Santa Barbara County will be displaying its greenery this weekend in an effort to promote sustainable building techniques.
The Sustainability Project, a local organization, is hosting its third annual Parade of Green Buildings on Oct. 12, which will feature a variety of local environmentally friendly, or “green” buildings, including UCSB’s Donald Bren School for Environmental Science and Management.
UCSB’s new Bren Building, which opened for classes this quarter, is the greenest laboratory building in America and will be the highlight of the 19 sites on this Saturday’s parade route. A green building incorporates energy-saving designs including utilization of recycled materials and natural light, heating and cooling; reclaimed water; and energy-efficient light fixtures. Other sites include homes, gardens and office buildings in Santa Barbara County.
The Donald Bren School for Environmental Science and Management features countertops decorated with broken beer bottles, doorframes made of old Buicks and restroom stalls constructed of plastic soda bottles.
The Bren Building is the greenest laboratory building in America in terms of energy efficiency, resource and reuse of materials, and conservation, said Mo Lovegreen, Bren School’s assistant dean of planning and administration.
“The selection committee wanted to highlight different features at each of the locations featured on the Parade of Green Buildings,” Lovegreen said. “We hope to stand as a model for sustainable construction outside academia as well.”
Besides exhibiting green buildings and gardens, The Sustainability Project is also encouraging sites to exhibit electrical cars and bicycles to promote energy efficiency and transportation alternatives.
“We’re encouraging people to carpool,” UCSB’s Facilities Management architect Emilio Casanueva said. “The idea is to expose you to these kind of things. The Bren School is really an incredible example. We’re trying to take that example and apply it to homes and other structures.”
Bill Browning, a senior consultant at the Rocky Mountain Institute and a world-renowned authority on green construction, will be kicking off the parade activities with a lecture at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, located in the Old Mission area, at 6 p.m. tonight. Browning will be speaking on the latest advancements and research in green architecture and the differences between sustainability projects in Europe and the United States.
“There are some developers in the Santa Barbara area that have an interest [in green buildings],” Browning said. “You’ll start seeing more green residential communities arising as well as the university buildings.”
This year’s event will allow participants to choose which sites to visit and in what order. Participants can pick up a map of all featured buildings at Livingreen Building Materials, located at 218 Helena Ave.
“From last year, we have lowered the ticket price and added a lot more sites,” Sustainability Project board member April Wethe said. “[Livingreen] is going to be a home base all day with vendors and music. This is really just a chance to learn who your fellow members in the green community are.”