Monday, April 30, 2007
By Jerry Yudelson
All over the country, facility managers and corporate real estate executives are making strong commitments to sustainability by acting right at home - greening their own facilities. Consider these examples.
In 2006, Adobe Systems, a software maker in San Jose, CA, achieved LEED-EB Platinum certification for all three buildings at its headquarters. At 1 million square feet of total office space, these three projects represent the largest such effort in the world to date. To demonstrate its commitment to environmental stewardship, an important public issue in Northern California beginning in 2001, Adobe decided to invest $1.1 million over 5 years to turn its three existing towers -ranging in age from 3 years to 10 years, and totaling almost 1 million square feet of space in offices and 940,000 square feet in garage space- into an environmentally friendly campus.
In that 5-year period, Adobe reduced electricity use by 35 percent, natural-gas use by 41 percent, building-water use by 22 percent, and irrigation-water use by 75 percent. Adobe now recycles 85 percent of its solid waste. Through saving energy and buying green power, Adobe reduced pollutant emissions by 26 percent. By the company's own reckoning, the projects they've undertaken have resulted in an overall 114-percent return on investment. Retrofit and upgrade projects include reduced lighting energy use, the addition of motion sensors to turn off lights and HVAC equipment when spaces are unoccupied, installation of variable-speed drives on pumps and fans to match supply to demand real-time metering to reduce electricity bills by avoiding power use during peak periods, upgraded building automation and control systems, and recommissioning of major energy-using systems. An early LEED-EB Platinum project was the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters building in Sacramento, CA. Owned and
All over the country, facility managers and corporate real estateexecutives are making strong commitments to sustainability by actingright at home - greening their own facilities. Consider these examples...
In 2006, Adobe Systems, a software maker in San Jose, CA, achievedLEED-EB Platinum certification for all three buildings at itsheadquarters. At 1 million square feet of total office space, thesethree projects represent the largest such effort in the world to date.To demonstrate its commitment to environmental stewardship, an importantpublic issue in Northern California beginning in 2001, Adobe decided to invest $1.1 million over 5 years to turn its three existing towers -ranging in age from 3 years to 10 years, and totaling almost 1 millionsquare feet of space in offices and 940,000 square feet in garage space- into an environmentally friendly campus.In that 5-year period, Adobe reduced electricity use by 35 percent,natural-gas use by 41 percent, building-water use by 22 percent, andirrigation-water use by 75 percent. Adobe now recycles 85 percent of itssolid waste. Through saving energy and buying green power, Adobe reducedpollutant emissions by 26 percent. By the company's own reckoning, theprojects they've undertaken have resulted in an overall 114-percentreturn on investment. Retrofit and upgrade projects include reducedlighting energy use, the addition of motion sensors to turn off lightsand HVAC equipment when spaces are unoccupied, installation ofvariable-speed drives on pumps and fans to match supply to demandreal-time metering to reduce electricity bills by avoiding power useduring peak periods, upgraded building automation and control systems,and recommissioning of major energy-using systems.
An early LEED-EB Platinum project was the California EnvironmentalProtection Agency headquarters building in Sacramento, CA. Owned and 950,000-square-foot building completed its certification in 2003 with a series of projects that reduced energy use by 34 percent, diverted 200 tons per year of waste from landfills, and increased the building asset value by about $12 million. Total investment was about $500,000, with annual energy and water savings of $610,000. The building received an ENERGY STAR(r) rating of 96, in the top 4 percent of all energy-efficient operations in the country.
In 2006, the 6-story, 336,000-square-foot, state-owned Department of Education building, also in Sacramento, CA, received a LEED-EB Platinum designation. Completed in 2003, this building had earlier received a LEED-NC Gold certification as a newly constructed project. It is the first major project in the world to receive both designations at this high level. It has an ENERGY STAR rating of 95, with energy use about 40-percent less than required by state code. The building features more than 100 different sustainable solutions to improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality, water conservation, and resource conservation. The National Geographic Society operates a four-building headquarters complex in Washington, D.C., with buildings ranging in age from 20 to 100 years old. With a $6 million retrofit, the organization added $24million to the building's value, receiving a LEED-EB Silver designation in The JohnsonDiversey Corp. headquarters in Sturtevant, WI, was certified LEED-EB Gold in 2004.
