What is Ecomonth?

July 10, 2010

Eight years ago, Anshen+Allen declared June to be ecomonth. Every June since, we have hosted a series of educational, entertaining, networking and inspirational events to increase our awareness and knowledge of sustainable design, construction, and general living. This year, we are branching out to include a digital component and networking opportunities to these events. Subscribe to the blog and/or follow us on social sites so that you can stay informed of upcoming events and exciting new media.


Ecomonth Wrap-up

June 30, 2010

Today, June 30th, wraps up our annual Ecomonth event. This year has been a big success in that it educated, inspired and challenged everyone involved.

Fifteen fascinating sustainability-focused presentations throughout the course of the month educated us and inspired us to action. Everything from living buildings to green baby products was presented by knowledgeable speakers who were willing to lend their time and expertise to our event.

Bike to Work Week challenged the firm to take to the streets on their bikes in an effort to beat competing offices. The Mission Bay trailer hailed first place with Columbus as a close second. Overall the challenge brought 29 individuals to the bike lanes, and the firm logged over 1100 miles in a single week. The biggest success: many rookie riders claim that they will continue riding in after the challenge.

A big thank you goes out to all who participated in Ecomonth. Our quest for eco-enlightenment doesn’t need to end with June. We plan to continue on with this A+Green blog, so stay subscribed for further events and information.

TED Tuesdays: A Recap

June 29, 2010

TED Heads discuss the issues presented in the talks

Ecomonth was a great impetus to bring back our monthly TEDTuesdays. We watched a selection of diverse talks, all with eco-minded themes.

As a recap for attendees and a follow up for those who had to leave early or couldn’t attend, here’s a full list of TEDTalks we viewed.

Richard Sears: Planning for the End of Oil
Magnus Larsson: Turning Dunes into Architecture
David Griffin: How Photography Connects Us
Alan Russell: Regenerating our Bodies

There were many talks we wanted to watch but were not able to because we ran out of time, including:
Debate: Does the world need nuclear energy?
Michael Pritchard’s solution for potable and portable water

For those new to the event, the two favorite videos we have watched at previous events are definitely worth a watch:
Jill Bolte Taylor’s Stroke of Insight
Dave Eggers describes his creative and unique tutoring centers

Lastly, one of our Tuesday attendees sent me a link to 10 Inspirational Architecture TED talks to consider for our next event. Stay tuned to this blog for information on upcoming TEDTuesdays.

Introducing Anshen 4.

June 28, 2010

The Anshen Fleet

In the spirit of ecomonth, we are furthering our efforts to green our office by adding another means of transportation to our fleet of company vehicles. Long ago, an old cruiser bike was abandoned to our roof terrace by an intern who has long since moved on. We have repurposed the bike, torched the old lock off, oiled the chain and inflated the tires, for an eco-friendly, fun and in many cases time-saving alternative to taking a company car. The bike will be available for reservation and check out on the company intranet, just like the cars, and will come complete with a helmet and a U-Lock for safety. We will also make the bike available to some bikeless soul who wants desperately to participate in the Anshen+Allen Bike to Work Challenge during the week of 6/21-6/25.

Happy Bike to Work Week!

June 28, 2010

And so the competition begins. As you may have read in a previous post, Anshen+Allen has declared this week to be our very own Bike to Work Week, and is now officially engaged in a friendly little inter-office competition. We are off to a strong start today: San Francisco’s bike racks are full for the first time in a very long time, the Columbus office clocked nearly 27 miles, and the Mission Bay trailer is batting 1.000. Daily incentives such as Bike to Lunch Day (today), a raffle, and Bagels for Bikers will keep the wheels spinning. The winning office will gain a trophy and some serious bragging rights. Go Team!

Bill & Ann’s Biking Adventure

June 23, 2010

Two of our Principals decided to forego the luxuries of the ferry yesterday and take to the streets instead. While they have committed to a bike/ferry combo for Anshen+Allen’s inaugural Bike to Work Week challenge, yesterday seemed like a good day for their own personal challenge of biking in to the city all the way from Larkspur. Bill, armed with a helmet camera, and Ann, armed with a competitive spirit spun their way across 23 miles with only one flat tire to slow them down. Way to go, P’s. Here for your viewing pleasure is a highlight reel from Bill’s helmet cam (turn on your sound for best viewing).

