...green building standard. Buildings must receive one LEED point for water efficiency and three for energy performance.

Building community WORKSHOP
In another session, USGBC North Texas Chapter member architect Brent Brown of Dallas will discuss the importance of community participation in establishing green communities and his involvement as founder and director of buildingcommunity (bc) WORKSHOP and its Congo Street Green neighborhood revitalization initiative in Dallas.

Members of bcWORKSHOP and its partners in one of its neighborhood revitalization initiatives hold a design meeting in Dallas.
Members of bcWORKSHOP and its partners in one of its neighborhood revitalization initiatives hold a design meeting in Dallas.

“We bring design resources to our clients, the residents who are in charge,” Brown says. “We see it as an empowerment of residents to have influence over their surroundings.”

The group bcWORKSHOP considers social equity in sustainability. At Congo Street, the houses are about 100 years old and average 600 sq ft each. Density is 24 units per acre.

“They are weathered,” Brown says. “Congress Street is about working with residents to improve the neighborhood, but we are looking for ideas that could be replicable and that might have an influence on the city.”

As bcWORKSHOP created energy-efficient, green renovation plans, it also developed a holding house for the Congo Street residents of the dwellings under construction to live in as work took place. Four renovations are complete, one more will finish by year end and the last one will begin in 2010. The project received funding from the city of Dallas and donations from individuals and foundations. The residences are LEED certified, one gold, and the group expects platinum for the next two.

“We are an incubator of ideas that helps to forward us behind what we can do right now,” Brown says. “We start with an idea and an incremental approach.”

Brown also discussed bcCORPS. The bcWORKSHOP was invited to work with the Dolphin Heights Neighborhood Association to bring the holding-house concept and design creativity to revitalize an area with 250 homes in East Dallas.

“We bring the resources and get out of the way,” Brown says. “Our job is to bring creative ideas, help to provide information, get things started and at some point get out of the way and let the individuals that live in our neighborhoods thrive.”

Water resources
Kent Butler, associate dean for research and operations in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, will moderate a panel discussing water resource use and green design. The session will inform participants about the true dimensions of the water crisis throughout the country and the role the design and construction industry plays in safeguarding and enhancing water resources.

Meanwhile, Tradeshow Week magazine proclaimed the U.S. Green Building Council’s 2008 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows in the United States and Canada. The publication will formally recognize Greenbuild at an awards ceremony in Houston this Month.