Cleveland Environmental Center
See the installation of the living green roof and solar panels
EcoCity Cleveland completed its move into the renovated office space in the Cleveland Environmental Center in May 2003. The idea of having an ecologically-friendly building to house Clevelands environmental organizations has been discussed for more than 10 years. The project is now nearly complete thanks to an innovative partnership between non-profit and for-profit groupsthe Cleveland Green Building Coalition (GBC), Ohio City Near West Development Corporation, and Cleveland Urban Propertiesand the availability of a 25,000-square-foot landmark bank building at 3500 Lorain Avenue.
The project is resulting in a building that combines cutting-edge environmental design and historic renovation to create a one-of-a-kind office environment in Cleveland. It is the first commercial retrofit in Ohio to earn LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), signifying superior resource efficiency. It is also one of the first examples in the nation of reconciling LEED with historic tax credit requirements. It's estimated that the building will use only one third of the energy of a conventional office building.
The restoration of an existing building is itself a green thing to do, since it allows the reuse of materials on a site that has already been developed. With this particular building, the massive limestone walls will contribute to energy conservation. The abundant windows will facilitate natural daylighting, which saves energy and improves occupant productivity. Other green building features include a geothermal energy system, radiant floor heating, high-efficiency windows, and a variety of healthy and recycled materials, such as recycled and recyclable low-VOC carpeting, zero-VOC paints, and bamboo flooring. The building also is well served by transit and has facilities to encourage commuting by bicycle.
In addition to demonstrating green building techniques, the development will have a positive impact on community redevelopment efforts. The building is at the corner of Lorain Avenue and Fulton Road in the Ohio City neighborhood. Both streets are receiving concentrated redevelopment attention.
After completion, the building will become the home of a consortium of nonprofit environmental organizations, who will qualify for below-market rate rents and be able to share office facilities. The building also will include for-profit tenants, who will be able to take advantage of the buildings beauty, healthy indoor air quality, and energy savings.
The consortium concept is gaining popularity. Pittsburgh is the home of a similar environmental consortium with a green building. The Thoreau Center in San Francisco houses various organizations promoting socially responsible missions. And Portland, OR, is currently retrofitting a building to showcase both ecological principles and organizations.
The benefits of such building consortiums include the synergies of groups working together and increased prestige in the community. The Cleveland Environmental Center will be a visible manifestation of the ideals championed by the environmental community.
Winning design for the "eco-fence"