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Traveling to Greenbuild: Syracuse Center of Excellence

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:09 AM
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by Paula Melton last modified Oct 04, 2011

Car trip! The BuildingGreen team drove to Toronto for Greenbuild, making a quick stop along the way to tour a new test bed facility in Syracuse. The Syracuse Center of Excellence is a unique test bed for indoor environmental quali... The SCOE also includes: A weather tower that will help study the impact of buildings on outdoor air quality A biofuel R&D lab A green roof whose runoff and other impacts will be studied to determine its effect on the ecosystem. For me personally, one of the really exciting things about the tour was the building manager's obvious commitment to his building. Tim Benson seemed really excited about all the cool technology--such as the automatic blinds that are sealed within the insulated glazing unit--but also readily admitted that, as with any building, some of the features didn't function as intended at first. While the automated blinds seem a little twitchy, Tim is very pleased and proud of the building overall. Note the very comfy low-emitting furniture and the ceramic fritting on the glass for shading with a filtered view. Photo: Alex Wilson Little modifications here and there are ongoing--like some tape marking the water level in the rainwater catchment tank that ensures it will pump adequately to the toilets but not overflow--but he didn't seem burdened by them. In fact, he seemed pretty darn thrilled to have such a cool building to take care of. Another story that intrigued me involved some lights that glow green or red when it's a good or bad time to open the windows. There were a couple issues with these lights: first, when conditions were borderline, they kept chiming. Tim ended up disabling the auditory alerts just to keep everyone in the building sane. Second, people kept ignoring the red light and opening the windows anyway--which required a little intervention and training. Since I am writing an article about the emerging interest in occupant engagement and its relationship to design, I found these stories quite fascinating. (Watch for that in Environmental Building News next month! I'm getting a lot of great info from the people who are blazing this trail.) Our founder and executive editor, Alex Wilson, has taken a break from his sabbatical to be at Greenbuild this week, and he took some great photos during the tour. I'll just use the rest of the space to share his shots with you, along with my own explanations (as best I can remember). Enjoy! Next time you go through Syracuse, I highly recommend a visit. In these booths (which can include privacy curtains if needed), test subjects undergo medical screening to establish a baseline for comparison in differing indoor environments. Photo: Alex Wilson Workstation test beds can be fully individualized with sophisticated controls. The fixture on a stalk behind the computer monitor is not a light but a ventilation fan delivering conditioned air. Photo: Alex Wilson In the mechanical room beneath the workstation test bed you can see the individual air filtration devices. Photo: Alex Wilson The green roof runoff will be tested to help determine impacts from the materials. Photo: Alex Wilson The biofuel lab includes windows that will blow outward in case of an explosion. Photo: Alex Wilson






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