Structure of Georgia Institute of Technology certified as a “living building”


Atlanta (AP) — Tours of new buildings rarely start with a toilet. But they are a big part of another kind of building in Atlanta.

As a result, Shanarora, who oversees Georgia Institute of Technology’s Kendaville, immediately takes the visitor to the bathroom on the ground floor, where the toilet begins to growl and then foams. There is no traditional flushing and the toilet consumes only a teaspoon of water. Also, instead of being piped to the treatment plant, the waste is composted in the digestion tank in the basement.

“I say there’s a lot of talk about toilets in Kendaville,” Arora said.

Georgia Institute of Technology announced on Thursday-Earth Day-that the building has been certified as the 28th “living building” in the world. In short, the building has been proven to meet the standards of the International Institute for the Future of Life after a year of operation, and has a better effect on the natural environment than harm.

“Sustainability leads us to the point where we aren’t doing as much damage as we are,” Arora said. “But we’re already doing so much damage that we need to reach a point where we can regenerate or heal.”

The building, paid with a $ 25 million donation from the Kenda Foundation, is, above all, a demonstration project. This is intended to show that technology is becoming more widely available, especially in the southern environment.

The Kenda Foundation is the private philanthropic sector of Diana Blank, the first wife of Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank. We also provided an additional $ 5 million for programming to ensure that the building gets used to its best potential.

“Kenda’s goal wasn’t really to build a building,” said Dennis Kleech, Foundation’s Sustainability Advisor. “Our goal was to change the way we design buildings.”

More than 5,000 people visited the building under construction. Mr. Kulich said it was impossible to track all the “ripples” from the building, but he said he knew two or three buildings currently being designed under the influence of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s structure. Stated.

The International Living Future Institute says the building is like a flower and should be given more than it needs to be. It defines the requirements under seven “petals” — place, water, energy, health and well-being, materials, fairness and beauty.

The biggest change is the idea of ​​what is possible.

For example, the building does not have traditional air conditioning. Cooling electricity is usually the heaviest energy demand in the southern United States, with long, hot, and humid summers. Instead, the building relies primarily on dehumidifying the air, reusing the extracted water to make it more comfortable and non-greasy. The designer also focused on separating the air inside and outside. That is, there are few air leaks in the building.

Finally, above 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.6 degrees Celsius), there is a plumbing system that can pump cold water to the concrete floor to cool the building. But even on the hottest day of last summer, Arora said the cold water system never turned on because the building wasn’t so warm.

Dexter Harper, an air-conditioning mechanic at Georgia Institute of Technology, who oversees the building’s systems, said his colleagues were skeptical of the typical lack of air conditioning.

“When I first started, they said,’You’ll burn out at 78 degrees in the summer.’ That’s the farthest thing from the truth. “

Not surprisingly, there are solar panels. A large solar canopy covers the building and produces more than twice as much electricity as the building uses.

The focus is also on excluding materials that designers consider harmful. Even large glass windows have indentations to prevent birds from accidentally flying.

Constructors use old tiles from a demolished building at Georgia Institute of Technology to cover the walls above the humming toilets in the bathroom, landfilling more material than new waste generated during construction. Diverted from.

And that means a lathering toilet. The building is not connected to the city sewer and is designed to be independent of the water system. The building has gone through a long process before being approved by the state as its own municipal water supply that treats rainwater for drinking. The canopy collects rainwater for the treatment system and sends it to slowly release additional water to the ground, rather than flowing into a concrete drain.

Beyond that, focusing on health, well-being and beauty makes the building attractive to students. On Tuesday, PhD students in biochemistry, Jay Haynes and Brooke Rothschild Mancinelli, were in the roof garden to take care of the vegetables. It wasn’t for research, it was just for fun.

“How can we look back if we find that better things are possible?” Arora asked.

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Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.