This is such a great accomplishment - being completed right now within the City of Lake Worth. This year, I have re-joined the board of the Palm Beach County Planning Congress. We are currently planning an event and educational tour of this building as part of a special program on green building construction and design in March. I will provide further details as they come together. The outing will include a tour of this magnificent building and an informative talk by John Szerdi, project architect. Below are some of the features employed within and a part of this building.
Green and Living Features:
1. Seeking Gold LEED Certification
2. Living “
3. Raised flooring system efficiently delivers air conditioning with individual thermostats for all offices.
4. LEED compliant dismantling of existing building
5. Living Machine® designed to purify & recycle greywater on site for exterior irrigation
6. Building is lush with indoor landscaping
7. 12’ Waterfall and pond water supplied by harvesting air conditioning condensate
8. Operable windows for each office
9. FSC (Forest Stewardship Certified) wood used
10. Ice stone countertops made of recycled crushed bottled glass
11. Extensive use of natural lighting
12. Vegetable-based oil for elevator piston system
13. Energy-efficient lighting system with occupancy sensors for each office
14. Central atrium or “Biolarium”
15. Exterior includes recycled "Chicago Brick"
16. Environmentally friendly paints, sealants and adhesives
17. Environmentally friendly furniture
18. LEED compliant floor covering
19. Garage plug-in for electric car
20. Bike rack on premises
21. Waterless urinals
22. Water conserving fixtures
23. Fully equipped health gym
24. Water-efficient landscaping
25. Construction recycling
26. Non-smoking buildingThis is from a press release on the building and the law firm which will occupy the space:
Palm Beach County’s first green, “living” office building
coming to historic
According to Nancy Romano, President of Vive Verde, Inc., owner of EcoCentre, the Living
Building, “Can you imagine a society in modern times where we construct beautiful, livable, and
The lead architect on the project is John Szerdi of Living Designs Group, LLC of Boynton Beach, Florida, and
“The basis for a ‘
“The client in this instance requested an equitable and livable work environment for everyone in the firm. The site and special program posed stimulating challenges which inspired us to turn the common office building design response inside out. That is, instead of placing a compact building form on an urban site and surround it with the obligatory perimeter landscape strip, we have decided to bring many of the natural elements inside and ‘on top.’ This eliminates interior work spaces totally dependent upon artificial lighting (which is typically for the less fortunate or less senior staff in most projects).
“This premise is the foundation for the design organization of the site and the integration of Living Designs Group’s ‘
“Here are just some of the roles these systems will play in EcoCentre, the
a) A Biolarium space with cubic proportions will be created by wrapping a 25’ wide ribbon of office spaces and other uses. All spaces will be accessed from this space which will contain crucial visual, thermal, and acoustical systems for the pleasure and comfort of all other spaces.
b) The perimeter spaces not only insulate the Biolarium or atrium-like space but assure all occupants of views to nature or the city. Natural daylighting will reduce energy costs of artificial lighting and provide workers with the full spectrum of light. Artificial lighting will be activated by sensors for general lighting with desk or floor lamps for task lighting as desired.
c) The juxtapositioning of the work and work-related spaces at each level will allow fresh air and people into the Biolarium from the north of
d) The upper level gardens and ‘living roof modules’ will capture storm water and provide the filtration of the water which will be stored in an 8-thousand-gallon cistern located beneath the covered parking. This water will be used for toilet flushing, dramatically reducing the potable water consumption for this building while keeping the roof cooler.
e) The ‘Living Machine®’ located on the second floor of the Biolarium will treat grey water from the building occupants (lavatories and showers) and be re-used for irrigation, further reducing potable water consumption in the building. Waterless urinals will be used in the men’s bathroom. The kitchen will be the hub of recycling materials. Food and the water cooler are social connectors at work.
