By: Deborah Johnson Wood
The US Green Building Council’s NaturalTalent Design Competition was daunting: re-design an existing 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility into a LEED-qualified space and do it in 10 weeks. The winner, Ryan Garone of Design Plus, wasn’t deterred. He out-designed a total of 71 competitors that included 17 teams of architectural design students from 7 different colleges as well as one designer from another firm
The site selected for the re-design is Comprenew Environmental, 629 Ionia SW, a non-profit electronics recycling and resale center. Last year the company recycled nearly one million pounds of discarded electronics. This year they'll double that.
“The competitors looked at the building from the perspective of the owner and designed a green building with a very small environmental footprint,” said Sam Pobst, president of the West Michigan Chapter of the USGBC.
Water conservation, energy consumption, use of recycled and recyclable materials, indoor environmental quality, and land use had to be addressed. Some of the energy-saving features Garone used are:
- A 6,800-square-foot double wall glazing system with building-integrated photovoltaic cells that can produce 100 kW of energy
- Solar glass chimney "heat sinks" that work in conjunction with a modular floor to pull fresh air through the building
- Eutectic salt tubes sunshade system; a salt solution that easily melts and freezes. Each freeze cycle emits one million BTUs of free heat that can be captured to warm the building.
The design had to provide: 30,000 square feet for manufacturing, deconstruction, storage, and recycling; 20 offices and a Board Room; two training rooms; locker rooms, showers, outdoor gathering space, and 4,000-square-feet of retail space.
"A lot of work went into it," Garone said. "I spent from January to March working on it after work and eight hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays."
Garone won $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the USGBC’s upcoming Green Building Conference in Chicago, where his design will be entered in the national competition.
Comprenew Environmental teaches disadvantaged inner city high school students how to run a sustainable business. Currently the program has about 40 students who harvest and reuse electronics parts, rebuild laptops, and recycle the unusable materials.
“This competition gives Comprenew Environmental the material to do a capital campaign for the renovation,” Sam Pobst said.
Teams from Michigan Technological University and Andrews University took second and third place, respectively.
Source: Sam Pobst, USGBC; Lynell Shooks, Comprenew Environmental; Ryan Garone, Design Plus
Deborah Johnson Wood is Development News Editor for Rapid Growth. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.