“A rising tide lifts all boats.”
If this year's innovative design entries are any indication, all those snazzy recreation, sports and fitness facilities out there just keep getting bigger and better. Some projects are nothing short of eye-poppingly impressive in their offerings. And just as important as that wow factor, most are being carefully tailored to properly fit the communities they serve. Such communities, it's worth adding, are filled with eager patrons who are increasingly sophisticated and savvy when it comes to the recreation amenities they desire and require.
Of course, higher expectations result in higher standards. Across the board, facilities are becoming more universally accessible, comfortable, attractive, appealing and hopefully fun. Not to mention green, with many projects admirably clamoring for LEED certification.
Well, let them lead the way. Such well-thought-out, clever and inventive projects create a ripple effect for the rest of the recreation industry, with exemplary facilities propelling all kinds of "everyday" facilities to a higher level.
The tide is rising.
As always, we hope that the facilities representing our fourth annual Innovative Architecture and Design Award competition inspire. For a detailed peek, you can read all about our 2006 innovative facility picks on page 24.
Major thanks to all our entrants and our panel of judges. As always, I personally have learned a lot from working on the competition again this year.
Meanwhile, if you're planning a new facility or improving an existing one, don't forget to pack plenty of wow.
Jenny E. Beeh
Feel free to drop us a line. Any feedback is great; establishing an industry forum for the open exchange of ideas is even better. So don't be shy with your thoughts, opinions and questions. Any topic is fair game, and no query is too big or too little.
The trend toward "green buildings" has continued to pick up momentum. However, you don't actually need "greenery" to qualify as green building. The U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED rating system does NOT consider indoor plants in their rating system.
"As plants are natural born air filters that absorb impurities in the air and transfer toxins to the soil, it's only natural to assume that plants should be a primary component of a truly green building," says Jeff Mariola, president of Initial Tropical Plants, www.initialplants.com, a provider of interior landscaping, design installation and maintenance services in North America. "A myriad of studies confirm that plants reduce stress levels and make people happier overall."
"We urge developers to work with LEED rating officials to insist that credits be awarded for the use of interior plants in green-sanctioned buildings," says Mariola, based in Riverwoods, Ill. "The environmental benefits indoor plants provide result in bottom-line savings and are a vital component of a truly green building."
I invite Recreation Management readers to find out why green buildings should actually include greenery. I'd be delighted to share additional information upon request.
Thank you for your time and consideration. Please call or e-mail if you would like to learn more about the certification of green buildings and their absence of plants.
Editor's Note: Indoor landscaping is an interesting concept that we'll cover more in an upcoming issue. The question of "Shouldn't green buildings include actual plants?" is certainly one I'd like to hear more discussion about.
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