Under the leadership of Richard Piacentini, Phipps Conservatory in Oakland has steadily been getting greener and greener, not just with plants, but with all kinds of energy saving devices. Now the conservatory will open to the public in July what Piacentini believes will be the ‘greenest building in the world” – the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes.
At a May 23 press conference the various features were described that will make the building “net-zero,” meaning it uses no more energy, heat or water than it produces or collects:
- A collection of 125 solar collectors that will produce energy equivalent to the amount used by 10 homes in a year.
- A closed loop of storm water it collects, which will be used for sanitary purposes, purified and redirected to watering.
- Fourteen geothermal tubes and a wind turbine for heating and cooling.
- Above the efficient, triple-paned windows, shades will block out sun in the warmer months but allow warmth when it is cooler. On the inside, “sun shelfs” will reflect light up to the ceiling to be bounced back into office space. The goal is to operate the building with 20 percent of the energy used in a normal office space.
For a video of the new addition under construction click HERE.