Cooling Heat Islands

January 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Heat Reducing Islands at 4th + Linden
Dark, non-reflective hardscapes in the city – such as streets, parking lots, building roofs, sidewalks – are known to create heat islands, areas that have an artificially elevated ambient temperature when compared with temperatures in more sustainable environments. We southern Californians enjoy our sunshine, but this type of artificial, urban heat is quite harmful, and can have immediate and lasting effects on the local environment and the global climate.

For buildings, darker, less reflective roofs mean the indoor environment is warmer, thus requiring more air-conditioning to maintain comfort for occupants. Higher cooling loads means more energy burned, CO2 expended, and air pollution created, not to mention higher operating costs. Second, the heat absorbed by the dark surfaces is picked up by the breezes and consequently increases the ambient temperature, which is measured several feet above the surface. For example, on a 90 degree summer day, the ambient temperature above an asphalt parking lot can reach 170 degrees, and lighter-colored grey concrete is about 120 degrees, while areas where there are trees is only 87 degrees! Not only does this heat island effect make it uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe for pedestrians, but it can be harmful to animal and plant life in urban environments.  Last, there is the bigger picture of climate change and global responsibility. The warm air from the dark surfaces is absorbed by clouds and contributes to the greenhouse effect of a warmer planet.  

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Customized Prefab Provides Economy, Sustainability and Flexibility

November 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

Conservation Corp of Long Beach - Environmental Education Center
Exterior view showing cedar siding and metal wall panels 

The recently completed Conservation Corps of Long Beach Environment Education Center, a recycling center and educational community space in Signal Hill, shows that prefab construction can save cost, and contribute to the building’s functionality and sustainability, while not sacrificing aesthetics.

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Sustainability Goes to Work in the East Village

November 2, 2010 § Leave a comment


Photo by EPK Photography

The East Village Creative Offices recently welcomed its latest tenant – local developer/contractor JR van Dijs, Inc. When designing the interiors, we maintained a focus on creating a sustainable workplace. By incorporating operable windows to capture ocean breezes, and operable skylights to exhaust hot air from the space, the design eliminated the need for air conditioning. The skylights and windows also contribute to the large amount of daylighting throughout the open office floor plan, so that only individual task or accent lighting is required during the day. This creates comfortable working conditions for the inhabitants, who have control over the indoor environment, and already commented that they feel healthier and happier working with a constant stream of fresh air and natural light. Jan Van Dijs, president of the company, is also happy – the improved environment means his employees are more productive and his energy bills are lower. Sustainability makes its way into the water fixtures, including the installation of dual-flush toilets, and into the interior walls, handrails, and stairs, which are composed of recycled lumber. Using these recycled materials creates a richer, more interesting workplace where the occupants feel good knowing they are minimizing their impact on the environment and contributing to the vitality of the community.

Check out more images of the JR Van Dijs Office on our website: www.studio-111.com


Photo by EPK Photography

(Even Kuma, the company dog, loves being in this space!)

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