Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bird-Friendly Building Certification

Buildings are a leading cause for bird-fatalities in the United States every year. Few green buildings exist where bird-safety is included. Architects and designers just don’t understand the connection between birds and the architecture. They don’t see glass. Viviana Ruiz-Gutierrez has a big idea. She wants to create the first-ever nationally recognized Bird-Friendly Building Certification.

LEED, a popular green building standard, awards only one point for bird-safe design, but it’s not a requirement. Other industries have already gone to the birds, for example, you can easily find bird-friendly coffee.

In 2007, the New York City Audubon Society published guidelines to bird-safe buildings, but the techniques are still often absent from most green projects. Places such as Chicago and Toronto have bird-safe guidelines, yet there’s not a nationally recognized certification for ornithological design-excellence. If Ruiz-Gutierrez has her way, that’ll all change.

Ruiz-Gutierrez is bird crazy. She’s spent her share of time in the field researching and monitoring birds. Her research focuses on the effects of agricultural land uses on forest bird populations, as well as testing monitoring techniques to determine how land use patterns around protected areas influences their capability to maintain current levels of biodiversity.

Her research has shown her that with less natural areas, birds are spending their time in urban environments. Impact of urbanization on bird populations is evident from mortalities in cities. At least 100,000,000 birds are killed every year across North America by collisions with buildings. Even more are injured. Read the entire article.

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