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Now in its second year, the annual perFORM competition challenges architecture students and interns to design a mixed-use building that’s both high performance and high design. The 3 Green Bars Building exemplifies those ideals with its beautiful energy-efficient design. The winning entry minimized the building’s energy footprint by dividing the structure into three long volumes oriented to the south to optimize conditions for solar energy capture, maximize natural daylight, and increase passive heat gain. The buildings are clad in highly insulated assemblies with controlled fenestration and locally sourced cross-laminated timber.

Energy use is also minimized in the programmatic design. Shared kitchen, dining, and laundry facilities not only promote neighborliness and social interaction among residents, but also reduce energy consumption by 30%. Rooftop solar thermal panels heat the water, while PV panels generate electricity. Rainwater collection systems reuse water for laundry and toilets, while air exchangers pump fresh air into the building.

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“This team took the time to really understand the biggest sources of energy consumption in buildings of this scale and then focused on reducing those loads with passive and creative programmatic solutions first, before adding big solar arrays to the roof,” said perFORM jurorGladys Ly-Au Young, principal at Seattle-based Sundberg Kennedy Ly-Au Young Architects.“They did all this while also respecting the site and using simple, elegant proportions on the buildings.”

+ perFORM 2015

Images via Hammer & Hand