Keep it simple, sustainable

Keep it simple, sustainable

Know what? If you paint the concrete floor of a bus maintenance garage white, it will encourage workers to keep it clean.

And you know what else? If you line the hallways of a school with vertical wood planks interspersed with full-length mirrors, it will make students feel like they’re walking in the woods.

Those are just two of the far-out ideas on display right now at the CCDC. The Downtown design space is exhibiting entries from the Go Green Competition, put on last spring by the James River Green Building Council. And if anybody needs a quick primer on green building, the show is a good if wonky place to start (and I say that with the utmost affection). A whole variety of projects, built and unbuilt, are detailed on those dense info-boards that designers seem to love, packed with renderings, diagrams, bullet points and photos of leaves.



Yes, you could take the show as a sort of glossary of green materials and techniques—your basic dual-flush toilets, split ductless units, and CFC-free HVAC equipment (is anyone still reading?)—but for my money, it’s more interesting just to notice the more simple, almost poetic ideas on parade.

That paint-the-floor-white bit is part of the plan for Charlottesville Transit Service’s new Operations Center, and the strolling-in-the-woods sensation will be enjoyed by students at a school in Manassas Park. (Who knows if those ideas will actually work as planned, but those projects won the competition’s top two awards.)

Meanwhile, our own Waldorf School has decided to give the best parking spots to carpoolers, and additions to Albemarle High School will mean that existing mobile classrooms can be put up for recycling via auction. It’s those kinds of common-sense, low-tech measures that, if they do turn out to be effective, really cheer me up.

Anyone else been over there to the CCDC? What projects or ideas caught your eye?

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