Green Design Features
A model of green design by Gensler Architects, CEIE was awarded LEED® Gold certification in 2013. It is an adaptive restoration of an abandoned late 19th century industrial building that manifests the Institute's commitment to energy-efficient systems, sustainability and green building technology. Among its green design features are:
- Geothermal technology uses the consistent temperature of the earth to warm the air during winter and cool the air during the summer.
- Solar energy collection tubes harness the power of the sun to provide domestic hot water year-round and augment the geothermal heating in the winter. Solar energy also provides cooling assistance via fin-tube radiators around the wind towers. The hot water in these radiators induces a draft to pull cool air produced by the geothermal system through the building on warm summer days.
- Composting toilets, based on one of nature’s most basic principles—organic decomposition—use only three ounces of water plus a biocompatible soap in each flush (most toilets use a minimum of 1.5 gallons). Over 90% of the waste material that goes into the basement composting chamber will break down into water vapor and carbon dioxide vented outside.
- Over the new addition to the building, a “green roof” of indigenous plants reuses water and reduces heat absorption to keep the building cooler.
- A specially engineered permeable parking lot allows rainwater to be filtered into the soil below.
- Natural vegetation in the bioretention pond filters other run-off water from the property before it returns to the watershed.
- Electricity is purchased through a program that supports the development of clean and sustainable energy in New York State.
- “Green dashboard” technology for real-time monitoring of the building’s environmental performance is planned for monitoring energy use, either on site or via the Internet.