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Buildings can be designed to protect the environment, an architect says.


YOUNGSTOWN William McDonough, a nationally recognized architect and environmentalist, was given three minutes to persuade Ford's board of directors that his firm should be selected to design a $2 billion auto plant near Detroit.

"I started by saying, 'This project is for the birds. We want the birds to be happy, '" McDonough said Friday to architects and others in Youngstown for a state convention.

He knew he had the board's attention. And he knew the board members weren't interested in bird populations but were focused on improving the company's profits.

He told them that a conventional design would require Ford to spend $48 million to comply with the federal clean water act. His company's design with 10 acres of vegetation growing on the roof and parking lots that absorb and recycle water would require just $13 million to comply with those regulations.

"I told them, 'We'll save you $35 million in the first day. ' Approved. Next. So we built it, " he said.

Unusual features

Ford's Rouge plant, which produces pickup trucks, opened in 2004 with a roof that changes colors in the seasons and attracts nest-making birds. Other features include a system that converts paint exhaust fumes into electrical power and a plant floor illuminated by natural light.

McDonough used the Ford plant and other buildings to illustrate his company's belief that buildings can be designed to protect the environment, not destroy it. He spoke at Stambaugh Auditorium to the state convention of the American Institute of Architects. About 325 architects from around the state attended.

McDonough has been honored with Presidential Award for Sustainable Development and been named by Time magazine as a "Hero of the Planet. "

It's time to think differently, he said.

For example, global warming and carbon dioxide emissions are changing the chemistry of the ocean so much that scientists think all coral reefs could be destroyed by the end of the century, he said. With no coral reefs, the bottom level of the ocean food chain would be destroyed, he said.

Humans have the ability to design better systems, he said.

"If we just put wheels on our luggage after 5, 000 years, what else can we do? " he asked.

Financial good sense

His firm, William McDonough + Partners of Charlottesville, Va., is trying to show companies that it makes financial sense for them to build environmentally friendly buildings.

Solar power provides energy. "Green" roofs provide insulation and protection for construction materials. Storm water is collected and reused. Skylights provide morale boosts for workers.

"We start out by thinking it's better to design a building to provide life support for people who are working than to provide work support for people who don't have a life, " McDonough said.

He pointed to a new furniture factory and headquarters his company designed for Herman Miller Inc. of Michigan. The design included natural light flooding into the production area through skylights and a common area between the office and shop that included break rooms and dining areas where white and blue collar workers could mingle.

Productivity in the building doubled, and the company attributed $45 million in increased profits to the building, he said.

"The building cost $15 million, so Herman Miller said the building paid for itself in four months, " McDonough said.

More green

He provided these other examples:

Gap's new headquarters near San Francisco has a "green" roof and a flooring system that pulls in the cool air during the night and distributes it throughout the building during the day so workers can receive fresh air.

Nike's new European headquarters uses solar power to collect more energy than it uses.

The architectural firm's prototype for a new Wal-Mart warehouse has solar power, a "green" roof and dirt mounds built up along the side so that it can't be seen from the outside, nor can its internal operations be heard.

National News

PRWeb. com June 25, 2009

Commercial Industrial Roofing Has Been Awarded the (N. R. C. A) "National Roofing Contractors Association " Coveted Top 100 Award.

Original PRWeb article: Commercial Industrial Roofing Has Been Awarded the 'NRCA'.
Youngstown Vindicator (www. vindy. com) June 25, 2009 -- After eight five years in the roofing business, Commercial Industrial Roofing Company has finally gotten national recognition.

Since 1924 Commercial Industrial Roofing has been servicing commercial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia on all of there roofing needs. Dominic Vasel founded Commercial Industrial Roofing in 1924. since than the company has grown and has taken on new leadership roles. Currently Raymond J. Vasel is the owner and handles the day to day operations.

Commercial Industrial Roofing started out with one truck and doing mostly roof repairs. Since than Commercial Industrial Roofing is one of the nation'top rated roofing companies.

Commercial Industrial Roofing now, is a full service roof contractor. Services include roof repairs, installation of new roofs, roof maintenance programs and roof consulting to name a few.
If Dominic Vasel was still alive he would be proud of the company's reputation.

Location: Youngstown, Ohio
Published on: Jul 25, 2009

Published on

Dec 17, 2018

Business Details

Commercial Industrial Roofing Has Been Awarded the ( N.R.C.A) "National Roofing Contractors Association " Coveted Top 100 Award. June 25, 2009 Click on the link below in to see the actual article. Original PRWeb article: Commercial Industrial Roofing Has Been Awarded the 'NRCA'... Youngstown Vindicator (www.vindy.com) June 25, 2009.

  • I am the purcasing agent for North Side Medical Center (formerly North side hospital).

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