Green Building: Where Does The Art Fit In?

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

On May 4, 2011, Rebecca Ansert, Founder & Principal of Green Public Art co-presented an American for the Arts webinar Going Green: How to Align Public with Green Building and Infrastructure with

The premise of the webinar was this: Increasingly, various levels of government are demanding that new and retrofitted public buildings and urban infrastructure meet green standards. Through case studies and policy examples we will cover fundamental approaches for integrating art that makes green technologies visible into the design and construction of green buildings, as well as public infrastructure. Participants will learn key language that describes approaches to public art that showcases green building and infrastructure technologies such as stormwater capture and energy production and how these kinds of public art can be integrated into existing and new ordinances and modifications to comprehensive plans. Productive strategies for the artist selection process, as well as green building standards materials resources and maintenance will also be covered.

The following was my ten-minute contribution to the conversation which included the examination of a LEED certification checklist, where I believe public art can play a role. I hope this will enable others to continue to advance the conversation of public art in green building in their own organizations.

I believe that the public art community has a great opportunity to take a critical and creative approach to finding sustainable strategies to incorporate into our built environment. We need a green public art movement that can set a course to increase the aesthetic appeal of new construction and city planning; to encourage projects to take a holistic approach; and encourage artists to take an active role in creating works which demonstrate green processes, and utilize green design, materials and techniques in green building projects.

THREE LEADING GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method)was launched in 1990. It is a performance based assessment method and certification program for new building`s. The primary aim of BREEAM is to mitigate the life cycle impacts of new buildings on the environment in a robust and cost effective manner. There are ten categories for award points in this program

The Living Building Challenge is a program of the International Living Building Institute that was launched in 2006. It is an independent non-profit organization. The underlying principle of the Living Building Challenge is that all development projects should use nature as the ultimate measurement stick for performance. There are a total of twenty checkpoints in the Living Building Challenge and they are organized into seven categories. The major difference of this program is that certification is based on actual performance instead of modeled outcomes like LEED and BREEAM. Projects must be fully operational for at least twelve consecutive months prior to certification.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Enviromental Design) was launched in 1998 by the United States Green Building Council, or USGBC. I will focus most of my discussion on this certification program primarily because it is widely being accepted by municipalities as the green building certification of choice.

VS. TABLE

This table enables you to view each program’s certification criteria side-by-side. Notice the high amount of overlap. For instance, every certification program awards points for water efficiency and renewable energy sources. A couple of certification criteria unique to their respectful programs are BREEAM’s Management category and the Living Building Challenge’s Equity category.  It is also interesting that the Living Building Challenge is the only certification program that awards points specifically for aesthetics in their Beauty category.

The conversation continues here… PUBLIC ART and LEED – Sustainable Sites and Water Efficiency

 

Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.

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