Emory University's Eco-Friendly Building is a Bird "Slaughterhouse"

Can a building really be environmentally friendly if it also happens to be a songbird "slaughterhouse," in the words of a reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution?

The five-year-old Emory University Mathematics and Science Center—which boasts such green features as a storm-water retention vault to capture runoff for irrigation, motion sensors that turn down air conditioning and lighting when a room is unoccupied, benches upholstered with scrap seatbelt material, and a solar-powered meteorological station—killed 60 birds in its first year alone, no thanks to the highly reflective windows that confuse birds ramming into them at full speed. "The building killed 60 birds in the first year," said John Wegner, Emory's chief environmental officer, tells AJC. "It was the wall of death." He said administrators ignored his concerns until he showed up at a meeting pulling dead birds out of his pockets.

Now, the university drapes part of the $40 million building with black mesh netting for about three months every fall, so migrating birds, including Magnolia warblers, Swainson's thrushes, and ovenbirds, can bounce off safely. "It has saved hundreds of lives," Wegner said. ::Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tags: Atlanta | Biodiversity | Birds | Conservation | United States

2014 Gift Guide

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK