Building for a Healthy Environment in King County
Second Quarter 2013
Welcome to the new issue of the King County GreenTools Newsletter, a periodic electronic update to County and City staff interested in green building and sustainable development. The newsletter is produced by King County Solid Waste Division’s GreenTools green building program.
You can submit stories, events, or announcements via e-mail.
Authored by Stacia Miller, Policy & Advocacy Manager, Cascadia Green Building Council
Earlier this spring, from May 15 - 17, the International Living Future Institute hosted its seventh annual Living Future 2013 unConference, with a focus on "Resilience & Regeneration". Approximately 1,300 leading minds, thought leaders, practitioners, innovative designers and experts gathered at the Westin Seattle Hotel and went on fieldtrips around the Seattle area to collaborate and brainstorm solutions to the most daunting global issues of our time
Keynote speakers included David Suzuki, Paul Hawken and Jason F. McLennan, CEO of the International Living Future Institute. As a cutting-edge event within the green building movement, the forum included unique networking and learning opportunities geared toward idea sharing, inspiration and partnership building.
A key element of Living Future 2013 was the annual Government Confluence, co-hosted by King County Green Tools and Cascadia Green Building Council and held at Town Hall Seattle on May 15th. The Confluence brought together over 250 multi-disciplinary leaders from across the Pacific Northwest and around the globe to share lessons learned and create new opportunities for building more resilient, livable communities.
Special thanks to our sponsors, local jurisdiction partners and all of the presenters and participants. All of you helped to shape our most successful event yet – including 18 diverse education sessions and the opportunity to earn continuing education credits.
This year's Confluence succeeded in helping participants learn something new and make new professional connections. By bringing together government, design practitioners and non-profit partners, the event helped all of us become part of a greater regional effort to address our collective challenges. In the words of a participant, the day "brought together disciplines that usually don't connect." Simply stated by another participant, the Confluence is about "inspiration, information and new connections."
Our survey results show that this year's attendees are looking forward to next year's Confluence. And so are we! Anecdotal summarization shows that the Dutch Dialogues and Town Hall Charrette were the two favored sessions and more programming related to those topics will succeed these efforts.
Save the dates now, and join us May 21 – 23 for Living Future 2014 "Beauty & Inspiration" in Portland!
Listen to GreenTool's Program Manager, Patti Southard, talk about the Living Future Conference on KEXP.
What's greener, a new building with green bells and whistles or a renovated one? The greenest buildings might just be the ones already built, since it can take decades for a new, efficient building to compensate for the initial environmental impacts of construction even through efficient operations, according to a 2012 study by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Findings highlight "building reuse almost always yields fewer environmental impacts than new construction when comparing buildings of similar size and functionality."
Green building has long had a focus on energy, using less and shifting from non-renewable sources toward cleaner and renewable power sources (solar, wind, geo-thermal). Our heritage assets are also non-renewable resources that need to be factored in. Once a historic building is gone, it's gone forever. In addition, maintaining and re-using existing building stock saves energy by not needing to mine, manufacture or transport new materials. Long absent from the green building conversation is the idea of cultural sustainability. Beyond embodied energy of materials, historic structures embody the fabric of a community. They offer variety of scale, materials and styles in our neighborhoods and are often a catalyst for design and urban planning. For example, it would be hard to imagine Seattle's First Hill without historic icons like Town Hall or the Stimson Green Mansion.
Enter Town Hall Seattle, embarking on a major capital project, to bring a 20th century building into the 21st century. While in the process of land-marking the building, they are also investigating options for major renovations, with a goal of both preserving an icon and making it sustainable. Attendees at the 2013 Government Confluence co-hosted by the County's GreenTools Program, the Cascadia Green Building Council, and the International Living Future Institute, joined Site Story and Town Hall board members, including founder David Brewster, Executive Director Wier Harmon, and Todd Scott and Julie Koler from King County's Historic Preservation Program to envision the possibilities of a preservation plus sustainability "mashup."
