IAIA Sustainable Futures Greening Charrette Designs Framework for Sustainable Development

April 30, 2003

Artist's rendering of the IAIA campus and museum.

Artist's rendering of the IAIA campus and museum.

The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Sustainable Futures Greening Charrette, conducted March 1214, 2003, was designed to guide the development of the IAIA campus and museum renovation based on the principles of environmental sustainability. A 4-year fine arts college located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, IAIA is one of 33 tribal colleges nationwide, and the only tribal college of national scope. It is one of three Federally-chartered colleges and is considered to be a Federal facility. The IAIA Charrette was the fourteenth supported by FEMP at a Federal facility, and the first for an educational institution or for a Native American institution.

The charrette was conducted under the IAIA Initiative for a Sustainable Future, which will guide all IAIA facility development, including renovation of existing buildings, design and construction of new buildings, facility operations and maintenance, campus land use, and outdoor recreation. The principles of sustainability will also be incorporated into IAIA education and outreach programs wherever appropriate. "What better way to carry out the IAIA vision than by developing our facilities in a way that respects the natural resources we have been given and are about to use, and in the end to enable us to walk gently on our earth," said Margaret Tifft Janis, Program Manager for the IAIA Initiative for a Sustainable Future.

Through a series of presentations and active brainstorming sessions regarding specific issues including energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and sustainable water use and landscaping, the charrette participants worked together to develop a framework for carrying these goals for sustainable development into the future. Participants included:

  • IAIA faculty, students, and staff;

  • community stakeholders;

  • Federal and State agency representatives;

  • project contractors;

  • consultants; and

  • facilitators.

"The newest concepts in sustainability seem to align well with the oldest Native American philosophies. It's as if we've come full circle back to the importance of earth, wind, sun, and water," said Dr. Andy Walker of DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The IAIA charrette developed objectives for indoor environmental quality, energy use, and site master planning, including:

  • develop master plan element and guidelines for interior or constructed spaces;

  • reduce energy use by 30 percent for existing buildings, and 60 percent for new buildings compared to similar buildings in this climate;

  • optimize use of renewable energy sources;

  • conserve water resources; and

  • increase biodiversity through restoration of plant and animal communities, and limit use of non-native plants.

The IAIA charrette identified a number of short, medium, and long-term action items to achieve these objectives, including:

  1. Conduct a multi-disciplinary planning meeting as soon as the Life Long Learning Center team has been identified to establish (prototype) guidelines for design and construction.

  2. Establish a database of green construction and art supply products.

  3. Provide additional third party review of Library and Technology Center design to identify low cost efficiency improvements.

  4. Make an assessment of water sources and uses, followed by implement-ation of a water reduction program for the main campus and the museum.

  5. Develop the garden/landscape component of the Life Long Learning Center program, ensuring that this landscape is developed as an expression of native culture, and in such a way that it supports curriculum development and campus community life.

The benefits are expected to include reduced operating costs, resource consumption, and site disturbance and increased health and productivity of students; not to mention the educational value of traditional Native American principles of sustainability and the positive contribution to the surrounding natural environment and community. "IAIA has a huge potential to provide leadership in sustainable design to Native America, indigenous peoples worldwide, the Santa Fe community, and the Nation," said Margaret Tifft Janis.

For more information, contact Andy Walker of NREL at 303-384-7531 or andy_walker@nrel.gov, or Anne Crawley of FEMP at anne.crawley@ee.doe.gov or 202-586-1505.