Spring is (almost) in the air and we know just how to spend it, tending our own on-campus fruit and vegetable garden, orchard, and herb garden. Kirksey employees are committed to creating a more sustainable planet and volunteer their time to tend the garden by watering, weeding, planting, and harvesting. After a less than successful first harvest, due to troublesome topsoil, the garden is now prospering. Employees have harvested cucumbers, watermelon, beans, squash, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, and other tasty treats that we use at company-wide happy hours and other events. Our most recent harvest includes delicious kale, cauliflower, chard and greens.
The Texas State University System, along with the Kirksey team, celebrated a significant milestone yesterday, the system’s first LEED Gold certified building. The recently completed Residence Life North Housing dormitory was awarded 43 points, surpassing the 39 needed to achieve Gold in the LEED for New Construction V2.2 rating system.
In accordance with the campus master plan guidelines, the Kirksey team designed a Spanish Colonial style building housing 612 beds in two identical wings. Of the construction materials used, more than 30 percent contain recycled content and more than 27 percent are from regional sources. In addition, 80 percent of construction waste was recycled.
Inside the building, green technology is utilized to ensure that little is wasted or produced in excess. Occupancy sensors are used in study rooms and lounges to control lighting output, low-flow showerheads reduce water use to only 1.5 gallons per minute, and all toilets are low-flush, using just 1.3 gallons per flush. Outside, rainwater and air conditioning condensation are collected in an underground cistern, reducing potable water usage for irrigation by 100 percent. Additionally, native plants were chosen for landscaping purposes, further reducing the demand for potable water.
Complementing the building’s ongoing energy efficiency and water conservation, low emitting materials were specified for use during construction, thereby reducing the volatile off-gassing chemicals found in newer projects. Air quality improvement is achieved through the use of walk-off mats at the front and rear entrances, reducing the amount of dirt tracked inside the building.
Today’s students are more environmentally aware than ever before and this housing complex provides them an interactive opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable future.
We are excited that one of the galleria’s newest commercial office buildings, located at 3009 Post Oak, is now LEED Platinum Certified. The 20-story, 302,000-sf building employs numerous sustainable building strategies that have helped transform a derelict parking lot into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban site. 3009 Post Oak is the first LEED Platinum office building in the Galleria area and one of only a handful of LEED Platinum buildings in the city.
Some key metrics include:
• 100% of the site’s irrigation is provided from rainwater stored in an underground tank
• The side of the site facing Interstate 610 was planted with dozens of native grasses intended to attract birds and butterflies
• Indoor water use was reduced by 46% over a typical existing building
• 70% of power for the project comes from renewable sources
• 87% of construction waste was recycled
• 38% of all materials used were local– both manufactured and harvested within 500 miles of Houston
• The building was designed to provide daylight access to 83% of interior spaces, and views to 99% of spaces
• The exterior site lighting was designed for zero light trespass off the property boundary and zero light projected upwards. This contributes to a dark night sky and respects the surrounding residential neighbors
• Energy savings are 26% better than code requirements
• The building includes a dashboard that monitors building and tenant energy use levels
• The high performance curtainwall uses low emitting, double pane glazing with thermally improved mullions
Kirksey’s own Nicola Springer, Kapil Upadhyaya, Colley Hodges and Alfonso Hernandez are speaking today at the 2013 CATEE (Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency) Conference. Nicola and Kapil will be presenting on “Aggressively Passive Designing with CFD” and will be discussing two Kirksey-designed naturally ventilated pools, the Fort Bend ISD Aquatic Facility and the Euless Indoor Aquatic Center. Using the pools as case studies they will analyze the viability of naturally ventilated natatoriums in Texas and present the related economic benefits.
Colley and Alfonso’s presentation is entitled “Residence Hall ROI: The Benefits of Energy Modeling for University Dormitories” and they will analyze the University of Houston’s Calhoun Lofts, Texas State University’s North Campus Housing Complex, and Stephen F. Austin University’s Freshman Residence Hall. Through these case studies they will emphasize the value of performing an energy simulation during programming to optimize the energy efficiency strategies and incur significant cost savings.
This year’s CATEE Conference is being held in San Antonio, Texas December 16-18, at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio River Walk. For more information on the conference see http://catee.tamu.edu.
This week our own Kapil Upadhyaya and Jody Henry spoke at the USGBC’s GREENNC 2013 Symposium on the topic of post occupancy evaluations of sports and education spaces. Their presentation, “Connecting Clo and Flow – You won’t believe what was accomplished!” detailed what a “clo” factor is and how to convince a school district to accept a passively ventilated athletic space. They presented Kirksey’s recently completed Fort Bend Aquatic Practice Facility as an example of a successful passively ventilated space. The facility uses garage doors that double as shading devices and focus the path of air through the structure. The results of the Post Occupancy Evaluation performed on the space confirm that the unique passive ventilation techniques utilized throughout the building were successful.
Kapil and Jody focused their presentation into several learning objectives that are detailed below.
Objective #1: Identify six parameters that affect human thermal comfort.