The 3-story, 277,000-square-foot building contains 70-percent offices and 30-percent labs. Built in 1997 with sustainability in mind, it was fairly easy to fine-tune existing systems to receive the LEED-EB designation. With a $74,000 LEED-EB project cost, JohnsonDiversey saved about $90,000 in annual energy costs, reduced water use by more than 2 million gallons, and documented employee managed by Thomas Properties Group LLC, this 25-story,950,000-square-foot building completed its certification in 2003 with aseries of projects that reduced energy use by 34 percent, diverted 200tons per year of waste from landfills, and increased the building'sasset value by about $12 million. Total investment was about $500,000,with annual energy and water savings of $610,000. The building receivedan ENERGY STAR(r) rating of 96, in the top 4 percent of allenergy-efficient operations in the country.In 2006, the 6-story, 336,000-square-foot, state-owned Department ofEducation building, also in Sacramento, CA, received a LEED-EB Platinumdesignation. Completed in 2003, this building had earlier received aLEED-NC Gold certification as a newly constructed project. It is thefirst major project in the world to receive both designations at thishigh level. It has an ENERGY STAR rating of 95, with energy use about40-percent less than required by state code. The building features morethan 100 different sustainable solutions to improve energy efficiency,indoor air quality, water conservation, and resource conservation.The National Geographic Society operates a four-building headquarterscomplex in Washington, D.C., with buildings ranging in age from 20 to100 years old. With a $6 million retrofit, the organization added $24million to the building's value, receiving a LEED-EB Silver designationin 2003.
The JohnsonDiversey Corp. headquarters in Sturtevant, WI, was certifiedLEED-EB Gold in 2004. The 3-story, 277,000-square-foot building contains70-percent offices and 30-percent labs. Built in 1997 withsustainability in mind, it was fairly easy to fine-tune existing systemsto receive the LEED-EB designation. With a $74,000 LEED-EB project cost,JohnsonDiversey saved about $90,000 in annual energy costs, reducedwater use by more than 2 million gallons, and documented employee. One recent institutional commitment to LEED-EB deserves note: In December 2006, the University of California, Santa Barbara campus, agreed to use LEED-EB to assess 25 buildings over the next 5 years. Jon Cook, acting director of physical facilities, said, "We believe that performance under the LEED system is a key indication that we are achieving our goals" of taking care of the environment and of the health of employees and building occupants.
What's going on here? In all of these cases, facilities managers and executives have discovered the business-case benefits of "going green." In addition to saving energy (something which every organization is trying to do today, from Wal-Mart to your corner grocery store), these organizations are realizing savings on water use, chemical use, waste disposal, and other environmental measures.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Tiny Maltby a hot destination for foodies, shoppers, gardeners
By Connie McDougall
Special to The Seattle Times
• Sustainability is not boring, especially when it supports the production of Jack Daniels-flavored ice cream. • A local cafe got its Swedish pancake recipe from the cook's grandmother.
• And the horse Zhivago shares his barn with a wild spirit.
Maltby's very existence was a learning experience for me, since I'd never heard of it before, although it seems everyone else has. Small enough to qualify as a neighborhood, it's become quite the destination for urbanites up and down the Interstate 5 corridor. So far, Maltby manages to retain its rural origins even as it welcomes a thoroughly modern and enlightened business — the Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream Co.
Officially endorsed by the Snohomish County Sustainability Task Force as an environmentally friendly development, the ice-cream parlor and production plant are housed in what looks like a big red barn. In fact, it once was a split-level rambler that owners Barry and Shahnaz Bettinger refurbished, thus eliminating the need to raze existing buildings and then dispose of debris. Right off the bat, a lesson learned: Want what you have.
Other innovations: They got rid of the water-sucking lawn and installed a rain garden that grows plants to flavor some of the ice cream. Heat generated from machines is recycled to warm buildings and water. The nubbly parking lot and walkways are pervious concrete, which lets water seep in rather than run off, and underneath lies 14 inches of crushed rock, allowing surface pollutants to percolate and degrade.
"Our mission is to make things as good as they can be," said Barry Bettinger. "It's our responsibility to our customers, employees and community."
And making life itself sustainable is the glorious, gourmet ice cream. The parlor, once a garage, serves up dozens of creamy flavors. One that's popular with those over 21 is spiked with Jack Daniels.
While the business sells products to many restaurants, grocery stores and cafes, the parlor is its beating heart. A 1950s-era fireplace remains and behind a plate glass window shines the stainless-steel kitchen. That's where kids have birthday parties, making their own ice cream and pizzas, the perfect venue, Bettinger said, because "they can make a mess in there."
