Video> Michael Adlerstein & John Gering on retrofitting the United Nations Secretariat Building

The United Nations Headquarters site in Manhattan (seen here in 1985) covers approximately sixteen acres from 42nd to 48th Streets between First Avenue and the East River. Among the buildings on the premises are the marble-framed 39-storey Secretariat (to the left); the General Assembly building topped with a shallow dome; the Dag Hammarskjöld Library (to the left of the Secretariat); and the building housing the Council Chambers and Conference Rooms which lies on the river's edge. (UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata.)

The United Nations Headquarters site in Manhattan (seen here in 1985) covers approximately sixteen acres from 42nd to 48th Streets between First Avenue and the East River. (UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata.)

In addition to being AN‘s Midwest Editor, I was the special media correspondent for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in 2014, interviewing tall building designers, developers, and other experts at the skyscraper think tank’s Shanghai conference, and its annual CTBUH Awards ceremony in Chicago.

Watch the video after the jump.

Los Angeles’ sustainability chief talks going green in SoCal

Sustainability is a top concern for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Neil Kremer / Flickr)

Sustainability is a top concern for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Neil Kremer/Flickr)

Thanks in no small part to the local AEC industry, Los Angeles is a leader in sustainability in several areas, notably green building. But there is still room for improvement, said Matt Petersen, former president and CEO of Global Green USA. Petersen would know: he’s the city’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti as part of a broader administrative overhaul. “The mandate the mayor gave me was to build on the great things Los Angeles is already doing, and to put forward a vision for sustainability in the city,” explained Petersen.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Buildings Institute catalogues the nation’s net-zero buildings

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation's headquarters in Los Altos, California is a relatively rare example of certified net-zero built work in the U.S. Completed in 2012, the building features a sophisticated cooling system, natural ventilation, and is certified LEED Platinum. (Jeremy Bittermann via Esherick Homsey Dodge & Davis)

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s headquarters in Los Altos, California is a relatively rare example of certified net-zero built work in the U.S. Completed in 2012, the building features a sophisticated cooling system, natural ventilation, and is certified LEED Platinum. (Jeremy Bittermann via Esherick Homsey Dodge & Davis)

The Vancouver-based New Buildings Institute (NBI) tracks energy efficient built work, and their 2014 update, “Getting to Zero”, provides a snapshot of the emerging U.S. market for net-zero buildings—those are structures that use no more energy than they can gather on site.

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Chicago’s big building owners embrace the smart grid

Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

Large downtown buildings make up a disproportionate share of the built environment’s energy usage. (josh*m via flickr)

The members of Chicago‘s Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) control nearly 80 percent of downtown Chicago’s rentable building area. That makes them critical to local energy efficiency initiatives that aim to reduce the nearly 40 percent of U.S. energy that is consumed by buildings. Read More

Such Great Heights: CTBUH names world’s best tall buildings

One Central Park (Richard Braddish)

One Central Park (Richard Braddish)

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the nonprofit arbiter on tall building design, has named its 2014 picks for best tall buildings. Among the winners are a twisting tower in Dubai, Portland’s greenest retrofit, and a veritable jungle of a high-rise.

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Video> Facade design experts discuss sustainability, energy efficiency

Today’s facade designers cannot afford to ignore the question of sustainability, and in particular energy efficiency. James O’Callaghan (Eckersley O’Callaghan), William Logan (Israel Berger & Associates), and Will Laufs (LaufsED) sat down with our partners at Enclos during April’s facades+ NYC conference to talk about the push and pull between aesthetics and environmental performance in building envelopes. Top AEC professionals will continue the conversation at facades+ Chicago on July 24–25. For more information or to register, visit the conference website. Early Bird registration ends June 29.

Senior Housing in Oakland Pushes the Building Envelope

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Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects pursued both LEED and GreenPoints ratings for their Merritt Crossing senior housing complex. (Tim Griffith)

Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects pursued both LEED and GreenPoint ratings for their Merritt Crossing senior housing complex. (Tim Griffith)

Sustainability and high design meet in Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects’ affordable housing complex.

