You'd hope that a school of environmental studies would practice what it preaches. Well, Tel Aviv University's Porter School of Environmental Studies does so emphatically. Its newly inaugurated building is, it says, the first LEED Platinum-certified in Israel and the greenest in the Middle East.
Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification has become a widely recognized mark of environmental good practice in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of buildings. Amongst the LEED Platinum-certified buildings that Gizmag has recently featured, BioCasa 82 in Italy was claimed to be Europe's first LEED Platinum home, the Munich-based NuOffice was claimed to be the world's most sustainable office building and Dubai's Chance Initiative was claimed to be the world's most sustainable building overall.
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The PSES building was designed in collaboration by Geotectura Studio and Axelrod Grobman Architects with the aim of being a "living laboratory." As well as providing spaces for education and learning, it was decided that the building should be a demonstrative educational platform in itself, with users and visitors able to examine the environmental technologies installed therein.
Amongst the public and education spaces in the building are an auditorium, a spacious atrium that can be used for meetings and exhibitions, classrooms, lecture halls, research offices, meeting rooms and offices. The temperature in the PSES building is regulated using a solar energy-powered air conditioning system, along with a structure design optimized for local conditions. Grey water, meanwhile, is recycled and reused elsewhere in the building.
In addition to a green roof, the building features an "EcoWall" which is described as an iconic element of the building's aesthetic, but is also a functional part of its environmental efforts. The EcoWall provides protection from the sun in the building's atrium, but also capitalizes on its south-facing orientation by hosting the array of solar panels used to power the building's air conditioning. Terraces along the EcoWall can also be used for experimental research.
The PSES building also features a striking Capsule element as part of its design. The Capsule is a 3D elliptical structure that's suspended in the building's atrium and that pokes out of the EcoWall. Housed in the Capsule is a workshop and meeting room with "state of the art multimedia technology." The external surface of the Capsule is covered in connected LEDs that are used to display environmental information, such as energy statistics of the PSES Building and pollution levels in Tel Aviv.
The PSES building was inaugurated in May and held its first graduation ceremony in June.
The video below shows an animated rendering of the PSES building.