Green Globes is a nationally recognized green rating assessment, guidance and certification program, that offers a customized process to realize sustainability goals for new construction projects, existing buildings and interiors. Green Globes is a federally approved, common sense approach to Green Building Certification that works alongside building owners and facility managers to leverage their knowledge with personalized assistance, producing best practices in sustainable design, construction and operations.
Drexel University’s Korman Center is the most recent building on campus to join the university’s long list of Green Globes certified buildings. This recently completed partial renovation of the existing Center, and new addition created a contemporary common lounge for students. The entry/lounge addition and renovated spaces represent 9,500 square feet of the 64,200-square foot building.
The Green Globes verification process includes an on-site Assessment by a third party Green Globes Assessor. The assessment of the completed building included interviews with members of the design and construction team who were responsible for the management of the project, and a review of product submittals and documentation necessary to verify the targeted achievement defined by the project team, and as confirmed in the Construction Documents.
The methodology used to derive a final Green Globes score was to assess the criteria within each of the following project elements:
Meeting minutes were provided to reflect initial and final performance goals. The protection of materials during transport to the site and while in storage on site were documented through construction progress photographs. The building envelope was weather tight before installation of interior finishes and systems. Some parts of the building were occupied during construction that necessitated control of dust, odors, or irritants. The procedures for maintaining Indoor Air Quality during the construction process was covered in the specifications and subsequent IAQ testing was confirmed as compliant.
Roofing specified referenced materials indicating and initial SRI of 76 and a 3-year SRI of 61; and confirmed by construction product data submittals. Green Globe’s minimum requirement is 78 for low slope roofs.
Measures such as low visible light reflectance of exterior glazing units and sunscreens to minimize exterior glare/reflection to prevent windows from appearing as transparent objects in bird flight patterns, were incorporated on the project.
All site stormwater runoff and roof drainage are directed to City stormwater systems. The local water quality control criteria were verified in the “PCSM (Post-Construction Stormwater Management) Report”. While there was a 96% reduction in directly connected impervious area on this site which will drastically reduce runoff volume. The site boundary is further than 100 feet from a natural body of water.
Confirmed on-site, the Korman Quadrangle landscaping includes a varied plant palette of drought- tolerant and native species, minimal turf grass, soil aeration, mulches, adequate plant spacing, and considerations of structural limitations.
The construction documents indicate that thermal resistance R-values of all opaque elements of the building envelope comply with the requirements of the Green Globes Building Envelope Requirement and is based heavily upon the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The provided COMcheck Building Envelope modeling indicates compliance.
More than 50% of light fixtures are claimed as having time scheduling devices or occupant sensing devices plus 50% of light fixtures have controls that can reduce the lighting load by at least 50% from full load.
Public transportation is available within 1/4 mile of the building. Preferred parking spaces for alternative fuel re-fueling or re-charging facilities are available. There is no on-site parking.
Sheltered bicycle parking is available. Drexel also provides a Bike Sharing Program for staff and students.
Water closets (1.28 gpf w/ sensor), urinals (0.5 gpf w/ sensor) and non-residential lavatories (0.5 gpm w/ sensor) have been installed to meet the maximum flow rates permitted under the Green Globes system.
Over 74% of the exterior plantings do not require irrigation.
Materials and Resources
Over 75% of the building core and shell products submitted an Environmental Product Declaration, third party certification, or third party verified product life cycle assessment.
Over 80% of the existing facades are being reused and almost the entire existing interior structural systems are being reused in this project.
More than 81% of the interior non-structural elements are being reused and more than 41% of the furnishings will be re-used or re-furbish existing furnishings.
Tipping bills and receipts reviewed at the Stage II assessment indicated that 86% of construction waste was diverted from landfills.
The curtain wall system, most of the mechanical and electrical products, as well as a number of the interior architectural products, make use of prefabricated, preassembled, and/or modular products and minimize the use of raw materials. Examples include:
- Terra Cotta Screen – Back-up Steel, structural Steel using engineering principals to minimize material usage.
- Composite Beam construction – stronger more flexible results in a reduction in the amount of structural steel needed.
The multiple performing assemblies’ criterion was most notably answered using panelized curtainwall systems that provide both weather-resistance, daylighting and thermal protection. Other examples include:
- Wood Ceiling details serve as air transfer grills (Slot diffuses).
- Roof also provides Green Screen attachment.
There is a new rooftop Central-Station Air-Handling Unit to supplement the existing systems.
No refrigerants are used, only chilled water.
The space used for storage of hazardous materials and janitorial supplies has “full height to deck” partitions and mechanical ventilation.
Intakes are located at least 30 feet from major pollution sources and a minimum 20 feet away from exhaust outlets and plumbing stacks; equipped with bird screens at intake openings. Filters are specified as MERV 8 and 13 for air handling equipment. Rooftop equipment has positive drainage away from the curb mounting or roof penetration openings. All items were reviewed in the field during the Stage II survey.
CO2/occupancy sensors to control the ventilation rates are provided in rooms with variable occupancies.
VOC limits and/or certifications for adhesives, sealants, carpets, paints, and flooring; confirmed by construction product data submittals.
The Korman Center has over 74% of the areas devoted to critical tasks achieving a minimum daylight factor (DF) of 2. Daylight Factor calculations were provided for review.
The plan of this building affords the opportunity for numerous spaces, over 31%, to have direct views to the exterior.
Roller shades were installed on all exterior windows. Shade materials are specified for both visually transparent and room darkening dual rollers.
Daylight harvesting sensors are provided for over 75% of spaces.
The Drexel University Korman Center in Philadelphia is a good example of the success possible in sustainable design using advancements in technology to increase the resulting efficiency and performance. The team considered many of the sustainability impacts of design decisions and their influence on the day to day operations of the facility as well as the long-term benefits to the building owner.
Barbara Clarke, AIA, LEED AP, GGP, GGA
Director of Sustainability
Photos courtesy of Ron Lincoln, GBI Green Globes Assessor