Ideas ranged from maximizing daylighting, utilizing the thermal mass from the original features and upgrading mechanical systems to some visionary site manipulation such as creating an outdoor theater buffered by new development that shares renewable power generation facilities. The charrette provided both a learning experience for attendees and a big idea generation tool for Town Hall.
Stay tuned to see what emerges. The former Roman Revival style church might someday sport both a new and timely "style." High performance historic preservation!
Get more information by listening to the report on KPLU.
Check out the final report about the Town Hall Charrette.
About Site Story
About King County's Historic Preservation Program
About Town Hall
Last, but definitely not least, the closing keynote for the GreenTools Government Confluence was an amazing talk given by Lance Hosey. Lance is Chief Sustainability Officer with the global design leader RTKL and is a nationally recognized architect and author. His talk focused on how going "green" can and should change the face of design. He also covered topics from his book, "The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design," published by Island Press. He argued that beauty is inherent to sustainability. How things look and feel is as important as how they're made. Form and image can enhance conservation, comfort, and community at every scale of design, from products to buildings to cities.
The majority of his talk was about how currently with designers, there is a battle between sustainability and aesthetics. The current thought is you cannot design a building beautifully from a design perspective and have it be sustainable. The idea of adding extra, "frivolous" pieces to a structure in order to make it beautiful, is wasteful, and thus not sustainable. Designers also argue that the sustainable parts are only the internal workings, such as adding a more efficient water heater, and not the externals. Lance's argument is that environmental design not only allows for aesthetic design, but it is imperative. Currently, the buildings that around the longest are not generally what we define as the most sustainable. Humans preserve the things they love. If an environmental designer makes a building that isn't functional or isn't aesthetically appealing, after a short amount of time it will be torn down, which is not sustainable. Sustainable design requires designing things that we will love both functionally and aesthetically.
Lance also argues that environmental design is an essential one for resilience in communities. Gallup surveys show that the aesthetics of place is the single most important factor for promoting happiness among residents, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently highlighted "imageability" as the first of five strategies to promote healthy environments. Lance shows that the natural character of a place can and should be the first factor in developing the unique character of the built environment.
"Long-term value is impossible without sensory appeal, because if design doesn't inspire, it's destined to be discarded. "In the end," writes Senegalese poet Baba Dioum, "we conserve only what we love." We don't love something because it's nontoxic and biodegradable – we love it because it moves the head and the heart. If people don't want something, it will not last, no matter how thrifty it is. And when our designs end up as litter or landfill, how prudent have we been? "The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us," wrote Rachel Carson half a century ago, "the less taste we shall have for destruction." When we treasure something, we're less prone to kill it, so desire fuels preservation. Love it or lose it. In this sense, the old mantra could be replaced by a new one: If it's not beautiful, it's not sustainable. Aesthetic attraction is not a superficial concertina's an environmental imperative. Beauty could save the planet." -Lance Hosey, The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design
We hope to have Lance out here again soon to continue inspiring us!
There were too many great events and workshops that were at the three day long 2013 Living Future unConference to summarize. Below, the staff at GreenTools have highlighted a few of their favorite ones:
I also really enjoyed the International Summit Meet-Up. It was great to hear how the Living Building Challenge is being adopted and adapted in other places around the world and it was interesting to find out that most of the early adopters of the Living Building Challenge are faced with similar challenges (building codes conflicts, lack of essential information and tools, drowning in non-essential information, etc.).
This session demonstrated how to manage project costs, and provided examples of how costs have considerably decreased for higher level certifications. In fact, in many instances the cost of building to a higher green building standard was equal or less expensive than building to lower certification level. The analysis also indicated that cutting edge green building techniques eventually influence the market and historically showed building costs level out. For example, a LEED Platinum project several years ago may have had cost significantly higher than LEED Silver or LEED Gold. But now, LEED Platinum projects can actually be achieved with a budget equal to or lower than LEED Gold projects. From a business and economic perspective, it supports a positive investment. From a public fiscal management perspective, it indicates that investing in high green building standards maximizes public investments and gaining the highest return and greatest community benefit.
