Program: This green, modular childcare facility was built sustainably and economically for its current Harvard University users. In the future it will be relocated to another site with minimal waste, to be enjoyed by future users. Re-Use, Reduce, Recycle. The building was a 3-month design-build-install fast track scramble competing with an alternate plan for energy intensive throw-away buildings. While not radical in appearance, this building proves that affordable, fast, green construction is fully competitive with more wasteful building practices. Not a “someday” project, “green” becomes the only practical building option, opening many new doors for sustainable construction.
Project goals: Harvard University was planning temporary housing for campus childcare buildings undergoing a schedule of remodeling to current quality and energy standards. Harvard’s Office of Sustainability was leading the effort with a mandate and budget for high-standard green construction. Then the economy crashed and Harvard’s endowment went into free-fall. High-minded goals were thrown out the window and campus facilities management halted the project, to be replaced with a bare bones, low quality, energy-intensive temporary structure with an accelerated install date 3 months from contract. Architect and builder responded with a competitive offer: “we will meet the same budget and accelerated delivery date, but maintain the original sustainability and quality goals.” To accomplish this, the architect worked with a modular prefabrication manufacturer in Indiana, utilizing the plants standard procedures with only the most creative tweaks essential to radically enhance construction quality, sustainability, and healthy building standards without greatly raising costs. Design changes systemized and panelized components and systems, with pre-wiring and structure for future zero-energy performance without retrofit or waste. To meet the budget goal, architect and builder re-structured project financing as a lease rather than sale, allowing the building costs to be amortized over a longer term, made feasible through higher-quality construction, easy relocatability without waste, and easy adaptability for future sites and the evolution of energy and data systems over time. All of this was accomplished and the first use of this healthy, high-quality, sustainable building delivered on-time and at the agreed minimal cost.