Building a Sustainable Future

Examining smart and environmentally friendly technologies and methods, such as biodiesel, green buildings, natural power, energy efficient appliances and many others that take a minimal toll on the environment, in order to inform and help make our future a sustainable one.

Friday, September 15, 2006

LEEDing with gold

While I just got done highlighting some of the latest LEED-certified structures, the news brings another into focus. This time, it's the courthouse plaza in Sioux Falls.

As the title states, the builders of this structure managed to went for a gold LEED certification rating, making it the first building in the region to do so. As previously implied, one of the interesting things about the LEED standard is that in a way it is an "open standard", allowing some freedom and flexibility as to how certain areas are implemented.

In the case of this building, builders were able to incorporate special airflow systems that minimized electricity use by cutting down on motors and fans. But perhaps one of the most unique features about this green building is its central geothermal heating system. In the lead architect's words:

"This has geothermal heat, so it goes down to wells, brings up water at 50-degrees, which saves on equipment and is a good payback and saver," Winkels said.

Additional LEED-certified features include a reflective roof, which will cut down on cooling costs by 50% or more during the summer, as well as re-use of the existing materials from the previous building. Hopefully, the innovations (and eventual savings cost on energy over the long run) will inspire other builders in the area to consider attaining a LEED certification with future building projects.

Categories: LEED, architecture


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