The Greenest Building Possible

An extreme example of sustainable design, the new offices of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation just outside of Annapolis, Md., offer a long list of energy-efficient features—at an inflated initial cost.

01/25/2001


An extreme example of sustainable design, the new offices of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation just outside of Annapolis, Md., offer a long list of energy-efficient features—at an inflated initial cost.

Staff at the foundation, an environmental group that works to restore the health of the Bay, wanted their building to set a new standard for building design by including environmentally-benign building materials and systems that conserved energy usage.

"We will spend only $20,000 a year on energy costs as compared to $70,000 for a regular building," says Chuck Foster, director of facilities for the foundation. "We hope to make this a signature headquarters for our foundation—it will combine educational, conservation and restoring functions."

Among its building materials, the offices use recycled siding and cork flooring. Inside the building, workers will use flushless toilets and wash their hands in unheated rainwater. In addition, the building will control its own air-conditioning and lighting loads in accordance with the outside environment. Solar panels and geothermal heat pumps have also been utilized to supplement the building systems.

Because of the sustainable design, the new $7.5 million office space was built at approximately $200 a square foot, which is considerably more expensive than the average office building. According to Mr. Foster, the reduced energy use and reduced maintenance will deliver some long-term savings, but not enough to make up the difference.

"Our board wanted us to set an example, to show people what can be done," he says.





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