Lisa Fay Matthiessen, Principal, Integral Group; Laura Lesniewski, Principal BNIM; and peter Morris, Director, David Langdon were the session panel speakers. They will be presenting the full results of their report later this year at Greenbuild 2013.
When the GreenTools team decided to write about our favorite workshops at Living Future I knew right away what I wanted to choose; "Truly Resilient Communities: The Future of Ecological Design in a Post-Carbon Economy." The theme of the "unConference" was Resiliency and Regeneration which can be for all intents and purposes a very inspiring topic for a conference. Albeit trendy words in the new paradigm of designing for the future; resiliency and regeneration will have a significant place in the history of design if we get it right, they are words that are already competing with sustainability, which was the word of choice for the last decade.
I did find myself being a bit depressed by the resiliency topic because a lot of the emphasis was on natural disasters and less about moving forward, with the exception of "Truly Resilient Communities". This breakout session shed light in a very holistic way on what we will need to do in planning and policy not just for our region but for the nation as a whole.
Presenters Bob Berkebile, principal at BNIM Architects in Kansas City, MO. and Col. Mark "Puck" Mykleby USMC (Retired), Former Special Strategic Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff held a discussion that considered the meaning, importance, and pathway to resilience in our communities.
Col. Mykleby presented dual urgencies related to the international and national security issues we face regarding food security and industrial farming practices. His research shows that we will not only have to convert our industrial farms into organic farms to reduce demands on water but that the excess use of pesticides has put us just a few years away from a major food crisis. Mykleby made this a timely conversation with ideas on the recent Farm Bill that could improve our standards immediately.
Berkebile kept the discussion going in an inspirational fashion to project managers in the room by presenting new ideas for local planning related to the development of green policies in a community that survived a natural disaster. Berkebile showed examples of success stories coming from the town of Greensburg, Kansas, just a few short years after the tornado ravaged town was destroyed. Greensburg created citywide policies to re-build green, incorporating LEED, Enterprise Community and local NAHB housing standards to all buildings.
Both presenters offered stories of hope in a thought provoking and passionate way that inspired me to think of resiliency and regeneration as a conversation we should start with every day.
The King County GreenTools sponsored event, Decon '13 Conference, held April 29 – May 1, drew over 175 attendees from all across the U.S. and Canada. Some came to learn the basics of the building deconstruction and salvage. Others came to share their success stories and lessons learned. Topics covered everything from specific deconstruction techniques, to job training programs involving deconstruction, to governmental policy development, to marketing and use of salvaged materials. Copies of the presentations should be available for download sometime soon here. Highlights of the conference included the Keynote speakers, Anthony Perez, Senior Concept Design Manager at Starbucks, and Carol Sanford, Author of the "Responsible Business." Carol kicked the conference off with excellent business practice guidance that was very applicable to the deconstruction industry, which resonated in other presentations throughout the conference. Anthony explained the intricacies of how Starbucks uses salvaged wood and other salvaged materials give customers a comfortable and connected feeling in the stores. He also spoke about how they procure salvage materials which got the gears of opportunity turning for many people in the audience.
The various sessions during Decon '13 were very informative and included speakers with exceptional expertise in their field.
Sujata Goel and Jason Anglin from King County Parks and Recreation Division were panel speakers for the "Closing the Loop on Government Projects," a session in the Public Policy Category. King County has been working to incorporate products salvaged from its own building removal projects into new County projects. They presented on how they used materials from a deconstructed home to embellish the interior of a cargo container resulting in a wonderful public vacation destination.
Another highlight was the "Design and Reuse" session highlighting the Winnipeg Folk Festival LaCuisine building, a multipurpose structure built using a high percentage of salvaged and re-purposed high quality material. From the piles to the roof membrane, the 6500 square foot building is built to be totally deconstructed. The salvaged material was sourced from a number of different buildings and any new material was fabricated from recycled materials. This facility is an impressive cultural amenity that the local community enjoys and benefits from.
