Take look at the “world’s greenest office tower”



Tom Paladino’s company was on the design team for the Tower at PNC in Pittsburgh and he says the project changed his life.

The Tower at PNC in Pittsburgh is being billed as the greenest office tower in the world. It has a skin that breaths, a solar chimney, a park in the sky, wood-clad porch doors, indicators that tell you what the weather is outside, and something called The Beacon – an interactive light sculpture that broadcasts data about how much energy the building is using.

The tower is shifted on the podium and street grid for maximum sun exposure.  A double-walled “breathable” facade provides a thermal buffer while allowing air to pass through.

Operable Skin, The Tower at PNC

Operable Skin, PNC Tower

So what’s a solar chimney? It’s a vertical shaft with a rooftop solar collection panel that creates an updraft that draws cool outside air through the skin, across the floors, and up and out of the building, without requiring fans, for almost half the year.

A “living room” space links every two floors of the building, and a five-story indoor park offers views of downtown Pittsburgh.

The Park at The Tower at PNC

The Park at PNC Tower

Paladino acted as owner’s representative on sustainability and LEED management issues.  The 800,000-square-foot, 33-story building was designed by Gensler to reflect PNC’s commitment to green building, energy efficiency and innovation.

The design and systems will help reduce energy consumption by 50 percent and reduce water use by 77 percent compared with a typical office building, Paladino said.

“It was ridiculously simple, and at the same time,  a challenge in its aspiration,” said Tom Paladino in his blog post on the tower.

“LEED shifted from being the purpose of the green building program to being one of the desired results. We moved to a higher purpose, creating a headquarters that would serve PNC as another tool of the business.”

The building was designed to be “the most progressive workplace ever and to attract a highly social, digitally native, and an environmentally conscious work force,” Paladino said.

The Tower at PNC is built green for future generations to enjoy.

The tower cost $400 million.

ESI Design's Beacon at PNC Tower

ESI Design’s Beacon at PNC Tower

Outdoor space at PNC Tower

Outdoor space at PNC Tower

The Tower at PNC

The Tower at PNC

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2 Passive Houses in Seattle opened for tours

Two high-performance Washington homes opened their doors to the general public on Friday as part of International Passive House Days, a worldwide open house event from Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 15.

image001Project Name: Palatine Passive
Type: Single-family home
Location: 8713 Palatine Ave N in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood
Open: Today, Friday, Nov. 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Note: Visitors are asked to remove shoes at the door.
Contact: Tiffany Bowie, Malboeuf Bowie Architecture, tiffany@mb-architecture.com

Project Name: Park Passive
Type: Single-family home
Open: today, Friday, Nov. 13, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: 4211 E Lee Street in Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood
Contact: Sloan Ritchie, Cascade Built, sloan@cascadebuilt.com
Note: Visitors are asked to remove shoes at the door.

Affordable, comfortable, environmentally friendly—the Passive House embodies the best in sustainable construction. Typically, buildings meeting the Passive House Standard use 80 to 90 percent less energy for heating and cooling, savings far greater than any other building standard delivers. For details on the schedule for each home, consult the listings below. All tours are free. Visitors may come anytime during the listed hours unless otherwise noted.

In conjunction with International Passive House Days, Earth Advantage, a Portland-based nonprofit focused on creating better buildings, will teach the Building Science Fundamentals module of its Sustainable Home Professional training series on Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14. Class members will tour some of the open Passive Houses. For more information and registration, visit www.earthadvantage.org/education/2321-259.

International Passive House Days is sponsored by the following organizations:

Earth Advantage:  www.earthadvantage.org
International Passive House Association:   www.passivehouse-international.org
North American Passive House Network:  www.aphnetwork.org
Passive House Northwest:  www.phnw.org

Information on Passive House buildings worldwide is available through the Passive House Database:  www.passivhausprojekte.de/index.php?lang=en

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Don’t Miss Washington’s Energy Future Conference


Don’t Miss Washington’s Energy Future Conference
with Keynote Speaker Governor Jay Inslee,
Nov. 2 in Seattle.
Seattle Airport Marriott

Presented by Northwest Environmental Business Council (NEBC) and the Washington Department of Commerce

The Conference for Those Building the Clean Energy Economy

Now in its sixth year, this conference is the State’s signature clean energy event, bringing together members of the energy industry, energy policy & economic development leaders, project hosts, and users of energy services.

Included within this one conference are:

  • Policy & Economic Development
    Looking at the current context for clean energy, and how Washington can continue on its leadership path in the face of changing market dynamics.
  • The Business of Renewable Energy
    Advancing the professional level of the industry with discussions on the market and nuts-and-bolts issues related to energy project development.
  • The Business of Energy Efficiency
    Exploring how to increase the penetration of energy efficiency through policy, finance, and market
  • Energy Technology Innovation
    A look at the leading edge of clean energy technologies.

Presented by the Northwest Environmental Business Council (NEBC) and the Washington Dept. of Commerce.

Full information & registration
here or at http://www.energyfutureconf.com/wa15/

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Lake Washington School District honored for sustainability

Champions of Sustainability: The Lake Washington School District: Forrest Miller, Traci Pierce, Brian Buck

Champions of Sustainability: The Lake Washington School District: Forrest Miller, Traci Pierce, Brian Buck

McKinstry is recognizing the Lake Washington School District as a “model of Northwest sustainability and environmental stewardship,” with its Champion of Sustainability award.

The district was honored during the Sept. 27 Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field.

In partnership with the Seattle Seahawks, the annual Champions of Sustainability program recognizes one organization during a regular-season home game that exhibits  innovative energy and waste reduction in the built environment.

What did they do?
In 2006, LWSD adopted a resource conservation management  program focusing on energy efficiency, water conservation and waste reduction. Since then, the district has saved $9 million in utility costs despite having increased its buildings’ square footage and number of students.  Electricity use has fallen by 20 percent and natural gas consumption is down 30 percent. Conservation-minded students also helped trim the district’s waste disposal budget by 42 percent.

LWSD also has the largest solar energy capacity of any school district in the state, at 615 kW – enough energy to power about 60 homes. The solar panels at Finn Hill Junior High alone account for 355 kW.

Geothermal heating systems have been installed in its new high schools and several elementary schools. Because the temperature underground stays constant throughout the year, geothermal systems that circulate water through the ground can heat schools using much less energy than standard systems.

Rain gardens and other sustainable stormwater management practices at schools save LWSD $64,000 annually, as compared to traditional water treatment systems. The measures also reduce the concentration of pollutants funneled into local waterways.

Last year, the district renewed its commitment to sustainability by launching powerED, a behavior-based program designed to bring new levels of effort and tools to conserve utilities, increase efficiencies and promote sustainability in LWSD schools.

About the Champions of Sustainability Program:
McKinstry’s Champions of Sustainability program is part of the Defend Your Turf campaign, aimed at water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction, and community involvement within CenturyLink Field and Event Cente,r as well as in terms of its impact on the city.

For more information on Defend Your Turf, visit www.centurylinkfield.com/defendyourturf.

About McKinstry:
McKinstry has implemented a number of facility-wide energy conservation initiatives at CenturyLink Field and Event Center, including the installation of one of the largest solar arrays in the state, mechanical system upgrades, high-efficiency lighting and ultra-low-flow water fixtures. These upgrades make the stadium a national model for sustainable sporting facilities.

McKinstry is a full-service, design-build-operate-and-maintain (DBOM) firm specializing in consulting, construction, energy and facility services.  For more information, visit  www.mckinstry.com.

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There’s gold in your gray water

An inside look at the rainwater capture system's holding tank

An inside look at the rainwater capture system’s holding tank

Along with a new age of sustainability comes new interest in gray water recycling and rainwater capture systems.  These systems capture water from your house’s bathroom sinks, showers and rainfall then reuse it to irrigate the lawn and flush the toilets.

The engineering behind the effort can be tricky, but in the simplest terms it goes like this: water from the “gray water sources” gravity-flows into a collection basin. A pump in the basin then pushes the water through a filter and disinfection array and into a storage tank.  The water in the storage tank is periodically circulated to keep it clear and bacteria-free. Finally, a pressure controlled pump automatically delivers recycled water to your irrigation system when your irrigation timer activates. It’s simplistically complex.

Whether on a household level or a commercial level, many have decided to invest in the water conservation effort.  Gray water recycling and rainwater capture systems can save 50 to 70 percent of a family’s monthly water usage. You’ll save that same 50 to 70 percent on your water bill.

How much does it cost to install? Do-it-yourself systems start at $3,500.  Systems for average sized homes start at $11,000.

To learn more, visit www.reusegraywater.com

A small, home-installed system

A small, home-installed system



A 10,000 gallon holding tank for a rainwater capture system being buried underground at the Santa Monica Library


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