There's also a drive-through window. "We thought it would be for espresso," said Bettinger, "but it's usually moms with kids in car seats coming in for ice cream."
Thursday, April 26, 2007
New state law puts spotlight on late report of critical areas
Times Snohomish County Bureau
The Snohomish County Council is trying to figure out what a recently passed state law means in terms of how it protects critical areas at the local level.
The Legislature has imposed a three-year moratorium blocking any agency from passing ordinances related to agriculture, a subject Snohomish County has addressed in its pending critical-areas ordinances.
The county already is out of compliance for not having finished the environmental regulations that govern how to best protect sensitive areas, such as wetlands and riverbanks, as well as how to keep development out of dangerous areas such as fault zones.
Included throughout the documents, collectively called critical areas, are county rules pertaining to agriculture, and council members are unsure how removing them will impact protection of sensitive areas.
"We had ag provisions that pretty much had been agreed to by the ag community," said Councilman Dave Somers, who has headed the discussion as chairman of the County Council's planning committee. "There's been a move around the state to put some restrictions on ag activities to protect streams and wetlands, but now this new bill has been passed."
The county was supposed to finish the new critical areas ordinances by the end of 2005. Snohomish County and others couldn't finish on time, so the Legislature granted a one-year reprieve. Now it's nearly May 2007, and Snohomish County still isn't finished, meaning it loses out on certain planning and public-works grants at the state level.
"It's been mostly an issue in public works," said county planning director Craig Ladiser. "We lost one for the work at the airport, and my department was denied one also."
The state wants each county to update its planning rules by incorporating the best available science into the process. During the past 12 years — the last time the critical-areas rules were updated — science has changed the thinking on how some areas once thought unimportant for fish and wildlife habitat are now sensitive.
Most rules regarding river buffers and major wetlands are unchanged, but also needing protection are smaller feeder streams and 1-acre wetlands.
Developers say that's slightly unfair, as many of the small, unattached wetlands have been created as the result of other development throughout the county. Environmentalists argue that the county's proposals don't go far enough to maintain a balanced ecosystem as development continues to encroach.
The council will have the final say, with the understanding that whatever it chooses likely will wind up in court.
"There's the legality of it all," Ladiser said. "So we've worked to balance what we're doing."
New rules also force extra caution around danger areas such as earthquake fault lines and channel-migration zones.
Development along each will be given additional scrutiny in the future. River channels don't stand still, which means development too close to a river channel can be at risk, especially when rivers move during flooding.
The same holds for fault zones. While development won't always be prohibited, the county must be certain that its building standards will protect something in case of an earthquake.
"Basically, the critical-areas ordinances put into writing a lot of what we're already doing," Somers said. "Developers will still be able to build in the future."
Christopher Schwarzen: 425-783-0577 or firstname.lastname@example.org
"Sustainable design and green building practices are easy and available. An excellent example of how this can be done, and why green technologies help small businesses and the community, is the Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream factory in Maltby, Wash. I recently toured this factory, which is Snohomish County's first sustainable commercial project, owned by Barry Bettinger. Barry used Small Business Administration (SBA) loans for low impact development strategies. With assistance from the Sustainable Development Task Force, he used technologies to cut his lighting costs by 50 percent, reduce his water usage by 40 percent and reduce energy for cooling fans by 75 percent."
My fellow Members, we know that small businesses have been leaders in job creation and are the dynamic growth center for the American economy, and now they are poised to become the leaders in our green building revolution. We know that we have challenges on energy security, we know we have challenges to deal with on global warming, and we know that small businesses have challenges to receive capital to help in their programs to make their businesses more efficient, less costly for energy consumption, and less emitting of greenhouse gases.
Our amendment would create the ability of the SBA to provide capital to our small businesses across the country to do thousands of things that they want to start doing, items like putting additional energy-efficient equipment into their businesses, building green roofs that can prevent energy loss, installation of renewable energy sources like photovoltaic cells and energy equipment heating and cooling systems. The list is endless.
I would like to think of a little small business called the Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream factory, which is some of the best ice cream in the world, but they used an SBA loan essentially to put pervious concrete and build a green roof, which helped their business operations and helped the environment to boot.
So we would propose that we expand the SBA purposes to allow our small businessmen and women to be on the cutting edge of green building and green businesses across the country. This will help them move a step forward to use their dynamic leadership.
