Thursday, November 1, 2007


Green Building is a documentary movie about the Audubon house and how a dedicated team of architects, environmentalists, engineers, research scientists, and interior designers recycled this significant 100-year old building and reduced the energy utilization to 52% of that used in a comparable office building. It is amazing to see how a group of experts accomplished to make a big difference in the structure by adding some changes to the actual building such as natural light and highly resourceful electrical light for lighting the office spaces, nontoxic paints for the wall and recycled newsprint for flooring. They produced a better and healthier environment for people, wildlife, and the earth's natural resources and developed a good workplace model for future. The movie points to several improvements in Audubon House that can be also implemented in my studio project which is a residential units in Tempe area with 2000 square foot in each unit.

The first and most notable area of improvement is in energy efficiency that can be achieved by making use of enhanced natural light and highly urbanized lighting system. Full-size windows on the Northern and Western sides of the building allow large quantities of natural daylight into the living area. Use of light colors for furnishing and interior surfaces increase reflectance of natural light and can help this pheromone further. The “Task/Ambient” lighting system for living room and bedrooms introduce soft background light to the room and wherever focused light is needed task lighting can be implemented. In the bathroom, T8 Triphosphor fluorescent lamps bring in the light with natural tone and insignificant heat.

Decreasing pollution and making a healthier environment is another major challenge that should be considered for any design. By using gas fired absorption heathers/coolers, creation of sulfur dioxide can be prevented while about 60% reduction in nitrogen oxides creation can be achieved compared to similar units that use other sources of energy. In addition, for reducing electricity demand for cooling system applying for an on-site energy source, gas, during the summer is a great opportunity that can be explored.

Another key takeaway of this documentary was the importance of recycling and protecting resources in the nature. The first step to gain this goal in my project is to switch to recycled material instead of the regular material. Many materials such as steel, wood, concrete, masonry are sent out for recycling and can be used after reprocessing. Homosote sub is a new type of wallboard developed from recycled paper which is designed to be used for flooring and it is made from 60% recycled newsprint. One interesting idea for kitchen flooring is to use reprocessed tiles that are recycled from light bulbs. Recycled plastic bottles can be used for bathroom countertops and also reprocessed gypsum and newsprint for wall.

Although the Audubon House was an office building most of change that they made during the renovation can be used for residential building as well. As a result of my research I further discovered that being green and contributing to greener architecture design is a continuous daily task that we should all take part in to make the world a better place. By doing some research and using the right material for the structures one can have a significant impact on our surrounding.

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