Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Heifer International Building

I went on the Civil Rights Pilgrimage over spring break and one of our stops was the Heifer International Building, one of the most sustainable buildings I've ever seen in my life. I've been meaning to upload these pictures for a little while. Basically they built the building extremely narrow so that natural light could be use to light the majority of the building. Similarly, the LED lights used to light the areas of the building that do not receive enough natural light sense how much light is in the room and become correspondingly more or less dim to save energy. They also collect rainwater to use in toilets, etc. where they don't need actual city water to save water resources. They have their heating vents in the floor to allow for more efficient heating and cooling. The carpeting is recycled and made in squares so that if any needs to be replaced it can be replaced one square at a time to save money and resources. These are just a few of the things I remember from the building and I actually submitted a few for the new Davies Center, but I thought some of it was really cool and you guys might be interested.


  1. Wow Steph - thanks for sharing all your pictures! Hopefully some of your suggestions can actually be worked into the new Davies Center. I especially like the rainwater collection and the adjusting LED lights.

  2. This is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing this with us - I have some experience with Heifer Project, and it's cool to see how much they care about the environment, as well as the people who live in that environment (though is there really a difference?).

    It's also interesting the note about using rainwater for toilets. I know in San Diego they have a major water problem, so a lot of places have started using reclaimed water. People don't trust it for drinking, but there are a lot of other things it can be used for - in San Diego it was mainly agricultural uses, but as long as you plan ahead on your pipes, it would make sense for things like toilets as well.

    Any idea on how much extra it cost them to build the building this way? I doubt there was much of a cost just making it narrower than normal, but while lots of windows let in lots of light, they probably heat the building a lot as well, and air conditioning is pretty expensive.

    On a slightly different topic, you said this was part of the Civil Rights Pilgrimage. I don't suppose you know what size bus you rode in - and how many there were? The Blackhawk invoice doesn't say, and the distance is enough that I'd really like to get accurate data.


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