Did you know that The Zone is LEED Certified?
Not only does a green building utilize sustainable materials that protect the earth's natural resources, it also preserves the health of its occupants. When many people spend 90% of their time indoors, a quality indoor environment is critical... but materials widely used in the past have been shown to contribute to acute respiratory illnesses, allergies, reproductive harm, neurological disorders, and cancer!
Recognizing the connection between your external and internal surroundings is a fundamental element of environmental awareness. Have you noticed that different places evoke different feelings? In addition to being non-toxic, a healthy indoor environment promotes a sense of wellbeing and satisfaction which translates to higher personal productivity (read: better test scores and wittier conversation).
What a Difference The Green Makes!
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), buildings in the United States account for:
|72% of electricity consumption||39% of energy use||38% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions|
|40% of raw materials use||30% of waste output (136 million tons annually)||14% of potable water consumption|
If we learn anything from The Three Little Pigs, let it be that the winds of change are huffing and puffing-and we need to build sustainably, lest we be blown down. We need an integrated, synergistic approach that considers all phases of the facility life cycle. This approach, often called "sustainable design," supports an increased commitment to environmental stewardship and conservation: from site selection and building materials to daily operations. The main objectives of sustainable design are to avoid resource depletion of energy, water, and raw materials; prevent environmental degradation caused by facilities and infrastructure; and create built environments that are livable, comfortable, safe, and productive.
The Zone is LEED certified for doing just this. With recycled, renewable building materials, energy use optimization, and attention to details such as air quality, light, and temperature, The Zone brings you an indoor environment of the highest quality!
The Damage - Health and Green Building
For decades, we have constructed buildings with nothing other than cost and convenience in mind. But can we really afford this?
Poor indoor environmental quality has taken a heavy toll on human health. We've been swimming in a pool of pollution: with insufficient air circulation and lighting, mold build-up, temperature variances, chemicals in carpeting, furniture, adhesives and paints, and highly toxic cleaners and pesticides. And while plenty of the chemicals present in common building materials are known carcinogens, many other high volume chemicals haven't even been tested.
Our bodies know better. A dim, stuffy room is no place to call home, nor is it conducive to happiness or productivity. "Sick Building Syndrome" was dubbed in the early 1960s when people started complaining of flu-like symptoms; further investigation revealed a myriad of issues like high carbon dioxide concentrations as a result of poor ventilation, and deadly toxins leaching out of the tables and chairs.
Get to know the perpetrators
Every building material has a beginning, middle, and an end. These chemicals fall into a category that scientists call Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxicants (PBTs) - a concern to human health and the environment because they are "persistent", which means that they don't break down rapidly in the environment. Instead, they stick around for months, years, and decades. Once emitted, PBTs can travel long distances through the atmosphere, finally depositing far from where they originally were manufactured. In addition to being persistent little buggers, PBTs bioaccumulate. They build up in living organisms via air, soil, water and food. Many PBTs are stored in fatty tissue, increasing their concentrations by orders of magnitude as they move up the food chain to humans at the top, becoming most concentrated in mothers' milk, where they are readily available to breastfeeding infants...definitely not part of a balanced breakfast.
And there's no need to wait on the long-term effects of reproductive dysfunction, neurological damage, metabolic syndrome, disruption of the endocrine system, and cancer. With indoor pollution levels present in concentrations 10 to 100 times higher than outdoors, you can experience sick building symptoms right away: Eye and throat irritation, nausea, difficulty breathing, dry, itchy, or rashy skin, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, headache, dizziness, and general feelings of misery.
Because You're Here
It's a simple formula: Sick buildings make sick people. If you're surrounded by toxic chemicals, how can you expect to stay healthy? On the other hand, a well-designed, pleasant space that minimizes use of chemicals, uses natural lighting, and incorporates other balanced elements has a positive effect on health and comfort. People thrive in green buildings, just as plants thrive in greenhouses.
Everything is composed of matter, but not all matter is created equal. The Zone is constructed of materials that minimize life-cycle environmental impacts such as global warming, resource depletion, and human toxicity. Our selection of products was guided by the use of non-toxic materials such as: no or low VOCs in the paints, sealants and adhesives, FSC certified wood, renewable ceiling and floor products, and furniture that's Cradle to Cradle and Greenguard Certified.
Teragren Fine Bamboo Flooring, Panels + Veneer, a company that promotes sustainable materials and business practices, has generously donated bamboo to The Zone for our shelves and cabinets. Bamboo is one of the most amazingly versatile and sustainable building materials available-it grows remarkably fast and in a wide range of climates. We finished off our fine bamboo cabinetry with a coat of AFM Naturals Oil Wax Finish, crafted from renewable, plant-based, organically produced ingredients.
Forbo Flooring Systems, another company with an eye for the environment, donated our Marmoleum flooring. Life-cycle analysis shows that the linoleum family, of which Marmoleum is a proud member, is the ecologically preferred floor covering. Linoleum is produced from renewable materials: linseed oil, rosins, wood flour, jute and ecologically responsible pigments. These materials have a unique charm that gives each design its distinguished look.
Icestone counters top off our greenliness. IceStone is a durable surface made of 100% recycled glass in a cement matrix. Each slab is VOC-free, made in the USA, and holds Cradle to Cradle Gold Certification; countertops don't get more sustainable than that!
What you see is what you get. Our big windows provide lots of natural light, while Numinus, LLC donated LED lights to The Zone for when the sun goes down. We are also pleased to present eco-friendly window shades donated by Hunter Douglas Contract.
We all know that noise can be distracting, and research proves this- poor souls working and studying in noisy environments are found to be less motivated. Sound pollution can trigger the body's stress response, which lowers your immune functioning and puts you at risk for everything from the common cold and flu to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. With QuietRock soundproofing for acoustical wall board and the acoustical ceiling donated by United States Gypsum, din in The Zone is reduced by up to 90%!
With our supply of fossil fuel dwindling, concerns for energy independence and security increasing, and the impacts of global climate change, it is essential that we use energy efficiently. Motion sensors ensure that the dimmable LED lights are only on when they need to be, Energy Star certified appliances require less power, and effective heating and air conditioning reduce our energy consumption.
Sustainable Site Development
We planted The Zone right in the middle of campus, in Price Center Plaza, where it's easy to reach. We even recycled the space (it used to be at travel agency) so there is no need for new construction. In addition, The Zone's thoughtful design allows for multiple configurations that support a wide variety of activities. We use every inch with purpose.
Our green is your gain - enhance your quality of life!