About a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend two Eco Aquarium sessions at EcoBuild, a 3 day conference in DC for the built professionals. Eco Aquarium is about presentations from people/ professionals, who have been there. It's kinda learning from the experts. The sessions provide very interesting insights to problems, challenges, and things learn into various 'green' projects.
The two sessions were about Smart Home Program, a project from Duke University and the Nats stadium being the first green ballpark in the U.S. that happens to be in our backyard. The Smart Home Program is a live-in lab at Duke, where students participate in an opportunity for bring innovative technology for residential industry. It took a couple of years to build the smart home, which is a 6,000 square feet research lab. Jim Gaston, who is the leader for this project, says that they had groundbreaking in 2005, but then realized that they had no money to financed the project. So, the students spent a year in 2006 to do fundraising. Construction then begins in 2007 and completed in the same year. The SH project earns a LEED Platinum.
image: via SHP (more pics, here)
Some of the features you can find in the smart home. Via Smart Home Program.
- There are 5 double bedrooms in the home (4 on the top and 1 on the bottom).
- They are designated by their compass location. For example, the room on the north face on the east side is called Northeast Bedroom.
- Each bedroom is approximately 250 square feet and comes furnished with a 2 of the following: 3/4 loft,desk and chari, bookshelf, dresser, and wardrobe.
- A 2-person lab counter is provided in each room with a window view as extra working space for projects.
They have some pretty fascinating products/ projects in the works. Currently, the SH Program have few students working on a few projects. For example, there is a student working on the future of home wireless technology, where one day you can put your gadgets like laptop, cell phone, etc. on the table and re-charge your gadgets. You can read more about the program, here.
Building the stadium for the Nats, created different challenges. Anika Landrenau, Architect with HOK, talks about the challenges they faced and things they learn in the process. Though the Nats is the first green stadium, LEED Silver, in the U.S., because they deal with different parties with different interests - the stadium owner and DC government - HOK didn't tell contractors that they're building towards LEED certification. The idea was to create a sustainable site where it's a Transit Oriented Development, involved in a voluntary cleanup project in a brownfield site with an intricate 30 acres separate sewer and storm. It provides alternative transportation where there are no public parking. People would take metro the the site. Now, they have to pay people to park.
Some of the things discussed were the challenges faced in storm water management, water efficiency strategies to reach annual water savings of 30% over EPACT, where the baseline of water use according to EPACT requirement is 9.6 million gallon per year. Materials use for the projects include 20% building from recycle content, 35% building materials from around the region.
Oh one more thing, DC government is pretty strict about storm water management..