f) The Biolarium space becomes a ‘sponge’ for the incoming fresh air and a water source for the pond located in the entry at street level. The condensate may capture as much as 250-300 gallons of water a day and will be used for all the indoor irrigation needs. The indoor plants will absorb CO2 from the building occupants and contribute to the healthy fresh air being circulated back to the offices through the Biolarium (the lungs of the building).
g) The raised flooring system in the building will locate modular motorized air dampers in each office that opens and closes at the control of the occupant via separate thermostats. Individual controls have been proven to save substantial energy while giving everyone a comfortable space to work. The system will maximize the efficiency of air conditioning and air flow,
while also providing ongoing flexibility for the movement of electrical outlets, air flow vents, and easy/ready access to wiring systems without requiring remodeling or discarding any equipment or materials.
h) Cooling loads will be reduced because of the thermal absorption of the roof top and balcony gardens and ponds. A highly thermal resistant (R-30) curtain wall system will significantly reduce cooling loads and almost eliminate any heating needs to but a couple days a year.
i) Ninety percent of the on-site parking is covered by the building creating a shaded area reducing heat island effect that typically radiates energy from the exposed cars and parking surfaces back into the microclimate of the city.
j) All landscaping will be provided with re-use water and delivered via subsurface irrigation system to minimize evaporative loss and maximize water efficiency. Biolarium landscaping will provide a constant connection with nature and reduce CO2 concentrations in the building.”
The integration of these systems becomes the recipe for a healthy, pleasant “living environment,” a concept that makes EcoCentre, the
It is designed to be a 33,000 gross sq. ft., four-story office building with garage parking and two retailspaces on the ground floor level. This first floor will be rich with gardens and a beautiful waterfall
flowing onto it from the second floor above. The second, third, and fourth floors will contain office space and views into the center of the building looking into the Biolarium, gardens, streams and
waterfall. The building will be topped with a “living roof” rich with plants, trees, gardens, and sitting and viewing areas.
Thomas E. Worrell, Jr., principal owner of Worrell Water Technologies, LLC and Dharma Properties, states, “Imagine the fusion of art, nature, and technology. Imagine living alternatives and business office settings which are elegant and responsible. I believe it is important for our health and our soul to invite nature into our lives. We believe in harnessing the vigor of biology to cleanse our water without harming the environment. EcoCentre, the
Other features in this extraordinary project will include such things as the following:
1. A mock trial courtroom with jury facilities;
2. A full, complete and state-of-the-art video conference center;
3. An exterior made of recycled
4. Countertops which look like marble but which are made entirely of recycled materials – primarily crushed bottled glass and environmentally sensitive concrete to mimic real marble;
5. A view for all building personnel of “both” the interior Biolarium and gardens and outside;
6. A state-of-the-art workout gym and fitness center;
7. The piston system operating the central elevator will use a technological innovation form of operating oil which is “vegetable based;”
8. The furniture throughout the building will be made primarily from either recycled and reused materials or from lumber which is Forestry Services Certified (coming from “select cut” forests) as opposed to “clear cut” forests;
9. The interior drywall will be made from recycled and reused products.
The main office occupant of the building will be the renowned trial lawyer firm of Romano Law Group. John F. Romano, a partner in the firm and former President of the
April 11, 2005 – Building vacated by law firm.
April 12 – May 23, 2005 – Building to be utilized by local law enforcement and related agencies, including Lake Worth Police Department, Lake Worth Fire Department, and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for practice and rehearsal sessions, hostage rescues, fire curtailment, etc.
May 24 – September 15, 2005 – “Dismantling” followed by demolition (with actual demolition to commence in August 2005). This “dismantling” includes removing all items in or on the building which can be reused and/or recycled. The dismantling procedure requires observation and log documentation for LEED purposes.
July 2006 – Groundbreaking; construction commences
May, 2008 - Target construction completion date
June, 2008 – Move into building
December 4, 2008 – Grand opening celebration and events
This is how the building looked about two weeks ago. It can be seen at the south west corner of Lake Avenue and H Street.