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Green Building & Sustainable Development

Building Green Made Easier With a New Roadmap

Looking to build with an environmentally smart and friendly approach? A University of Oregon professor has pooled virtually all available resources, including color images and diagrams, to help a designer pursue both passive and energy-efficient strategies.

The book - The Green Studio Handbook: Environmental Strategies for Schematic Design (Architectural Press) - is not intended to serve as a green building checklist nor as a textbook for environmental technology, says Alison G. Kwok, a UO professor of architecture. "Instead it provides the necessary information to make judgments about the appropriate use of green strategies and to validate design decisions regarding these strategies," wrote Kwok and co-author Walter T. Grondzik of Florida A&M University, a former visiting professor at the UO, in the preface.

Green architecture refers to a design and building process that incorporates economical, energy-saving, environmentally friendly and sustainable development. A passive approach uses no purchased energy such as electricity or natural gas, utilizes components like windows or floors that are part of another system and closely integrates the choices into the building. Active approaches may use pumps, piping and manufactured devices to collect, store and redistribute the sun's energy.

The Green Studio Handbook targets students enrolled in design studio courses, recent graduates entering practice and even more-seasoned professionals who need quick schematic guidance.

The 372-page book contains 422 full-color photographs and line drawings illustrating the application of green strategies during the schematic design of buildings. Kwok and Grondzik identify some 40 environmental strategies, with brief descriptions of principles and concepts, step-by-step advice for integrating green strategies into the early stage of design, annotated tables and charts to assist with preliminary sizing, as well as a summary of key issues to be addressed and references to additional resources.

"The Green Studio Handbook was written to serve as a reference guide and source of inspiration for students in design studios and architects in professional practice," the co-authors wrote. "It is founded upon the premise that there would be more green buildings if the techniques of green buildings - the underlying strategies that save energy, water and material resources - were more accessible to the designer."

While there are a variety of resources available, Kwok said, the book is a one-stop library of knowledge. "It puts a lot of resources together in one book so the user doesn't have to go all over to find the needed information."

The book is widely available and is on the Royal Institute of British Architects International Awards 2007 long list, which features the highest standard of architectural writing and publishing. Among case studies covered in the Green Studio Handbook are: One Peking Road tower in Hong Kong; the National Association of Realtors Headquarters, which is the first green building in Washington, D.C.; The Helena Apartment Tower in New York City; Arup Campus Solihull (UK); Beddington Zero Energy Development (UK); Druk White Lotus School (India); Habitat Research and Development Centre (Namibia) and the University of Oregon's Lillis Business Complex.

Kwok, former president of the Society of Building Science Educators, also is the organizer of the annual Architectural Research Centers Consortium Spring Research Conference. Faculty and graduate students from 28 institutions in five countries will participate in the April 16-18 event, which carries the theme "Green Challenges in Research, Practice, and Design Education." Immediately after the conference, a related UO student-organized conference begins. The Ecological Design Center's 13th HOPES Conference runs April 19-22. HOPES stands for Holistic Options for Planet Earth Sustainability.

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