Sustainable-design firm DPR recognized the beauty of the former porn warehouse, long before it became the world’s largest net-zero building. With temperatures in Phoenix routinely hitting 100 degrees, the temperature inside the building was 80 degrees, meaning the building had good insulation. As reported by Gizmag that was a good starting point for DPR’s Phoenix headquarters, which received LEED-NC Platinum certification and Net-Zero Energy certification from The International Living Future Institute.
- The building’s electricity is produced by the parking lot’s nearly 80 kW photovoltaic solar arrays. The firm posts the building’s energy consumption live online at Building Dashboard.
- A control system operates the building’s 87 windows, opening or closing the windows as needed to maintain internal temperature and ventilation.
- “In order to lower the indoor temperature to a comfortable level without the use of energy-guzzling air-conditioning units…four ‘shower tower’ evaporative coolers cool the air by drawing it through water mist, before it enters the building. The shower towers draw the air inside with the help of a zinc-clad solar chimney which also expels hot air back outside.”
- 82 Solatube sun pipes are installed throughout the building to minimize the use of artificial lighting. These sun pipes reflect the sun’s rays through pipes in the roof straight into the office, providing bright natural light.
The decision to have the 2022 Soccer World Cup in Qatar during the hot summer months has presented organizers with some unique challenges. As written in a recent Wall Street Journal blog entry, the wealthy nation has pledged to use its vast resources to use cooling technology to lower temperatures within soccer stadiums. These schemes will be sure to generate interesting plans. The government is building stadiums and major infrastructure projects consisting of roads, drainage systems, and a rail network. A real estate firm partly-owned by the government is planning to develop an island that will feature five floating hotels, luxury villas, and a water park; the project is expected to accommodate up to 25,000 people. The run-up to the World Cup in 2022 is sure to spawn innovative engineering solutions as the tiny nation builds its infrastructure to accommodate soccer fans from all over the world.
As recently reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, the NYPD is planning to release harmless gasses “into the city’s streets and subway stations to better understand the pathways of airborne contaminants.” Officials have set up 200 sensors throughout the city’s vast subway system and nearby streets to track the path of the gasses as they pass through all five boroughs.
The police and city officials will release the gasses on three different days in July, using differing weather patterns to help them study how gasses could move throughout the subway system should some kind of chemical attack, or accidental gas release, occur within the city. While the city already has several different airborne contaminant detection systems in place, it currently does not have a system to track air movement. Considering the sheer amount of people in the city on any given day, a test like this could go a long way toward improving public safety during an airborne crisis.
While the results of the test will not be made public, a test like this can be useful to design professionals as they need to know how buildings and other elements of the built environment affect air circulation patterns in an urban area. So the study can help understand the flow of pollutants and toxins, and also gives architects a better idea of how to enhance the urban environment by the proper placement of elements. For engineers, the study is the largest confirmation to date of the ability of engineered systems to manage air flow.
The test is being funded with a $3.4 million Department of Homeland Security Transit Security grant and performed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. The public will receive one days’ notice before each test.
New York City Council has approved Cornell’s two million square foot tech campus plan. The first building is scheduled to break ground in 2014 and is said to have both geothermal and solar power to achieve net-zero energy use. The completed campus is expected to have housing for 2000 full time graduate students, education facilities, a hotel, a corporate co-location building, and more than an acre of public open space. This is the beginning of a 23-year phased project. To alleviate Roosevelt Island resident’s traffic congestion concerns, Cornell promised to transport construction equipment via barge. This is a highly visible project that has ambitious sustainability goals that hopefully will be a showcase for environmentally friendly design and construction practices.
Through our business partnership with the AIA Trust, our Senior Risk Management Attorney Frank Musica conducted a podcast with Entrepreneur Architect, a blog that delivers content aimed at entrepreneurial architects. Frank’s informative podcast answers questions about what professional liability insurance is and why sole proprietors and owners of small architecture firms need it. The podcast discusses the history of professional liability insurance, insurance requirements for small firms, and the benefits of holding such insurance. The types of claims architects may face are explained, as well as specific insurance coverages such as “claims made” and “prior acts.” The podcast discusses helpful information such as policy exclusions, how to choose the right broker, and factors affecting the cost of insurance. In addition, Frank goes over what firms should include in their contracts with owners in order to protect them from claims, such as limitation of liability provisions and waiver provisions.