The RoGBC has a greener office space

December 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Events, Green Building Projects, Greening our Wokspace | Leave a comment
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On December 8, at the RoGBC Holiday party, we unveiled our new and greener headquarters. “Greening our Workspace” is an exciting pilot project developed over three phases, aiming to sustainably renovate and technically upgrade the building that hosts our organization.

The first Phase of the project took place between the middle of October and December 8th and had the main objective of remodeling the ground floor of the building in a flexible and green manner. The Romania Green Building Council is the venue that places everyone involved in the sustainable market under the same roof : students taking part at the “Romania Green Building Professional” Certification and Training platform, green building professionals  but also companies willing to showcase their newest sustainable products. Therefore, the existing space must be able to receive events with a lot of guests. This is meant to be a lively and comfortable space where people of various ages and professions gather to share information about a different kind of architecture, the environmentally responsible one.

The two stories (plus loft) villa on Ialomicioarei street is a mix of fragments of different ages. The oldest part of the building, dating  back in the 40’s, is comprised of two rooms situated two steps higher than the rest of the ground floor. The metal door used to be an exterior access until the ‘90s extension of the house and the window used to bring light into the space. However, at the beginning of the project, the former access room worked poorly as a kitchen without sink and the other room served only as a passing space to the other parts of the house. The RoGBC intervention proposed changing the layout of the entire area. Each of the two rooms got a separate access, the old kitchen became a new office/meeting room and the bigger room became a kitchen/dining table that opens towards the event room.

The project was developed based on the “Cradle-to-Cradle” principle, so each building element had to be integrated in a new life cycle in order to achieve a better waste management. For example, the architectural decision to create a new access for the future kitchen has translated itself into opportunities to reuse the on-site resources. The bricks that made up the window battlement were carefully deconstructed, piece by piece and rebuilt in order to form the new structure of the stairs, and the window placed horizontally becomes the new office reception.

The ceilings of the two small rooms were made with the traditional formula of wood strips covered in plaster and clay reinforced with cane. This mixture was used as a filler, it was watered and compressed in order to create the new access platform.

The wood strips that supported the ceiling were recovered,  existing nails were removed, strips were planed, treated and integrally reused. Some of them have become the pillars of the stair case connecting the ground floor with the first floor, respectively the first basement level with the ground floor and the rest make up the RoGBC “Christmas Tree” made with recovered nails and a metal pipe found in the attic, so all materials are local.

Our wish was to open-up the environment of the RoGBC’s office towards more optimistic approaches, closer to the organization’s goal. The solution chosen to cover the floor was the Tarkett linoleum provided by EPA System, which represents a successful combination between traditional materials – rapeseed oil, jute, natural resins and cork – and contemporary demands related to mechanical resistance and aspect. The existing laminated flooring, reddish color, was carefully removed, cleaned and partially donated, and partially reused. After leveling the support substrate with a self leveling screed, the Veneto xf linoleum was installed in all rooms.

The new visual identity of the event hall was however accomplished by not only introducing some radically new elements but also by the transfiguration of the existing furniture (covering with removable wrappers of different colors) and by positioning it within a different layout.

For the wall finishes we used the white skim TF1000 provided by Tassullo, as this was chosen due to its properties of adjusting the humidity in accordance to the environment and allowing the walls to breath.  The skim “Malta Fina” is a finish prepared of dead-lime and selected inert materials, with a maximum aggregate grading of 0,5 mm, for finishing the interior plasters based on hydraulic binders.

In the events area, and also in the meeting room, Hunter Douglas proposed an acoustic false ceiling made by aluminum elements with various sizes, harmonized with each other.

The two rooms with a changed function were the subject of a full rearrange. After freeing the ceiling from the clay and cane load, the wood beams that were discovered represented an aesthetically pleasing surprise. As the specialists from the structural engineering company Strucon Proiect evaluated the wood beams as being safe, it was decided to keep their appearance. Cleaned, planed and vanished in a good manner, the beams are telling a part of the history of the house.

The two doors – from which one is replacing the old one, while the second one is a new step in the house circuit –were chosen in such a way to allow the access of the natural light, and also to protect the intimacy of the interior spaces from the events area. The two sliding partitions provided by Etem Building Solutions are made by tempered glass and aluminum structure, an easily removed and recycled assembly at the end of life cycle of the elements.

