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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 18, 2013 2:48 PM. The previous post in this blog was Bobblehead party!. The next post in this blog is Have a great holiday weekend. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Wanted: tenants willing to undergo "behavior change"

They're about to open a "living building" on Capitol Hill in Seattle, and the environmentalists and city bureaucrats are patting themselves on the backs enthusiastically. It's the rough equivalent of the goofy "sustainability center" that the taxpayers of Portland and Oregon were being arm-twisted into paying for down our way, before cooler heads prevailed. But in Seattle, the new "green" demonstration project will be quite a bit smaller than the one that was being ramrodded by the Sam Rand Twins in Portlandia. And apparently, it's being paid for by a private foundation, not the taxpayers.

"The most unique feature of the Bullitt Center is that it’s trying to do everything simultaneously," says Bullitt Foundation President Denis Hayes. "Everything" includes 100% onsite energy use from solar panels, all water provided by harvested rainwater, natural lighting, indoor composting toilets, a system of geothermal wells for heating, and a wood-framed structure (made out of FSC-certified wood).

What we can't figure out is how anybody is seriously going to run a business with strict energy and water quotas, the aroma of composting toilets, not enough heat in the winter, not enough cooling in summer, and who knows what all else that will be imposed on the tenants of the building. We'll bet that the building will have backup water and electricity from conventional sources, and that they'll be tapped more often than the promoters of this project want to let on.

Who's signing up to rent space in the thing? As in Portland, that is the key question. So far, we see that the foundation will be in there, along with the building's general contractor, and something called the Cascadia Green Building Council. It will be interesting to see if any truly disinterested private firms are willing to take the "green" bait.

In any event, it's a lovely experiment, and we'd be pleased if it's a hit, but we're quite grateful that we're not paying for it.

Comments (8)

It sounds a bit like those experiments to determine whether or not humans can handle a trip to Mars and back.

At least it's privately funded, and could yield some interesting and useful results.

Composting toilets, rainwater harvesting, solar power all in a high density building is insane (but that describes the planners and radical enviros pretty well.)

But if the planners went away, we could have all those things CHEAPLY and practically on 1-5 acre lots.

In fact plenty of people have that today: off grid, well/rainwater, septic, small scale solar wind and hydro power.

The problem is that it is mostly illegal (or too expensive because of land use laws) in Oregon to have enough living space to actually live sustainably.

Thanks
JK

You know, if they just pitched a tent on a vacant lot and did their business, it'd be even less impact.

I betcha that the 99.9% of city buildings are still all nice and toasty at 72 all day long.

Remember the handshake between former Mayor Adams and Kevin Decker from GE and that memorandum of understanding?

http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/20472
GE to Help Portland Become Sustainable City
SustainableBusiness.com News
The city of Portland and General Electric signed an agreement aimed at helping to build a sustainable economy for the city by focusing on energy efficiency, distributed power generation and job creation by local businesses.

The MOU lays out specific collaborative projects, along with a schedule of management meetings to track and measure project progress.

"Our work together will serve as a model for future public-private partnerships in other cities across the country looking to boost local job creation."
"The signing of today's MoU is a milestone in our efforts to move forward aggressively on our city's economic development strategy and our climate action plan," said Mayor Adams.

GE will partner with Portland to:
· Engage with local companies to help them develop and expand into new markets via global product licensing;
· Implement residential and commercial energy efficiency retrofits, develop EcoDistricts throughout the city, and work toward the completion of the world-
leading Oregon Sustainability Center;
· Explore city finance needs via municipal, state and GE resources.

I wonder how former Mayor Adams can push his "behavioral changes" on our city now that he is in City Club?
That GE agreement and the Eco District plans may well be on the way along with other projects former Mayor implemented or tried to before he left. Must have been the greatest disappointment to him and others that the Sustainability Center here just didn't get built.

I don't think that its a hit to the status quo as many would assume. Yes, it insane to install a lot of these technologies in a high density building, but mainly because the engineering for these systems has been done more on a residential/hobby scale successfully. Sticking these systems into this type of building without the needed adjustments is definitely:fail.
Counter that with the extra labor to configure the engineering to work on the spot and its easy to see wasted labor.

Collecting rainwater here, is almost a must as collecting sun in the desert. That's not a bad idea, using the sun even in winter to heat said water, lots of these technologies are emerging and will become practical.
Composting toilets are also good idea and nothing like composting in the open outdoors. Many toilets are setup in an anaerobic setup, while compost is aerobic. Hell, if we were smart instead of lazy, we could turn a generator or two off the poo, just ask the Los Angeles Municipal Dump.
Too bad Sammy Boy and for that matter Goldie's whole crew has associated green and environment with liberals. The sustainability center was a bomb, but that doesn't mean these technologies are worthless or even cost consuming. However, they like everything else, the wheel, the automobile, etc. will need time and engineering, it doesn't happen over nite.

Seattle is infilling with condo bunkers like those you describe in Portland. Each time we visit Seattle it gets nastier and nastier. We once considered moving there. No more.

How is adding to the built environment environmental? It's sorta like people who do "green" remodel projects in their houses. You know what would be greener? Leaving it alone.


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Miles run year to date: 220
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