A Rewarding Evening for A Green Dream Team. Indeed!

It was the night of the USGBC Maryland chapter’s 11th Annual Wintergreen Awards for Excellence in Green Building, held at the Green Street Academy in Baltimore on January 28th.

Green Street AcademyThe Green Street Academy is a building of great bones on a nearly 9-acre campus. Built in 1925 in West Baltimore in the neo-Gothic Style as a public junior high school, some 100K sq. ft. has been carefully planned for and renovated at a cost of $21.5M over the last couple of years. LEED certification is underway.

How green is the Green Street Academy? Well, how about its koi pond in the entryway? Or, chickens in a coop. Greenhouses and solar PV? Very importantly, some 60% of its students are able to walk to school! (The building’s prior occupant, a church, continues to share a portion of the building–also a green/LEED-thing.)

The juried Wintergreen Awards project categories were 6: Residential; Large Commercial; Small Commercial; Neighborhood Development; Non-Profit/Publicly Funded; and, Educational/School Facility.

Additional awards: Leadership Project Award; Leader Awards; President’s Award; and, the People’s Choice Award which was by vote of nearly 200 attendees during the early part of the evening and announced last.

St. Margaret’s was among 3 finalists for the Non-Profit/Publicly Funded Project Award. That, in and of itself, was an accolade.

In the balconied auditorium (ceiling height seemed like 30 ft.), the Green Dream Team was seated close together in two rows. The evening’s MC, the always hilarious Prescott Gaylord, called for the slide showing the 3 finalists in our category. While the image for ours was center, it was of the 1970 Parish House entrance facade rather than the new building. Alas.

Our project was not selected.

But, only a few moments later, a strong feeling well up inside me.

The last award of the evening, the People’s Choice, was next.

“St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church is the winner!”

SMCPeoplesChoiceAwardAfter getting a quick, approving smile from my wife, I leaped up from my seat, waving an arm in the air. A huge grin on my face, I looked at our team members who’d turned my way. Dawning on us turned into taking the stage to accept our award. What a great feeling I had for our team!!

What a great feeling we had towards each other with this chance, additional outcome to the commitment we made to integrative design and construction for a healthy, high-efficiency day school/formation building.

Imagine, if you can, a new construction project for a parish where the decision is made to shoot for LEED certification as a measure of its faith commitment to environmental stewardship?!
It is a 3-year process of endless everything, beginning with formation and day school space programming in 3 scenarios of potential building budget and size.
After about 9 months of construction through a cold, sloppy winter, the realized building opens on time for the day school’s 2015-16 academic year. The rest of the building is occupied by the parish several weeks later. Still more certification effort needed though.
On January 19th, 2016, the long-sought LEED® Silver Certified award is accepted by me on behalf of St. Margaret’s for its Formation Addition! (This LEED nomenclature can be explained.)
But, wait. Only 9 days later there’s the topper. The project is selected by the Wintergreen Awards attendees as the People’s Choice!

What an awesome project–with awesome people of the parish and the design/construction team numbering more than 100.


There we are: the Green Dream Team- including Chuck Anthony, architect, Charles E. Anthony ⋅ Architects; Rev. and Mrs. Peter Mayer, Tim Ritchie, Anne Sessions and Teresa Todd, a residential architect who served as Owner’s Rep, all of St. Margaret’s Church; Greg Jakse, Gary Swift and Jek Villarba, Century Engineering; and Dick Williams, DW-GREEN Associates, Sustainability/LEED consultant. (Among several unable to attend were Chad Kulawiak, Century Engineering and Phillip Parrish, Commissioning Authority, Sustainable Building Partners.)


This Eastern Red Cedar table is made of the wood of a tree that had to be taken down as it was within the new building footprint

the wood plank of this table is made of repurposed Eastern Red Cedar

Here’s just one example of what’s really special about the Formation Addition project. Among St. Margaret’s parishioners is a great love for trees, the birds and their nests that inhabit them, and nature.

Two mature trees lay within the building site. At some certain expense, the felled trees, cut into logs, were taken to a nearby mini-mill where planks were cut. Then taken to a nearby farm for covered storage. Several of us pictured above had a direct hand in getting this done.

This table, made by a parishioner, is the first of the trees to return to the site as repurposed wood objects.

So proud of this project!!

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