Greenbuild is still a little quiet, but BuildingGreen staff are already super busy.
Knowing what we were in for, we took things a little slow on our way to Toronto. In particular, we couldn't resist a field trip to the very cool Syracuse Center of Excellence (SCOE) building. Designed by Toshiko Mori, the building serves in part as a test bed for indoor air quality and its effect on health and productivity.
Students, faculty, government agencies, and manufacturers can all use this space to learn all sorts of things about how humans react to changes in air temperature, daylight, and many other factors. What a great idea.
The SCOE also includes:
For me personally, one of the really exciting things about the tour was the building manager's obvious commitment to his building. Tim Benson seemed really excited about all the cool technology--such as the automatic blinds that are sealed within the insulated glazing unit--but also readily admitted that, as with any building, some of the features didn't function as intended at first.
Little modifications here and there are ongoing--like some tape marking the water level in the rainwater catchment tank that ensures it will pump adequately to the toilets but not overflow--but he didn't seem burdened by them. In fact, he seemed pretty darn thrilled to have such a cool building to take care of.
Another story that intrigued me involved some lights that glow green or red when it's a good or bad time to open the windows. There were a couple issues with these lights: first, when conditions were borderline, they kept chiming. Tim ended up disabling the auditory alerts just to keep everyone in the building sane. Second, people kept ignoring the red light and opening the windows anyway--which required a little intervention and training.
Since I am writing an article about the emerging interest in occupant engagement and its relationship to design, I found these stories quite fascinating. (Watch for that in Environmental Building News next month! I'm getting a lot of great info from the people who are blazing this trail.)
Our founder and executive editor, Alex Wilson, has taken a break from his sabbatical to be at Greenbuild this week, and he took some great photos during the tour. I'll just use the rest of the space to share his shots with you, along with my own explanations (as best I can remember). Enjoy!
Next time you go through Syracuse, I highly recommend a visit.
We installed these in our new house and they work great. Excellent product.
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