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Yesterday I was privileged to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony of the brand new Henderson-Hopkins Partnership School, a truly innovative K to 8 & Early Childhood Center public school — over eight years in the making.  TerraLogos: eco architecture served as the Green Building coordinator and led the design team to integrate many of the sustainability features that were seminal to the project.  It is the first elementary school in the city to be awarded a Baltimore City Green Building Standards 3-Star rating LEED Silver equivalent).

Designed by Rogers Marvel Architects (NYC), the school is organized around beautifully designed outdoor learning spaces and courtyards (Floura Teeter Landscape Architects) and indoor flex/gathering and alternative learning centers that allow the grade-level clusters to flow seamlessly between indoor and outdoor spaces.

There is much to be learned from this school as Baltimore City embarks on the total reinvention of our public schools in the 21st Century School Initiative.  The school is flooded with a glowing natural daylight (Glenn Shrum Lighting Designer) that is so integrated to the design that you feel great just walking  through the spaces, not to mention the delight one must experience while actually learning in them.  The insulated precast concrete system enabled a remarkably fast construction of the school, while forming a handsome, appropriately scaled exterior finish and the durable interior finish.

Everyone was there celebrating this remarkable project — from Governor O’Malley to the Mayor and City Council members; two University presidents (Hopkins and Morgan State); Senator Mikulski and Congressman Cummings; state representatives and school board leaders, all expressed such gratitude that a school in this East Baltimore neighborhood would turn out so well and with such a commitment to the education for many generations of students.

Most importantly, it was the faces of the children that struck me, filled with hope and shining (literally) with promise.  Their faces expressed a determination to learn and to do their very best because HHPS will serve as a new beginning and a new way of learning as they grow into full-fledged citizens of our increasingly small world.

Go check it out, come and see what design, dedication, and commitment to a better future can create and then go and do likewise in your community.    http://hendersonhopkins.org/K-8/

If you would like to learn more about TerraLogos or our participation on this project please get in touch with us at 410-276-8519 or kims@terralogos.com.

On May 28th, TerraLogos: eco architecture attended GreenScape 2013 at the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. GreenScape was organized by The Student Environmental Leadership Action Team (SELAT) to share information and get input on environmental issues relevant to the youth. SELAT is a committee of the Baltimore Green Schools Network that is made up of students, parents, and teachers. SELAT is making sure that the voice of youth is a part of the larger sustainability conversation in Baltimore City Public Schools. GreenScape was celebrating Maryland Green Schools in Baltimore City and showcased environmental projects from students in Baltimore-area schools:  from school-wide composting efforts and student-built greenhouses, to the Great Kids Farm and community gardens.

GreenScape also featured information and presentations from Baltimore-area sustainable initiatives including the Neighborhood Design Center, Baltimore Energy Challenge, and the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative. By advocating for healthier and more energy efficient buildings, these organizations are helping Baltimore Schools and Neighborhoods become happier and healthier places for all. TerraLogos was honored to showcase our work on sustainable schools in the Neighborhood Design Center booth, and to catch up with some of our students from the Patterson Park Charter School “Green Team”. Keep an eye out for future Baltimore Green Schools events and discussions. The future is bright for Baltimore City Public Schools, and so are the students.

TerraLogos’ work on display at the NDC booth

 

For more information on Baltimore Sustainability Initiatives and  TerraLogos’ work with creating green and healthy schools check out:

http://www.terralogos.com/portfolio/byCategory/evergreenElem.html

Baltimore Sustainability Initiatives: http://www.baltimoresustainability.org/

Great Kids Farm

At the 2013 FlowerMart we presented information on Green and Healthy Schools and shared a booth with Farm Manager Greg Strella and several of the students from Great Kids Farm.  Their story was fascinating and on Wednesday May 15th we took a tour of the farm.  While there we learned about their mission to provide opportunities for Baltimore City Public School students to understand and participate in every aspect of food production – from seed to fork – and prepare them to lead 21st century sustainability efforts.  We learned about the history of the farm, originally built in 1912 to serve as a foster home for African-American boys to its renovation as a working farm and teaching facility to serve and educate Baltimore City students in 2008.

Great Kids Farm does an amazing job with only 3 full time staff.  Planting and harvesting is done by students primarily on work based learning internships for which they are paid a living wage.  During our tour we witnessed these kids harvesting baby carrots that would soon be showing up in Baltimore City Public School cafeterias.

Great Kids Farm serves all levels of students and teachers in the BCPSS with tour introducing elementary school children to how food is grown; middles school science and gardening curriculums; and high school special projects and work-study opportunities.

The Great Kids Farm is a remarkable place that needs your support to continue to grow and educate Baltimore City’s students about quality food and good nutrition.  The goal is to supply fresh vegetables to all city schools and plant materials to teachers and school gardens.

