building BBH is retrofitting would cost more than a new building at the higher levels of certification. Their plan is to work to higher levels of certification in future phases of the retrofit.

If starting with basic certification with an eye toward future upgrades the Emerging Green Builders can help in the planning phase. In this way structures needed for the next phase can be planned in the present phase.

Duke’s Kilgo Dormatory Renovation projects show this approach. In 2004 the Dormatory was given basic certification. After a second phase of renovation in 2005, Duke sought and got Silver Certification for the dormitory.

Five members from the University of North Carolina and the Emerging Green Builders Triangle Chapter were amoung the three first place winners of the USEGB 2006 NaturalTalent Design Competition for their green design of a habit house.

Not just content with helping the environment Frank Giordano, Andrew Darab, KC Kurtz, Eric Jabaley and Susan Ungerleider of North Carolina State University had to take it a step further and help people who need a first home. In this case a home designed to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

The Triangle Wastewater Treatment Plant in Durham became LEED certified in 2005.
Duke University in Durham, N.C. had three buildings certified; the Smith Warehouse certified in 2004; the Kilgo Dormatory Renovation certified originally in 2004 and silver certified in 2005; and the Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Science silver certified in 2005.
The EPA had the EPA National Computer Center silver certified in 2005.

Buildings currently listed for LEED Certification

The NC Wildlife Resources Commission is planning an Administrative Headquarters and Centennial Center. The have listed the project for LEED Certification.

The State Employee Credit Union is financing the Green Square Project which will contain a bank, Post Office, Data Center, Museum, Visitor Center, Zoo, and assembly space for meetings, worship or theater. They are seeking LEED Certification.

The Raleigh Convention Center is being build with an eye to being a green building. The City of Raleigh and the City Manager have listed the center for LEED Certification.

Wake Technical Community College has listed college buildings for LEED Certification.

Not yet listed but planning to be certified is a joint project between architecture design firm BBH Design and North Raleigh United Church. This project, which just recently got input from the Emerging Green Builders Triangle Chapter, is unique in that it involves retrofitting an existing structure to new uses while adding a long term environmental plan to make the building environmentally friendly. The closed office and warehouse space in a dark environmentally unfriendly building is being converted to open architectural design space on one side of the building and light expansive environmentally friendly church space on the other side.

To learn more about green design and Leeds Ceritification follow the links provided with this article.

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