AVA’s Green Building Challenge: A Work in Progress

This past spring, we were pleased to announce a new initiative: AVA’s Green Building Challenge. Its aim is to significantly shrink our carbon footprint, with the goal of making our facility a “net zero” building by 2017. In other words, we hope to have a building that ultimately produces more energy than it consumes.

As we continue the conservation efforts that began with our 2007 building renovation, we will also begin tapping into the significant solar-power potential of our site.

The first phase of this goal began in May, when we contracted with the Jordan Institute to focus on the energy-saving opportunities inherent in our building and to examine the potential for renewable energy. In hiring the Jordan Institute—New Hampshire’s premier think-tank dedicated to addressing climate change in the built environment through aggressive building efficiency upgrades— we will once again be working with the team that was instrumental in our achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-certification for our renovation. Jordan’s staff, led by Paul Leveille, is currently analyzing three years of our energy consumption, both thermal and electrical. (It is already evident that the 2011 LED lighting upgrade in our gallery spaces made a significant reduction in kilowatt-hours.)

The strategy is to reduce the electrical loads as much as possible (measuring devices placed throughout the building will identify areas for improvement), then address the solar potential of AVA’s rooftop as well as other areas capable of producing both thermal and electrical energy.

The prospect of making the “new” old Carter-Kelsey building net zero has energized AVA’s Board, staff and friends. It builds on work that has been accomplished over the past several years and reflects our ongoing commitment to sustainability. It is in our DNA: The Arts and the Environment—a winning combination!