By Jessica Schultz
December was an exhilerating month for the entire project team as our building began to rise from the ground level and take shape in life-size dimension. Crews from Architectural Timber & Millwork began the careful and precise installation of the beautiful timber frame Nordic Lam timbers – glued and laminated black spruce – from Chibougamau, Quebec. The Nordic Lam timbers are an engineered product made from small strips of spruce, glued together to form a super strong structural building product. These timbers have received a Declare label from the International Living Future Institute, certifying (like a nutrition label) that they are Red List free. The spruce is also Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified to ensure environmentally sensitive, social and economically fair growing and harvesting conditions.
Fabricated spruce trusses were sourced by R.K. Miles, from FSC wood from Quebec, and installed on both wings. Tongue and groove sheathing (framing), also of FSC spruce from Pleasant River Lumber in Maine, was installed as the primary boundary layer on building walls and roof.
In addition, our public water supply reservoir was sited under the Nest Courtyard, just to the south of our classroom wing. In no time at all children will be playing games over this critical component of our building’s water system. The three polyethylene Octanks, made by FreeWater Systems, together will hold 7,500 gallons of roof-top collected rainwater before it is processed through a seven-filter system to make it potable. Our system, designed by Buro Happold Engineering and installed by Dobbart Heating & Air Conditioning, is only the second such system permitted by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. It will permit our building to achieve the net-zero water requirement of the Living Building Challenge (LBC). The reservoir was filled for the first time from the nearby Lithia Springs Reservoir.
An important feature of our visitor’s center – our basking rock – was placed in the south facing window. The rock was sourced on site and will serve as a tool to illustrate passive solar energy gain during the day, releasing energy during the night-time hours. Once the building is complete, our corn snake Cornelius will reside near the rock representing an animal that receives its energy from the sun.
In December, the Living Building Challenge Collaborative: Boston organized a tour of our LBC project geared toward about 25 industry professionals and students interested in learning in-depth about the game changing LBC building process. The tour was sponsored and hosted by Wright Builders. Also participating were members of the Living Building Challenge: Connecticut Collaborative and the Massachusetts Chapter of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), as well as project team members Integrated EcoStrategy and Linnean Solutions.
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