Israel's LEED Platinum building due to complete later this year in Tel Aviv with passive solar strategies and 'ecowall'
The small country of Israel is showing no shortage of innovation when it comes to green building design. Already a leader in the fields of medicine and high technologies, Israel will soon demonstrate its leadership in environmental and sustainable design with the completion later this year of the country’s first LEED Platinum building, the Porter School of Environmental Studies (PSES) at the Tel Aviv University.
The vision of Dame Shirley Porter, the PSES is one of few multidisciplinary institutes of its kind in the world, the others being Yale University, Columbia University, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in the U.S. and the University of Oxford in the U.K., and the only institute of its kind Israel. When completed later this year, Porter’s new ECO building will showcase the school’s research activities in building that aspires to be an icon of green architecture.
Designed by the team of Axelrod-Grobman Architects, Geotectura Studio, and Chen Architects, which won the project in a competition - the second of two for the building - The Porter School’s EcoBuilding combines passive solar energy strategies of direct gain and natural ventilation with other green design features like grey water systems using biological pools, a green roof, natural daylighting augmented with energy efficient lighting with photo cell controls, and active chilled beam cooling.
The main feature of the building, both aesthetically and performance wise, is the EcoWall. It will provide energy efficient air conditioning and cooling to the building through a series of solar tubes encased within a twin wall facade which also doubles as a shading screen to keep the building occupants comfortable in the summer months.
The building is strategically sited high on a hill overlooking the city, where it enjoys good access to the sun and the prevailing breezes and good visibility, located as it is next to the main road connecting Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with good access to the major rail line. The PSES has all the makings of an icon. When completed it will be the model for green building design in Israel. Only time will tell if it rises to the level of significance.