The following post is by Joe Giampietro, AIA, CPHC, NK Architects
On July 6th, the Seattle City Council passed a number of revisions to the low-rise zone land use code, including adding Passive House as a way to achieve floor area ratio (FAR) bonuses.
A FAR bonus allows for an increase in building height relative to the area of the lot. Passive House efficiency principles lead to significant energy savings, increased project value, and improved health and comfort for those that live there.
Although this was a minor addition to an otherwise hotly debated set of low-rise zoning updates, this addresses building energy use in a practical and cost effective manner. It is a big move in the right direction.
With the addition of Passive House to the other “green” incentive programs, including LEED Silver, Built Green 4-Star, and the Washington Evergreen Sustainable Development Standards for affordable housing, Seattle has started down the road of recognizing and providing incentives for truly high-performance, low energy design strategies.
Next on the list of legislative actions, the Passive House community is working with the Seattle City Council to consider expanding the Passive House incentive to include both current certification agencies, PHIUS and the Passive House Institute. We have successfully lobbied City Councilman, Mike O’Brien’s staff to include this adjustment in the “omnibus” zoning legislation. The expansion language is currently wending its way through the Council approval process and will be voted on later this summer.
We anticipate that this action will serve as a model for other changes in zoning legislation in Seattle as well as in cities and towns in throughout the Northwest. Let’s take a moment to celebrate one small step in this process!
“ALL RISE’s 2421 Miles,” is a new site-specific 52,000-square-foot earthwork by New York artist Molly Dilworth at 1250 Denny Way, the future site of Seattle City Light’s Denny Substation.
The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture says it uses over 400 cubic yards of dirt and 182 pounds of wildflower and grass seed to create a living “urban meadow.” There are 14 individual garden beds, each with a specific colorway.
The work is based on pattern studies from national flags, corporate logos and traditional patterns found along the sea trade route between Seattle and New York.
The city said Dilworth has traveled between New York and Seattle as a freelance worker for a global technology company. The work is named for that commute - the number of miles between the airports of Seattle and New York - made possible by modern global trade.
The Office of Arts & Culture said in a press release:
“As shipping and port technologies evolved over the last century, formerly industrial areas such as South Lake Union have been redeveloped. In a short time this lot on Denny will be a power station serving the demands of the new buildings; ALL RISE has used this temporary space to mark a transition between the last century and ours. The geometric edges of the garden will soften and evolve as it grows, just as our built environment and technologies do: imperceptibly, right in front of our eyes and seemingly all at once.
“The project was realized with the design assistance of Walker Macy (Portland and Seattle) as well as expertise and custom mixes from ProTime Lawn Seed, and the advice of SunMark Seeds.
ALL RISE is a series of temporary artworks at 1250 Denny Way. The goal is to provide a platform for artists to consider “the many iterations of land and space: residential, political, commercial, agricultural, spiritual, intellectual, utopian.” It is funded by Seattle City Light 1% for Art funds, and administered by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.
The project will stay through mid-June. You can view online webcams at www.allriseseattle.org.
Herrera is testing to see whether new soil mixes can remove
more heavy metals and other pollutants from stormwater.
With all the cranes towering overhead in downtown Seattle, it’s easy to forget the important work going on below to manage and protect our water as the region grows.
To keep pace with this growth, Washington State is pioneering the use of new and innovative approaches for stormwater management. As of next year all development projects must use low impact development (LID) techniques or green stormwater infrastructure where feasible. Rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, and permeable pavement will become the norm rather than the exception.
As the region makes this new investment to protect our water, everyone - regulators, project owners, designers, and the general public included - will want to be confident these technologies are providing the intended benefit.
Herrera Environmental Consultants, Inc. is conducting groundbreaking research to assess and optimize the performance of these systems.
For example, with grant funding from the Washington State Department of Ecology, Herrera is currently implementing two research projects to develop a more effective soil media for use in bioretention systems.
In partnership with Kitsap County, one of these projects has involved numerous pilot scale tests of soil media components and blends to optimize their removal of heavy metals and other harmful pollutants from stormwater.
Herrera has also partnered with the City of Redmond to construct a state-of-the-art research facility for evaluating pollutant removal and plant growth in bioretention systems at full-scale.
Herrera Environmental Consultants, Inc. is an employee-owned engineering and scientific firm focused on restoration, water, and sustainable development. Herrera is committed to working with our clients to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for infrastructure, natural resources, and stormwater projects. Herrera was recently featured as “favorite green collar company” by the Seattle Times.
For more information:
Melissa Buttin, Senior Marketing, firstname.lastname@example.org 206.787.8248
McKinstry is honoring its clients for their commitment to sustainability. Each is called a “Champion of Sustainability” and is presented with an award at a Seahawks home game.
The next winner, The Allen Institute for Brain Science, will be honored at the November 2nd Seahawks game against the Raiders. The award goes to Vulcan Real Estate, GLY Construction, Perkins+Will Architects, and Architectural Building Inspection (ABI) Inc. This energy efficient, design-build project has a central plant system that is designed to perform 24% better than the ASHRAE standard.
