David Brower Center – Green to the Bones

Even in a Greencentric city like Berkeley, locals and Bay Area visitors would be Green with envy when they see the just opened David Brower Center. It feels healthy just to walk through the Green down-to-the-bones building which combines advanced technology along with simple recycled materials.

When entering for their housewarming party we had a difficult time not noticing the soaring concrete walls which made us think more dot com than gallery. The fact that in creating a building with an oh- so-feathery carbon footprint (when compared to most structures) Principal Architect, Daniel Solomon included up to 70 percent slag in those walls.

Just like people, what Green buildings have on the inside can be the key. Anyone (or any building) can have a great exterior but look at the Brower Center’s guts and soul. We love the radiant heating and cooling that runs through the floors, as well as the water catchment system and giant cistern that significantly reduce the building’s water use. The building even employs small aspects like the zinc siding and photovoltaic panels that double as sun-shades. The zinc siding will last numerous years without being treated.

The designers and builders designed the edifice be 40 percent more energy-efficient than conventional ones, which includes a day lighting program that uses high-efficiency lighting with automatic controls limit use when daylight is adequate. Normally we don’t get to excited heading to the restroom (no jokes please) but we definitely got giddy with the Icestone countertops, waterless urinals and high powered hand dryer. We’re talking ten seconds max to dry hands.

Besides the physical structure the Brower Center works on the social justice level as it houses various NGOs and ecologically minded companies such as: Center for Ecoliteracy, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and the Earth Island Institute. We can’t speak for all the staff and workers but having the Brower Center as your office would actually inspire someone to want to come to work.

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