"Environmental sustainability equals economic prosperity. That's why it's essential to have the business community as a partner in all of our sustainability efforts. And that's why I'm pleased that so many businesses are represented here today at the 2013 GoGreen Conference."
- King County Executive, Dow Constantine, April 24, 2013.
"GoGreen Seattle 2013 saw over 400 attendees from across the private, public, nonprofit and academic sectors convene for a galvanizing day of idea-sharing, peer-to-peer learning opportunities and regionally focused dialogue on advancing solutions to the Pacific Northwest's pervasive environmental, social and economic challenges. It was also an opportunity to think boldly beyond the issues we face and envision the kind of communities we want to build. We heard success stories, gained insights and discovered new tools to work smarter from more than 40 business leaders, civil servants, entrepreneurs, sustainability wonks and the next generation of green leaders. But the true measure of success for GoGreen Seattle will be in the collaborative endeavors that come out of the day — be sure to get in touch if you're pursuing a project as a result of an idea or connection made at GoGreen.
We'd love to profile you as a case study! You can reach us here."
At the 2013 GoGreen Seattle Conference, Paul Andersson, Program Administrator for the City of Bellevue, gave a talk, " Leveraging Your Data: Tools to Building Your Sustainability Strategy," where he highlighted some aspects of a new sustainability program the city has been working on.
As part of Bellevue's Environmental Stewardship Initiative, the city has completed an analysis of its progress in reducing greenhouse gas pollution and created an online display, or dashboard, to share the data with the public.
The online dashboard, available here, tracks progress on a variety of environmental targets set in 2007, when Bellevue signed on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. It adds transparency by displaying key indicators of the organization's environmental footprint.
The dashboard pulls data from resource-consuming activities across all city departments, showing costs and emissions associated with vehicles, buildings and other operations in user-friendly charts.
"The dashboard is a win, win, win for Bellevue," said Mayor Conrad Lee. "It leverages the Eastside's technology expertise, supports local business, and improves the economic and environmental performance of city operations."
The U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement set an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. The target is tied to an international treaty, the Kyoto Protocols, adopted by some countries in 1994. In the U.S., more than 1,000 cities, representing 89 million people worldwide, signed the agreement.
The new dashboard measures 2012 greenhouse gas emissions for both municipal operations and for the entire city, and compares the results to 2006 baselines, and to Bellevue's adopted goals.
Compared to the previous greeehouse gas inventory, completed in 2006, emissions from municipal operations have been reduced by more than 12 percent due to collaboration by city departments as part of the Environmental Stewardship Initiative.
City of Bellevue measures to reduce pollution have included adding 90 hybrid vehicles to the organization's fleet over the past three years, and implementing a resource conservation program that resulted in approximately 22 percent less energy being used at City Hall in 2012, compared with 2009.
Community wide emissions have leveled off from 2006, increasing by only 0.3 percent despite a growth in population of more than 5,800 residents. While progress is being made, Bellevue still needs a 22 percent reduction to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets established by the Climate Protection Agreement.
"This data shows that even as more people move to the Eastside for jobs, schools and the quality of life, environmental impacts can be managed with smart, proactive planning," said Mayor Lee.
The data displayed in the public dashboard, helps project managers at the city more effectively quantify cost savings, forecast project payback periods, set performance targets and track progress.
Software for the dashboard was developed by Scope 5, a local technology group, and was purchased using Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant funding."
If you have any question, please contact Paul Andersson.
King County will renew its Green Building and Sustainable Development Ordinance (GBO) in 2013. This is an opportunity to improve upon existing policy and continue King County's leadership in green building, operations and maintenance.
