I recently returned from the annual American Alliance of Museums conference in Seattle, Washington and had a chance to celebrate many of the accomplisments of PIC-Green, AAM's sustainability leadership group. The first year of Sustainability Excellence Awards was presented to the Cincinatti Zoo, Phipps Conservatory, Field Museum, and the Museo Economa in Mexico City. These institutions demonstrated comprehensive approaches to sustainability in the areas of facility management, programming, and exhibit design.
Another great milestone was the publishing of a formal AAM whitepaper on Sustainability Standards for Museums. Sarah Sutton, co-author of the Green Museums series, Shengyin Xu, and myself worked with...
Historic Preservation and Sustainability
I recently had the honor of authoring a blog post for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Over the past couple of years, I've really developed an affinity for work on historic buildings. Weaving infrastructure into these buildings requires care and creativity, but the outcome is the preservation of buildings that are important to our history. WRL continues to do work on historically significant buildings, which we will write more on, including the Smithsonian Institution Renwick Gallery and the Historic Landmark Building at the Pennsylvania Academcy of Fine...
Buildings and Software Development
How many times do you see the apps on your smartphone update each week? It's typical for an app to be updated several times in a month. When was the last time you saw a building get the equivalent of a firmware upgrade or a software patch to resolve an issue? Probably almost never. What would happen if we used the mindset that we accept for software development and applied it to the built environment?
In the building industry, we don't benefit from mass production. Each project, for the most part, is custom designed. If we want high performance outcomes...
zEPI: Targeting Energy Performance
Everyday, we see increased urgency for the need to control greehouse gas emissions to mitigate the impacts of climate change. One key element to success to education and how we convey information to different stakeholders. A new energy reporting concept was introduced in the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) in 2012, the zero energy performance index (zEPI). The intent was for this system to allow energy use targets to be set in a consistent manner, while allowing relative performance of building types to be benchmarked against each other. The zEPI concept has faced some confusion more broadly, due to the...