[Page: H4113] GPO's PDF
Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, I thank the Chairwoman and Ranking Member for their leadership on this issue. I rise today to support my amendment to the Small Business Lending Improvements Act (H.R. 1332) which would add an eligibility area to Section 504 loans. My amendment will ensure that American entrepreneurs
have the opportunity to start, build and, grow green small businesses by adding a sustainable design or low-impact design to the public policy goals of this lending program.
This common-sense amendment would decrease long-term operating costs for small business owners, stimulate green building technologies, create a better work environment for employees and reduce carbon emissions in the United States.
Buildings account for one-third of carbon emissions per year. It is important that we help small business owners make sustainable choices that they might not otherwise make due to cost, or simply due to the fact that some of these technologies are new. My amendment will help SBA expand their financing structure to help businesses use sustainable building standards, such as LEED certified, which have a minimal impact on our environment. Currently, SBA loans can help a company upgrade to required standards, but very few Small Business Loans have helped owners choose green building standards.
Furthermore, green buildings benefit workers. Case studies show examples of 2 to 16 percent increase in productivity in among employees who work in buildings that incorporate sustainable building design.
Sustainable design and green building practices are easy and available. An excellent example of how this can be done, and why green technologies help small businesses and the community, is the Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream factory in Maltby, Wash. I recently toured this factory, which is Snohomish County's first sustainable commercial project, owned by Barry Bettinger. Barry used Small Business Administration (SBA) loans for low impact development strategies. With assistance from the Sustainable Development Task Force, he used technologies to cut his lighting costs by 50 percent, reduce his water usage by 40 percent and reduce energy for cooling fans by 75 percent.
I hope that the SBA and experts in sustainable design such as the National Institute of Building Sciences will work together to develop meaningful standards in this eligibility area of sustainable design.
Congress has a huge opportunity here to further improve the small business lending program to meet goals of reducing energy consumption in this country. Thank you for supporting this amendment.
Monday, April 23, 2007
|Community Tours of the North Habitat Construction at Brightwater |
The northern 43 acres of the Brightwater site on State Route 9 is being restored as an enhanced salmon habitat and reforestation area. This element of Brightwater mitigation is nearly complete after 8 months of construction. Visitors will be provided with a tour of the trails, and see native plant species, rebuilt stream corridors and emerging wetland habitat.
|Sponsor||Metro King County|
|Location||Brightwater Treatment Site|
|Date||Saturday April 28|
|Time||Tour guides will escort groups at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon|
|Notes||The tour takes a little over one hour and requires walking on unpaved paths. The habitat site is located within a construction site, so participants must sign liability waivers and wear appropriate clothing including sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Minors must be accompanied by an adult and the trails are not suitable for strollers. To arrange reasonable accomodation for people with disabilities, contact Rachael Dillman.|
|Contact||Please sign up to take this tour with Rachael Dillman, email@example.com , 206-296-1311|
A program sponsored by:
The Sustainable Living Institute
Presents .....The Next Industrial Revolution
A DVD Presentation (55 minutes)
Architect William McDonough and Chemist Dr. Michael Braungart bring a
compelling view of pioneering sustainability in the business sector by
redesigning buildings, processes, and products to work according to
Narrated by Susan Sarandon
William McDonough & Michael Braungart & The Birth of the Sustainable Economy
Thursday April 26th 2007 7:00pm
At the Mukilteo City Council Chambers
4480 Chennault Beach Road in Mukilteo
This Event Is Not Sponsored by the City of Mukilteo
For more information please call 425-265-9101 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, April 05, 2007
In just the next thirty-four years, the Census Bureau tells us, we 300 million Americans will be joined by another 92 million. Where will all these people -- mostly us and our direct descendants -- live, work, play, worship, buy, sell, and serve? Where will 40 million additional households be located? What sort of built environment will we produce, and what will be the results for the nation's and the environment’s well-being?
The prevailing form of land development is popularly known as sprawl or exurban sprawl. Sprawl is characterized by low density development that rigorously separates residential uses from other land uses, and that relies entirely or almost entirely on automobile transportation to connect the separate uses. There are strong reasons to prefer that the nation’s future development does not reproduce this pattern -- reasons that have nothing to do with the price or availability of gasoline.
Economic critics of sprawl emphasize the high costs of duplicated infrastructure, the cost of time devoted to delays in commuting, and the distortions resulting from the mismatch between initial economic benefits of construction in sprawl areas and the costs of meeting subsequent demands for services (schools, roads, fire and police) by these same areas. On environmental grounds, opponents of sprawl decry the rising amount of land conversion per each unit of new development (more acres per person), the paving over of some of the nation’s highest quality farmland, and losses of biological diversity and open space.
