FINALIST: Asa Posner for
New Orleans Jazz Market (LA)

Categories: The Verdant Brainiac

Who led the charge

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Asa Posner
Senior Sustainability Manager
Sustainable Investment Group, Inc.

Asa Posner fell in love with environmental studies after taking a geology course at Emory University’s Oxford College, and from there has made a career out of improving building performance. With more than 160 LEED projects under his belt, he knows where to dig for hidden efficiency improvements.

 

From a meat, vegetable, and pickle market to big box retail to blighted building, a stage for jazz revels in its new life as a symbol of New Orleans’ revitalization, resilience, and recovery.

Built in 1848, this Central City building operated as an outdoor market for decades before being turned into a retail store in the 1960s and later abandoned. Recovered in 2014 as part of the rebuilding of the neighborhood (and the city as a whole after Hurricane Katrina), a jazz center was a natural adaptation for this 14,000-sf space in a community that was once home to many of the first jazz musicians in New Orleans, including Buddy Bolden, Kid Ory, Jelly Roll Morton, and Jordan Noble.

Though this was a major renovation, 89% of the structure was kept, including the original concrete foundation, structural roof deck, exterior walls, and some of the interior structural walls. New materials were responsibly selected with 51% of materials sourced regionally, and 31% containing recycled content and 3% rapidly renewable. Reclaimed cypress wood was an important aesthetic feature for the auditorium. High occupancy spaces like the auditorium also saw carbon dioxide sensors installed to allow the HVAC system to boost fresh air circulation during performances and other events.

The Jazz Market benefited from excellent access to public transit lines, avoiding the need to provide new parking for visitors. The renovation reduced energy use by 25% and water use by 30% compared to code. Achieving LEED Gold certification, this new performance venue has revitalized the deeply rooted jazz culture of Central City and restored the block as the historic community center.

WHAT THEY DID

  • Reused 89% of existing structure, and diverted 84% of construction and demolition debris from landfills, totaling over 150 tons sent to recycling centers
  • Improved envelope, mechanical, and lighting systems to cut energy by 25% compared to standard code buildings
  • Installed high-efficiency and dual-flush toilets, pint-flush urinals, and low-flow faucets and showerheads, conserving 30% water over standard code fixtures
  • Ensured indoor environmental quality with CO2 sensors, MERV 13 air filters, entryway carpeting, and low-VOC finishes and materials