Both rooms received a significant technological upgrade. In the kitchen, Electrolux took part on the project by donating the energy efficient home appliances from the Green range. Moreover, new lightning devices were proposed through the project realized by Eng. Dorin Beu from B-lightning and provided by Phillips for the whole surface of the ground floor.

New electrical circuits, and also traditional elements (sockets, switches, cable trays) were necessary for powering up all these. The company that offered the optimal solution was Schneider Electrics, and that implements an intelligent system for automating the electrical network in the whole building, starting with the 2nd phase of the project.

The kitchen won a sink an aerator filter and the possibility of metering the water flow, which saves water use, but the innovation doesn’t stop there. A cabinet was made by associate members and RoGBC employees using less conventional materials. Parquet strips recovered from the floor coming from the event room were “covered” in cardboard measuring 2,5 mm (100% recycled) and painted here and there. This sandwich was then cut by a model, and the resulted pieces were merged together by the traditional process of interlocking using as additional stiffening elements some wood strips recovered from the former kitchen ceiling. Both the adhesive that served as binder and the paint are products provided by the company Kerakoll.

The new paintings are works signed by Ruxandra Raileanu, who chose in order to create them a theme inspired by the world of biology and natural materials.

In terms of decoration, RoGBC team has shown creativity and thinking outside the box. Until delivering the final solution for lighting, the lamps in the kitchen and the new office had to be protected, so it came the idea of manufacturing an exclusive shade made by using the materials that we already had there. Thus, we made a lamp from several Igloo magazine issues, and it still allows us to read the articles. The other shade was improvised from some reinforcing fabric mesh used to plaster the facades (provided by building team leader from Select Mandexim) and some dishes made from corn starch, common in RoGBC properties.

The decorations for the Christmas tree were also exclusively made from paper surplus found in our office coming from brochures, catalogs or old magazines.

But certainly the most meaningful for RoGBC is the so-called “truth window” located on the visual axis of the room access. Rather than getting rid of them, we chose to integrate here considering a point of maximum visibility, a great part of the waste or the items “discovered” on the construction field, along with materials that have become characteristic for this project. Thus, on a cardboard, clamped to the columns which held the linoleum rollers, are found some pieces of bricks, stone, wood strips and pieces of old tiles – all visually enhanced by the window which was located until yesterday in the existing kitchen wall.

More information to follow shortly.

“Only God can make a tree… but the RoGBC came close” 🙂

Romania Green Building Council welcomes arh. Adrian Cristescu to our Board of Directors

December 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Posted in General, News from Members | Leave a comment

Dear RoGBC members and friends,

In recent months the Romania Green Building Council has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism and the United Nations Development Programme – Romania (UNDP)  to develop and execute a project to alleviate “fuel poverty” through the promotion and implementation of enhanced energy efficient and sustainable construction methods for a variety of building types.  In addition, Bogdan Draganescu Ph.D., our colleague on the RoGBC Board of Directors, is providing technical consultancy as Senior Advisor for UNDP.    As this project will involve significant activities between the RoGBC and the UNDP/MDRT project leadership, Bogdan has offered to step down from his RoGBC board position.Per our process established in the RoGBC bylaws, the Board has unanimously appointed the next candidate to accept the position based on the number of votes cast by our membership in the May 2011 election.    We are pleased to announce that  arh. Adrian Cristescu has accepted the board seat.   Adrian Cristescu and West Group Architecture have been enthusiastic and early supporters  of our Council contributing research assistance and guidance for green design for a number of RoGBC demonstration and research projects.

On behalf of the RoGBC Board, I would like to sincerely thank Bogdan for his volunteer efforts and valuable contribution to our success.   In addition, we would like to welcome Adrian to our board.

Lastly, we are looking forward to the success of the MDRT/UNDP project and the opportunity to prove conclusively that we can improve lives, health, building quality and personal and government finances by implementing a thoughtful, sustainable construction approach.

Wishing you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and La Multi Ani!
Steven Borncamp

Construction 21 platform moves forward – call for pilot buildings

December 20, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Green Building Projects | Leave a comment

A Romanian delegation including team members from the RoGBC attended a recent design session for the  “Construction 21” – a comprehensive web-based platform to gather building energy performance data and exchange knowledge of Europe’s leading building projects.   The project is nearly completion of the “beta” software development.   Project/Building Owners who are willing to provide performance data will be highlighted within the platform that will be launched in March 2012 on a Europe-wide basis.

