Construction Update: Shepard Hall Original Entry Wall Fully Revealed

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Shepard-Schist-Wall

Along with the recently unearthed entry stairs, a major portion of the original entry wall has been unearthed. Following inspection, the team is now evaluating how this remnant of the original entry can be incorporated into the reconstruction. The wall, constructed of Manhattan schist likely from the building site, was buried under fill during a mid-twentieth century alteration. As part of the reconstruction efforts to the entire building, a new entry in keeping with George Post’s original entry is being created. Stay tuned for continued updates from the field.

Piazza Sebastiano Satta on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations

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On this week’s episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Tony travels to his wife’s homeland of Sardinia.  During the episode, the Bourdain family spends time walking through Piazza Sebastiano Satta designed by the late Richard Stein, FAIA (father and partner to elemental founder Carl Stein) and noted Sardinian sculptor Constantino Nivola in 1966. From the scenes in the show, the piazza appears to have changed very little from its original design.

SATTA_8

Other collaborations between Nivola and Richard Carl Stein include Stephen Wise Plaza on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, PS 55 in Staten Island and The Combined Police & Fire Facility on East 67th Street – winner of an Integration of Sculpture in Public Architecture Award from the NYC Art Commission.

Read more on Nivola’s contributions and collaborations to public architecture here.

USD/CBRE Study Finds That Employees in Green Buildings Are More Productive

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Researchers at the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate and CB Richard Ellis have found that employees who work in green buildings are more productive than their counterparts who work in non-green buildings. Green buildings were defined as those that are LEED-certified at any level or those that bear the Energy Star label.

In the study, researchers Norm Miller, Ph.D., academic director at the Burnham-Moores Center, and David Pogue, national director of sustainability at CBRE, surveyed 154 green buildings nationwide containing over 2,000 tenants, 534 of which participated in the study. The study is the largest of its kind by far; a 2003 study looked at productivity levels in just 33 green buildings. Miller and Pogue used two measurements of productivity: sick days and the self-reported productivity percentage change after moving into a new building.

Forty-five percent of respondents reported that they had experienced an average of 2.88 fewer sick days at their new, green office location vs. their previous non-green office location. An equal amount noted no effect, while 10 percent reported more sick days. The 10 percent that reported more sick days were residents of Energy Star-labeled, not LEED-certified buildings. Unlike LEED buildings, Energy Star buildings do not have air quality requirements.

Based on the average salary of the tenants, an office space of 250 square feet per worker and 250 workdays a year, the 2.88 fewer sick days translate into a net impact of $4.91 per employee, according to the authors.

On the self-reported productivity measure, 12 percent of respondents said that they strongly agree that employees were more productive in green buildings, 42.5 percent agreed that employees were more productive and 45 percent noted no change in productivity. According to the authors’ calculations, the increase in productivity translates into a net impact of $20.82 per employee, based on an office space of 250 square feet per worker and using average salary as an index.

For the full study, go to www.usdrealestate.com.

SOURCE Burnham-Moores Center at the University of San Diego

Carl Stein: Preserving the Past, Building for the Future - City College

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Carl Stein is interviewed about the history and preservation efforts by elemental at Shepard Hall as part of the College’s Centennial celebration

Construction Update: Shepard Hall Original Entry Stairs Revealed

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Shepard Stairs

As demolition and excavation progress continues for the newly designed building entry, a essay writing services startling discovery: the original entry stairs built in 1907, long believed to have been demolished, are found buried under earthwork fill below the recently removed concrete ramp. Along with the stairs a significant portion of original schist stone wall is also uncovered. Elemental and the construction team are now evaluating if portions of the original elements can be incorporated into the new entry design.

NYT: The Bottom Line on Corporate Sustainability

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Today in the Green Inc. blog of the New York Times, a fascinating study by the Harvard Business Review about corporate sustainability being a “key driver” of innovation that also yields real financial rewards rather than extra cost is discussed. We’re still reviewing the study and will contribute our thoughts on it soon.

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NYT: Some Buildings Not Living Up to Green Label

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In today’s New York Times there is a telling article that talks about the ‘soft underbelly’ of LEED. The article observes that many LEED-rated buildings perform well below their projected levels. The article goes on to say that this is largely because there is no incentive for owners and users to efficiently operate their buildings once the LEED certification has been achieved, generally at the end of or shortly after construction. This misses a basic point of sustainable design and also points to a serious weak spot in the otherwise-useful LEED rating system.

Truly sustainable architecture results primarily from obtaining the optimal services from the fewest resources. Rather than relying on superimposed equipment and technologies, the most effective measures for improving building performance come from basic planning and design strategies which recognize the programs to be served and the ways in which the building is to be operated.

Elemental Selected as Finalist for Scenic Hudson Land Trust

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Elemental has been selected as one of five finalist firms for the design of a new kayak pavilion and historic reconstruction of the Red Barn for The Scenic Hudson Land Trust Long Dock Beacon site.

McKinsey: Energy Improvements Can Save $1.2 Trillion Through 2020

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A new report on energy efficiency from McKinsey found that the US alone could save $1.2 trillion through 2020, by investing $520 billion in improvements like sealing leaking building ductwork and replacing inefficient household appliances with new, energy-saving models. The report recommends such items as education about potential energy efficiency savings,  more stringent energy codes, efficiency requirements for appliances and stronger financial incentives for making efficiency improvements.