February 5, 2012
The Green Building Process Demystified.
Questions have been swirling around the building industry about the new big thing, green building. Will it add cost, will it add time, does painting a building green count? These questions most often involve the sustainable design and construction process, which many people think as daunting.
To highlight some of the important aspects of the green building process and show that green building is not this totally new and confusing change in the way we design and construct buildings, I recently interviewed Doug Wittnebel, a principal at Gensler’s San Ramon office and design director for the interiors of the new AAA NCNU headquarters in Walnut Creek.Here some excerpts of that interview.
What sustainable strategies set the new AAA headquarters apart from similar sustainable offices?
This project differed from other similar projects in three different ways.One of the ways was early in the process when AAA was selecting a site for the office; a very careful study was done on potential sites to determine the location with the closest proximity to mass transit, in this case BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).The location of the office is in the newly planned Station Landing, where housing, retail and commercial buildings are being planned together in a very smart and sustainable way.This is how projects are going to be done in the near future in the Bay Area and around the country.
Me: Did you couple this strategy with an open office plan?
Yes, we absolutely coupled it with an open office plan. In this case we designed the office to promote better collaboration and communication but also more access to natural light. The more access you have to natural light and the outside environment the better you feel, the better you work, the less sick days you take off and the less staff turnover that occurs.