Out of 52 initial submissions, 23 full papers were selected by the scientific committee to be presented at the Sustainable Structures Symposium held at Portland, Oregon on April 17 and 18, 2014 and included in the proceedings. The wide range of topics represented highlights the need for continued research into sustainability and structural systems to improve practice. These topics include life cycle analysis of structural systems, resiliency, deconstruction, multi-performance structures, integrated building systems, innovative wood structures, and recent examples of sustainable structural systems in practice. The most unique aspect of this symposium is that it brought together an equal number of practitioners and academics from the disciplines architecture and engineering to focus exclusively on issues of sustainability and structural systems.
Building envelopes, mechanical systems and daylighting are the traditional emphasis of green building practice and scholarship. The role of structural systems and materials in the overall performance of a building has been largely neglected. In contemporary practice, architects and engineers choose a structural system very early during the design process depending on constraints such as building codes, cost, required spans, construction schedule and site constraints. Very little consideration is typically given to other ways the structure could contribute to improving sustainable outcomes. This is in spite of the fact that the structure of a typical office building contributes roughly one-quarter of the initial embodied energy and is, at the very least, the armature for all other building systems. Like all other aspects of a building, the structural system needs to be understood in terms of wide range of sustainability issues: embodied energy, operational energy, longevity and reuse. This symposium will explore the greater role structure should have in the design, impact and operation of green buildings.
My deepest thanks goes out to the scientific committee, the authors and speakers that contributed to the success of the symposium. I would like to thank Erin Moore, Kate Simonen and Mark Donofrio for their early support as founding members of the scientific committee. We were particularly fortunate to have both architect Michael Green and engineer Eric Karsh as keynote speakers presenting their groundbreaking work together. I would also like to thank members of the SEI Sustainability Committee for their participation in and promotion of this event. Finally, I would like to thank Julia Mollner for her assistance in organizing the symposium.
The full symposium proceedings can be downloaded by clicking on the icon above.
Note: The file size is nearly 30MB, so it may take a little while to download depending on your connection speed.
Associate Professor, Architecture
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