More focus is being aimed at "saving the planet" than ever before. As a team, our goal is to analyze the need and provide a solution to this crucial problem by tackling one of the major challenges that contribute to the cause for concern; energy consumption and waste management in residential settings. Much of the housing infrastructure currently in place is far from environmentally ideal and even raises health concerns. The major problems include energy consumption, waste management, toxicity levels in building materials, recyclability of building materials and environmental impact. Through extensive research, we have constructed a solution to this complex problem. By redefining the housing infrastructure, specifically apartment complexes, a real need is addressed; the need for a truly environmentally friendly apartment building complex. Through the unique integration of numerous sustainable technologies, we have designed such a living space.
Living is an inevitably wasteful process. Over the course of our lives, we create waste, use energy and deeply impact the environment in negative ways. Imagine living somewhere where you would waste less, use less energy and rather than harm the environment, you could help it! Try living in Green Haven Apartments. The first location of will be in Worcester, Massachusetts. There is no other apartment building like Green Haven in the Northeast Region, let alone the entire United States. This dwelling will create a model for energy efficient apartments in the years to come.
The main focus of our project is sustainable development. Through the integration of numerous technologies we have constructed a design for an apartment complex that will revolutionize the way we all live. Furthermore, the project design has been specifically tailored to fit the Northeast Region of the United States. Narrowing the intending habitat for Green Haven allows more climate specific building, in turn creating a better and more tailored product, rather than a 'one size fits all' ideal.
In 2005 the U.S. Government reported that there were approximately 6.7 million occupied apartment units in the Northeast Region. These buildings account for approximately 33% of all residents in the region; a very significant amount (Official Energy Statistics). With one third of all residents in the region living in apartment complexes, a lot of the energy consumption in the Northeast Region comes directly from apartment complexes. Of all four U.S. Regions, the Northeast uses the most in energy, (measured in Btu's/Square Foot) which is one of the reasons why we chose this region to work with. This in is a wonderful opportunity to show how efficient housing can significantly reduce the energy consumption of an entire region.
As previously stated, nearly one third of all residents in the Northeast Region live in apartment complexes, but even more important is that this number is on the rise. As in every region, the population is steadily increasing at an exponential rate, and residential dwellings are in greater demand than ever before. As land prices increase, the best solution would be to create an affordable apartment complex which uses less land per resident than a typical home with one acre of land.
This ideology is already being practiced in California. California has been facing a crisis where its population grows by nearly half a million each year and they are running out of space. Deborah Hopewell of the San Jose Business Journal explains how "the answer is the "master-plan" community, where lots for single-family detached homes are generally smaller and sometimes include multifamily dwellings. In addition, master-plan developments are built to be pedestrian-friendly, where families can walk to get groceries or dine out - thereby lessening traffic demands - and where neighbors feel part of a defined community (Hopewell)." This concept is ideal for decreasing the strain on the housing market as well, which has been inflated due to the demand for land. Apartment complexes are a perfect solution to the housing market/land shortage problem. By creating a greater occupancy density, less land is used for development and can be left for aesthetic enjoyment. There is no need to cut down a forest to build 25 homes for 100 residents when you could build an apartment complex on 5 acres of land and accommodate hundreds!
With nearly one third of all residents of the Northeast Region occupying apartment complexes, this results in a significant chunk of the energy consumption for the entire region.
As you can see from Table 1-1, the northeast region uses more energy than any other part of the United States. Of the 71.5, approximately 23.0 are consumed by apartment complexes. . To produce these vast amounts of electricity many utility companies use fossil fuel powered plants, which release significant amounts of greenhouse gases. Renewable power sources end up being only a small part of the energy portfolio.
According to Nature Conservary's carbon footprint calculator, a typical apartment complex with 2-4 units produces 20 tons of CO2 per resident per year. Additionally, this is over 100 percent above the average CO2 emission by person. This presents an underlying problem with the current apartment complex infrastructure; they are inefficient and do not utilize renewable sources of energy. This clearly presented problem creates a fundamental need for change in the dynamics of apartment complexes and their energy usage.
As expressed by the data presented by the table and the carbon footprint calculator, apartment complexes are not using the energy they receive as efficiently as possible. If the trend to construct apartment buildings in the same manner continues, Americans may never get out of this global warming slump. Because apartment complexes have such a large carbon footprint in general, it is important to change this and create a new precedent! A new working model is in order for apartment complexes; a model that is designed with the environment in mind, as well as the residents.
