For those of you who are members of the USGBC, you have access to some very good resources on their website. Much of the site is dedicated to resources and links helpful for becoming an Accredited Professional (AP) or to certifying your building. Because technology and design options are always changing, and because the criteria used for LEED are sometimes up to interpretation, there is a section online dedicated to Credit Interpretation Rulings (CIRs). This is one of my favorite places to go for new ideas, because these CIRs are where LEED applicants go to state their "case for creativity" to the USGBC in order to get points for certification. Anyone who is a member can see all requests for any LEED registered project. Here are a few things I learned poking around in the "innovation points" section:
Bank of America announced on June 7, 2006 that it will reimburse Associates living within 90 miles of Charlotte, Boston, and Los Angeles and purchasing a new hybrid vehicle $3,000. Available to more than 49,000 associates, the program addresses a correlation between air quality, limited travel options (other than single-rider vehicles), and commute length. As of September 7, 2006, 200 Bank of America associates, including 118 in Charlotte, have taken advantage of the program and the Bank expects up to 100 more will participate by the end of 2006. The program is available to all associates working in the Bank of America Corporate Center and it is possible to monitor how many of those associates take advantage of the program.
Our project is a 198,000 square foot, high-rise dormitory on a university campus in an area with constant, prevailing trade winds. Due to its location, the project has provided natural ventilation for its building corridors as well as operable windows for all student apartments. In order to provide a comfortable environment for building occupants, we have undertaken a wind tunnel study, which is not typical design practice for this type of building.
Two approaches were undertaken in this wind tunnel study: numerical calculations and a wind tunnel test. The numerical calculations considered input parameters such as wind speeds, wind pressure coefficients, air temperatures, opening sizes for doors and windows, and different air permeability rates for the windows, doors and cracks.
The wind tunnel test was conducted by creating a 1:150 scale model of the building complex based on the drawings of the architects. The model of the planned building complex was instrumented with approximately 500 pressure taps to test for pressurization, and it was exposed to 36 different wind directions spaced 10 degrees apart (0 to 360 degrees). The building model was mounted on a turntable with a large inertial mass, allowing any wind direction to be simulated by rotating the model to the appropriate angle in the wind tunnel.
The wind tunnel study resulted in a change to the project's natural ventilation design. It was determined that several windows needed to be moved to different façades, while some operable windows were made inoperable and vice versa. This redesign was critical in enhancing the natural ventilation approach of the corridors, consequently creating a more comfortable environment for the building occupants.