Category Archives: Environment

Information on sustainable design, green architecture, USGBC, and news from the AIA-NJ Committee on the Environment.

Earth Day Irony

AIAeagle_2016By Russell A. Davidson, FAIA

As the U.S. Senate passed its long-delayed energy bill April 21, the irony was acute. Here was the world’s greatest deliberative body voting to kill carbon-cutting requirements for the federal government – on the eve of Earth Day and the signing of the COP 21 climate treaty in Paris.

In three short lines in more than 800-pages of legislation, the Senate repealed a policy that is already helping buildings owned by Uncle Sam – the nation’s largest landlord – cut greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, the Senate voted to eliminate Section 433 from the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which requires that new and majorly renovated federal buildings meet incremental targets leading to net zero energy consumption by 2030. The House last year also voted to repeal this provision in the landmark statute, an action which President Obama at the time said he would veto.

Through design, our profession is helping guide building owners, consumers and governments – particularly Uncle Sam – to be leaders in energy conservation and reduced dependence on the use of fossil fuels. Residential and commercial buildings account for almost 40 percent of both total U.S. energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. According to government statistics, better designed buildings have already saved our country approximately $560 billion in energy costs since 2005.

So why is Congress so determined to roll back this common-sense and money-saving provision? Section 433’s opponents (primarily the fossil fuel lobby) claim that it is simply too difficult to implement. But that ignores the realities of a market where such renovated federal buildings like the Wayne Aspinall federal courthouse in Colorado and the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building in Portland, Ore. are meeting the 2030 targets right now. In fact, the renovated Portland building was delivered 10 months early, saving taxpayers more than $900,000 in the process.

Meanwhile, stakeholders from a broad array of industries have been working with the Energy Department to implement this rule in a way that is smart, efficient, and effective.

Requiring significant energy reduction targets in new and majorly renovated federal buildings demonstrates to the private sector that Uncle Sam can set an example for other nations to follow. The targets help spur the development of new materials, construction techniques, and technologies to make buildings more energy efficient. And they show that significant energy reductions are both practical and cost- effective.

That’s why not only architects, but more than 300 other groups oppose efforts to weaken this energy-saving policy. We hope this short- sighted repeal is stripped from any bill that emerges from a House-Senate conference. And if it isn’t, the president should veto this mis- guided legislation.

Russell A. Davidson, FAIA, is president of the American Institute of Architects.

Understanding RREM & LMI Homeowners Rebuilding Program

RREM Outreach Flyer 5 2016

AIA West Jersey – LBI LEED House Tour

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Saturday, May 14th, 2016 – AIA West Jersey is excited to announce a trip to Long Beach Island, NJ for the opportunity to tour a beautiful LEED Platinum home in Loveladies, NJ. The tour will feature conversations with the building architect, general contractor and LEED consultant.  Join us see the physical space set on the bay, and to learn more about what technologies were installed in the home. Perhaps more intriguing; what systems and strategies worked well and which are under performing. The home owner has offered to share the home’s data tracking information with those who are interested.

Time: The tour will begin at 11 a.m. and last until approximately 2 p.m. 

Cost$20 for AIA Members, $25 for Non-Members.

Continuing Education: This event has been approved for two (2) HSW CEUs. 

Upon RSVP, the address of the home will be provided.  We will meet at the home 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour. We sincerely hope you will take advantage of this opportunity, and join us for this building tour.

RSVP to Mark Barone, AIA [email protected].

See you there! 

Thank You,
AIA West Jersey

Celebrate Architecture Week ’16

ArchWeek16Architecture Week and Social Media for AIA New Jersey

Hey! Every architect knows architecture week is April 10 through the 16th.

Learn more on Architecture Week at AIA.

By now you’re probably thinking, how can I participate in Architecture Week and get the word out to New Jersey about the value of architects.

You can help by participating in social media and using the Hashtags #ArchselfieNJ , #ArchWeek16 , #ILookup , and #Archselfie

Hashtags are a great way for social media users to tag their posts with keywords, which make them easier for social networks to organize information and users to search.

