Building Energy 2012 Fan Favorite

Tocci Stock

Graham Salzberg’s favorite lecture from the NESEA Conference and Trade Show

The most interesting lecture, from a design standpoint, I attended at the “Healthcare Track” was the case study presented by Christopher Baylow from Payette Architects and Jacob Nowles of the engineering firm, Bard Rao and Athanas. They introduced the design of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Spinal Cord Injury Long-Term Care Facility in Brockton MA. The building’s footprint is roughly 180,000 SF of new construction. It sits on 21 acre campus and will consist of 96 units of inpatient care and outpatient clinical services for veterans with traumatic spinal cord injuries. Patients’ stays can be anywhere from 1-20 years so, designing for patients social interactions, comfort level and overall health were key factors in the design.

The project’s sustainable design efforts focused on energy performance, protecting and conserving the water shed of the area, and achieving superior indoor air quality. Architecturally, the design harvests natural light through the use of light wells and courtyards. This also  integrates the architecture with the landscape, allowing the patient multiple opportunities to connect with nature due to the outdoor spaces created by the fingers of bedhouses that engage the topography of the site. Payette  believe this is integration with the landscape is an important element that could assist the patients’ metal health and improve their overall experience.

The abutting vegetated ground planes in combination with areas of vegetated roofs also play a key part in helping the building achieve net zero in storm water runoff. Peak cooling load reductions were studied by orientating the building with the prevailing winds for natural ventilation. The building’s energy source will be from a COGEN plant in close proximity to the site as well as onsite solar collectors reportedly delivering 100% of the campus’s hot water. Pretty cool.

Graham concluded his Tocci report:

These were just a few of the presentations I attended. Of course, I did find time to pop out of the “Health Care Track” and sneak into a few of the presentations along the “High-Performance Residential Track” and supplement my continued interest and knowledge of PassiveHouse, Net Zero Energy and Deep Energy Retrofits. But that’s for another blog to report on….

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