To donate your time or to take a tour of the facility contact the farm or Jill Wrigley from The Friends of Great Kids Farm.

 

Great Kids Farm – http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/greatkidsfarm

Friends of Great Kids Farm – http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/domain/5120

On May 10th, TerraLogos:eco architecture attended the dedication of two newly renovated rowhomes at 2513 and 2515 Jefferson Street in Baltimore, MD. The homes are a part of the Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake’s “Neighborhood Stabilization Program – Part 2” (NSP2) house renovation funded through the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. The program rehabilitates abandoned rowhomes in transitional neighborhoods in Baltimore City. To date, TerraLogos has designed 44 of these attached single family houses into Energy-Star rated, beautiful new homes.  While watching the participants accept the keys and responsibility of their new home to a cheering crowd, it was easy for one to realize how 2513 and 2515 Jefferson are two great examples of the turnaround that these homeowners and this community can experience.

 

Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake offers home ownership classes and financial education for the new homeowners, and assists applicants from initial inquiry through handing the owner the keys to their new house. This final step occurred on May 10th with four proud new homeowners receiving their keys. Their new homes feature new interiors,  3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, insulated skylights, brand new energy-star appliances, and the satisfaction of owning an energy efficient rowhome – all while helping transition this Baltimore block into a vibrant community.

Habitat for Humanity is an amazing non-profit organization that constantly works to transform the lives of residents, and their communities. Individual and corporate volunteers are always welcome- and Baltimore is ready for the transformation!

For more information on Habitat for Humanity of the Chespeake NSP2 Program and the TerraLogos Green Rowhouse Renovation program check out:

TerraLogos HFHC architectural services: http://www.terralogos.com/portfolio/byCategory/Habitat-Humanity.html

Habitat for Humanity of the Chespeake: http://habitatchesapeake.org/

TerraLogos participated in the 2013 Baltimore FlowerMart, an annual event held since 1911 in the Mt Vernon neighborhood.   We manned a booth presenting information, handing out flyers, and engaging visitors in the Green School movement for our city schools.  With the recent funding legislation to implement a 10-year schools re-investment and renovation program, getting the word out on green schools is critical to creating 21st Century schools for our city and students.  TerraLogos is actively engaged in this initiative and excited to be promoting green and healthy schools.

TerraLogos joined students from the BCPSS Great Kids Farm in the booth.  The students were selling herbs, vegetable plants, and trees that they had propagated and grown at the farm.  All plant sale proceeds directly benefit the programs and work at the Farm.  Part of the 21st Century initiative is to promote outdoor learning in inner city schools, environmental literacy and growing healthy food for the schools.  We applaud the work of Great Kids Farm and look forward to seeing the ‘fruits’ of their labor as they ‘green’ our city.

The Baltimore FlowerMart is a remarkable festival to celebrate spring, artwork, and local artisans.  You can find everything from handmade jewelry to locally grown fig tree seedlings, and of course lots of flowers!

For more information on greening schools check out:

USGBC Maryland Chapter Schools Committee: http://usgbcmd.org/schools

Center for High Performance Schools (CHPS): http://www.chps.net

Great Kids Farm: http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/greatkidsfarm

Baltimore City Public Schools Greening: http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/green

 

With the recent passage of the off shore wind legislation in Maryland, TerraLogos believes that questions on fracking for natural gas and the XL Keystone pipeline are in order. Does the US really need to secure fossil fuel resources that are potentially harmful, or is there a better way through the investment in renewable energy sources?

A recent article in the New York Times, “Life After Oil and Gas”, examines America’s potential switch to renewable energy and the challenges we face in doing so. In 2011 thirteen countries, including Spain and Canada, were able to generate at least 30% of their total national energy from renewable sources.  A team of Stanford engineers, led by Mark Z. Jacobson, determined that even New York State has the potential to produce enough energy from renewable sources that they could provide for building needs and still supplement transportation demands. Mr. Jacobson believes the challenges facing America’s conversion to renewable energy is not technical or economic, but social and political.

Image courtesy of: http://c21.phas.ubc.ca/article/wind-turbines-betz-law-explained

Countries like Norway are able to produce 97% of their energy requirements by utilizing hydroelectric power- mostly due to the country’s geographical features. Portugal has harnessed its windy coasts to produce nearly 30% of its power through wind (and another 17% is supplemented by hydroelectric plants). So why is the United States so far behind?

Alex Klein, the research director for IHS Emerging Energy Research, puts it simply: “An industrial economy needs a reliable power source- the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow.” This means America will be reliant on fossil fuels as a supplement for industrial processes for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean the United States is left out of the race to a renewable energy future.

The potential payback for renewable infrastructure might be as short as 20 years, and the XL Pipeline is currently under debate in Washington– America needs to decide: where do we invest next?

TerraLogos supports the move to renewable energy as rapidly as possible. Watch our blog for updates and trends toward the national goal of 30% renewable energy sources by 2030 for buildings and transportation.

