Document Search

April 14, 2010 at 4:04 am (Uncategorized)

 I have recently been looking for documents for my final paper on sustainability at Umass Amherst.  What I found gave me more of a focus and direction for where I want to take it.  Now, I have three relatable factors of sustainability I want to write on: what is going on inside our old buildings in general that is causing us to lose so much energy, why it is so difficult to renovate them, and how students are adding to the problem.  While researching, I really wanted to find the exact law about renovation that Josh Stoffel was talking about.  He explained to me before that if they go over a certain amount of money, they have to renovate the entire building. 

I thankfully found that rule in the gigantic book of the Massachusetts State Building Codes.  It is under article 32, titled “Repair, Alteration, and Change of Use of Existing Buildings.”  Here is the excerpt, section 3200.3, number four:

Part Change in Use: If a portion of the building is changed to a new use group, and that portion is  separated from the remainder of the building with vertical and horizontal fire separation assemblies complying with the fire grading required in Table 902, or with approved compliance alternatives, then the portion shall be made to conform to the provisions of this article.  If a portion of the building is changed to a new use group,  and that portion is not separated from the remainder of the building with vertical and horizontal fire separation assemblies complying with the fire grading required in Table 902, or with approved compliance alternatives, then the provisions of this article shall apply to the entire building.  If there are conflicting provisions, then those requirements which secure the greater public safety shall apply. 

This basically says that if you are going to change part of a building to a new use group (a use group defines how a building will be used), and it is not separated by fire separation, then the entire building has to be upgraded in regards to the rest of article 32.  These include a ton of things like having a certain amount of exitways, having it be approved by an official, types of floors, exit signs, lighting, ventilation, stairways and alarms.  No wonder why we can’t renovate anything!  If we just wanted to fix part of a building to improve wasting energy, and it was not separated, we would have to pay so much more to fix basically everything.  This is why Stoffel said that he plans to spend five time more than needed on a building.  And let’s face it; our old buildings like Hills North, Morill, South College and FAC are not up to par with these standards.  I’m very excited to find this rule because it is what is keeping us from renovating our buildings to become more energy efficient; we simply don’t have the money to fix everything in them.  I’m sure there is a lot more details in this book about it, but I don’t want to get into heavy-duty specifics in my feature story.

Another interesting document I found is the UMass Green Card report, located at http://www.greenreportcard.org/report-card-2010/schools/university-of-massachusetts-amherst  We got an overall C+ for this year.  We got all A’s in each category except for in Green Building (C), Endowment Transparency (F), and Shareholder Engagment.  Even though our rating is average, we did get an A in sustainibility, which gives a counter-argument to my story; we must be doing something right. 

Finally, there is a list of what LEED measures at http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1989.  LEED the organization that UMASS will be using on all future buildings, and it gives a grade for a building based off of things like sustainible sites, water effciency, and enviornmental quality.  From now on, a building will need to have a silver rating or higher.  The new police station and marching band building will be of the first to be on this system.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: