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Department of  Design and
Environmental Analysis,
Cornell University

    1.  External Considerations

    2.  Core & Envelope

    3.  Indoor Ecology

    4.  Material/ Product Content

    5.  Ecotecture Worksheets

    6.  Additional information.

          7Redarrow.gif (61 bytes)  Case Studies

Use the table of contents to go directly to specific topics


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External Consideration

Design Outcome


Site Planning

Site Selection - Made use of an existing 1957 office complex owned by Southern California Gas Company  
Campus vs. High-Rise - 44,572sf single structure  
Solar Access & Orientation -former building orientation limited soar benefits, but design team worked with mechanical engineers to optimize the solar orientation  
Prevailing Winds     X
Adjacent Buildings     X
Disturbance of site throughout construction - environmentally sound construction methods for site demolition, excavation, managing, recycling & disposing of waste  
Construction Waste Management - hundreds of tons of construction & demolition materials were recycled & reused including concrete, roofing materials, asphalt, metal, ceiling tiles, wood flooring, electrical equip. & mechanical systems  
Access/Egress & Circulation     X
Outdoor Lighting & Safety     X

Environmental Impact

Restoration & Preservation of Flora & Fauna - landscaping includes plants native to arid climates which require little water  
Groundwater control/ erosion control - underground drip irrigation system, -landscaping practices reduce water, energy & sewage treatment requirements  
Ecosystems (air, water, soil) -use of environmentally sourced building materials helps protect fragile ecosystems  


Biking /Walking  - encouragement of commuting alternatives  
Mass Transit - encouragement of commuting alternatives  
Shuttle /Bus - encouragement of commuting alternatives  
Commuter Rideshare - encouragement of commuting alternatives  
Parking - site reduced parking surface from 90% to 58%, -use of a white surface eliminates "urban heat island"  

Noise & Vibration

Effect of surrounding noise & vibration on new buildings     X
Amount of noise released into environment - windows provide acoustic benefits by minimizing external noise  

Core & Envelope

Design Considerations



Stairwell Placement - centrally located stairwells to encourage walking between floors


Lighting, Heating & Cooling - hybrid mechanical systems combine advantages of indirect/direct absorption chiller/heater and dessicant uses to create optimum indoor environment  
Wayfinding     X
Building Form /Shape -optimization of solar gain and loss  
Energy Efficiency -cooperation w/local utilities, gov't agencies, & consultant to maximize energy efficiency   
Harmony w/Environment - readapted use of existing structure  


Self-sufficient     X
Renewable Fuels     X
Fossil Fuels - natural gas and electric  
Ventilation -large quantities of outside air brought into building  
Cooling System -2 dual-wheeled desiccant cooling units from Englehard/ICC technologies installed to improve IAQ, -CFC free, uses H20,  -high relective roofing systems reduce heat absorption and A/C loads  
HVAC Intake & Exhaust -air distribution system is carefully planned for accurate supply and return including the Variable Air Volume controls places  throughout the building  
Personal Environment Modules  




Daylighting Monitors - light sensors continuously adjust the amount of electrical lighting used, depending on natural light levels


Occupancy Sensors -occupancy and light sensor controls are used throughout the ERC, an energy saving of 35%-60%


Superwindows - Low "e" high performance glazing reduces heat gain, windows are gas filled and dual-glazed with a "heat mirror" sheet   
South Facing Glass -former building's orientation limited solar benefits, but second story optimizes natural light  
Skylights & Clerestories -3 skylights (So-Luminaire Active Daylighting Systems) in the main first floor corridor eliminates the use of over 6 million watt-hours of electric lighting, -Kalwall Translucent Clerestory window walls sections are placed to allow natural daylight into interior  
Courtyards & Atria     X

Insulation / Energy Efficiency

High Insulation - exterior walls combine foil-backed fiberglass batt insulation w/non-CFC, rigid foam insulation to provide an R-value of 11, -roof insulation has an R-value of 38  
Low Emission - non-CFC   
Recyclable & Natural Materials - predominantly concrete enhanced with batt insulation  
Earth Covered Building     X
Asbestos - removed before renovation began


Building Lifecycle/ Longevity

Adaptive Reuse     X
Monitoring Systems or Devices -a computerized energy management system optimizes energy use at the ERC by monitoring & controlling the building's HVAC systems  


