Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Tech’

By Howard Wertheimer, Director, Capital Planning & Space Management, Georgia Institute of Technology
(This article appears in the November, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

ACUPCC ImplementerGeorgia Tech is committed to the development of a sustainable campus community, creating distinctive architecture and open spaces. In keeping with this goal, Georgia Tech has a clear mission for its new Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory Building: carbon neutral net zero site energy use. The 40,000 square foot facility is intended to set a new standard for sustainable design for laboratory buildings of this type by optimizing passive energy technologies, reducing electricity loads, thoughtful day-lighting strategies, water conservation and harvesting, and maximizing the use of renewable energy, including a 290kW photovoltaic array.

Rendition of GT’s Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory

The building will be anchored by Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute and will house a variety of energy research programs requiring large scale (high-bay) and intermediate scale (mid-bay) capabilities, and the design is intended to express its mission simply, directly and honestly; a “no frills” design. The building took advantage of innovative planning models that go beyond flexibility and adaptability, introducing the mid-bay laboratory concept for large-scale equipment that requires slab-on-grade space, without the necessity of a 30’ tall high bay.  The building also challenged conventional energy use assumptions, and developed the energy model based on a net-zero energy approach. Through analyses of contemporary carbon neutral buildings, establishing a working definition of net zero site energy use, incorporating baseline energy modeling and studying simple pre- industrial structures, the design team created a series of four alternative building concepts. These were evaluated through energy-modeling to determine which options and which energy-savings features to pursue.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded the Georgia Tech Research Corporation $11.6 million to construct the Carbon-Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory (C-NES). As one of 12 recipients of the NIST award, the project has a total budget of $24.6 million. The balance of the project was financed through GT Facilities Inc., a 501c3 affiliate partner of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The project has already received national recognitions, with awards from the New Jersey AIA, the Georgia AIA, the Georgia chapter of the ASLA, and Southern Region of ENR’s Magazine for best Green Building.

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By Anthony Cortese, President, Second Nature

Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of Interface, great leader, mentor and friend passed away this week after a long bout with cancer at age 77. He was and continues to be the icon of what a successful business must look like to survive indefinitely and lead society on a more healthy, fair and sustainable path.

Ray showed against all odds and often cynicism from others in business that it was not only possible but profitable, essential, moral and sustainable to run a business that mimics nature in every way it operates. He was a fierce competitor and a great believer in the power of business, with the right leadership, ethics and incentives, to move society in a just and sustainable direction. He understood and tried to lead a life of integrity, caring, morality and sustainability in the broadest and deepest sense as a person and as a business leader. I met him in the early 90’s when he joined a number of national leaders to form the Natural Step US. I was privileged to be part of that group. He became an instant mentor and friend and took on the cause of calling on higher education to become an agent of transformative change for a sustainable society. He was the keynote speaker at several Second Nature regional workshops from our very early days and at the June 2009 summit of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. He appropriately became the darling of college campuses, gave several commencement speeches and probably over 500 lectures and presentations at colleges and universities. He was awarded numerous honorary degrees including his last from his alma mater, Georgia Tech. The Interface story is one of the most widely used case studies in business schools across the country and the world. Whenever I wanted someone from the private sector to make the case for education for sustainability, Ray was always at the top of the list and always the best. He did this in so many walks of life – government (e.g., co-chair of President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development), numerous national and international business organizations, NGOs and religious groups.

For me he was a great mentor, colleague and friend who was an endless source of inspiration during all the years I have been with Second Nature. The greatest tribute I can give him is that I always felt that I should rise to the highest possible level of being when I was around him. The amazing thing was that it was almost effortless to do so. He had that effect on me and on many others who interacted with him. It was his clarity of purpose, strength of character and his dogged pursuit of a dream for a better society – leading through example – that was so powerful and infectious. It was that persistence and constant innovation over two decades that kept me going through all the challenging times that SN had. During SN’s darkest financial hours from 2002-2004, I kept the SN dream alive as a consultant to Interface while pursuing the development of the Education for Sustainability Western Network which was the precursor to AASHE. I can honestly say that I might not have had the courage to help launch the ACUPCC if it were not for his vision and influence. Most importantly, he was always upbeat, kind, supportive and generous with his thoughts and his time. He was truly a citizen of the planet and an iconic person of all ages.

There have been many fitting tributes to Ray in the last two days and there will continue to be in the days to come. There are very few things that I know for certain, but there are a few. One is that reflection, sorrow, grief and prayer is an essential and healthy part of life and moving on, which he would want us to do. The other is that the best way to celebrate Ray’s life is for SN and the ACUPCC to be the greatest possible success in transforming higher education for the good of society.

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While the US government and the global community have been slow to address severe climate disruption, colleges and universities are stepping in to boldly slash their carbon emissions, research and develop new technologies, and prepare students to create a safer, clean energy economy.

According to a new annual report (PDF) released today by the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), the participating schools are working to cut a combined estimated 33+ million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.  The ACUPCC, launched in early 2007, is currently comprised of 677 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia – representing nearly six million students and about one third of the US higher education student population.

David Shi, President of Furman University and Co-Chair of the ACUPCC, noted, “Sustainability is one of the few enterprises that fosters collaboration among institutions.  That so many schools have embraced the climate commitment is unprecedented.  Such bold action on such a broad scale provides a model for the rest of society to emulate.”

Recently, more than 300,000 individuals called their Senators as part of a coordinated effort promoted by dozens of advocacy groups urging the US government to pass comprehensive climate legislation.  But the higher education sector is not waiting for uncertain government action.


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