Saturday, July 7, 2007

There is Hope Yet for Green Buildings

An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday covered the "green" changes being made by the powers that be at The Friends Center in Center City Philly. The building itself is a 34-year-old office building for Quakers and is undergoing significant renovations to the tune of $12.5 million. Thankfully, they have decided to take this project on with an eye on saving the environment. The nuts and bolts of this project include:
  • A vegetated roof that covers 8,000 square feet. By laying down topsoil and planting sedum, the roof will insulate the building, eliminate about 90% of the building's rain runoff, last 3 times as long as a new roof would, and provide new CO2-catching plants for the environment
  • Photovoltaic cells, which will convert the sun's energy into electricity, up to 2 percent of the building's usage, with the potential for more to be added in the future.
  • Rainwater recycling, whereby rainwater will collect in tanks for storage and used to flush toilets, virtually eliminating the potable water consumption of the occupants.
  • High performance glass windows, which will admit more sunlight and minimize solar heat, helping to reduce energy consumption by 4 percent
  • and more...
This is the kind of vision, planning, and progressive thinking that Philadelphia, and the world, really needs. We can no longer be users and abusers of the environment if we want to stick it out on this planet for a few more centuries; instead we must follow the lead of groups like this one and start conserving. Thanks, Friends, for leading the way!

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