Objective #2: Discuss specific application and variation of ‘clo’ value and air flow in school environments.
Objective #3: Analyze problems associated with closed and conditioned pool buildings: ventilation, thermal distribution, condensation and energy wastage.
Objective #4: Identify Inter-dependent design solutions for aquatic facilities that avoid the above problems and their dependence on climate.
Here at Kirksey we are all about healthy buildings, healthy people, and a healthy planet. We want to share a few tips we’ll be using to ensure we have an enjoyable, energy-efficient Thanksgiving.
Tip #1: Use the correct size pan for your stove burner. This keeps extra heat from escaping.
Tip #2: If you are hosting a large gathering this Thanksgiving use a cooler stocked with ice to hold drinks. You’ll free up space in your refrigerator and prevent cold air from escaping from frequent door openings.
Tip #3: The more freely the air moves in your oven the more efficiently it operates, so don’t cover your oven racks with foil. This saves you roasting time.
Tip #4: Every time you open the oven door while roasting your turkey you lost up to 25 degree of heat. So, use the light and a timer to check on the progress of your dinner.
Source: Alliance to Save Energy
Yesterday our design team had the privilege of attending the Grand Opening of Houston Area Safety Council’s new training campus in Pasadena, Texas. Located at the corner of Center Street and Spencer Highway at 5213 Center Street the campus represents a two-year initiative to expand safety training capabilities to meet the growing needs of the petrochemical, space and food industries in Houston and beyond.
The new state-of-the-art campus features 65,000 square feet of comfortable training space situated on 34 acres of land, with room to grow. To better serve the membership, the new campus includes a 220-seat auditorium with stadium seating, meeting spaces, computer labs with 650 workstations, multiple classrooms, distinct study areas and parking for over 1,000 vehicles.
On average the Houston Area Safety Council currently serves 1,600 people each day and training units are projected to reach over 700,000 for 2013. The new campus allows HASC to continue to meet the growing demand for safe workplaces and a quality workforce.
Minsuk Cho of Korean firm Mass Studies recently gave a thought-provoking lecture at Rice University and our own Alfonso Hernandez provided commentary featured on OffCite. According to Hernandez, Cho emphasized the idea of “working from seemingly binary oppositions that do not always seem binary – old vs. ephemeral, simple vs. complex, etc.” To read more about Cho’s design principles and body of work see the complete article here: http://offcite.org/2013/11/11/binary-oppositions-minsuk-cho-seoul-and-ephemerality-come-to-houston
Earlier this morning our design team attended Sylvan Beach Pavilion’s Grand Opening in La Porte, Texas and what an event it was. As attendees opened the double doors and entered the main ballroom they reminisced about prom, homecoming, and their favorite concerts held at the pavilion. Several couples even danced around the restored ballroom, humming classic tunes and enjoying the view. Renovating Sylvan Beach Pavilion preserved more than just the historical elements of the building; it preserved the memories of an entire community.
Sylvan Beach Pavilion has been serving the La Porte community since its opening in 1893. Hurricanes destroyed the original open-air pavilion, paving the way for the current midcentury modern gem that opened its doors in 1956. Over the years, the pavilion hosted numerous community-wide gatherings and musical guests such as Manny Green, Mickey Gilley, Ray McKinley and the Houston Orchestra. Unfortunately, due to its coastal location, the building was damaged by Hurricane Carla in 1961, Hurricane Alicia in 1983, and Hurricane Ike in 2008, ultimately causing its closure.
In 2011, newly elected Commissioner Jack Morman made it a priority to start restoring Sylvan Beach Pavilion. The Commissioner was aided by a local non-profit organization, Friends of Sylvan Beach Park & Pavilion, who secured three separate historic designations for the building. The design team worked tirelessly to preserve the historical elements of the building and ensure the renovated pavilion meets current coastal windstorm requirements. Several classic structural elements of the building were reconstructed such as the floor-to-ceiling window wall, circular bar, and deck among others. The transformation is substantial and the restored Sylvan Beach Pavilion will serve the community for years to come.
The people of Kirksey are made up of more than just architects, designers, marketers, etc. We have a strong sense of community involvement and a drive to give back to the community that serves us every day. For this reason and many others is why Kirksey participates in Tour de Pink, the first Texas bike ride solely benefiting breast cancer. This year was Tour de Pink’s 9th anniversary and Kirksey’s 9th year to participate. The folks of Kirksey provided volunteer services at a pit stop equipped with beverages, food, goodwill, cheering, and all around support for the riders.
Tour de Pink is a wonderful organization that helps by providing mobile mammography units for the community as a way to connect with patients. Funds also provide mammograms and further diagnostic testing and improved equipment and processes. In 2012, Pink Ribbons Project produced $470,000 that went to programs for breast health screening, treatment, education, and support services. The bonus is there is still time to donate! You have till October 15th to make a donation and be the change you want to see in the world.
Kirksey will continue our involvement and hopes you are inspired to give back as well – whether it’s Tour de Pink or any other organization that benefits the people of our community.
Here are some photos from the inspiring and fun-filled day!