The Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh is the first building in the world to achieve all 4 of the the world’s highest sustainable building standards. It has just added Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification to its list of credits.
The Living Building Challenge takes into account 7 criteria — place, water, energy, health and happiness, materials, equity and beauty. It is considered the most stringent measure of building sustainability. Other LBC certified buildings in the US include the Bullitt Center in Seattle, which claims to be the greenest commercial building in the world.
The CSL has also obtained WELL Building Platinum certification, the Four Stars Sustainable SITES Initiative award and is LEED Platinum certified. What makes a building so sustainable?
The Center has a “green” roof and is orientated to maximize its exposure to the sun. It uses a variety of heating and cooling methods, including thermal massing, high-performance glazing, brise-soleil screens and solar shading.
A ground source geeothermal heating and air conditioning system uses 14 bore holes driven more than 500′ down into the ground to take advantage of the Earth’s constant temperature. Low emissive glazing is used to minimize thermal heat loss and solar cooling loads while providing an abundance of natural lighting. A building-wide computer monitoring system notifies occupants when to open or close the windows.
Rainwater is collected in a 60,000 gallon tank underground and used for watering the vegetation that surrounds the building. It is also used to flush the low flow toilets the building is equipped with. Plantings on the roof of the building help reduce the amount of rainwater run-off and also provide additional insulation. A lagoon system around the building captures run-off water and uses it to replicate a natural water treatment process to reduce the building’s impact on the city sewage treatment and potable water systems.
A 125 kW solar array and a vertical axis wind turbine generate electricity for the building. Combined, they generate more electrical power than needed. The excess is used to power other parts of the Phipps campus.
Taken together, the Center for Sustainable Landscapes is an impressive collection of ideas brought together to serve as a model for sustainable architecture in the future.
Source and Photo Credits: Gizmag