A drastic change needs to be made in order for the apartment complex infrastructure to work more efficiently and have less of an impact on the environment. One solution to this problem is the total redefinition of apartment complexes in general, and the creation of a model for future construction. Green Haven Apartments will be that model.
Green Haven Apartments will radically change the way many people live by offering a style of living that is not only healthier for the occupants, but also the environment. To achieve this goal, Green Haven Apartments will be designed with three different criteria in mind: recyclability, energy generation, and health risk mitigation. To these ends, the technologies will be split into three areas: recycling, materials science, and energy.
Construction materials will be entirely recyclable as well easy to disassemble and reclaim. These building materials would also be non-toxic in order to prevent any health concerns which may arise. In addition to low toxicity building materials, air circulation will also be considered as a main priority.
Furthermore, all of the energy that Green Haven uses will be derived from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal. These forms of renewable energy would be integrated into the entire complex. As a result, there would be no need to use electricity from the National Grid. If anything, Green Haven would create a surplus of energy, and help power the rest of the country.
Lighting and heating are two other important issues to consider in the building's design. Artificial lighting would be very limited during the day in Green Haven, where the main source of light is ambient, coming from outside. On top of the complex, numerous heliostats would focus light into the building where it would be reflected throughout the building's interior by mirrors. As for artificial lighting, LED fixtures would provide illumination during nighttime.
For heating and cooling, geothermal would be integrated to sustain the artificial climate. The geothermal system would provide an average temperature of sixty degrees. During the summer it would provide a cooling effect and a warming effect during the winter.
Recycling will also be a priority. Materials such as plastic and organic waste can be easily recycled by implementing sorting systems that would be integrated into the overall design of the building. Also, residents will be able to easily recycle items such as cardboard and more esoteric things, like batteries, all in one place: their apartment.
All of these technologies are just a sample of what will be included in the final design for Green Haven.
Projects such as Green Haven Apartments do not spring up over night. They are built slowly over time. Each aspect was at first addressed individually, and then blended together into the final project. This is how the project team created Green Haven Apartments.
Green Haven started as a brainstorm. The group came together and attempted to generate as many ideas as possible. At first most of the focus was on sustainable housing, but after a while the team agreed that a green apartment complex would make a more interesting project, as it incorporates many different types of technology. From here the group analyzed how an apartment building could be made to be more energy efficient. The group decided that energy creation would be an integral part of the building, pending further research. Ideas included wind power, solar, and small scale geothermal. It was also decided that the apartment would also make efforts to reduce energy bills. Green Haven would also be created to coexist with the climate which it was designed for: the group wanted an apartment building created specifically for New England's climate. There was also talk of using only green building materials with little environmental impact. In review, the group decided which parameters the project was to encompass, and how well it was to perform in those areas.
After the brainstorming, the project began to coalesce into a more concrete form. The idea was discussed during meetings and refined. Green Haven was to exist specifically in Worcester, as this would allow the group with easily found climate data and comparable prices for similar quality apartments. After the idea for the project was finished, the paradigm shifted from 'what' to 'when' and 'how'. There was discussion of how each component of the project would be completed - the video, presentation, poster, and paper. It was here that the group decided the paper would be done first, as it was a very large part of the overall project and would give them the bedrock of facts that they needed in order to do a great job on the poster, presentation and video. After these three were done, the paper would be polished into a final draft. Once the decisions were made on what was to be done, the group started work on the actual production phase.
Results and Recommendations
Today every company is advertising how green their company is or "how you can be greener with our product". While every little bit counts, the amount of energy that we waste is astronomical. This is especially apparent in the United States, which consumes the most energy out of any country in the world. We cannot simply keep burning fossil fuels forever. Right now, renewable energy sources are not at the stage of development where they can be implemented on such a scale to replace fossil fuels. To this end, it is apparent that by lowering our consumption, we can be just as green as we could by using renewable energy.
This however is not a tale of gloom and doom. We have the technology and intellect to resolve these problems today. Everyday new innovative technologies are being created to solve these problems it just takes someone to implement them.
While researching material technologies we focused on analyzing materials currently used to construct apartment complexes and contrasting them to comparable building materials that are renewable. Through our analysis, we chose construction materials that were not only environmentally safe, but could also be easily recycled. The sustainability of the construction materials is an extremely crucial aspect for the design for Green Haven, because these materials dictate how such a building must be arranged - for example, a more sustainable, lower strength structural material might call for wider and thicker walls. In addition to the materials being safer for the environment, they are also safer for the inhabitants of Green Haven. Consequently building materials were also selected based upon their potential affect on the residents of the apartment complex. This section will cover all materials used in Green Haven, as well as their design, and some of the energy efficient technologies found in the apartments.
Materials were selected for very low indoor toxicity levels as well as sustainability. Many standard types of carpeting and furniture 'off gas' particulates which can have malignant health effects. (What is Offgassing?) Green Haven uses only hardwood floor and non-petroleum based carpet, which means that there is much less indoor pollution than in a regular home.
The floors in Green Haven are made of hardwood bamboo, which is cheaper than regular hardwood flooring and does not release particulates over time, like many carpets do. Bamboo can be purchased in home improvement stores for $2.29 per square foot, where as solid oak flooring is $3.99 per square foot (Bamboo Flooring). While both are sustainable materials, bamboo is significantly cheaper and offers the same visual appeal. Bamboo is also very suitable for growth in almost any environment, and requires few resources in order to grow. It does not require a great amount of fertilizer or water, making it a perfect plant to harvest wood from (Schneider).
During the daytime, most lighting comes from the sun, reflected into the living spaces via heliostat and allowed in through the floor to floor windows. This saves energy and makes the space more pleasant for the inhabitants. As for artificial lighting, each apartment is lit with LED's. LED lighting is more energy efficient than compact fluorescents and lasts much longer, even though they have a higher initial cost. Also, LED's are solid state, so rambunctious children can't accidentally break a bulb and get glass everywhere. Artificial lighting during the summer months will be minimal as most light will come from the outside. Lighting is a significant portion of energy usage in standard home, and with these strategies, Green Haven can significantly reduce it (Smith)
Concrete is the most common building material today, and there are good reasons for this. Concrete has high compression strength, is cheap to produce, and is easy to use. Concrete doesn't require any special ingredients, and can be produced in almost any region in the world. The concrete used in the structure of Green Haven will be reinforced with steel rebar (mesh, spiral, bars and other forms). Concrete was a natural choice for Green Haven as there are few substitutes for it, and even as ubiquitous as it is, it is quite environmentally friendly (What Is Concrete?). Concrete can be recycled if Green Haven were to ever be demolished, which fits the criteria perfectly. When concrete is produced, it undergoes two processes. One is heating, and the other is called recalcination. Recalcination releases carbon dioxide, but over the course of the concrete's lifetime, it actually reabsorbs all the CO2 that it puts out during this process (Green In Practice).
The steel that will be used to construct the circular portions of Green Haven will be made with hollow steel tubing. Layout of the steel will be discussed later. Steel was chosen because it is completely recyclable, and is an industry standard. This makes designing with steel much simpler, as so much has been done with it. Also, steel is ferrous, so it can be separated from the rest of the rubble using electromagnets if the building were to ever be demolished (Steel Tune Recycling).
Typical apartment complexes use glass to separate their residents from the elements. At Green Haven rather than installing boring old glass we have utilized a new and innovative technology called ETFE (ethylene-tetra flora ethylene). This transparent polymer replaces glass all together. The polymer behaves in some regards exactly like glass does but in other ways is extremely different. Unlike glass, ETFE is extremely flexible and is 1/100 the weight of glass, and yet it is tremendously resistant to wear. Additionally, ETFE is easily recyclable and therefore environmentally safe. ETFE panels can be easily disassembled and reused rather than thrown in a landfill like most glass is. Chemically, ETFE is similar to DuPont's other material, Teflon. ETFE is identical in regards to its dirt resistant surface; it is so resistant to water that dirt and moisture just slide right off. Furthermore, ETFE is an excellent insulator and much more resistant to the weathering effects of sunlight (How Stuff Works).
ETFE is truly a revolutionary material and could replace all glass windows in the future. The innovative properties of ETFE are essentially limitless (Business Week). By combining two layers of ETFE with a layer of SPD film, an entirely new hybrid material is formed. Instead of the building being simply wrapped in ETFE, this new hybridized polymer-SPD film complex is utilized.
SPD film is a technological breakthrough introduced by Research Frontiers. The film is essentially two layers of transparent plastic plates coated with a transparent conductive material. Within the two plates are microscopic light-absorbing particles in a liquid suspension. These particles are oriented randomly due to Brownian motion and also absorb light. If an electrical voltage is applied to the liquid suspension, the particles align according to the field and affect the ability of light to pass through. The intensity of light allowed through the film can be widely and rapidly varied, depending upon the amount of voltage applied (Research Frontiers Inc).
The marriage between SPD film and ETFE is a match made in heaven. The application of ETFE/SPD film to Green Haven is a revolutionary one, by covering the entire steel frame in the hybridized material. On the exterior wall, the two layers of steel piping would be integrated with the new hybrid material and sealed. The pocket of air in between the two layers would help to maintain a constant indoor temperature, acting as an insulator (Inside Beijing's Big Box of Bubbles). During the summer months, a current could be run through the SPD film, causing it to become opaque and block the sunlight from warming the building; thus decreasing cooling costs significantly. During the winter, the ETFE would work as an excellent insulator, keeping in the heat and decreasing the heating costs. By combining the two materials to form such a perfect hybrid material, the energy costs of the building are significantly decreased all year round.
Sustainable Design/ Efficient Energy Consumption
Green Haven Apartments was designed in order to be as efficient as possible, while still creating a low indoor pollution environment which is able to generate its own energy. Also, normal aspects of an apartment which might consume energy were addressed. The design of Green Haven is broken up into several sections in order to better explain the logic behind each one.
The overall roof shape is a downward conical shape. The pitch inward allows for rainwater to collect in the center of the building which is part of the waterfall system in the center column of the building which will be discussed later on. Furthermore, emanating from the roof at particular points are large heliostats that collect sunlight and direct it into the main open space of the building. These heliostats provide a large amount of natural light inside the building, making the inside a much more pleasant environment. In addition to the solar panels, which will be discussed later, and the heliostats, the roof also is home to numerous wind turbines that are integrated into the heliostat and solar panel network.
The design of Green Haven is very unique. By combining all of the materials and technologies previously a more efficient and environmentally friendly apartment complex has been created.
Let us first explore the basic composition of Green Haven. The complex's entire outer structure is made from steel piping arranged in triangular, hexagonal and pentagonal patterns. This exterior wall is comprised of two layers of the steel tubing, with two meters between the layers. The entire building takes on the shape of a cylinder with approximately fifteen floors. This shape was chosen as it gives the greatest amount of roof space with the smallest amount of surface area, thereby reducing the amount of heat required for the building.
By constructing the exterior of the building with steel piping, the entire building's structure is extremely strong. Consequently, the exterior cylinder supports the majority of the building's weight. In addition to the exterior cylindrical steal structure, there is a similar circular steel structure in the center of the building. However, the center column does not have the double layered steel structure. Instead, the central column of steal piping is reinforced with more steel plating. This center column provides the building with rigidity and stability. In between the two steel cylinders, concrete and insulation is used to form the rooms. If Green Haven were to built in an area prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami, or hurricanes, this structure could be strengthened or modified to suit each need.
The interior column of Green Haven is unique in many ways. As you enter the ground floor, you can look straight up to the top floor through a very large open space. The very center of the roof is clear ETFE, so that light shines through. Because the sun is not always directly aiming downward into the center column, there are heliostats on the roof that angle the light so that the center column is illuminated for the greatest extent of the day. In order for the light to be evenly spread, reflective mirrors are hung from the certain points on each floor. Extendable arms hang the mirrors out into the column where they are controlled by a computer system that maps the ideal position for them to reflect the light most effectively. In addition to the heliostat light coming through the roof, numerous LED light fixtures illuminate the interior column on each floor. As the day progresses and the sunlight becomes more tenuous, the computer system will begin to use more and more LED lighting, created a smooth and unnoticeable transition.
As you walk from the main entrance into Green Haven, you will notice a large spiral staircase that protrudes from the ground floor to the very highest floor. If you do not wish to walk, there are also four elevators that travel to each floor. The staircase allows access to each room, and is the only way to go up or down floors inside.
