The new Merrill Hall houses the Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington. A major intent of this design was that that the facility would serve "as a learning tool for a wide range of study areas, from electrical and mechanical engineering, to environmental health, architecture, landscape architecture, to programs on the environment, sociology, and business."
Among the sustainable strategies and techniques employed are:
-Water use reduction: Waterless urinals and low-flush toilets help to reduce water use in the new building by more than 35%.
-Irrigation monitoring: By linking the irrigation system to a campus weather station, sprinklers only turn on when needed.
-Stormwater recyling: A 2,200 gallon underground cistern will store roof runoff to be used to water the demonstration green roof, located at the courtyard level for easy viewing.
-Natural ventilation uses strategically located windows and fans to draw warm air up and out.
-Solar panels located on the Miller Library roof will generate enough electricity to serve the lighting needs of the building's main floor.
-Green roof plantings help to reflect heat and thus reduce the urban "heat island" effect.
-Building materials contain few volatile organic compounds normally present in paints, glues, sealants, and carpets.
-Recycled/renewable products include a bamboo floor, straw board cabinets, furniture hand crafted from salvaged urban trees, and recycled concrete.
Keywords: United States, King County, Seattle, drainage, passive sustainable design . Submitted by Sabrina Sierawski, recipient of the 2006 Whitaker Traveling Fellowship.