Today’s leading architectural ideas need to strongly focus on a holistic approach to materials, products and design program. The cyclical nature of this focus makes it very difficult to consider one without the other. The design challenge is to find the best possible product solution that meets the design program and incorporates the most cost effective…
What is the role of your materials and products in the development of today’s leading architectural ideas?
Today’s leading architectural ideas need to strongly focus on a holistic approach to materials, products and design program. The cyclical nature of this focus makes it very difficult to consider one without the other. The design challenge is to find the best possible product solution that meets the design program and incorporates the most cost effective material. Material evaluation allows designers to make product choices based upon the considerations of sustainability, recyclability and durability. Also, as a green facade wall product manufacturer, greenscreen® is very receptive to initiating discussions regarding green infrastructure and the interface between architecture and landscape. This idea promotes a similar holistic approach of looking at the entire building site and surrounding context instead of just assessing building envelope performance. Nature can play a crucial and ever increasing role in the infrastructure of human environments, but only through inclusive dialogue, design exploration and continually pushing on the bubble will we be able to understand its true capabilities.
What are the latest innovative developments that you are working on?
In 2010, greenscreen®, the leader in green wall technology for over 15 years, undertook two major sustainability initiatives to advance its position as a leader in the industry.
The two important initiatives consisted of conducting a product Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in conjunction with a MindClick SGM 360° Sustainability Audit. The motivation for conducting the LCA was to promote corporate sustainability practices that foster an understanding of the LCA process within interdisciplinary design professions and to share that knowledge with interested stakeholders in order to establish product standards and consistencies going forward.
According to the MindClick SGM Study of Sustainability Trends in the Building Industry, 57% of architects, designers and specifiers surveyed ranked conducting a Life Cycle Assessment as the most important sustainability practice. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), while still in its infancy stage for implementation by designers and specifiers, will be a critically important information tool in the design of sustainable buildings and landscapes in the future.
The LCA methodology followed the guidelines and protocols as set forth by ISO 14040 and by definition, a Life Cycle Assessment is carried out in four distinct phases; Goal and Scope Definition, Inventory Analysis, Impact Assessment and Interpretation Results.
The MindClick SGM 360° Sustainability Scorecard™ is a baseline and ongoing measurement matrix of performance that takes into consideration an organization’s products, operations and corporate social responsibility. The Sustainability Scorecard™ is based on MindClick SGM’s sustainability audit, a comprehensive 360˚ evaluation of the sustainable performance of an organization’s operations, logistics, products, facilities, employees, and brand. The performance evaluation includes a critical analysis of energy, carbon, waste and water.
From this process we better understand what drives our employees, how to improve our CSR policies and practices, and how to reduce our environmental footprint. In addition, we gained valuable insight to what is important to our customers when it comes to quality, service and sustainability.
How can vendors and material developers push the boundaries of what is possible in advancing innovative design and architecture?
Vendors and material developers can continue to advance innovation by looking for cross pollination opportunities of complementary technologies. For example, greenscreen® is partnering with Insight Lighting to offer ColumnLight which combines LED lighting energy efficiency and green facade wall technology. The new greenscreen® ColumnLight combines a standard greenscreen® column trellis with an Insight Lighting Euro to create a unique vertical luminous trellis column of vegetation. This innovative lighting option allows for a high design lighting choice, superior energy efficiency, unlimited site integration, flexibility and the incorporation of plant material. The blending of technologies will continue to be the main driver as far as innovation is concerned. Expanding on this premise further, greenscreen® has partnered with Bison Innovative Products to enhance their award winning Pop-Up Park product offering by incorporating vertical vegetation onto the Bison Cube™. The Bison Cube™ is a custom planter that can be used to delineate spaces on rooftop and street repurposing projects. By increasing vegetation in urban areas, Urban Heat Island effects can be lessened due to the inherent shading and evapotranspiration characteristics of plants.
Explain how your product or material was used in and contributed to the success of a particular project?
One of the most successful projects that greenscreen® has been a part of is the National Wildlife Headquarters in Reston, Virginia. The reason for the success is based upon the holistic approach taken to blend architecture and landscape. Designed by HOK, the building is a LEED certified building and also an Energy Star partner, but the environmental benefits blend seamlessly once outside the door thresholds. The landscape is a tapestry of native plant materials that extend to the vertical plane through the use of greenscreen®. Native vines grown on greenscreen® help to shade and cool the southern elevation of the headquarters in the summer, but the deciduous vines also drop their leaves in the fall and the interior office space benefits throughout the colder months through passive solar warming. The vertical landscape is anchored by native plantings that are part of the site stormwater management system that extends across the entire front facade. The designers have taken landscape elements that are typically relegated to unaesthetic engineered solutions and have successfully integrated them into an amenity that becomes the welcome mat to the front door. The seasonal aspects of this holistic approach actually make the structure “change” with the seasons and give the building a living quality.