Recent winners of the prize include Avista Corp. for its corporate headquarters and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) for the Thomas Foley U.S. Courthouse.
McKinstry said the five-year remodel of Avista Corp.’s 150,000-square-foot office building will save 1.4 million kilowatt-hours per year, which is enough to power 116 homes, and will save $149,000 every year in energy costs. This LEED Gold Certified project will be completed by the summer of 2015.
The Thomas Foley U.S. Courthouse project dealt with the unique constraints of providing extensive upgrades to an existing building. The upgrades reduced baseline energy consumption by 50 percent, and reduced carbon emissions by 693 tons.
Other 2014 Champions are Vulcan Real Estate, GLY Construction, Clise Properties, Lydig Construction, Seattle University, Gresham-Barlow School District.
One of the largest solar arrays in the state of Washington is included in McKinstry’s many energy conservation initiatives at CenturyLink Field and Event Center.
Here are some other conservation facts about CenturyLink Field:
- Solar panels spanning the area of two football fields sit atop the roof and generate more than 800,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, meeting 30% of the facilities energy needs with solar power, an equivalent of powering 95 Seattle area homes for a year.
- 100% of urinals have been retrofitted with ultra-low-flow water fixtures, saving more than 1.3 million gallons of water every year. That’s enough to turn CenturyLink Field into a giant 3-foot-deep swimming pool.
- Less water means less energy and lower CO2 emissions – the equivalent of planting 278 football fields worth of trees.
- Through the use of 614 recycle and compost bins located throughout, 94% of waste generated at CenturyLink Field and Event Center is diverted from landfills.
The following post is by DJC staff:
Two Capitol Hill residents, Gillian Graham and Isabel Blue, moved their living room out onto the street at Pine and Boylston as part of PARK(ing) Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. The annual event gives city residents the chance to temporarily turn a parking space into a park.
It gets people thinking about how we use space and how much of the public space is devoted to storing and driving cars. And it raises awareness about what makes cities livable and healthy.
SDOT says on its website that the idea originated in San Francisco and has grown into a global movement, with close to 1,000 parks in more than 35 countries last year.
SDOT approved applications for 45 parks around the city this year.
This year PARK(ing) Day 2013 is part of the Seattle Design Festival, which runs from Sept. 13 to 22.
The following post is by DJC staff:
There are ways to add some fun to city streets. What if you could play a pickup game of ping-pong or chess on the way home from work?
CEOs for Cities’ blog has a post by Tara Sturm called “Ten Creative Ideas for Energizing Our Streets” that offers lots of ideas and examples: Colored crosswalks, whimsical bus stops, gardens in unexpected places and even graffiti-style art in public places. Here’s a three-story example taken on a recent stroll along the High Line in New York.
Check out Sturm’s post and add your ideas for things Seattle can do to make our streets more lively, energized and entertaining.
The following post is by Brad Kahn:
The last few months have been busy at the Bullitt Center construction site on Madison Street, with structural, glazing, mechanical and other systems taking shape.
The Type-4 heavy timber structure is a first for Seattle since the 1920's, when heavy timbers were used in most commercial buildings. In the interim, the technology of heavy timber structures has advanced, with glued-laminated timbers replacing solid wood in many cases. Of course, forestry practices have also improved in the last 90 years, with 100% of the wood used at the Bullitt Center coming from Forest Stewardship Council certified forests.
At this point, the structural work at the Bullitt Center – designed for a 250-year lifespan – is largely complete, with the roof firmly in place.
With the structure complete, work turned to the curtain wall. Of particular note, the Schuco window system being used is arguably the most efficient in the world. Yet before the Bullitt Center, these windows were not easily available on the West Coast, since the manufacturer was in Germany – quite a distance to ship windows weighing hundreds of pounds each. To address this challenge, the team was able to connect Schuco with Goldfinch Brothers, a glazing company in Everett, WA. Now Goldfinch is the exclusive manufacturer of the Schuco window system on the West coast, providing windows for the Bullitt Center and other projects.
On the mechanical side, the rainwater collection and treatment system is being built throughout the project, from roof to basement. While approval to use rainwater for drinking is pending, it is our hope that the Bullitt Center can help demonstrate that ultra-filtration, UV and activated charcoal can treat water as well as – if not better than – chlorine (which can't be use in the project, because chemicals are not allowed for water purification by the Living Building Challenge).
At this point, the Bullitt Center is on track for completion later this year, with occupancy by commercial tenants starting in January 2013. Conversations with potential tenants are underway, and interested companies should contact Point32, the project development partner, for more information.
Brad Kahn is president of Groundwork Strategies. He manages communications for the Bullitt Center project.
The following post is by Brad Kahn, president of Groundwork Strategies. He manages communications for the Bullitt Center project.
The roof of the Bullitt Center on East Madison Street is under construction now and all the structural elements are in place.
