Sustainable Design Category
The Trinidad and Tobago Green Building and Energy Efficiency Workshop formed a part of the TT Energy Conference 2011, which was held last week at the Hyatt. acla:works associate Mandilee Newton spoke alongside Barry Giles [www.buildingwise.net] and Greg Upwall [www.upwallarchitects.com].
Barry laid the context for the green movement, speaking about LEED® and other related trends in the USA. Greg spoke about his pedagogy and practice of architecture and his motivations towards green; and Mandilee spoke about the Trinidad and Tobago Green Building Council [TTGBC], the carbon context, going green and looked at a case study, the EMA building.
After the presentations, the audience broke-out into two groups, one led by Barry, the other by Greg and Mandilee. The discussions were focused towards finding a way forward for greening existing and future construction. Coming out of the discussion, both groups emphasised the importance of proper policy and framework for green construction and the need to lobby the government towards developing a green building code.
Also, reference was drawn to the OSHA trends in the industry and how one can apply the urgency of health and safety and translate that into the importance of going green. The TTGBC was identified as a major player in the development of a green policy for the country.
This Wednesday acla:works associate, Mandilee Newton, will be present at the Trinidad & Tobago Energy Conference. She won't be there only to learn, though – Mandilee was invited to present our design of the Environmental Management Authority's regional office building [for more information on this project's sustainable design features check the "Related Project" link at right].
As an advocate for sustainability and a LEED® Green Associate, Mandilee has been getting quite a few of these requests recently! In October of last year, she was a speaker at the CAIC’s conference on Capacity Building of Caribbean Private Sector Environmental and Energy Management Capabilities.
Mandilee has also authored various papers on sustainability, including “Sustainable Design in the Caribbean Context” and “LEED – A Caribbean Architect’s Perspective,” and is on the steering committee for the recently established Trinidad and Tobago Green Building Council, launched in September 2010.
Mandilee's TT Energy Conference presentation starts around 1.30pm Wednesday. If you're at the Hyatt then, stop by and say hello. Other members of the acla:works team will be in attendance over the three days of the conference and, once it's past, look out for our thoughts on it here.
The Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce [CAIC] and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica [PSOJ] have embarked on a project to promote best practices in environmental and energy management for enhanced competitiveness and profitability for Caribbean businesses, while preserving the environment and reducing the carbon footprint of commercial operations. The project – Capacity Building of Caribbean Private Sector Environmental and Energy Management – is being funded by the EU/ ProInvest.
The project was launched on September 15th, 2010 by the PSOJ in Jamaica and on October 15th, 2010 by the CAIC in Trinidad by way of round table seminars intended to raise awareness of energy and environmental issues.
During the consultations, a total of 40 SMEs will be approached to undergo an energy and environmental audit. Based on the audit, these businesses will be able to improve their operations and mitigate their environmental impact. Participants will have access to a measure index to judge future performance in the areas of environmental and energy management. Tool kits will be developed by the consultants to self-assess their level of proficiency in environmental and energy related matters. These tool kits will assist these businesses with their future carbon management.
This project will culminate in July 2011 with a regional conference entitled “Business Implications of Energy and Environmental Management in the Caribbean” to be held in Trinidad and Tobago.
acla:works associate and LEED Green Associate, Mandilee Newton, was invited to speak at the launch in Trinidad and Tobago. Mandilee spoke alongside the consultants Environmental Solutions Ltd and Caribbean Esco Ltd, as well as, the Energy Chamber, Environmental Management Authority and the Ministry of Planning, Housing and the Environment.
Mandilee spoke on green buildings, establishing a green capital needs assessment, and looked at varying approaches towards better carbon management within new and existing facilities.
Read more about the Trinidad and Tobago launch here.
The Trinidad and Tobago Green Building Council [TTGBC] was launched on September 23, 2010, World Green Building Day [as designated by the World Green Building Council]. acla:works associate Mandilee Newton is on the steering committee for the TTGBC.
The TTGBC is a body of multidisciplinary building professionals committed to achieving sustainable building in Trinidad and Tobago. Some of its core objectives are to educate and increase public awareness of green building technology and benefits, promote green culture throughout the industry, and advise on green building policies. Eventually the TTGBC intends to become a certifying body for green buildings in Trinidad and Tobago and, further, assist in promoting green practices in other countries of the English-speaking Caribbean.
Some of the TTGBC strategies include – ongoing technical sessions, conferences and seminars, courses, partnering with others in the promotion of green building awareness and practices, developing local certification systems in conjunction with statutory bodies and other professional organisations, facilitating the promotion of green building products, holding discussions with governmental agencies regarding green building policies, networking with other Green Building Councils with regards to best practices; and ultimately, becoming a member of the World Green Building Council
below: Minister in the Ministry of Works Rudranath Indarsingh [left] delivers an address at the September 23 launch of the Trinidad & Tobago Green Building Council. Photo: Karla Ramoo/The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian
Earlier this year, acla:works director, Brian Lewis, attended the AIA Convention in Miami, Florida. Brian returned to Trinidad not only with photos from the convention, but also with an outlook on construction and its implications for design firms. Brian writes:
There is a saying that, “When the USA catches a cold, the Caribbean sneezes!”. It is therefore useful to have a clear understanding of the current state of business for architects in the USA so as to be better prepared for what may lie ahead for us here in the Caribbean.
As an associate member of the American Institute of Architects, I have attended the last five AIA conventions and have found them to be invaluable in that our firm keeps up with the highest international standards, latest trends and cutting edge technologies by tapping into this enormous resource. Some 18,000 architects attended this year’s convention with the largest architectural exhibition of building products and technologies available in the world. Over the years the benefits of attending these conventions has had a profound effect in helping shape the direction for our firm — in one instance, we were selected as a case study in a book to be published later this year.
There is little doubt that the profession of architecture in the USA has been hard hit by the economic downturn, with architecture suffering over 24% in job losses at this time. Certain regions have suffered more, for example California, Arizona, New Mexico and Florida, while others such as Texas remain buoyant. Also, certain building types have feared worse than others—institutional and healthcare remain buoyant whereas apartments, resorts and commercial sectors suffer a reduction in investment exceeding 50% in some cases. Understanding these nuances helps architectural firms better understand what changes are needed and how to maximize their potential and position their firms during these challenging times.
Of course, Trinidad and Tobago is unique so one must make adjustments to cater for local and regional conditions. The general consensus, however, seems to be that for the most part the building industry is bottoming out of recession with some sectors rebounding this year while others are expected to be slower to respond into 2012. It was also clear that sustainability, building information modeling and integrated project delivery techniques are the trends in demand and firms that develop these key areas of practice are going to be ahead of the recovery wave.
– Brian Lewis
below: photos taken at the 2010 AIA Convention.
Church of the Assumption
The Church of the Assumption is a pioneering example of architecture in the Caribbean that broke away from American and European influences towards a Trinidadian vernacular.