Chartreuse Blog

Museum of Visual Materials: Teaching Green Design

The Museum of Visual Materials, in downtown Sioux Falls, was designed to accomplish three goals: create an interactive display for the owner’s collections; preserve the building’s original character; and incorporate green design principles to minimize operating costs and educate visitors about sustainability.

The owner’s collections are displayed using flexible display spaces around activity areas such as cooking, sewing, crafts, and music.  Simple display units were designed on castors for flexibility and the option to clear the large rooms for events.  The spaces were designed to maximize daylight for reading and viewing the collections.

The owner chose to use an abandoned building in the Sioux Falls Historic Warehouse District to house the collection.  Consolidated Tank Line Co. built the wood frame and rubble quartzite structure in 1887 after which it served as the Midwest headquarters for the Standard Oil Co. from 1896 until 1945.  Midland Distributing Company’s Seagram Products were distributed from the structure until the mid 80’s.  The building sat mostly empty for the next 20 years.

Koch Hazard Architects chose to gut the interior spaces leaving the original quartzite rubble walls and wood structure to preserve the buildings character.  Paint was sandblasted from the interior and exterior surfaces to reveal the warehouse’s original aesthetic.  Columns and webs milled from reused timbers were added to stabilize the trusses with custom gussets and bolts.  Many of the early alterations were retained as part of the building’s history.

Because the owner, a retired physician, had a lifetime focus on health, sustainable sensibility and stewardship was a guiding priority for designing the museum.  Sustainable design will lower ongoing operating costs and serve as a tool to educate others about healthy design.

The site and building incorporate many innovative and sustainable systems and technologies with the expectation of LEED Gold Certification from the USGBC.

All parking is off-site allowing native grasses and flowers to fill the exterior space.  Rainwater from the roof is collected and diverted to a small retention area.  A permeable serpentine path is used for learning about native plants through a self-guided tour.   Quartzite retaining walls provide exterior seating space in the plaza courtyard.

Low-flow fixtures and motion sensors save approximatly 30,000 gallons of water every year or about 30% over standard EPA efficiency.

A hybrid open loop geothermal system uses steady temperatures from the Sioux Aquifer for efficient heating and cooling.  Three inches of closed cell soy-based foam insulation where added to walls increase energy efficiency.  Energy efficient lighting with motion sensors and high efficiency glazing minimize heat gain, and an 8 kilowatt photovoltaic array on the roof generates energy.

Natural, regional materials were used including unstained wood trim from Minnesota and locally quarried quartzite.  35 freight skid palettes from the building’s Seagram distributor days were reused as a raised and removable floor in the utility room, as bases for the original rough columns in the atrium, as a backdrop to the kitchen, and as a trash enclosure off the alley.  Unstained bamboo and cork are also used in the display areas.

Low-emitting materials, operable windows, and daylighting and views were used to promote good indoor air quality.

Green cleaning and education programs further promote the building as a teacher of sustainable design and healthy buildings.

Photos by Stephen Parezo

Courthouse Square: Sustainable Design in SD
December 2, 2009, 2:21 pm
Filed under: Green Projects | Tags: , ,

Courthouse Square, a five-story office and retail building located in downtown Sioux Falls, is the second LEED Gold building in the state of South Dakota.  Designed by Koch Hazard Architects, it incorporates a number of environmentally significant systems and technologies including daylighting, renewable energy and geothermal templification, displacement ventilation, radiant heating and cooling, task lighting, low-emitting materials, and indoor chemical and pollutant source control.  78% of the building’s materials are regionally (within 500 miles) harvested and manufactured including the quartzite stone and architectural precast concrete façade.  Water conservation measures, including waterless urinals, save 140,000 gallons per year.  The design has far exceeded LEED Gold standards and is one of three projects nationally to win the 2006 GSA Environmental Award.1

The exterior of Courthouse Square was designed to respond to the neighboring US Courthouse without overwhelming it, despite its size.  A two story arcade of local quartzite reflects the tall arched windows of the historic courthouse across the street.  The 3rd and 4th stories above incorporate wide windows spaced in a system of architectural concrete, and the 5th story is set back behind a mansard style roof with elegant dormer windows reducing the apparent size of the building.