As you travel from floor to floor of Green Haven, you will notice that each floor has a themed garden system that spans for most of the common. Each floor features a common area in the vicinity of the elevators. The garden common areas serve as a meeting place for the residents as well as aesthetic purposes. Each floors common garden is unique, depicting many different environments from all over the world. Each garden is a community effort; some are simply for show, and others are used to grow vegetables and fruits. It is up to the residents of the floor to decide what to do with theirs.
The interior column of Green Haven Apartments serves many purposes; both aesthetic and functional. When it rains, as it often does in the Northeast region, water from the roof will be directed through an open pipe which cycles flows down next to the central staircase. When the water reaches the top of the first floor it collects into a pool, where it then spills over a waterfall into a larger reflection pool. When the reflection pool over flows, the excess water is collected and stored in a basin beneath the complex. This water is then purified through a series of filters, making it suitable to drink.
As the water falls in the clear tubing from the top floor of the complex, potential energy is collected. In the pipe are numerous water turbines which turn and create electricity. Furthermore, the waterfall system also serves another function. As the water falls from the top of the first floor to the ground pool, water vapor is released into the air, and as a result, the interior of the building maintains a desirable humidity.
The explanation of Green Haven's energy portfolio is broken into each type of energy generation: solar, wind, and geothermal. Each part includes current technologies which could be integrated into Green Haven today, as well as upgrade options which might be available in the future. This allows Green Haven to design in the ability to retrofit without great cost, and means that as new technologies become available they can be added to Green Haven.
At Green Haven, almost everything from a construction standpoint is unique and innovative and the roof is no exception. On top of the roof sits numerous solar panels which collect sunlight and convert it into electricity to power the complex and reduce energy costs. The solar panels installed on the roof are SolFocus CPV Systems. The solar panels produced by SolFocus are by far the most sustainable of all solar panels on the market. They are over 95% recyclable and have the lowest carbon-footprint amongst all other solar technologies. The panels combine high efficiency solar cells with advanced optical technologies to produce an extremely efficient design. The optical design concentrates sunlight up to 500 times where it reacts with a small and highly efficient solar cell. Each solar panel from SolFocus uses 1/1,000th the amount of solar cell materials compared to any other typical solar panel technology. (SolFocus)
In the future, the same optical reflectors can be used with different types of solar cells to create more efficient capture of sunlight. For example, some elements are much more suited to absorbing sunlight than others, but also have a much higher cost. Gallium is a good example of such an element. Gallium solar cells are much more efficient than silicon, but in order to become cost-effective, a much smaller amount of gallium solar cell must be produced, as gallium cells are much more expensive This tradeoff works perfectly with the concept of a solar concentrator, as the concentration of the sunlight means that the higher efficiency of the gallium solar cell is able to make up for the its increased cost.
Also in development are 3-D solar cells, which are an order of magnitude more efficient than any on the market today. 3-D solar cells use nano-scale structures to increase their surface area, so when sunlight hits it, it is both absorbed and reflected into another small piece of materials, which absorbs any energy which hasn't been taken out by the first one. This material will have the same disadvantage as more efficient solar cells do today - increased cost and limited manufacturing, but will recoup these costs in the same manner (3-D Solar Cells).
The wind turbines that will be located on the roof are produced by Green Energy Technologies. The wind turbines that they produce, called the WindCube, are extremely efficient and work well in moderate to low wind speeds. They work so well in moderate to low wind speeds because of their ability to increase the velocity of air entering the turbine by funneling the air into the rotor blades. This aerodynamic profile doubles the wind speed making the WindCube capable of producing up to 8 times more energy (Green Energy). In Worcester, Massachusetts, the year round average wind speed is approximately 4.7 m/s (Wind-Average Speed). According to graph on the following page, this means that each WindCube will create approximately 70,000 kWh per year. Even though this energy is not always being produced, when the wind is blowing, the power from the turbines first powers the building, and then any excess is sold back to the grid. When the apartment building needs power, it is purchased from renewable sources with the credit created by the turbines.
