It is only fitting that I end my posting sabbatical with a piece highlighting education--especially since I kicked off my break musing on the eco-inspiration I took from a recent college reunion. What makes this an especially encouraging entry is that it is about something very real, a slice of the proverbial pie in the sky that has landed right in front of us, today!
Just down the road, tucked away on a wooded campus within eyesight of the Boston skyline is the Cambridge School of Weston, justifiably proud creator of the new Garthwaite Center for Science and Art--proof living that not only do art and science belong together, but also that enlightened green design belongs, and fits seamlessly, in the progressive campus of tomorrow. The Garthwaite Center is a state of the art, 21,000 square foot LEED Platinum certified facility that appears to have left no stone unturned in its embrace of sustainable design and functionality.
Its passive solar design, wood pellet boiler system, composting toilets, and green roof enhance this remarkable building's efficiency and minimize its ecological footprint. It features an enthalpy heat recovery wheel that "captures and recycles up to at least 87 percent of the heat that would otherwise be lost". Storm water runoff is diverted to underground chambers and slowly returned to the aquifer, and things like waterless urinals, triple glazed windows, and low-flow faucets deliver additional benefits. There's lots more too.
But equally intriguing is the way the Center has been designed to serve as a teaching tool, a process that began even well before its construction. Students have a live model of sustainable living and learning--including an mini-wetlands area in the building's atrium--in which they can measure and manage the performance of its openly accessible systems.
In the words of Kevin Knobloch, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists and keynote speaker at the Garthwaite Center's official opening last month, the building is "a model of sustainability for academic centers across the U.S.." And the school appears to welcome the chance spread the word.
p.s.: I owe thanks to both Jill Burrows and Lelia Elliston of the Cambridge School for turning me on to this happening. The photos are courtesy of CSW as well.
p.p.s.: CCW has posted a nifty little time-lapse movie of the entire Garthwaite construction project. Nicely done.
Thinking about building your own? Check out this offering at NEXUS.
There's good news if you plan to take on a green building project in or around your campus, home, or office. The Green Roundtable is featuring a Green is Affordable showcase at its NEXUS Green Building Resource Center in Boston...date: Thursday, December 6th, from 2 to 6 pm. The event is free, and you can get the details on exhibitors and speakers here.