The future’s green for architects meeting today in Ames. “Getting Energized” is the theme of the conference of Iowa’s chapter of the American Institute of Architecture, and the group’s Kevin Nordby says sustainable design is more important than ever in the buildings being planned today. With prices creeping up for energy and gas, “sustainable design” considers the energy use of a building and even recyclable materials in it, to have a “friendly” impact on the environment. Nordby, a Des Moines architect, says renewable energy sources can be built right into projects, like windpower.He cites a West Des Moines apartment building that has two wind turbines to make power for water heating, and says though photovoltaic units haven’t caught on big yet, sunpower can also generate electricity. One theme of national experts meeting with the Iowa architects at Gateway Center in Ames is “turning green into gold.” In “daylighted” buildings that use windows instead of electric bulbs or flourescent lights, he says it’s been proven workers are more productive and use fewer sick days. One he himself designed at UNI reportedly is a favorite with faculty because of its pleasant “daylighted” spaces, and he cites studies in California that found in a “daylighted” school, math and verbal scores increased by 25%. This year’s seminar is a joint meeting with the Iowa Utility Association, as the engineers share energy-saving ideas with building designers.
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