The WindCube® is designed to harness the wind from any direction. The yaw system rotates the WindCube® into prevailing winds via onboard PLC and customized software. At wind speeds greater than 40 mph, the yaw system moves the WindCube® turbine away from the prevailing winds and activates the braking system. The uniquely designed bearing requires minimum lubrication and preventive maintenance. (Green Energy)
Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) are a relatively new technology that can reduce the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling. These ground-source heat pumps use the natural heat storage capacity of the earth or ground water to provide energy efficient heating and cooling. GHPs should not be confused with air-source heat pumps that rely on heated air. At Green Haven, geothermal is used as a complementary heat source to electric heat. While it doesn't completely account for all heating, geothermal heat can take care of a very large fraction of the total heating cost. This means that Green Haven requires even less electricity, allowing the power generation facilities to sell more, rather than power the apartments.
Geothermal heat pumps use the relatively constant temperature of the ground or water several feet below the earth's surface as source of heating and cooling. Geothermal heat pumps are appropriate for retrofit or new homes, where both heating and cooling are desired. In addition to heating and cooling, geothermal heat pumps can provide domestic hot water. They can be used for virtually any size home or lot in any region of the U.S.
A geothermal heat pump system consists of indoor heat pump equipment, a ground loop, and a flow center to connect the indoor and outdoor equipment. The heat pump equipment works like a reversible refrigerator by removing heat from one location and depositing it in another location. The ground loop, which is invisible after installation, allows the exchange of heat between the earth and the heat pump. In the same way, GHPs can be used for cooling - the process is simply reversed. This means that during the warm summer months, the geothermal still does its job.
Geothermal heat pumps can be open- or closed-loop. Open-loop systems draw well water for use as the heat source or heat sink, and after use, return the well water to a drainage field or another well (See Figure 1 on page 21). Closed-loop or earth-coupled systems use a water and antifreeze solution, circulated in a ground loop of pipe to extract heat from the earth. (Geothermal Heat Pumps)
Green Haven will use a closed loop system, which requires less power in order to circulate the fluid. Also, Green Haven uses the electrical power generated from its wind turbines and solar cells in order to power the pump which circulates the heat exchanging fluid.
Artificial Climate System:
Green Haven uses a computer controlled climate system to keep every room at a perfect temperature while using a minimum of energy. The artificial climate system is also supported by the ETFE hybrid film. During the winter, the film becomes more transparent, letting in more heat energy from the sun. While, during the summer, the windows are more opaque, limiting the amount of heat energy from the sun in, keeping the building cooler.
The lighting and the heating systems in Green Haven are computer activated and controlled. That means that the occupant programs the computer system to include when they will be home and what temperature they want. The computer then shuts off the lights while they aren't home and turns off the heat. Also, there is the option to shut off a light after a set period of time if corresponding motion sensor hasn't been tripped. Also, the outer staircase is lit with a similar computer system, linked to motion sensors. Whenever someone opens a door during twilight or nighttime, the computer system turns on the corresponding lights. Whenever a resident walks up or down the stairs, the computer cycles on and off the corresponding lights.
For example, if a resident worked from 9 to 5 each day, the computer would shut the heat and lights off after he left, even if he forgot the lights. During the time that A few hours before the resident comes home, the computer begins to warm up the apartment so that it is at normal temperatures for the return of the occupant. This system can also be set for vacations, resulting in greatly increased energy savings for the occupant and the apartment building. The resident would be able to set the 'minimum temperature' in case there was something that should not be brought to a low temperature in the room. During the summer, the apartment would be isolated - the windows become opaque, and the air conditioning would turn off. In such a situation, the occupant would be able to set a 'maximum' temperature, in order to assure that no malfunctions occur in appliances or anything similar.
At Green Haven, recycling goes without saying. Recycling is something very easy for the end consumer to do, but many people still don't do. While designing Green Haven, this was taken into account. The idea behind recycling in Green Haven was to make everything as easy and as simple as possible. To this idea, we changed the way recycling happens in an apartment setting.
First, recycling occurs are the building's entry points. This is to ensure that any empty bottles taken from outside aren't tossed away. Recycling bins are stationed throughout the building, with concentrations near each entrance.
Then, recycling occurs within each apartment as well. In many apartments around the US, garbage is disposed of down a chute accessed within the apartment. Green Haven uses this same chute, but also has three others. In addition to the garbage chute that apartment residents dispose of trash in, there is a chute for glass, plastic and aluminum. There is also a chute for paper and cardboard, as well as one for food scraps.
