Shootin' the Green Breeze
by Chris Mundell
Welcome to the inaugural blog for USGBC Texas! We felt it was imperative to share our thoughts and knowledge about sustainable strategies, resources, and tools for our members and their communities and we’ll be using this blog to connect with you on a monthly basis.
I'm Chris Mundell, and as the Chair of the North Texas Regional Council, I asked to start with the first blog. It is hard to believe that 2016 is my ten-year anniversary as a LEED Accredited Professional. Sustainability has been a passion of mine for so long and it has been an honor to be able to incorporate that into my projects.
In May, my co-worker and I were asked to be on a Radio Show to talk about Gensler’s approach to sustainability. Speaking on the radio show “Shootin’ the Breeze” (Episode #25), I shared with listeners about sustainable strategies that make sense here in North Texas. The climate in this region is much different that along the US coastlines, for example. Therefore not everything can be accomplished like in those climate zones. Other topics I talked about included renewable energy from wind and solar power, the use of pervious pavers to help with storm-water management, and healthier materials to provide better indoor environments for occupants.
Texas is one of the largest producers of wind power. But much of that wind generation comes from West Texas and large wind turbines. A couple years ago, I helped the University of North Texas (UNT) achieve a LEED Platinum certification for its new football stadium. It also became the first Platinum stadium in the US. Part of the design of the stadium included the use of wind power. UNT received a grant to design and install 3 “community scale” wind turbines. These turbines worked well in their location and continue to help offset the Stadium’s power. Another strategy that we incorporated on the stadium project was the use of pervious pavers for all the new parking lots and drives in lieu of poured concrete or asphalt slabs. The pavers allow rainwater to seep through into the ground rather than runoff into the storm drains.
Lastly, one of the most important topics today is human health. We are learning that the materials and products used to build our homes, schools, offices, and hospitals have an effect on our health. Research shows that we spend typically 90% of our time indoors, but the concern is that our indoor environments might not be the best spaces for us. So, we’re now looking more closely at how we design these spaces with proper air ventilation and filtration as well as the selection of healthier materials and products.
I hope you get a chance to hear the radio show for the full conversation. Join us on this blog as we continue to share knowledge, best practices, and exciting project updates in green building.
Chris is an architect at Gensler, where he serves as a Senior Project Manager, the South Central Defense and Aerospace Practice Area Leader, a Community-Flex Studio Operations Leader and a South Central Region Design Performance Leader. He has been involved in a wide range of architecture projects for the past 20 years for government, healthcare, commercial, educational and multifamily residential clients. In addition to his work roles, he is actively involved in the local chapters of AIA, CSI, and USGBC. Chris is the current Chair for the USGBC North Texas Regional Council, serves on the 2030 Dallas District Leadership Council, and is a past-president for the CSI Dallas Chapter.