From Green Right Now Reports:
St. Louis will become home to one of North America’s greenest buildings, the Washington University Living Learning Center at the university’s Tyson Research Center. The building will be a “net zero energy” and “zero wastewater” operation that will be used as a teaching facility for student gatherings and camps.
The center, unveiled with a pre-opening ceremony this past week, is being built to meet the toughest green building rating system in the world, the Cascadia Region Green Building Council, which is a chapter affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Canadian Green Building Council, which award LEED ratings.
The Living Learning Center will go beyond LEED standards, however, to meet a 16-point set of requirements that will earn it “living building” recognition, according to the university.
Among its features:
- A rainwater recapture system that will purify the water for drinking and will be powered by solar energy so that the building may even be pumping back energy into the electric grid. The rainwater will be filtered and stored in a 3,000 gallon underground cistern.
- Pavement surrounding the building will be porous and will absorb almost all storm runoff; additional water will be conserved through the use of waterless composting toilets, and waste will be used as fertilizer for the grass.
- A 17 kilowatt photovoltaic system will power the facility.
- Construction waste will be diverted from the landfill.
- All local materials will be sought and wood, fallen or from trees slated for removal, will be taken from local woods; structural wood will come from a forestry operation 200 miles away.
- 80 percent of the waste material from construction will be diverted from landfills.
- Windows willopen to provide daylight and fresh air.
- A bat house will be built into the building’s eaves, complete with two bat cams for observation.
“Since Living Building Challenge was launched in November 2006, more than 60 project teams throughout North America have opted to pursue certification,” said Eden Brukman, the CRGBC’s research director in a news release. “The Tyson Living Learning Center is one of the first two of these projects completing construction in May, and there are many people throughout the country – and the continent – watching with eager anticipation.
“Living Building Challenge is a rigorous performance-based standard. All 16 stated characteristics must be integrated into a successful project, such as net-zero energy and water, habitat exchange, nontoxic materials and beauty and inspiration,” Brukman said. “In order to be certified as a Living Building, it must be fully operational for at least 12 consecutive months; this program demands proof that the occupants engage the project as anticipated. After all, an empty building serves no purpose.”
Brukman said the Living Building Challenge is not meant to compete with the USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating SystemTM, which is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
“The Living Building Challenge is instead viewed as an additional outlet to promote the goals set by the USGBC and CaGBC (Canadian Green Building Council) – it establishes a vision for a project’s environmental and social responsibilities from a new vantage point,” Brukman said. “In fact, both national organizations have endorsed Living Building Challenge.”
The structure was designed by Hellmuth & Bicknese Architects with Bingman Construction Co. of Pacific, Mo., serving as the general contractor.