As we wrap up the second week in our new home, one of the most pleasant surprises for me is our re-connection to the outside world. We have daylight, fresh air, activity, and movement – a striking contrast to our former digs. For years we sat in a hermetically sealed building 8-10 hours a day with little interaction or contact with the outside world. Now, most of us sit 5-10 feet away from an operable window. The simple opportunity of walking up a flight of exterior stairs in the courtyard contributes to that connectivity.
All of us anxiously await the opportunity to open the windows to see how this all works. The good news is that reports from team members last Saturday (temperature hit 81 degrees in Seattle) indicated the space was comfortable around 4:30pm with the windows closed. It appears that the dampers are doing their job. At our principals meeting last Monday, it was quite evident that the systems were operating as planned in the conference rooms. Within five minutes, the CO2 sensors were opening the dampers, (plenty of hot air in that meeting) and the lighting levels were fluctuating based on cloud cover. A few distractions we will adapt to.
The exterior blinds are still being installed at the courtyard and the northeast façade and the electricians are running around calibrating the lighting system, so commissioning is a few weeks away. The final LEED documentation and submittal will follow soon after.
Paul Hawkins stated at the Living Future Conference this week in Vancouver, BC that green buildings and technology will change fast and shock the world. I am not so sure about that. Simple, well thought out, low tech design solutions can go a long way in contributing to our quality of life and minimizing our negative impact on this world; hopefully, we will make a difference here.
-Scott Thompson AIA, LEED AP, Principal in Charge of The Terry Thomas