Public EcoArt: Emphasizing Green Identity of Green Buildings and Infrastructure
UPDATE!!! I serve on my city’s Sustainability Advisory Committee,. and recently (early September, 2011) I gave a talk to the Committee on how EcoArt could be integrated into the Plan’s focus areas. You can download a pdf of my presentation HERE: EcoArt presentationtoSAC9-11-2. At the end of the presentation are the actions I asked the Sustainability Advisory Committee to take. And they DID!! Thanks, colleagues!!
OK, here is one of my major pet peeves. Award winning platinum LEED buildings that hide the technology that won them this designation underground, behind walls, under floors, in attics and other invisible locations.
Here in our region, EcoArt South Florida is in ongoing dialogue with the South Florida Chapter of USGBC about this lack of green identity for LEED certified buildings and neighborhoods. A major educational priority of EASF is to raise awareness of how Public EcoArt can rectify this situation. For the past two years, EASF has been assertively reaching out to educate South Florida professionals involved in creating and rehabilitating the urban landscape, including architects, planners, landscape architects engineers and public art practitioners and administrators.
Here are some of the examples of EcoArtistic features integrated into buildings or infrastructure projects, whether formally recognized as Public Art or not, that we feature when invited to present at conferences or in specific workshops. These examples demonstrate aesthetically interesting and attention grabbing opportunities for the general public to see at first glance that there is a green building or infrastructure project in their community.
And, by the way, all of these examples can help gain points under LEED and other certification programs.
Sculptural electric car charging station. While not a designated “public art” project, this imaginative structure provides an assertive presence for what will be ubiquitous on the urban landscape as electric cars become more prevalent. This structure holds pv panels that power the charger, as well as providing shade. How much more interesting and educational than plopping a squat charger on the sidewalk and calling it a day. Possible LEED-ND points here: Reduced auto use; share car; solar application; local energy production, innovative design.
Integration of pv panels and other pv technologies into building facades. Why put all your pv on the roof where people can’t see it? In these EcoArtistic examples, pv is used as exterior wall cladding, and window screening which allows daylight in, reduces glare, and provides some energy to the building operation. Possible LEED points: solar application; local energy production, innovative design.
Amusing, musical, assertive cisterns. Why are cisterns always hidden underground or behind a building, wall or screen? Possible LEED points: water and wastewater infrastructure, stormwater management, innovative design.
These are only a few of the kinds of artistic features that can help define an urban building or infrastructure project as green. Here is a Venn diagram that shows the key features of the new LEED for neighborhood development certification elements on one side, and traditional public art approaches on the other. At the overlap between the two circles, Public EcoArt emerges
- Increasing State, county and municipal requirements for green public (and private) buildings, infrastructure, “green” streets, etc.
- Beyond buildings: emphasis on achieving lowered carbon footprint of urban areas by targeted times
- Increased urgency to lower “heat island” effect and walkability of urban neighborhoods
It is also a propitious time to make these green innovations very visible by integrating Public EcoArt at every stage: design through completion.
So, how can the integration of Public EcoArt into these increasingly mandated green advances be accomplished?
This list of suggested actions is aimed primarily at public art administrators and/or artists who are seeking opportunities to bring their Public EcoArt forward.
- Get appointed, or assigned as staff, to your city/county green task force in order to assure inclusion of Public EcoArt in city greening recommendations to elected officials; including in new “green ordinances”
- Assertively propose that Comprehensive Plans include Public EcoArt requirements for public buildings, parks, natural areas, transportation, etc.
- Convince your local officials to encourage integrated Public EcoArt to satisfy Public Art Ordinance requirements, esp. on planned “green” buildings and infrastructure
- Create and maintain annually, an updated list of Public EcoArt practitioners to recommend to developers and relevant government agencies
- Develop partnerships with organizations seeking to “grow” local Public EcoArt practitioners through education and apprenticeships
- Keep colleagues and yourself up to date on Public EcoArt developments in your region/state/county/municipality
Now, to what can happen if these suggestions are followed:
To my knowledge, there are only two cities in the US that currently include a mention of EcoArt in city ordinances: Boynton Beach and Jupiter, both located in Palm Beach County. Florida. This is not an accident. In both cases, EcoArt South Florida played an important role.
In the case of the town of Jupiter, a local planning official met EASF’s President at a green technologies conference, and, because her town was involved at that moment in revising some ordinances, was inspired to include mention of EcoArt in chapter 27 of the town of Jupiter’s municipal ordinance 39-10 which mentions EcoArt at Section 27-1831 (See: http://www.jupiter.fl.us/Planning/upload/Ord-39-10.pdf).
In the case of Boynton Beach, the public art administrator lobbied vigorously to be sure she was assigned as staff to the city’s Green Alliance, a community outreach effort that brought together key city officials and community experts on green technology to craft recommendations for the city’s elected commissioners as part of the city’s efforts to create a Climate Action Plan. The public art administrator also arranged for EASF’s president to be part of the 6 month Green Alliance effort, assigning her to the Land Use Committee. As a direct result, the city’s new green ordinance contains mention of EcoArt in 4 places. See them at FL here.
pg 21 of the Word Doc (print pg 17) Jurisdictional Electives
pg 29 (print pg 25) Ch 4 – Site & Land Use, 407.6
pg 48-49 (print pg 52-53) - Public Eco Art
NEW Municipal Ordinances that include EcoArt
• Boynton Beach, Florida has passed a Green Building Ordinance in which EcoArt is referenced in three places:
Definitions – pg 21 of the Word Doc (print pg 17) Jurisdictional Electives
pg 29 (print pg 25) Ch 4 – Site & Land Use, 407.6
Public Eco Art – pg 48-49 (print pg 52-53)
• Jupiter, Florida’s Amendment of chapter 27 of municipal ordinance 39-10 mentions EcoArt at Section 27-1831. See here
Other excellent sites:
Reality of implementing green buildings in your city.
Webinar presented Feb 23, 2011 by Kobet Cheatham Group and BasicGov. A discussion of the imminent demise of point based green building standards like LEED at the state, county and municipal levels and what is replacing them.
GREEN Museum’s excellent toolbox series.
Some were done in the mid to late ’90s but are still more than relevant