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Avoiding Toxic Material in a Sustainable Building

Posted April 24, 2012

Paula Vaughan, AIA, LEED Faculty Co-director Sustainability

In this new video series, Paula Vaughan, Co-Director Sustainability for Perkins+Will, showcases some of the sustainable features of the new Perkins+Will office in Atlanta. Located at 1315 Peachtree Street, the office recently received LEED Platinum statuswith a perfect score of 95. It is the current record holder for a LEED Platinum project in North America under the 2009 version of LEED for New Construction.

The office building, originally constructed in 1985 and located across from the High Museum of Art, has been redesigned into a high-performance sustainability-focused building. Perkins+Will purchased and began renovating the structure in 2009.

The firm wanted to showcase its commitment to the environment and the transformative power of sustainable design by incorporating building re-use and renovation efforts into the concept of sustainability. In addition to LEED Platinum, the project is already a recipient of the National AIA 2012 COTE Top Ten Award and the Urban Land Institute’s Development of Excellence Award.

In the first of the series, Paula discusses some of the challenges Perkins+Will faced in avoiding toxic materials during reconstruction and creative solutions they found.

The process started with drawing up a list of 25 precautionary materials that are known or highly suspected to be toxic to humans and environment. Then they had to be sure that everything in the building, from the carpets to the furniture to the art on the walls, did not contain those materials.

Watch the video to see a few examples of creative solutions they came up with to replace a few of the products that are widely used in construction, using materials that last just as long and are healthier for everyone working in the building.


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