Today we celebrate Earth Day, which highlights the importance protecting the one place we call home. The theme for this year’s #EarthDay2021 is Restore Our Earth, which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can help work to restore our world’s ecosystems.
In recent years, the construction industry has actively acknowledged the importance of working to find a balance between providing high quality construction and lowering the overall environmental impact of doing so. In fact, the U.S. Green Building Council estimated that 40 to 48 percent of all non-residential construction in the U.S. are classified as green, and these numbers are only continuing to rise. Loeffler shares this passion for striking a perfect balance between quality construction and environmental impact, and helping to build spaces that are sustainable, durable, and healthy for our end users. We work closely with design teams during the early stages of a project to ensure both sustainable design features and constructability align, and come up with creative solutions to maintain the original design intent while considering our clients budget and schedule.
Throughout the years, our team has had the pleasure of working with exceptionally talented architects and engineers who have designed spaces that break the mold of how a green space might look and function. In the essence of this year’s theme, Restore Our Earth, we’d like to look back on the Tashjian Bee Discovery and Pollinator Center which incorporated both innovative thinking and emerging green technologies.
Back in 2016, Loeffler wrapped up work at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on their new multi-functional public education facility. It provided a place for visitors to discover more about the lives of pollinators and their agricultural and ecological importance. The design team from MSR Design utilized materials that would aid in preserving pollinators as well as reducing the environmental impact of building this space. According to AIA, 76% of all construction waste associated with this project was diverted from the landfill.
Our partners at MEP Associates worked diligently to successfully incorporate energy reduction strategies into the design in several ways. Through radiant systems, photovoltaics, and utilization of solar control, the AIA predicted a 71% reduction from the national energy use intensity average.
Outside of the new structure, Landscape Architect Damon Farber incorporated native, pollinator friendly plants that are floral rich. This was done to clearly demonstrate how specific plants support specific pollinators, and how other’s do not. This was a great way to physically demonstrate what was discussed in the interior within the exhibits in an informal and manner that promoted self-discovery.