Building environmentally sound buildings is extremely important because people spend the majority of their life indoors, and nobody wants to live, work, or play in a space that could be potentially detrimental to their mental or physical health. Furthermore, even more imperative, is the status of our schools. A place where children are meant to grow and learn – and be safe – yet, many primary and secondary schools expose children to toxins and other potentially harmful deficiencies.
Learn why greener schools mean a brighter future for everyone.
For the Greener Good Lecture Series: Sustainable Schools will be from 6:30 – 8:00 PM. The cost is $12 for members and $20 for non-members, Free for students with valid ID. You can purchase tickets here or at the door.
A bit over a year ago, as I was sitting in my Institutional Design Studio, I was flipping through my favorite magazine – Metropolis – when I came across a feature story on Georgetown’s Sweetgreen. I was in awe of the historic retrofit, the building used to house the Little Tavern hamburger ‘hut’, in conjunction with its eco-friendly and streamlined interior – I knew that as soon as class was over I would be off towards M Street in order to explore further. Could it be true? Does a piece of design paradise exist with-in a 460-square foot envelope just down the street from me?
Fast-forward a year later, to yesterday actually, where my investigation of Sweetgreen continued with Nic Jammet, one of the restaurants three owners (the others are Jonathan Neman and Nathaniel Ru), at their newest location in Logan Circle.
The little car wash that could is chugging away in Woodbridge.
Yesterday, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for The Smart Car Wash, which is seeking to become the world’s first car wash to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
The Smart Car Wash will re-use over 90 percent of its water, reduce noise and light pollution, use technology that cuts equipment power requirements in half, and wash cars only with bio-friendly chemicals. Designed with sustainability in mind, it will follow guidelines from the US Green Building Council.
While I’m all for more green features in new homes, this doesn’t sound like the most green way to revitalize a community. St. Charles is 22 miles from DC with no direct transit access to the city, so any new residents would be driving to jobs, schools, and shopping centers. A more green alternative would be to focus this new development where the infrastructure already exists, so that residents can live without cars.
Also, this is a revitalization effort that aims to start fresh with new housing in the area– 11,000 new homes on 4,000 undeveloped acres. Personally, I’d think that retrofitting existing homes with energy-efficient features, building more housing where housing already exists, and preserving that 4,000 acres of open space would be the way to go. But good for St. Charles in taking this first step towards greening the community.
To earn the recognition, Pepco dropped the building’s energy consumption by nearly 17 percent and water use by 1.12 million gallons through retrofits and energy conservation measures. An audit and education programs increased recycling.
I applaud any efforts toward sustainability, including this one — yet feel I must point out that only about 4 percent of the energy coming over Pepco’s lines today to DC and Maryland is renewable. (Did you know you were burning that much fossil fuel?) To put your utility dollars toward green power, check out Clean Currents.
The first thing I noticed when I saw Lafayette Tower at 801 17th St., N.W., near the White House, were the windows — lots of glass running from floor to floor, reflecting some fluffy clouds and blue sky. But this is not just any glass. It is triple-paned glass, made to be energy efficient. Its thickness blocks sound, makes it nearly as hard to break as a car windshield, and gives an extra layer on which to put a special coating that keeps heat from seeping through the pane — so the office stays warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
The windows are just one of the many features of this, the first commercial office building in DC to be recognized for its energy efficiency with LEED Platinum certification.