This Week in Placemaking
The greenest grocery store, biggest “living wall,” and more eco-innovations
The green-building news is coming so fast and furious it can be hard to delve deeply into each story. So here’s a survey of a few of the shiniest, brand-spankin’-newiest, innovativest projects taking shape:
- Fore SolutionsHannaford Supermarket, Augusta, Maine. This grocery store in the Pine Tree State’s unassuming, working-class capital has earned top honors from the U.S. Green Building Council: LEED Platinum certification. It’s the first supermarket in the country to do so, and the regional chain — which made green headlines in the past for being certified as an organic retailer — hopes it won’t be the last. The Augusta store, which opens Saturday, will serve as a “learning laboratory” for Hannaford’s 168 other Northeast stores. The company expects that its features, including geothermal heating and cooling, natural lighting, and solar panels, will mean it uses half as much energy as a typical store. Coolest feature: Motion-activated refrigerator case lights. Don’t ponder your choice of ice cream too long.
- HOKARTIC, Anaheim, Calif. Despite its carefully-considered-but-still-dubious acronym, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center is a promising development. A high-speed hub for Amtrak, regional trains, buses, taxis, and even connections to Disney’s monorail, the $180 million station will begin construction next year. “We’re getting the critical infrastructure in place where you can actually envison a day in the future where you can reliably get around without a car,” says Todd Osborne, vice president at HOK, the ARTIC-tects (sorry). “I don’t think we’re talking about replacing the automobile, but maybe it’s not every trip.” Coolest feature: The roof’s steel spans will be skinned with a membrane that contracts and expands to control the natural light.
- PNCPNC Headquarters, Pittsburgh, Penn. You’ve heard of green roofs, but green walls? PNC Financial Services is planning to deck out its headquarters with a bit of vertical green — a 2,380-square-foot “living wall” that will reportedly not only look purty, but cool the building, absorb sound, and provide shade. And be the country’s biggest! The company, which will source the plants for the wall within 500 miles of increasingly green Pittsburgh, is a leader in LEED-certified projects. Coolest feature: Plants! Growing sideways!
- USGBCUSGBC Headquarters, Washington, D.C. And finally, as we reported earlier in the week (OK, we didn’t so much report it as stick it in our “Things That Are Funny” section): The U.S. Green Building Council has announced that it awarded itself a platinum rating for its new headquarters. It’s the first platinum to be handed out since the recent LEED revisions were adapted. Coolest feature: Gumwood salvaged from the bottom of the Tennessee River. Also, being able to certify your own building.