Natural Materials -80% of all ERC construction materials are recycled or renewable resources  
Recyclable & Renewable - 60% of the old building materials were either left in place, removed for future reinstallation or recycled, -80% of all ERC construction materials are recycled or renewable resources  
Local Materials - local recycled materials utilized  
Non-toxic/ Low-toxicity - building designers avoided selecting materials that "off-gas" harmful chemicals, where feasible  
Harmony w/Environment - updated look of 1957 building  


Storm Water Drainage -new rood is mechanically fastened, eliminating the need for heat equipment, hot asphalt & toxic adhesives  
Roof Top Units     X
Solar Units     X
Indoor Ecology Design Considerations N/A

Space Planning

Smaller spaces w/large group areas  - shared learning rooms  
Shared spaces  -shared  learning rooms, team spaces  
Telecommuters     X

Indoor Air Quality

Air Changes per hour  


Smoking Policy - no smoking policy


Air Filtration - periodic inspection & maintenance of the ERC air conditioning systems help to optimize IAQ


Natural Ventilation -  large amounts of outside air brought into the building and monitored by sensors and controls  
Building Materials - building designers avoided selecting materials that "off-gas" harmful chemicals, where feasible  
"Breathing Skin"     X
Pesticide Use     X
Indoor Flora     X


Natural Daylighting - natural lighting reduces electrical lighting needs by as much as 80%  
Artificial Lighting - use of high-efficiency T-8 fluorescent lamps, electronic ballasts, daylighting systems, & light & occupancy sensors reduce electrical energy requirements  
Circuiting & Switching     X
Material / Product Content Design Considerations N/A


Natural & Recycled - used furniture from another So. Cali. Gas company facility is used throughout the office space at ERC  
Raw Materials     X
Acquisition     X
Processing & Mfr.     X
Product Distribution     X
No / Low Emissions     X
Renewability     X

Walls & Partitions

Natural & Recycled - walls in main lobby are covered w/ sisal, a durable recycled fabric made from tropical plants, -partition panels consist of 45% fiber made from recycled soda bottles  
Raw Materials - recycled materials- gridcore, aluminum, paper, plastic  
Acquisition - recycled materials  
Processing & Mfr.     X
Product Distribution     X
No / Low Emissions     X
Renewability     X


Natural & Recycled     X
Raw Materials     X
Acquisition     X
Processing & Mfr.     X
Product Distribution     X
No / Low Emissions     X
Renewability     X

Flooring & Carpeting

Natural & Recycled - entire floor of ERC lobby is laid w/reprocessed wood from a former San Francisco warehouse, -carpet tiles are made w/face fibers containing 35% recycled, post-individual nylon  
Raw Materials - recycled products (nylon, wood, & glass)  
Acquisition "   "  
Processing & Mfr. -Interface carpeting, reused wood flooring  
Product Distribution -wood flooring acquired locally  
No / Low Emissions -nontoxic acrylic, pressure sensitive adhesive is used in carpet and carpet padding installation  
Renewability - carpeting partnership w/Interface under a lease agreement, Interface will  be responsible for the perpetual life of the ERC carpet  


Natural & Recycled - recycled appliances, motors, etc.  
Raw Materials     X
Acquisition     X
Processing & Mfr.     X
Product Distribution - appliances recycled from local company  
No / Low Emissions     X
Renewability - low flush toilets reduce water usage by 50%  

Finishes & Laminates

Natural & Recycled - syndecrete finishes contain fly ash   
Raw Materials - fly ash  
Acquisition - syndecrete is an inert waste product of many industrial processes  
Processing & Mfr.     X
Product Distribution     X
No / Low Emissions - nontoxic alternatives to urethanes, lacquers & varnishes used on hardwood floors  


Natural or Recycled  


Product Distribution  


No / Low Emissions  


Disposal & Renewability  


greenblt.gif (569 bytes)External Considerations 
Case Study

greenblt.gif (569 bytes)Core & Envelope Case Study

greenblt.gif (569 bytes)Indoor Ecology 
Case Study

greenblt.gif (569 bytes)Material/Product Content Case Study

Cornell University, April 1999