Designing a sustainable building on a budget is tricky enough. But for the Merritt Crossing senior housing complex in Oakland, California, non-profit developer Satellite Affordable Housing Associates upped the ante, asking Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects to follow not one but two green-building ratings systems. “They wanted to push the envelope of what they typically do and decided to pursue not only the LEED rating, but also the GreenPoint system,” said principal Richard Stacy. “So we actually did both, which is kind of crazy.” Wrapped in a colorful cement-composite rain screen system punctuated by high performance windows, Merritt Crossing achieved LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Pilot Program Platinum and earned 206 points on the Build-It-Green GreenPoint scale. The building was also the first Energy Star Rated multi-family residence in California, and was awarded 104 points by Bay-Friendly Landscaping. Read More

Mayors, Philanthropies Team Up for Energy Efficiency Blitz

National, News, Sustainability
Thursday, January 30, 2014
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Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

A team of mayors and nonprofit foundations said Wednesday that they’ll spend enough retrofitting major U.S. cities to save more than $1 billion per year in energy costs. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropy, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation pledged $3 million each year for three years to provide technical advisers for 10 cities across the country: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. Read More

Public Votes University of North Carolina Solar Home as Decathlon Choice

West
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
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Courtesy DOE Solar Decathlon

UrbanEden, the Solar Decathlon Entry by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Courtesy DOE Solar Decathlon

This past weekend, a jury of architects, engineers, and market experts scored Team Austria’s home entry as the winner of the United States Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, a student design competition aimed at educating and encouraging thought about the affordability and efficiency of solar homes. As AN reported, the Team Austria private residential design is environmentally sensitive and easily adaptable, chosen for its overall energy efficiency, attractiveness of design, cost, and comfortable living conditions.

However, of the 19 designs by collegiate teams from the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, and Austria presented in Irvine, California, the public had a dissenting opinion about the Decathlon winner. The People’s Choice Award vote went to UrbanEden from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; this concrete and glass-based modern structure was the majority’s favorite home entry. Continue Reading After the Jump

Ice Cream Freezer Reinvented as Santa Fe Architecture Office

Newsletter, Southwest
Thursday, September 5, 2013
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(Rich Anderson / Flickr)

(Rich Anderson / Flickr)

Santa Fe, New Mexico–based architecture firm WAMO Studio recently moved into a cool new office—a former walk-in ice cream freezer. The repurposed space, formerly used by Taos Cow Ice Cream to store frozen treats. The 550-square-foot freezer offers a sleek and industrial space with sheet metal walls and industrial-strength insulation. After a few adjustments, WAMO has transformed it from a frigid container to a viable workspace. Partner and architect, Vahid Mojarrab, described the space to the Santa Fe New Mexican as “a perfect fit” for the husband-and-wife architecture company, which specializes in energy-efficient and high-performance design.

View the office conversion after the jump.

Light Show: Computer Controlled LED Lights Wash Park Avenue’s Helmsley Building

East
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
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230 Park Avenue awash in light. (Evan Joseph)

230 Park Avenue awash in light. (Evan Joseph)

On Monday, December 3, the “Jewel of Park Avenue” at 230 Park, aka The Helmsley Building, really began to sparkle as building-owner Monday Properties unveiled a new LED lighting display to a crowd huddled at the base of the building, staring upward with anticipation as rush hour traffic swirled around. Monday Properties President and CEO Anthony Westreich and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer stood together to push a giant red button, officially triggering the light show, which flickered into action, turning heads of passers by for blocks around as a live violinist provided musical accompaniment.

Watch a video of the lighting display after the jump.

International Code Council Calls For 30% More Efficient Buildings

Other
Monday, November 15, 2010
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Thermal heat loss graphic shows a building's energy inefficiency.

While the country has been obsessed mid-term elections, local and state building code officials passed another less conspicuous but equally important vote that will reportedly result in 30 percent more efficient buildings than those built to current standards.  During the International Code Council’s (ICC) final action hearings held in Charlotte, North Carolina last month, building officials supported revisions to the commercial section of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), one of the model building codes published by the ICC that establish minimum energy efficiency standards for new construction of residential and commercial buildings.

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