Remember last year?  AIA national launched the I Look Up  advertising campaign with the hashtag #ilookUp.  It is a great success!

Now it’s our turn! As architects in New Jersey,  Let’s use all these hashtags to help educate everyone in New Jersey about the value of architects in a fun and artsy way.

So go outside , or walk out into the lobby, and take that picture of yourself with the building of your choice in the background.  Every building has an architect so every architect should help.  Any beautiful building will do, no matter inside or outside or where it is.

Then be bold and post that Selfie to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Foursquare, Pinterest, Houzz,  email it to all your friends,  let everyone know! AND don’t forget to use  #ArchselfieNJ

Have a great Architecture Week !AIAeagle_2016

—William J. Martin, AIA
AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee Co-Chair

Remembering Malcolm Wells, FAIA

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As part of The Wetlands Institute’s 2016 Winter Lecture Series, AIA South Jersey President Bruce D. Turner, AIA was recently part of a retrospective and panel discussion at the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, NJ. The topic of the presentation was The Legacy of Malcolm Wells, FAIA: The Father of Gentle Architecture. The bulk of the presentation was made by professor and planner Rev. Wayne Conrad. Rev. Conrad was a friend and colleague of Mr. Wells and spoke both personally and professionally about his relationship with “Mac”. He specifically focussed on Mr. Wells’ early life and career, his office in Cherry Hill, his churches in Moorestown and Cherry Hill, and his earth-sheltered architecture in general, including Wells’ home in Cape Cod. Rev. Conrad further reflected on how Wells’ work was inspired by the beauty of nature, and a need for a more sustainable world.

Mr. Turner’s portion of the discussion aimed to put Mr. Wells’ work in the context of the overall architectural profession at the time Mr. Wells was working as well as the professional environment we experience today. That included observations about codes and regulations, standards of practice, legal and liability concerns, LEED, sustainability, energy efficiency, the 2030 Challenge and Cradle-to-Cradle ideologies. He also sought to draw parallels for the audience with architects and architecture which they might be familiar, or recently observed in the media, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Fay Jones, Bjarke Ingels, and Alejandro Aravena.

A third member of the panel was Rev. Bob Williams. Rev. Williams reflected on his personal liturgical experience ministering from Wells’ St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Cherry Hill. This also included observations about the use of light, the use of natural materials, and the sense of proportion and scale present in these buildings.

For more information about Malcolm Wells, FAIA, please visit his website here. For more information about the Wetlands Institute and other programs and activities they offer, please visit the Wetlands Institute website here.

The Legacy of Malcolm Wells, FAIA: The Father of Gentle Architecture

MalcolmWellsHeadShotAs part of The Wetlands Institute’s 2016 Winter Lecture Series, the Wetlands Institute will present a retrospect on the legacy of the award winning architect, Malcolm Wells, FAIA. The program will be held at The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, NJ on March 18th, 2016 at 6:00PM. The presentation will be given by professor and planner, Reverend Wayne Conrad, as he reflects on how Malcolm’s work was inspired by the beauty of nature, and a need for a more sustainable world. This program will also be presented in cooperation with the members of The South Jersey Section of the American Institute of Architects and the group Between the Times.

After an initial presentation focusing on the architectural innovation and ecological sensitivity which characterized Well’s work, there will be responses provided by an architect, and ecologist, and a theologian, each familiar with Well’s work. The responders will be considering the renewed relevance of Malcolm’s early work.

Malcolm Wells was the designer of the iconic Wetlands Institute building. The Wetlands Institute, a nonprofit environmental organization, is located along the causeway into Stone Harbor, NJ. In fact, the Institute was a testing ground for many of the “gentle ideas” that were incorporated into subsequent projects. This was only after he had designed the 1964 RCA World’s Fair Pavilion.

