Monday, February 1, 2010

Heifer International Headquarters: "Green Building"

By Grace

Heifer International is a non-profit organization that focuses on ending world hunger and poverty while caring for the earth. One of the 12 Cornerstones of Heifer International is "Improving the Environment", so when they realized their need for a bigger headquarters building, they knew that the new building they were building would need to set a good example by being safe and healthy for the environment while also being "green" and sustainable.

The original land was dirty and not environmentally healthy. They cleaned up the "brownfield", transforming it into a healthy wetland. The innovative wetland reuses groundwater, which eliminates common runoff problems.

The headquarters had many environmentally- friendly qualities. The facility has a water collection tower that stores water when it rains. The slanted roof leads water to drains, where it is collected in the water tower. Instead of slow- growing trees, most of the floor of the building is made of fast-growing bamboo and the rest is made of recycled carpet. The building has a narrow, open design which allows the building to mostly use natural light. The "light shelf" allows sunlight in, while keeping heat from the sun minimal in the summer and maximal in the winter to keep heating and cooling costs down. Sensors adjust LED lighting as natural lighting changes throughout the day. Ductworking under the floor saves energy and reduces energy costs.

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