Photos by Stephen Parezo

Cherapa Place: Green Building in SD
December 1, 2009, 6:02 pm
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Photo by Aaron Holmberg

Cherapa Place, a 140,000 square foot office building located on the East Bank of the Big Sioux River in downtown Sioux Falls, is the first LEED Gold Building in the state of South Dakota.  Designed by Koch Hazard Architects, the site and building incorporate many innovative and sustainable systems and technologies reducing energy consumption by 40% and water use by 15%.  Other green strategies include the redevelopment of a brownfield site, stormwater management, green roofs, and a native landscape.  Also, 60% of the building’s materials are regionally (located within 500 miles) harvested and manufactured such as the quartzite stone on the building’s base.

Quartzite is a stone that was commonly used in Sioux Falls architecture until the early 20th century because the city is located on a large quartzite formation.  The façade of Cherapa Place uses over 8,500 square feet of this stone.

The interior of the building features tabletops made of pressed sorghum and cabinetry and trim made from pressed wheat.

Photos from Aaron Holmberg

Chicago Center for Green Technology

CCGT, located west of Chicago’s Loop, acts as a model for green construction, houses green businesses and organizations, and provides a place to learn about sustainability.  It is only the third building in the United States to be designed with the highest standards of green technology, LEED Platinum, though it is the first LEED Platinum building to reuse an existing structure and provide public transportation.

The building that houses CCGT was built in 1952 and was most recently owned by Sacramento Crushing, a collector of construction and demolition waste.  The Chicago Department of Environment became involved when it discovered the company was violating its permit by filling its 17 acre site with illegal debris.  The Campus was filled with 70 foot piles of rubble, some so dense they were sinking as deep as 15 feet into the ground.  The DOE closed down the site and became responsible for cleaning it up.  Local architects, led by Farr Associates, designed the facility.

45% of CCGT’s electrical needs are covered by three solar arrays located on the campus:  a 28.2 kW roof array, a 10.8 kW building integrated window awning array, and a 32.4 kW solar berm.  The center also decreases its need for electricity by incorporating passive solar strategies including natural lighting and a tromme wall used to heat the on-site greenhouse.

CCGT manages its water usage and runoff though its extensive green roof, four 12,000 gallon cisterns, disconnected downspouts, and bioswales and wetland.  They retain over half of their rainwater onsite for watering the landscape.

Other sustainable features include the campus being heated and cooled using a ground source heat pump, use of local materials (over 40% within 300 miles), use of only non-toxic and/or low VOC products, and the use of recycled materials (over 40%).

To learn more about sustainability at Chicago Center for Green Technology, to schedule a tour, or to attend a seminar visit the CCGT website.











Millennium Park
August 4, 2009, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Green Projects | Tags: , ,

Located in downtown Chicago, Millennium Park is considered to be the largest intensive green roof in the world.  The 24.5 acre park spans two sub-grade parking garages and an existing rail yard and features Frank Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa, the Lurie Garden, and Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate.

The site was originally owned by the Illinois Central Railroad and was considered to be untouchable for nearly 150 years: the larger Grant Park was designed around the railway.  Though there were many attempts to add a park, plans were never implemented until the late 90’s when Mayor Richard M. Daley proposed a modest park with a budget of $150 million.  Four years past the original deadline and $325 million dollars over budget, the park opened in 2004 and is one of the most popular places in the city.

The structural deck spanning the parking garages and rail yard was designed to support four feet of soil allowing for over 900 trees, shrubs, groundcovers, perennials, and annuals to be planted in the park creating shade, managing storm water, cleaning the air, reducing the urban heat island, and providing residents and visitors of Chicago with a fantastic place to enjoy the outdoor city.







To learn more about Millennium Park visit

Greening Chicago
August 4, 2009, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Green Projects | Tags: ,
Downtown Chicago

Downtown Chicago

When Richard M. Daley became mayor of Chicago in 1989 he was dedicated to making Chicago the greenest city in the country.  His plan has included green roofs, photovoltaic systems, wind energy, green teaching facilities, Brownfield revitalization, public transportation, and biking infrastructure.  Currently, Chicago has more green roofs than any other city in the country and ranks fourth for the number of solar installations.

Chartreuse completed a series of Chicago case studies in July that demonstrate how Chicago is changing its carbon footprint one green project at a time.  We will be presenting one project a day for the next week.

Case studies include Millennium Park, the Exelon Pavilions, the McDonald’s Cycle Center, the Chicago Center for Green Technology, and the Near North Apartments.