There's nothing common or typical about this building.
The $15 million Center for Sustainable Landscapes on the campus of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Oakland is billed as one of the greenest buildings on Earth with zero net energy or water usage.
In fact, the building will be off the utility grid with on-site lagoons and wetlands to process rainwater and sewage with a design that reduces energy usage by 80 percent by using passive energy systems, ventilation, a native-plant garden on the roof, with open space offices and large, naturally lit atria.
Richard Piacentini, Phipps' executive director, led a media tour this morning and announced plans to have the building open to serve as a 24,350-square-foot office building and educational center for 53 staff members in June. The building, expected to be an attraction as one of the world's best examples of green-building technology, will be open to the public in July.
Phipps will seek top "platinum" certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Development (LEED) and SITES will eventually seek certification from the Green Building Initiative, which has the most stringent standards for green buildings.
For energy, the center uses 124 kilowatt photovoltaic panels (solar panels) with a 5 kilowatt vertical wind turbine and 14 geothermal wells. They will produce the energy equivalent of 10 American homes, enough power the building and provide surplus to be used at the conservatory.
The Center also will collect all rainwater, then process it with wetlands planted next to the building, with sewage also to be treated in another catch area with wetlands before it is sent through sand filters to produce water clean enough for reuse in the building's bathrooms.
It also can generate 100-percent pharmaceutical-grade distilled water, clean enough to drink, but regulations will not permit its consumption.neigh_city
David Templeton: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1578. First Published May 23, 2012 12:00 PM