Academic Studio’s Sustainability Showcase

June 21, 2010

Anshen+Allen’s Academic Studio is hosting a Sustainability Showcase on Wednesday, June 23rd at noon. Come see what they have on the boards! Hear about advanced concepts they’ve been developing, such as shifting the design of lab buildings to Net Zero energy. Find out how ‘extreme renovations’ make significant contributions to sustainability on campus and learn lessons from projects that are completing construction now. The Academic Project Showcase will share how the studio is integrating sustainable practices into Research and Education projects across the country.

AIA and LEED AP CEUs are available.
Go-To Meeting information:
Dial 630-869-1020
Access Code: 919-820-528

TEDTuesday. Ideas worth spreading.

June 16, 2010

Are you ready to be inspired, invigorated, and challenged to save the world? Join us on Tuesday, June 22nd at 6pm as we resume TEDTuesdays. This particular session will focus on eco-friendly topics for ecomonth. We invite seasoned TEDheads and newbies, internal folks and their external friends to join the conversation.

New to TEDTuesdays? In a nutshell, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It’s a conference that brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). At TEDTuesdays, we gather together to view a selection of these talks with the opportunity to take the conversations further among ourselves.

To get an idea of what the fuss is all about, view the TED website, the TED blog, or a recap of past events.

WHEN: Tuesday June 22nd, 6pm
WHERE: SF Office, 5th Floor Marketing Lab
RSVP: svd@anshen.com

Back by Popular Demand

June 16, 2010

Come join us for a re-presentation of The New LEED AP (with Specialty): What Current LEED AP’s Need to Know. Mara Baum, a recent USGBC appointee to the Regionalization Working Group of the LEED Steering Committee, will help you crack the code of the new LEED system.

This talk will take place at the Mission Bay Trailer at noon on Thursday, June 17th, or via gotomeeting. View original posting.

Goto Meeting info:
Dial 714-551-0023
Access Code: 893-883-736

The Latest Buzz from the Academic Studio

June 16, 2010

At Wednesday’s Ecomonth event, the Academic Studio took us on a tour of a few recent projects, and described their solutions for meeting sustainability goals. One such strategy was the renewal rather than rebuilding of a set of mid-century buildings. Another employed various strategies to exceed code requirements for energy savings by 30%. Lastly, a case study led to the transformation of the way research labs are envisioned. The powerpoint presentation is chock full of information on these projects. Shoot me an email if you’d like to see it.

Porter College
Instead of building from the ground up, Porter College is a case study of the sustainable renewal of two mid-20th century housing buildings that, while critical to the campus’s architectural heritage, had reached the end of their usable lives on several levels. ADA issues, moisture infiltration and a significant mold problem led to the decision to completely replace the facade. Demand for student housing necessitated the vertical growth of both buildings, adding new beds.

The design of the renewal project respects the existing architectural vocabulary by retaining horizontal and vertical elements. Ample social spaces create a “home away from home” for the students. In the end, the building renovation resulted in 57% increased occupancy while achieving energy and water conservation, carbon savings and lower cost per bed. One of the buildings is on target to achieve LEED Gold certification, the other Silver.

Fayetteville State University
“The surest way to achieve sustainability is to create a building which is well loved.” -Nicolas Grimshaw
The Science and Technology Building at Fayetteville State University is designed to provide much needed space to accomodate classrooms, teaching laboratories, faculty offices and seminar rooms to further support the school’s STEM program. The building will serve as a new gateway to the science complex, promoting a cohesive center for STEM education while creating a stronger sense of identity to the larger campus. The building’s configuration responds strongly to these neighboring buildings in creating a science and technology courtyard that visually connects all three buildings. Key to this strategy is the Discovery Forum, the heart of the facility and the center of the student’s learning experience.

The building is oriented and sited to optimize energy savings. Glass walls provide generous views and natural light while shading structures help moderate temperature. Other sustainability features include high efficiency chillers, boilers and water heaters; energy efficient lighting and controls; low flow plumbing fixtures and high performance glazing and insulation systems.

Yale School of Medicine: Science in the Age of the Invisible
This case study is part of an ongoing research and design project that Anshen+Allen is undertaking with Yale School of Medicine. The study examines how designers will respond to the intersection of climate change and the continued acceleration of changes to science. It compelled this team to rethink the way we would like to design buildings, resulting in a transformation of the way laboratories are envisioned.