Sunday, October 28, 2007

Week 10/28 Seattle Green Building Case Study

Seattle Washington, Taking a BiG first step.

I am personally very interested in Green, LEED certified buildings so after reading the Apollo Alliance and saw what Seattle Washington has been doing with their current development I’ve decided to do a mini Case Study on it.

In the past couple of decades, Seattle has been able to involve both community, residential and government buildings in programs promoting Green, Sustainable living. This has evolved into an integrated system of justice, renewable energy and sustainability.

The Seattle Justice Center is a true model of sustainable development. This is a civic center for the community that has been designed to comply with LEED Silver standards. This is a result of Seattle requiring “all city-funded projects over 5000 square feet to meet LEED Silver standards.” This is facilitated by the Green Building Team of Seattle compiled of city employees who “act as resident experts on elements of green building”.

The building has the following features:

  • Glazed Thermal Buffer Wall
  • Garden Roof
  • Water Harvesting

These three elements are all interconnected as they assist in reducing heating costs through various methods. The glazed thermal buffer wall is a double glass plane that has air buffering the inside of it from heat gain or loss. It also allows for natural light penetration. While the glass sides help decrease heat gain on the side of the building, the roof garden prevents heat gain at the top. The roof garden is watered by the water harvesting units which helps decrease water expenses.

The city believed that it would be a good idea to make the community center sustainable so that the entire community is touched by an environmentally friendly atmosphere. This hopefully spreads to the rest of the community and people will begin enacting these sustainable measures in their own homes.

Seattle also has adopted the “Washington State Energy Code” which is considered to be one of the best energy building codes across the country. It is considered better and even stricter than the IECC (international energy conservation code).

Often it is a problem getting the public involved which is why Seattle brought green building technology to the civic center. Recycling bins are everywhere in the building to enforce this environmentally friendly practice.

Seattle Washington has done many impressive green projects over the past several years and I will expect to see much more of them in the face of Sustainability in years to come.

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