Other notable structures of his design include his now famous underground office nestled at the edge of the Cooper River Parkway in Cherry Hill, the Law School Building at Rutgers Camden, the much admired (but also problematic) former Cherry Hill Library, three stunningly beautiful church sanctuaries, and his home office and art gallery on Cape Cod.Wells Building Drawing 1

At the time of his death, in 2009, the New York Times referred to Wells as the father of “gentle architecture”. In its obituary, the Philadelphia Inquirer related Wells reaction to the closing of the 1964 World’s Fair. “It was at this point that he abruptly changed course. With the realization that the pavilion would be torn down and that all his other buildings, along with their parking lots and concrete footprints had destroyed whatever had lived there before, he began to develop his theories of gentle architecture”. It was at this point that he resigned from RCA and set up his own shop.

The innovative features incorporated into Malcolm’s 1960’s and 70’s work included parking lots paved with oyster shells, the utilization of percolation troughs to return roof water runoff to the underground aquifer, interior gardens to create oxygen-rich air for breathing, the development of landscaped water retention lakes, the maximum utilization of south-facing windows to increase solar gain for heating and the incorporation of super insulated skylights for interior daylighting.

However, his best known, but most controversial, design feature was the practice of “earth sheltering” in which he waterproofed his gently sloping roofs by covering them with three to four feet of rich soil, and then planting them with native grasses and shrubs.

Wells Building 1William McDonough, FAIA, recipient of the first Presidential Award for Sustainable Development and one of the world’s most copied architect/planners in reflecting on Malcolm’s work suggested, “as a thinker, he was a hidden jewel. In the world of what has become known as green building, Malcolm Wells was seminal, actually inspirational, for some people including me. For a draftsman who started his career designing portable radios for RCA, Malcolm came a long way and now just beginning to recognize the importance of his journey”.

To make reservations for the presentation, please contact The Wetlands Institute at 609-368-1211. Cost of admission is $7 for Wetlands Institute members, $12 for nonmembers, and in the spirit of covered dish dinners, please bring an appetizer, entrée, salad or dessert to share with at least eight people. At time of RSVP, please notify the Wetland’s Institute front desk staff as to what dish you’ll be brining to the dinner. If you have any questions, please feel free to email the Wetlands Institute at [email protected], or call them at 609-368-1211.

AIA South Jersey is a registered provider with the AIA Continuing Education System AIA/CES. This program is approved for (1) Learning Unit, which will be reported directly to the AIA/CES for AIA members.

NJ Smart Growth 2016 Awards Deadline

 
 
 
Don’t miss the deadline! Do you have, or know of, a great plan or built project in New Jersey that represents high-quality growth and development or land preservation? Submit it now to New Jersey Future’s 2016 Smart Growth Awards competition. The deadline to submit is Jan. 15, 2016.
This year New Jersey Future celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Smart Growth Awards! The awards have honored the best in responsible development in the Garden State. Large projects and small, innovative plans and codes, policies that foster quality growth and placemaking — any built project or adopted plan is eligible. So if you’re working on something that will help make any part of New Jersey a more vibrant place to live, work or play, submit it to our Smart Growth Awards competition!
NEW THIS YEAR:  We will be accepting entries exclusively through our new online submission portal! This allows you and us to conserve paper and energy, and will allow the jury access to all entries from any location.
Submission deadline: Friday, Jan. 15, 2016Don’t miss out!
Curious about what kinds of initiatives win a Smart Growth Award? Browse through profiles of past winners.
Questions? Please contact Elaine Clisham609-393-0008, ext. 102.

 

USGBC South Branch Event

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Hurricane Preparedness Refresher

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Although the exact track of Hurricane Joaquin remains uncertain, since New Jersey is within the potential track area, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of the need for proper hurricane preparedness. Please take a few moments to review the information on the National Weather Service website, which can be found here.

Southern New Jersey Development Council Environmental Remediation Seminar

SNJDC Environmental Remediation Seminar
August 13th @ Atlantic Cape Community College

Click here for more information or to register.SNJDC Meeting Notice 081315

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