Week 4: PHIUS and LEED

Selene R -

Hi Everyone!

Welcome back, This Week I focused more on requirements a building can meet in order to be sustainable. Here are some interesting things I was able to learn:

First off, I learned about certain organizations that are involved with sustainable architecture.
One is the Passive house institute US (PHIUS) which measures a buildings efficiency. A Passive building is essentially a low energy house that is strategically built so that the building can be affordable, comfortable, and use as minimal energy as possible.

I was lucky enough to see an example of a passive house certified building. I am grateful that David (one of my onsite advisors) showed me around his house which is passive house certified. What is really impressive to me is that, in order for a house to be Passive one of the requirements that must be met is Airtightness, the house needs to pass a pressure test to see if there is a maximum of 0.06 square feet air leakage in order to get certified.

Some other requirements for passive house certification include: Thermal Comfort (meaning the building needs to be well insulated so that depending on the temperature outside, the inside must be comfortable), Moisture Control (maintaining proper moisture levels is important, however since we are in the dry Arizona desert, this is something that we don’t need to worry about as much), and Radiation Control (being able to control solar radiation for energy, for example this can mean solar panels, or double pane windows)

Then I was able to look into LEED (Leadership in energy and environmental design), which aids in creating sustainable designs.
An example of a LEED gold certification recipient is the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Health campus in Indianapolis, Indiana. Coincidentally enough, this example was brought up in my book Sustainable Healthcare Architecture by Gail Vittori and Robin Guenther.

The healthcare building is open to the public and they were able to make their building a calmer, healthier, and greener environment, Here is how:

  1. In order to focus on the patients and staff, the hospital has many therapeutic gardens for its patients. These gardens can benefit mental and physical health, two factors that are severely important in patient care.
  2. The building has a rainwater collecting system that is used to water its surrounding gardens, collecting up to forty thousand liters of rainwater. There are some impressive storm management tactics put in place as well. In order to protect some of the surrounding rivers, the building is porous so that the water can drain into aquifers.
  3. The campus is extremely accessible meeting Title 1 (All employers must have equal opportunity and there may be no discrimination based on disabilities), Title 2 (The building must have public accommodations in nearly every case), and Title 3 (Requires online businesses to give extra support and help if needed) of the Americans Disability Act.
  4. And the most shocking factor to me yet, the building has a rooftop garden, which for a healthcare building is one of a kind. The green rooftop will tremendously help with energy, and since it is farm it is able produce food for the campus.

If you are interested in learning more about LEED or PHIUS, I attached the links to the websites, which go into further depth of the requirements, and certifications.

Lastly, I was also able to learn more about what architects use when designing buildings: some of the software that is used to design and draw are Bluebeam, Adobe illustrator, and Revit software. Next Week I will look into getting Bluebeam or Adobe illustrator, since Revit software is a bit too complex for my level.

Thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Wow thats sounds interesting! How do you know if your house is passive house certified? Do you need to ask them to come inspect the building or do they do it automatically when the house is constructed?
    PHIUS certified houses sound like they are very efficient and environmentally focused. I wonder if they sometimes neglect some other aspects of the triple bottom line in order to meet those requirements, or if meeting those requirements can actually help with the other aspects.

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