Food scrap separation means that the amount of garbage sent to the landfill is much lower. This saves a significant amount of money in both garbage collection and waste management. Recently, the city of San Francisco passed a law requiring all food scraps to be separated from garbage (Gorn). For some apartments, this caused a 50% reduction in garbage disposal. That means the city needs to build only half as many landfills - this results in fewer eyesores, and a great amount of savings for the city.
Green Haven also keeps approximately 25% of its own food scraps for its own use. Green Haven composts these scraps and uses the resulting soil in each garden to keep the plants beautiful. This allows each resident to see how they are helping when they separate their scraps. Also, food scraps can be sold to local farmers for use in their fields. This keeps artificial fertilizers out of the soil and helps the local economy.
This project is of the utmost importance because it aims to address the issues pressing modern apartment complexes, in a world that is becoming increasingly more concerned about how green it is. The most obvious distinction between us and everyone else is that in designing our building we started from the ground up and designed a building that would be both built and sustained with a cradle to cradle approach. Approaching the project with this lens forced us to use some of the lowest impact materials available such as concrete, steel and EFTE. All of these materials are highly recyclable and more importantly would be easy to reclaim if the building is ever demolished. Perhaps even more importantly than construction is approaching the actual effect the building will have once opened and running. We addressed these problems by implementing several systems that will greatly reduce waste and energy draw from the main grid. We have a special wind turbine system called a wind cube that is designed to catch the wind no matter what its orientation is in. We also plan to implement solar cells and geothermal heating to greatly reduce our need for outside energy sources.
Inside the apartments the green designing doesn't stop. All of our units are equipped with ultra high efficiency appliances. We have specced out each room to have energy star appliances whenever possible, as such we will save our tenants hundreds of dollars per year on energy usage. For example we have chosen energy star dishwasher that will save us around fifty dollars per year, and a fridge that will save around fifty to sixty dollars a year. Not only will we save per year but also construction costs. In our field research the energy star appliances were either the same price or in some cases cheaper than their non energy star counterparts. The flooring is another area in which thinking green has saved us and therefore the customer thousands of dollars. We elected to use bamboo as our hardwood flooring material which was roughly two hundred dollars less per square foot than oak, and additionally carries a lower carbon footprint in the shipping, growing and harvesting processes. It is this type of design process that has led us to be as green as we possibly can.
Our design process is really what makes up different. Because we started from this platform of being clean and green, while maintaining a low cost for us and the consumer. We wanted to strain the environment with our presence as little as possible, and as such we have the smallest carbon footprint possible and thereby reduce the impact we have on our environment. Our design was crafted with the express intent of being as environmentally conscious as we possibly could.
However the path to environmentally friendliness was not easy, in fact we had to overcome a myriad of obstacles in our design process. The most major problem was obviously the costs involved with the project. We were originally that the initial cost would be far too great to warrant the technologies. However after doing more research we now believe that the technologies can not only be cheaper in the short run but will also save us far more in the long run than we thought it would. We also plan to approach both the local and state government about being subsidized. We plan to propose a policy change that will increase the incentive to utilize alternative energy technologies; a policy change that will result in a legislative change and therefore making it cost effective to utilize these seemingly expensive technologies. By offering a policy change, the policy would suggest that the government offer more incentives to design buildings with geothermal, solar cell, and waste management systems, thus making it cost effective to do so and still offer a living space at an affordable price.
Now is the time for Greenview, there is a green revolution at hand; many companies are competing to become the "greenest" and thus gain the upper hand in the market where a seemingly large portion of the population is concerned about their "carbon footprint." This marking strategy could work to increase the awareness of the true issues at hand, while making "Green Haven Apartments" a true success, both monetarily and by spreading the green word. Our proposal will work for the Worcester community because it will instill a sense of responsibility and incentive to make a difference in the way you live. By also educating the public about the issues that are of major concern to the environment, then the world can become a better place.
The main focus of our project was to design a sustainable apartment complex. This was done by integrating numerous technologies into a whole which is much more energy efficient and healthy for the occupants. Green Haven represents not only an actual building
Green Haven represents the solution to the energy crisis. It is the building of the future, using less energy than ever. There is a NEED for this new and unique integration of sustainable technologies. Without changing the paradigm, things will only get worse with the climate. Our goal is that someone or some company with the ability to do truly something will realize our ideology and somehow use what we have presented in order to design and develop a building that people can enjoy.