Please contact Steven Borncamp for details.  More information on the project and RoGBC’s involvement can be found here.

RoGBC's Steven Borncamp and Bogdan Draganescu Ph.D. (on left of picture) attend a recent meeting to finalize the software design.

EPSTEIN – 90 years of excellence in architecture, engineering and construction

December 6, 2011 at 12:38 am | Posted in Green Building Projects, News from Members | 3 Comments
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Managing Director of Epstein Romania

RoGBC Founding Member, Epstein Engineering & Architecture has recently celebrated 90 years of existence, since the company was established in Chicago, in 1921. For nearly 90 years, Epstein, the architecture, interior design, engineering and construction company, has been associated with landmark projects throughout the world. Their specialists have been providing sustainable design, engineering and construction solutions for clients in the commercial, industrial and public sector.

The company is headquartered in Chicago with a regional domestic office in New York and international locations in Warsaw, Poland (since 1971) and Bucharest, Romania (since 2006).

Epstein is active on the Romanian market for more than five years, developing successful projects for international clients like Lufkin, Cameron, Andrew Corporation, Emerson, Star Foods Romania, Petrom.

“We are very proud that we have succeeded in consolidating our position on the Romanian market under difficult economic conditions, within only five years of existence. Our significant experience on industrial projects in Romania, along with the growing market potential, lead us further concentrate upon penetrating the commercial segment, as well.  We strongly believe in developing sustainable solutions for all of our projects and therefore offer LEED[1] consulting and energy modeling services for clients. We are one of the few companies in Romania with LEED Accredited Professionals and LEED Certified projects in Central Europe., declared Randy Tharp, Managing Director of Epstein Romania.

In Romania, Epstein is currently working on a new manufacturing facility for Lufkin Industries, providing architectural and engineering services, as well as general contracting. The new 35,470 sq m facility is located on an approximately 33.32 hectare site within the Ploiesti West Park in Romania. This new Lufkin facility is developed with the purpose to support sales of oil pumping units to current and future customers in the Middle East, Black Sea, Central Europe and eventually Russia.

At the moment Epstein is providing full architecture, engineering and construction management services for the development of a new finished goods warehouse for Star Foods. The new construction is set up as an extension of their existing storage objectives and activities developed on the company’s site, in Popesti Leordeni, at their processing facility on the southern outskirts of Bucharest. The new building will include: a finished products warehouse, in connection with the existing hall, an expedition area and office and employee welfare areas, totaling approximately 4500 sq m.

In 2009, Epstein was general designer for a new production facility in Cluj-Napoca for Emerson, offering full service architecture and engineering for a new production hall with an area of ​​6,500 square meters, with an additional 1,800 sq m of office space. This building was completed in mid 2010.

Read the full press release here.

[1] The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program from the United States Green Building Council is a means for building owners to certify their building as a sustainable facility. The program allocates credits to different categories of sustainable design and provides a Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum rating based on the number of credits obtained.

Cato Manor Affordable Green Homes Tour – part of World Green Building Council event series at Durban climate negotiations

December 2, 2011 at 12:29 am | Posted in Events, General, Green Building Projects, Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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This year, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 17) that started this week in Durban, World GBC is representing the green building community with a series of side events (check the list here). Among them, the Cato Manor Affordable Green Home tour, will exemplify very clearly how greenbuilding retrofit has a significant impact  not only in cutting carbon emissions but also in improving people lives.

The project, led by Green Building Council South Africa in partnership with World Green Building Council, is a green retrofit of 30 low income houses and involves fitting each home with a solar water heater, insulated ceiling, efficient lighting and heat-insulation cooker. It includes additional “greening” elements such as rain water harvesting – that allows for better water and food security – and planting of indigenous trees . The local community was involved in the process and second hand, recycled materials from the surrounding areas were used for the retrofit. The cost for each home retrofit is estimated at 2800EUR.  More information on the specific  solutions that were used for the retrofit can be found here.

RoGBC sent invitations to the side events to our country  delegation to Durban. We were pleased to receive confirmation of participation to World GBC  COP 17 side events from the representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. 


Anca Bieru

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