Today President Rosen Plevneliev from Bulgaria, who is a former real estate developer, will tour the Bullitt Center as part of a trade mission to Seattle.
After campaigning for president on a platform that included energy efficiency in buildings, Plevneliev will be in Seattle today before heading to the NATO summit in Chicago next week. His visit to Seattle is focused on international trade and economic development. In particular, he is interested in learning about green building and clean energy technology, which is why he is touring Bullitt Center, the world’s greenest office building.
In the next few weeks, we will begin outreach to brokers to begin marketing office space inside the Bullitt Center. It will be marketed at rates comparable to new class-A space in downtown.
The HVAC system is going into the building, including the six-story composting toilet system.
McGivra Place, the park next door, now has a final design direction and the process is moving forward, with re-development expected later this summer or early fall. The park project is the first to pursue the Living Building Challenge for landscapes.
A compact, green-built “pod” home designed by Ann Raab of Greenpod Development of Port Townsend is open to the public at the GreenDepot site until April 29 from 10 am to 6 pm M-F, 10-5 on Saturday and 11-5 on Sunday. Workshops will be offered daily.
The pod was part of last weekend’s Green Home Tour sponsored by Northwest Ecobuilding Guild, featuring new and remodeled homes designed for low energy use and built with nontoxic materials.
Raab’s 450-square-foot pod is factory-built using all green products. It can be delivered to any city in Washington.
Greenpod’s Waterhaus model has a Kangen water system with adjustable pH for drinking and cleaning. It also has a waterfall and living wall.
Ann Raab said pods are meant to be low maintenance dwellings that are environmentally safe, healthy for occupants and “a joy to live in.”
The Waterhaus model uses multi-use furnishings, color, lighting and windows to make the living space feel larger. The waterfall and living wall are sculpted from metal by industrial artist Ray Hammar of Sequim. Michael Hamilton of Port Hadlock made the tables and benches. Seth Rolland of Port Townsend created the bathroom vanity from rock and fir. Wall textures are applied by artist Gail Miller of Whidbey Island. The interior is decorated with an exclusive line of organic fabrics by Suzanne DeVall.
The pods are built by Greg Barron of Greenpod Builders.
They are built to meet King County’s requirements for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and are aimed at people who want to downsize, age in place or care for family member in a separate unit. They also work as cabins, second homes, home offices and small commercial buildings. Pods can be stacked and configured to create communities. More information is at (800) 569-0831 or GreenPod.us.
The following post is by Christine Grant, an associate at Cascadia Consulting Group.
“We just got a $1,200 bill from the oil company. We just can’t afford it anymore,” lamented a Seattle resident who recently called the Community Power Works for Home customer service line.
The Community Power Works customer service team is used to hearing stories like this. Hundreds of Seattle residents have turned to CPW over the last year because of high energy bills, drafty windows, an old furnace that just can’t warm the house, or moldy insulation that is worsening allergy symptoms.
“The best part of the job is being able to tell residents that have cold, leaky homes and high energy bills — Community Power Works can help!” says Maryellen Hearn, a customer service representative.
Participating in Community Power Works starts with a home energy assessment called an Energy Performance Score, or an EPS. The EPS measures your home’s energy efficiency and determines the recommended upgrades that will reduce energy use and make your home healthier and more comfortable. This assessment is valued at $400, but costs Community Power Works participants just $95 thanks to a special rebate from Seattle City Light. Over 800 Seattle residents have received an EPS through Community Power works since the program started last April. The results from the EPS are educational — and often motivational too.
“When we learned that 86 percent of the warm air in our house was escaping each hour and being replaced with cold air from outside, we were shocked. That provided us with the motivation to act,” said Washington Park home owner Allyson Adley.
Common energy efficiency upgrades include duct sealing, floor and wall insulation, window replacements, and heat pump water heaters. A very popular upgrade has been the installation of a ductless heat pump — especially for customers who had oil heat and wanted to switch to electric heat. Community Power Works home energy auditor, Charlie Rogers, explains that, “if you heat with oil, you are probably spending between $1,000 and $2,000 annually on oil to heat your home, and possibly more based on fluctuating crude prices.” Yearly heating costs for an average Seattle home with an electric ductless heat pump are much lower — usually between $189 and $394. Community Power Works is also currently offering a $1,200 incentive for all customers who install a ductless heat pump, in addition to a range of other incentives that could save you thousands of dollars.
The average Community Power Works customer increases the energy efficiency of their home by 30 percent — this not only increases the comfort of a home, but also the asking price once it comes time to put the home on the market. Starting last fall, the green features and energy efficiency of homes are now being considered formally as part of the home appraisal process. Buyers are also quick to start adding up what utilities are going to cost them — especially if they are looking at an older home.
Community Power Works for Home recently expanded to serve all of Seattle — you can sign up here.
Community Power Works also plans to conduct energy upgrades at four local hospitals — Virginia Mason, Swedish, Harborview, and Group Health — by June 2013 while also upgrading hundreds of small businesses and more than a dozen municipal buildings.