Green beneath the skin- Baby Boomers Part 2
Posted on 08 January 2009
Page 2 of 3
“We like to think that we came up with a pretty efficient hull design,” says S&S principal designer Bruce Johnson. “We tank-tested similar hulls with interchangeable transoms and decided to go with one that is slightly submerged, similar to that on a commercial vessel.”
Johnson says S&S evaluated a Skysail kite system for auxiliary wind power, but has shelved the idea for now because it was costly, complicated and “required some kind of agricultural equipment on the foredeck.”
Use less, save more
Bigger windows, ports, skylights and deck prisms admit daylight into the interior, which cuts back on the number and size of light fixtures. To minimize the heating effect of direct sunlight, exterior windows use double-pane glass with energy-efficient and UV-resistant coating. To reduce heat absorption from sunlight on the aluminum superstructure, the exterior will be coated with low-solar absorption paint. Insulating pipes, walls and floors; weather stripping; and sealing doors and windows should further reduce the need for heating or cooling. To minimize direct and indirect energy consumption, the interior lighting system will use fiber-optic technology, LED lamps, xenon bulbs, occupancy sensors and dimmers.
Another goal was creating a healthy environment, as defined by Green Star and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a green rating system for sustainable building practices. Materials for Safira’s interior must be organic, natural, recycled, sustainable and renewable. Wood has to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (EcoTimber or equivalent). Paints, finishes and adhesives must emit either low or no volatile organic compounds, and carpeting must be from natural wool, organic cotton or equivalent materials. Wherever possible, glass, horizontal surfaces, plumbing hardware and fittings are made from recycled material like glass (IceStone, EnviroGlass), paper (PaperStone), concrete (ConcreteWorks, Sonoma Stone) and aluminum (Eleek).
Better efficiency means smaller energy demands, which shrinks the size of the generators and the fuel bill. Renewable energy sources such as wind and sunlight, although not used for propulsion, will contribute to the generation of electricity. Appliances have an Energy Star or similar efficiency rating, and dedicated battery banks will handle high short-term loads, such as startup of the air conditioning system.
The clean theme aboard Safira continues all the way to the engine exhaust and the discharge ports. Exhaust will be treated with a soot burn-off system and filter, and black and gray water will be recycled by an Agrimond Marine Dragonfly system. Potable water comes from an SLCE low-energy consumption watermaker, while hot water will be produced with the help of wind generators, photovoltaic panels and heat exchangers. Energy-recovery ventilation will regulate interior temperature and humidity, while engine rooms, kitchen hood and heads are vented outboard.
S&S says it also encourages water and energy conservation during construction and sensible building practices that are easy on workers and the environment — for example, proper ducting, venting and shielding, and the use of recycled, sustainable, recovered or recyclable products, including reclaimed and/or salvaged timber. Johnson maintains that taken separately, none of the elements appear to create spectacular advantages, but together they add up to an impressive list of accrued benefits that measurably improve sustainability when compared to conventionally equipped vessels of similar size and purpose.
While yachts the size of Safira are emblematic of luxury, the focused attempt to design and build such a vessel with environmental sensibility in mind is anything but. It is the way things are headed in the future, and the future is now.