Sprawl enthusiasts counter that people are getting what they want in low density housing and ubiquitous shopping, that a rising population will need more housing on cheap land, and that commute times, while rising, are not that bad for most people. They emphasize the number of construction jobs created and the higher assessed land value of developed lands over agricultural and forest lands.
In this report, James M. McElfish, Jr. of the Environmental Law Institute lists ten reasons that sprawl is bad for the country, its population, its economy and its environment. This clear enumeration of the problems posed by sprawl is intended to spur the adoption of more sustainable building and land-use practices. Download Now (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Christine Henn spent all day Friday trying to get rid of her old TV. She went to Value Village, Goodwill, Thriftco -- but every place Henn tried to leave it, she was got the same answer.
Sorry. Too many metals and chemicals in that thing. Dispose of it elsewhere.
Paul Wagner heaves a mid-'90s Apple monitor into a bin during a daylong electronics recycling drive operated by EarthCorps and InterConnection at Magnuson Park on Sunday. Wagner works for InterConnection, a non-profit that provides refurbished computers to underserved communities locally and abroad. At left is Max Keeler, a 16-year-old volunteer from Seattle Academy.
After a day driving around, Henn still was stuck.
"It seems everyone has three TVs in their home," said the 40-year-old Seattle resident. "Now I know why I see them sitting on the street corners."
Her TV -- and hundreds of others -- might have ended up on a street corner had it not been for an annual recycling drive Sunday at Magnuson Park.
A pair of non-profits -- EarthCorps and InterConnection -- accepted computers, monitors, TVs and other electronics for a small fee, promising that the now obsolete gadgets wouldn't damage the environment.
They started at 9 a.m. Sunday, and by 2 p.m. old computers and electronics filled two-thirds of a semi-truck.
"And this is just one day," said EarthCorps Executive Director Steve Dubiel. "This is a simple way for people to help the Earth without working outside in the rain."
Many who left their old computers, such as Seattle resident Rob Kosin, didn't realize how much the used goods could help.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
PPS's Great Cities Initiative proposes a place-based approach to revitalizing our towns, cities, and regions.
Small steps to enliven streets, parks, and other public spaces are the building blocks of a thriving city.
The architect and author Christopher Alexander coined a phrase (and authored a book by the same name), "The Timeless Way of Building," that touches on these common yearnings and how people have intuitively used them to build congenial places to live. The process of building cities today has become so institutionalized, however, that people seldom have an outlet to put their intuition to use anymore. At PPS, we believe this timeless way of building can be reinvigorated, and we offer a common-sense way to do it: by empowering people to initiate improvements to their local neighborhoods place by place. These small steps to enliven streets, parks, and other public spaces are the building blocks of a thriving city.
Volunteerism is a sure sign that a neighborhood is heading in the right direction.
That is the idea at the heart of PPS's newly launched Great Cities Initiative (more on that below). The vitality of any city depends on citizen action such as neighborhood groups reclaiming their local parks and small businesses recharging commercial streets. Many times, communities need just a little nudge in the right direction to set this process of revitalization in motion. And in a short time, the entire neighborhood has undergone a turnaround as residents take comfort and pride in their public spaces.
What sort of "nudge" are we talking about? Imagine, for example, a neighborhood park bordered on one side by a commercial street and on another by a public library. These urban elements work together to form a single place, yet in a typical city that area would likely be managed by a number of public entities, each operating independently of the others. Instead of a unified approach to improving the place, we likely end up with atomized spheres of influence. The Department of Transportation promotes fast traffic on the roadway with little concern for pedestrians, park users, or patrons of local businesses. Park officials don't factor in library patrons or local shoppers when programming activities. You wind up with a park without popular activities, a street where people don't feel comfortable walking to the park or library, and local institutions cut off from the surrounding neighborhood.
Atomized spheres of influence: This street, bus stop, and library in San Antonio have no relation to each other except for a shared sense of emptiness.
But if we look upon these elements as interrelated components of a single place, we create more opportunities for local people to collaborate and jointly create a vision of what's best for the community. How can the street, park, library, and businesses support and strengthen each other? What do business owners, library employees, and nearby residents envision for the area? By simply observing and listening to the people who live or work or play in the area, the solution to what the place needs will become apparent.