Living Building Makers: Creating Sustainable Buildings That Renew Our World

Living Building Makers: Creating Sustainable Buildings That Renew Our World is a handcrafted collection of stories celebrating the people who bring the built environment to life.

The book was written by Jonathan A. Wright, an accomplished maker specializing in the construction and design of sustainable, healthy, high-performance buildings. Wright Builders, Inc. has constructed two Living Buildings in Amherst, MA – the R.W. Kern Center and the Hitchcock Center for the Environment.

Set on the Hampshire College campus, Jonathan A. Wright’s stories are a tribute to the unsung individuals – builders, tradespeople, designers, engineers, educators, craftspeople, and owners – who rolled up their sleeves to play a part in creating two of the greenest buildings in the world.

Living Building Makers: Creating Sustainable Buildings That Renew Our World is available through the Ecotone Publishing Bookstore, here.

Keeping Up With The R.W. Kern Center: Part 1

It has almost been a full year since the R.W. Kern Center became a certified Living-Building, allowing us to observe and analyze its performance. Over the next month, architect Christopher Nielson, AIA, LEED AP will be analyzing the % wood moisture data from the R.W. Kern Center to see what lessons we can learn.

He and his team have been tracking the % moisture content of the wood framing in the walls to understand if and how moisture moves through a double-stud assembly. The wall assembly contains a permeable moisture barrier on the outside and relies upon the paint and caulk layer as the an interior moisture barrier. The idea is that the wall will get wetter in the winter seasons, but dry back out in the summer months.

Check back soon for updates!

 

Pink hues are exterior plywood and blue hues are interior wall framing.

Hampshire College Receives International Campus Sustainability Award for R.W. Kern Center

Congratulations to Hampshire College for being recognized by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)!

Hampshire is one of three institutions to receive a 2018 Campus Sustainability Achievement Award. This award recognizes the R.W. Kern Center as an outstanding achievement toward sustainability in higher education. The award will be presented by AASHE at its annual conference & expo on October 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, PA.

By The Numbers

  • 300+ entries
  • 11 winners
  • 3 Achievement Awards
    • Hampshire College (Massachusetts)
    • Emory University (Georgia)
    • Bow Valley College (Alberta, Canada)

The AASHE awards are a prestigious honor bestowed upon institutions and individuals that are helping to lead higher education to a sustainable future. AASHE maintains an online library containing hundreds of detailed case studies on a wide variety of higher education sustainability initiatives, including an extensive case study of the R.W. Kern Center.

About the Kern Center

The R.W. Kern Center is a multi-purpose Living Building that was designed to meet the ILFI’s rigorous Living Building Challenge, the most advanced green-building standard in the world. The facility is net-positive, generating its own energy, capturing and treating its own water, and processing its own waste. It is 17th Living Certified Building in the world, and currently the largest Living Certified higher education project in the world.

 

Read the full announcement on Hampshire College’s website, here.

Next Steps for Living Village at Yale Divinity School

Bruner/Cott completed a comprehensive study for a new regenerative ‘Living Village’ at Yale Divinity School (YDS), in association with McLennan Design and Andropogon. Designed to meet the Living Building Challenge 3.0 at an unprecedented scale, the new residential complex for living and learning would demonstrate environmental leadership at the highest level and serve as a replicable model for other divinity schools, places of worship, and academic institutions worldwide.

In December, Yale Divinity School received a $2 million contribution from supporters George and Carol Bauer to bring the 127,000 sf residential community to fruition. This gift has allowed YDS to re-engage Bruner/Cott and McLennan Design to design and create the detailed plans for a net-positive housing complex intended to educate its students on sustainable living practices. The project aims to transform how every college and university thinks about residential buildings in the future.

“We are deeply grateful to George and Carol for their generosity in supporting the vision of the Living Village… Thanks to the generosity of the Bauers and the talent and commitment of the design team we’ve assembled, YDS is poised to make history.” – Yale Divinity School Dean Greg Sterling

As described in the 2016 study, the complex is being designed to meet the various imperatives of the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous green-building certification program, created by project partner Jason McLennan of McLennan Design. The Living Village is expected to house 150 students in below-market-rate residential units, ranging from single “monastic” rooms to two-bedroom apartments for families. Additionally, the complex will likely include classroom space, a small chapel, study areas, a fitness center, and other community spaces such as yoga and meditation rooms, small-group kitches, a cafe, and community dining rooms.

Bruner/Cott and McLennan Design will present conceptual designs to the greater YDS community at Convocation and Reunions in October.

“Above all… we expect the Living Village to stand as a resounding expression of our theoretically rooted commitment to conserving the Earth’s resources and creating a more sustainable future.” – YDS Dean Greg Sterling

Having just received Living Building Certification for the R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College, Bruner/Cott is extremely excited to progress with this landmark project and is honored to be a part of the design team selected by YDS.

