Nike Unveils a Sustainable Warehouse

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At the end of May, Nike opened its new warehouse, which will be used to serve all of Europe from a single location. This warehouse is incredibly sustainable, which is always welcome when it comes to large companies. The Nike European Logistics Campus as the place is called spans an area of 1.6 million sq ft (150,000 sq m) and is located 31 miles (50 km) outside of Antwerp, Belgium.

According to Nike, the warehouse is built to LEED standards, though they did not provide a LEED rating. It is also energy-neutral, while 100 percent of its power comes from renewable energy sources. These include solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass sources. The wind turbines located near the warehouse are 492-ft (150-m-high) and are reportedly able to generate enough electricity to power 5,000 households. And the on-site PV array covers an area the size of three soccer fields.

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About 99 percent of containers bringing in the goods reach the facility by water, though there is also a network of railways, canals and highways, which provide access. They estimate that this reduces the number of needed truck journies by about 14,000 a year. For moving the products, Nike uses a number of fast moving hybrid robot cranes, which are able to regenerate energy much like hybrid cars do.

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The structure itself is completely supported by the racks on which the goods are stored. By building it this way, they were able to use less material and create less waste during the construction process, compared to a steel and concrete-built structure. They also recycle 95 percent of waste products, and all the pathways around the warehouse are made from recycled footwear.

They fitted the warehouse with large windows to let in plenty of natural light, and equipped it with smart, automated LED lighting to be used when required. They also have water efficiency systems in place in the form of storm and discharge water buffering, infiltration and recycling. The building also has a green roof. In addition to that, they also added beehives to help with flower pollination in the area, and they will be using sheep instead of lawnmowers.

Passive Home That is Just Perfect

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The so-called Right-Sized Oak Park Home, designed by architect Tom Bassett-Dilley is a great example of how a passive and sustainable house does not need to be about giving up comfort and other modern conveniences. It boasts of a number of sustainable features and certifications, yet still fits right in with the other houses in Chicago’s Oak Park neighborhood, which is famous for its Frank Lloyd Wright house.

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Right-Sized Oak Park Home is a 1800-square-foot, single family house. It is seeking a number of certifications, including Passive House under PHIUS 2015, LEED-H Platinum, Net Zero Energy, and HERS. These standards are achieved by a combination of the home’s smaller size and its ultra-efficient thermal envelope. The home is also fitted with very efficient fixtures and appliances, and uses just a fraction of the energy of a traditionally-built house.

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The home features a continuous ventilation system, and only non-toxic, formaldehyde/VOC-free finishes were used in order to ensure optimal indoor air quality and comfort of the inhabitants. Due to the small footprint of the home, there is enough room for a large garden, and a patio with an outdoor fireplace room.

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The home was also fitted with Zola Thermo uPVC, triple-glazed windows with insulated uPVC frames, which have a great performance. While these windows are more expensive and bring up the building costs considerably, it is very important to install highly efficient windows when pursuing the Passive House standard.

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This new home is also in line with architect Tom Bassett-Dilley’s manifesto, which aims to promote a simplified, healthier and more sustainable means of constructing homes, without actually sacrificing the comforts of modern day life. Among other things he promotes homes, which are just the right size with no unnecessary rooms, or basements, extra bathrooms, formal living rooms and the like. He also promotes constructing homes with the right orientation to ensure proper shading and prevent heat loss in the colder months, and building compact dwellings with airtight envelopes, and efficient lighting, appliances, and mechanical systems, as well as use of natural, non-toxic finishes.

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Guinness Goes Green

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It’s always nice to see businesses taking steps to go green. Diageo, the company that manufactures the world famous Guinness beer, has recently opened a new brewhouse, which has been awarded the LEED Platinum certification. Brewhouse No. 4 as it is called, is located at St. James’s Gate in Ireland and it was also awarded the BREEAM Outstanding certification in 2014.

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The most notable sustainable features of Brewhouse No.4 are an energy recovery system, which works to reduce the need for steam heating, and a hybrid refrigeration system which runs at 32 ºF instead of 25 ºF (0 ºC instead of -4 ºC) as was the case with the previous one. They also optimized the structure’s orientation, took advantage of solar shading and used high-performance insulation. The lighting is automatic and highly-efficient.

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The electrical energy for the building is provided by a combined heat and power plant (CHP). They also installed a low-energy heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system, while the air conditioning is now restricted to certain parts of the building only.

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Only low-flow water fixtures were used throughout the building, while a rainwater catchment system will yield an estimated 6,400 cu ft (180 cu m) of rainwater a year. They also added facilities for cyclists and low-fuel/fuel-efficient vehicles, and have a carpooling scheme, which are all aimed at encouraging green commuting.

Through all this, Brewhouse No. 4 is now a carbon neutral building, while it has also achieved zero waste to landfill status for both the construction process as well as ongoing operation. According to the builders, 33 percent less thermal energy and 14 percent less water are now used to brew the beer, compared to the previous facility.

Brewhouse No. 4 is the first major brewery in the world to have received the highest LEED rating, while its BREEAM score was the highest of any industrial building anywhere in the world in 2014. The brewhouse started operating in September 2014.

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