(Photo from embassy website.)
OBO (the Office of Overseas Buildings Operations) cut another ribbon this week, this time on the 84th new building to be completed under the capital security construction program. That program is a tragic legacy of the 1999 Embassy Bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
Here's the press release. United States Dedicates New Embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam:
Occupying a 5.3-acre site in the Diplomatic Enclave, the new Embassy compound replaces the prior facility in the Teck Guan Plaza building located in downtown Bandar Seri Begawan.
The new Embassy compound incorporates several sustainable features, most notably an irrigation system that utilizes Brunei Darussalam’s abundant natural rain. The facility is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council, and will be submitted for certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building rating system.
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OBO’s mission is to provide safe, secure, and functional facilities for the conduct of U.S. diplomacy and the promotion of U.S. interests worldwide. These facilities should represent American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.
The local press in Brunei has some more on that LEED® green building sustainability stuff:
According to Mr Evans, the Managing Director for the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operation (OBO) Construction, Facility and Security Management Directorate, "The new embassy is registered with the US Green Building Council and will be submitted for certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system. The building uses advance irrigation system that utilises natural rainwater, waterless urinal as well as energy efficient lightings in the building.
Waterless what now? Urinals? Yes, and you can expect to see them coming to an embassy office building near you because waterless urinals play a major part in OBO's initiative on water efficiency:
Indoor strategies that OBO incorporates include low-flow plumbing fixtures, faucet aerators, dual flush toilets and waterless urinals. OBO further supports posts with a waterless urinal replacement program for older, more water-intensive plumbing fixtures in facilities that demonstrate high consumption and high cost.
I kind of understand how those waterless devices work, with a liquid sealant vapor block and so forth. Still, I find the whole concept a bit disconcerting. Would it really be asking too much for a little water to flush that bad boy? Considering that Brunei has 7.5 feet of "abundant natural rain" annually, compared to just 2.5 feet for the United States, why are we going to extremes to save a little water there?
I like LEED®-green-sustainable-ecological-efficient building design as much as anybody, but, please, how about a little more concern for the microclimate inside the men's room?