Sustainable Building Technology

Green giant

Bank of America Tower, to be located at One Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan is a US$1 billion project that has been designed to be one of the most highly efficient and ecologically friendly tall buildings in the world. The building, currently under construction, is expected to be complete in 2008.

Jason Walsh got in touch with Cook + Fox Architects in New York, designers of the Bank of America Tower to see how the practice plans to square the circle of designing an environmentally sound high-rise building.

A place in the sun

Swords housing project with solar heat recovery system & timber frame
The mainstreaming of sustainable building technologies is manifesting itself in a growing number of developers seeking to find the greener option. Jason Walsh describes a recent project where airtight timber frame construction meets high-tech solar thermal in a North Dublin House of Tomorrow funded scheme which is delivering low carbon results

Walking on water

0406-Walking-On-Water-SMALL.jpg
Designing a low-energy public building with passive ventilation and lighting in mind is one thing – making it fit seamlessly into a rural wetland environment is quite another. Lenny Antonelli visited the award-winning Ballybay Wetlands Centre in County Monaghan - a closed-panel timber frame structure designed to sit softly on the surrounding landscape.

Out of the ordinary

0309-outoftheordinarytitle.jpg
It has long been anticipated that the cost of sustainable building will come down as it enters the mass market, benefiting from economies of scale and greater industry confidence in low impact techniques and technologies as they become more familiar. Jay Stuart, managing director of integrated sustainable design consultants Delap and Waller EcoCo reveals a Kildare housing project which is likely to rapidly accelerate this process, and convince even the most conservative elements of the industry that low energy, low carbon building can be achieved at little or no additional cost

Alive and well

Alive-And-Well
Designing sustainable buildings doesn’t always mean hi-tech solutions. From green roofs to living walls to constructed wetlands, sometimes it’s just a matter of embracing natural solutions. Lenny Antonelli investigates the emerging technologies and designs that use nature to improve the performance of buildings.

Sustainable Cement

The cement industry is well known as being amongst the worst culprits for emitting CO2, a seemingly unavoidable side effect of its production. However, as Peter Seymour, Business Development Manager with Ecocem Ireland Ltd explains, there is a strong, eco-friendly competitive alternative to Portland cement that is being specified in a variety of high profile construction projects in Ireland.

Hollow victory

Hollow Victory
Much of the housing built around Dublin over the last forty years has been built of single-leaf nine-inch hollow block construction – which are both notoriously energy inefficient and extremely difficult to insulate effectively without causing damp problems. Lenny Antonelli visited a hollow block house which has been ecologically renovated to protect occupant health whilst shooting to the top of the energy rating scale.

DEAP heat

DEAP Heating
The Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure (DEAP) is now the national methodology for creation of Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificates for new dwellings in Ireland, and is an important desk top tool for predicting the performance of projects at outline design stage.

Vorsprung durch Oeko-technik

German eco house combines breathability and stunning airtightness
Germany has a reputation for high quality craftsmanship, an attention to detail and a positive attitude to sustainable and healthy housing. Jason Walsh visited a new German-built house in County Dublin to see if the expertise can be exported.

Renewed efforts

0310-RenewedEffortsTITLE.jpg
In the future, the high cost and scarcity of fossil energy may force a shift towards retaining and modernising old buildings, thereby avoiding the use of huge amounts of energy to manufacture building materials. John Hearne visited the Belvedere Orphanage, a group of 19th century dwellings whose low energy refurbishment may offer a template for development in the future, by using wood pellet district heating and a host of energy saving measures whilst nonetheless paying great attention to preserving the buildings’ heritage value.