See the full article at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/sunday-review/life-after-oil-and-gas.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

The average American family produces nearly 500 pounds of organic waste material each year. What we know as “garbage” essentially goes to the landfill as part of the municipal solid waste stream”. But garbage can be turned into compost fairly easily if handled properly. As noted in the January 2nd edition of the East Baltimore Guide.

Jeremy Brosowsky of Washington D.C. founded Compost Cab, and started with a simple question: “What would composting need to look like for [me] to participate?” The solution was Compost Cab, a weekly service that picks up your Nitrogen and Carbon rich waste materials for a small fee, and transports them to a local farm to become fertile soil. Compost Cab provides air-tight containers and pick up from your doorstep once a week. This prevents the homeowner from dealing with the maintenance of composting, and all incidental issues such as rodents and smells.

The organic waste is taken to the hands of knowledgeable, local farmers where it is composted and redistributed to customers as fertile soil for urban gardens. Each Compost Cab customer is eligible for soil after three months of material pickup, and receives their share of soil based on how much raw material they have submitted to the program. This is a major part of their vision for sustainable communities. Brosowsky states: “If you believe that local urban agriculture is a fundamental piece of the overarching sustainability puzzle- which we do- then local, community driven composting is essential.” When Compost Cab expands to the Baltimore area this month, gardeners and homeowners in Baltimore can begin to reverse the cycle.

For more information check out Compost Cab’s website: http://compostcab.com/

 

Everyone knows how easy it is to recycle paper and plastic.  In most counties you just set it out to be picked up each week.  However that weekly pickup typically will not accept electronics and batteries.  This doesn’t mean that you should just throw out those old electronics.  Computer monitors, televisions, batteries, and circuit boards can all contain lead, chromium, mercury, and many other chemicals that are hazardous if allowed to leach into the ground.

The electronics that you use every day from cell phones to printers all contain valuable metals, plastics, and glass that can be recovered and reused to make new products.

TerraLogos recently replaced computers in our office and had accumulated a good stockpile of old electronics. We needed to responsibly clean house!  We contracted with a certified, local electronic recycler who came to our office, picked up our electronics, and took them away for free.  The entire process couldn’t have been easier.

Many local jurisdictions offer free electronic recycling drop-off but there are several regional private companies that will come to your home or business to pick up old electronics.  You can find a list of recycling facilities on the EPA website link below.

http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/ecycling/index.htm

TerraLogos took an end of the year trip to visit the recently completed historic renovation of Schmucker Hall at the Theological Lutheran Seminary located in Gettysburg, PA.  The new Seminary Ridge Museum will allow visitors to walk the halls where wounded soldiers suffered, hear the voices of duty and devotion, and stand in the spot on the Schmucker Hall cupola where General Buford observed the approaching Confederate forces.

Schmucker Hall, built in 1832, contains 16,000 square feet of floor space and is nationally significant through its role in the American Civil War.  Its location on Seminary Ridge was the site of the first day of the battle of Gettysburg and it served as a hospital throughout the three day battle.  The cupola atop the building provided Civil War generals an observation vantage for viewing the approach of the Confederate troops from the West and is today an icon for American Civil War enthusiasts and scholars.

Murphy and Dittenhafer Architects served as the Architect of Record and worked closely with Whiting Turner to successfully renovation a building with such great historic significance.  The project plans to achieve a LEED certified rating.

You can read more about the museum and plan your visit at their website.  We highly recommend going up into the Cupola for what is truly the best view of the battlefields in all of Gettysburg.

http://seminaryridgemuseum.org/

Thank you to Emried Cole, President of the Seminary Endorsement; Jennifer Line, Project Architect, from Murphy and Dittenhafer; and Mike Myers of Whiting Turner  for giving us a tour of the building prior to the exhibit installation.  The museum is scheduled to open July 1st, 2013 in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

TerraLogos: eco architecture participated in the Baltimore Housing Builders Expo on Saturday June 9, 2012, at the Westside Skills center. The Expo was targeted to home buyers, developers and builders who are rebuilding Baltimore primarily through the Vacants to Value program, managed by the Baltimore Housing Authority.

Vacants to Value is the Baltimore City’s premier, market driven program to curb blight while stimulating targeted redevelopment in neighborhoods that have a chance to succeed. Nearly 16,000 vacant properties can be found in Baltimore City, a result of significant job loss and population flight over the past fifty years.

TerraLogos: eco architecture is providing a package of architectural services customized for the Vacants to Value properties that includes a site visit and measured drawings of existing conditions, Concept Plans and a set of Permit Plans. Our Green Rowhouse Renovation Template is an integrated and cost effective package specifically developed for rowhouse renovations. Please see our website for more information on how we can help you engage in the Vacants to Value program or call us directly to discuss your project (410)276-8519.

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