Read the complete announcement from Yale Divinity School. 

The Kern Center Receives Living Building Certification!

We are thrilled to announce that the R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College in Amherst , MA has finally been certified as a Living Building by the Living Future Institute! We are very proud of this accomplishment.

Completed in 2016, the Kern Center is now the 18th Living Certified project in the world (17th Living Certified building), the 3rd Living Certified building in Massachusetts, and the 5th largest Living Certified project in the world (by gross building area).

 

About the Living Building Challenge:

The Living Building Challenge is a green building certification program and sustainable design framework that visualizes the ideal for the built environment. It encourages teams to think holistically to find solutions that tackle multiple issues at once, for instance, projects must integrate local culture, biophilic elements, and beauty in order to foster community and natural connections.

The program outlines a design framework that promotes the highest standard of sustainability for the built environment. Rather than a checklist of current best practices, the Living Building Challenge includes a series of performance goals that empower teams to find creative design solutions.

To learn more about the Living Building Challenge, visit the International Living Future website.

 

Congratulations to Hampshire College and all members of the Kern Center team, including:

Bruner/Cott Architects
Living Building Challenge Advisor: Bruce Coldham
Construction Manager: Wright Builders
Code Consulting: Cutler Consulting
Cost Estimating: A.M. Fogarty & Associates Inc.
Energy and Systems Consulting: South Mountain Company
LBC Material Vetting: Integrated Eco Strategy
Lighting Design: Lewis Lighting Design, LLC  
Specifications: Kalin Associates
Electrical Engineering: R.W. Sullivan
Fire Protection Engineering: Rybak Engineering
Geotechnical Engineering: O’Reilly, Talbot & Okun Associates
Mechanical, Plumbing, & Controls Engineering: Kohler & Lewis Engineers
Site/Civil Engineering & Permitting: Berkshire Design Group
Structural Engineering: Foley Buhl Roberts & Associates
Landscape Architecture: Richard Burke Associates

Hampshire College Goes 100% Solar

At Bruner/Cott, we know Hampshire College best for being home to the R.W. Kern Center, a project we completed in 2016 that was designed to meet the rigorous requirements of the Living Building Challenge. The building aims to make a lasting impression on all who enter by demonstrating Hampshire’s commitment to a sustainable future, while inspiring the next generation of leaders in environmentally conscious practices. The Kern Center is completely self-sustaining, generating its own energy, capturing its own water, and processing its own waste. Just last year, the building generated 28% more solar electricity than it used.

However, Hampshire’s commitment to going green does not stop at the Kern Center. The entire college is now running completely on solar power generated on its campus as part of its Climate Action Plan and Sustainability initiative. This initiative includes rooftop solar arrays, like the ones on the roof of the R.W. Kern Center, on structures such as the CSA Barn, the president’s house, and the canopy on top of the Chuck and Polly Longsworth Arts Center.

“There’s a major shift in the way the world makes energy,” said Hampshire College President, Jonathan Lash. “Who’s going to design new energy systems and manage that transition? It will be students like ours who were on a campus that went 100-percent solar and who studied these systems and their impacts. This makes a difference to our educational mission. This is the economy of the future.”

Congratulations to all at Hampshire College for this achievement in sustainability!

To learn more, visit the Hampshire College website.

Rainwater system on line at Kern Center

It’s raining drinking water at Hampshire College! The R.W. Kern Center’s rainwater-fed potable water supply came on line in June after a three-year approval process with the DEP. The building now operates its own potable water system, with rainwater captured on the roof, stored in cisterns on site, and treated with chlorine-free UV filters. With this hurdle crossed, the project is well on its way to achieving the net-zero water requirement of the Living Building Challenge.

Read about the whole journey over at the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Kern Center featured in Architectural Record’s “Sustainable Campus Development”

Over the last 15 to 20 years, the combined energies of students, faculty, and administrators have broadened the focus on sustainability at U.S. colleges and universities to encompass a wide spectrum of concerns. From a start in recycling, raising awareness, and environmental-studies programs, the higher education’s sector’s green endeavors have burgeoned to in­clude curriculum and research, planning and administra­tion, and the many facets of campus operations…

In constructing a new welcome center with administrative offices, a social hub, and classrooms at its campus entrance, Hampshire College, a liberal arts school in Amherst, Massachusetts, perceived a fit between its institutional values and an ambitious environmental effort. The college’s recently completed R.W. Kern Center, designed by Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Bruner/Cott, is built to meet the Living Building Challenge (LBC) and has just embarked on the operational tracking year required for certification.

Read the full article at Architectural Record.