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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 14, 2009 10:58 PM. The previous post in this blog was Another Sam-Rand deal slapped down. The next post in this blog is Dave Chappelle at Pioneer Courthouse Square at midnight?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

LEED-ing us on

Here's a $100 million public construction project that screams everything Oregon -- Gerding Edlen, Hoffman Construction, GBD and SERA Architects, Portland State, the City of Sam-Rand, sustainability, and more! The state will borrow $80 million and put up a 13-story building described as "a self-sustaining structure producing no net carbon emissions and putting no demands on the community’s water and sewer systems." I guess the water fountains will dispense rainwater collected on the roof, and all the sewage created by the building's occupants will be packed out each evening by workers biking home.

Supposedly there's a waiting list to become tenants in this building, but at a projected rent of $32 a square foot, that seems dubious at best.

Backers expect it will enhance Portland’s competitive advantage in the green building, technology and services sectors, providing economic development opportunities as other communities seek to replicate the building.
Even if other places were falling all over themselves to build their own versions of this, how does that help the economy of Portland? Developers in other towns won't be hiring Portland workers. Oh, but they might sign a contract with Gerding, Edlen, and Hoffman... now I see.

If the building ever becomes fully functional, I suppose it will have a certain "cool" factor. But it seems about as practical as a Jetsons cartoon did in the '60s. Maybe someday every firm will be fertilizing its decorative plants from the office potty. But as much as I respect the planet, let's be honest: I'm glad I'll never have to work in such a place.

Comments (11)

Sorry Portlanders.
Gerding is already promising to build the best in the world, universe-class, LEED Kryptonite, never to be matched City Hall in San Diego. How can they compete with themselves? Maybe they'll throw in composting toilets.

Hey, there's no connection with being a tenant and paying rent, just ask The Nines . . .

Besides, with the groups they want to attract, any "rent" will be in-kind for consulting services and other essentials. Cash is so passe (except when it's you giving it to them).

producing no net carbon emissions

JK: How about the carbon emissions from all that steel and concrete used to build it?

Can anyone show that concrete & steel condo bunkers are more "sustainable" than building with wood which sucks up CO2 as replacement trees grow?


Q: Who the heck would pay rents that are 1/3 higher than class A office space elsewhere in the City?

A: The Trib reports: Many government and nonprofit environmental groups are anxious to co-locate in the building, where they’d hope to work jointly on sustainability-oriented projects, including university research.

I wonder how many funders will reject the grant applications because the overhead costs are too high.

The real question of the day is for the Trib: Do you mean "anxious" or "eager?"

"Who the heck would pay rents that are 1/3 higher than class A office space elsewhere in the City?"

A bureau with a motivated boss who has taxpayer money and an excess of change.

My issue with these building is that 20 years ago we were going to design super-efficient "you can heat it with a hair dryer" buildings. Then we discovered sick building syndrome and the problems of moisture invasion.

When these people get an idea like LEED, they become monomaniacal.

LEED means they'll likely go out of state to buy the wood for the Building. LEED only accepts one certification for sustainably grown timber, FSC. But most Oregon timber doesn't qualify. Oregon's strict Forest Practices laws mean every tree is sustainably grown. And many of us (I have less than 40 acres of young timber) belong to other certification agencies in addition to following Forest Practice laws. But that's not good enough for LEED, Gerding Edlin, the City and the Port of Portland. (ref:"Building to Benefit the Environment," 2009, Oregon Forest Resources Institute) Go by streetcar and don't buy local.

This is how these projects always begin:

"We're going to build a stupendously green building."

But watch as the project develops. One by one, the goals will fall by the wayside. Stakeholders will cite "rising costs" and "difficult financial climate".

Eventually, it'll look (and perform) like just about every other building in Portland.

How difficult is it to understand that these kinds of buildings are tombs on life support? Spaceships that can't survive without being hermetically sealed up, then connected to tubes? We build boxes that work against nature--they don't sit in it, or work with it.

Bt the bottom line is: The Living Building Challenge is only incrementally better than everything else. and by incrementally, I mean it's still crap. If every building in Portland--TOMORROW--conformed to the "Living Building" goals, we'd still have the same problems, on almost the same scale.

The LEED cult should issue the certifications to journalists also. If they write 100 articles about Al Gore's apocalyptic great flood (promised in 80 years) then they get a LEED platinum medal. Later we can work with the D.O.J. to create laws so that journalists who question global whiners and the movement can be punished for "hate speech". The only thing worse than the "we are doing it for the children" con job is the "we are doing it for the planet" garbage.

This Oregon Sustainability Center is actually very revolutionary. Find out more about it here:

And, the passive building approach is still very much alive and thriving. Check it out here:

And, there are Oregon companies participating in the FSC process, here's a link to a list of certified forests in oregon:*&state=OR&letter=&order=Organization_Name&type=forests

I know building buildings won't save the world, but if buildings are built more like the Oregon Sustainability Center than buildings can be a part of the overall solution to greatly reduce carbon emissions.

This Oregon Sustainability Center is actually very revolutionary.

I'm very familiar with the LBC and what this building "is". You've (a)got a very low bar for "revolutionary", and (b)the building isn't built, so it can't "be" anything except a paper plan.

And, the passive building approach is still very much alive and thriving.

Whoopee. Another gimmicky "standard" for building hermetically sealed, super-thick-walled houses.

And, there are Oregon companies participating in the FSC process

Sure are. guess how much of the certified lumber they sell goes overseas and other states? hint: almost all of it.

I know building buildings won't save the world, but if buildings are built more like the Oregon Sustainability Center than buildings can be a part of the overall solution to greatly reduce carbon emissions.

I'll say it again, as simply as possible: The Oregon Sustainability Center has not been built

So, you can claim it to be wonderful, revolutionary, cancer-curing, anything you want--none of it is real. you do realize how often this same line of breathless praise is heaped upon other imaginary buildings, don't you?

but if all this sounds simply pessimistic to you, then I propose this: come back here and post after the building's been built, and its actual performance has been seen. I'll gratefully read it.

Instead of "I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell you" the saying should be "I have a sustainability center I would like to sell you". Thanks for the details, ecohuman, on this latest "vision" in the starry-eyed green cult members minds.


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