AS SEEN IN USA TODAY’S NEWS SECTION, JULY 27, 2006
of America, Target, Toyota, Honda, Genzyme, Starbucks and Adobe, green also was about image.
"In the 1980s it might have been acceptable to do a trophy building and say, 'Oh, look at us, we're green,'" says Rick Fedrizzi, president of the Green Building Council.
"Eco-roofs" of soil and native plants slow runoff and curb the "heat island" effect of sunshine beating down on conventional roofs. The skin on most buildings will be glazed glass to maximize energy saving and interior light.
Finding value in 'green'
No more. "The products you make should be green," he says. "The manufacturing process should be green. The factory should be green. Employees should work in a green building. You live this message all the way through and then someday you can call yourself a green company. Until then, it's just green-washing."
South Waterfront's anchor, an Oregon Health & Science University bioscience center opening in November, is the nation's first large building to use chilled "beams" instead of conventional air conditioning. Picture a car radiator on its side on the ceiling. Chilled water passes through and cool air falls into the room, requiring no power to run fans or blowers.
The city and developers are committed to top-to-bottom green at South Waterfront. The university aims for the top LEED rating — platinum — which would be another first. ‘Not only will they have bragging rights on the first and largest platinum building of its type, they'll also get a very high-performance building that saves money over the long haul.’ That means winning high LEED ratings on every building. It means streetcar and light- rail connections to downtown that cut auto travel. It means a mile-long, 150-foot-wide greenway between the Willamette and tall building clusters -- not plain grass but restored natural habitat for birds and wildlife, bike and pedestrian paths included. Medical buildings that combine research labs, surgery and a lot of daily traffic to doctors' offices aren't easy to make green. The 16-story, $145 million building will produce a third of its electricity and treat its own water. A two-story trombe — a narrow glazed- glass atrium that soaks up the sun — will make heat for the building's hot water. Heat pumps that use water instead of chemical refrigerants are costlier than standard units, but quieter. Therefore, the builder could spend less on soundproofing insulation. — Dennis Wilde, partner, Gerding/Edlen "It sets a much higher standard than what we've seen in many cities across North America," says Bob Sallinger, urban conservation director at the Audubon Society of Portland.
Condo and office towers will have smaller footprints to preserve views of the river and downtown in the neighborhood behind South Waterfront. The skinny, or pencil, high-rise design was pioneered on the Vancouver, British Columbia, skyline, and San Francisco, Sacramento, Las Vegas and other cities are copying it.
"Not only will they have bragging rights on the first and largest platinum building of its type, they'll also get a very high- performance building that saves money over the long haul," says Dennis Wilde, a partner in Gerding/Edlen, a principal developer at South Waterfront.
"We can do a much more elegant building by making it feel very tall and very vertical," architect Phillip Beyl says.
Cost premiums on green building have shrunk "but were never as significant as people were afraid," Wilde says.
South Waterfront will be the densest neighborhood in Portland, already a transit-friendly city of small blocks and compact urban districts.
The university's outgrown main campus atop Marquam Hill is 30 minutes by car for doctors traveling back and forth to the new facility. Williams suggested a tram to cut the ride to 3 minutes. It will open in December.
Developers calculate, for instance, that if condo owners in a 31-story, oval-shaped tower now going up were put in single- family homes, they'd consume 55 acres of land. South Waterfront's first phase will house 3,000 people and provide 5,000 jobs on 38 acres.
Criticism of South Waterfront has been muted. Developers took heat when tram costs ballooned to $57 million from $15 million, but they say pre-design estimates were unrealistic. Taxpayers' share will be 15% of what some think is a landmark- to-be on a par with Seattle's Space Needle.
Many South Waterfront streets will be narrow to invite walking and generously landscaped, with "bioswales" — grassy trenches that catch and absorb storm runoff.
Condos range from one-bedroom, 700-square-foot units for less than $200,000 to two- and three-bedroom spaces for up to
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.