"One of my top priorities and a key goal in our King County Strategic Plan is protecting our environment and quality of life for future generations," states King County Executive Dow Constantine. "We need to continue to push the envelope on saving energy and resources in all areas of county operations and construction."
For the past 12 months, the County has been developing the content for the GBO renewal. Outreach, surveys and research have been done with County agencies, King County cities, residents, building industry, as well as advocates from the green building, affordable housing, rural, agriculture, historic preservation, and environmental communities. Your input has contributed to improvements included in the Executive proposed Green Building Ordinance recently transmitted to the King County Council for adoption. We appreciate your continued collaboration with King County and will keep you apprised to the progress through Council. The ordinance is sponsored by King County Councilmember Larry Phillips. The current policy is due to sunset on December 31, 2013.
For more information, contact Nori Catabay with the GreenTools Program.
Congratulations to King County Metro for achieving a gold-standard for sustainability by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). King County Metro is not only getting you there, it's doing it with less energy, waste and pollution. This puts Metro among an elite group of transit agencies in the country, as one of only eight transit organizations to achieve this second highest level of national recognition.
"Metro's commitment to be at the forefront in protecting the environment has allowed us to raise the bar for the entire public transportation industry – something each and every one of our employees can take credit for," said Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond.
APTA's Sustainability Commitment Program recognizes public transit agencies and businesses that voluntarily make a commitment to put processes and actions in place that result in continuous improvement on environmental, social, and economic sustainability.
Read the full announcement here.
Building Materials Reuse Association (BRMA) Award
Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) Certification and Petal Awards
Designed by David Vandervort Architects, zHome integrates smart design and leading technologies to radically reduce its effects on the environment. To achieve net zero energy, zHome began with conservation, using a number of advanced energy-efficient construction techniques to reduce home energy use by two thirds that of a typical home. zHome units then use solar panels to generate and offset the remaining one-third to achieve net zero energy use and net zero CO2 emissions over the course of a year. The project achieved Petal Certification by meeting all the Imperatives of the Living Building Challenge's Energy, Equity and Beauty Petals.
"This project has had an incredible impact on our community," says Amanda Sturgeon, Vice President of the Living Building Challenge, "it has demonstrated that in fact, there is a market for net-zero energy homes and that homebuyers are willing to pay more up front knowing that they will have no energy bills in the long-term."
This year King County GreenTools launched a new award program for community partner non-profits and city staff members who demonstrate outstanding leadership and innovation for the Sustainable Cities Program and initiatives.
The recipients for this year's GreenTools Government Confluence awards are:
David Barnes, City of Kirkland, Cathy Beam, City of Redmond and Nick Hartrich, Cascadia Green Building Council all received the "Recognition in Green Building Leadership" awards for ongoing work and program development within their cities and organizations in addition to their participation in the Sustainable Cities Green Building and Climate Collaboration Task Forces.
The Green Globe award is the most prestigious environmental award presented by King County every two years. The award recognizes projects that excel in leadership and activities that foster stewardship by protecting the environment, managing natural resources, and benefiting the community. Nominees are selected by King County program managers. These are the general criteria for Green Globe Award winners:
This year's Green Globe Awards were held at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. Click here to watch the 2013 Green Globe Awards video.
Aaron Adelstein, Leader in Sustainable Building
Cari Simson, Leader in Green Stormwater Infrastructure
Louise Miller, Environmental Catalyst
To read more about the winners, go here.
For more information about the 2013 awards program please contact Glynnis Vaughan at (206) 296-1980.
King County GreenTools wants to say a special announcement to a few of the people who have transitioned into new positions this last quarter. We are extremely appreciative to all the great work they have all done for sustainable building. We also want to welcome those who are new to our area and look forward to working with them.
Recently, Brad moved from his position as Capital Projects/zHome Project Manager for the City of Issaquah to his new role as technical director of the Living Building Challenge for the International Living Future Institute.
On World Environment Day (June 5, 2013), Portland's Mayor, Charlie Hales, gave a call to action for the city to become an even stronger leader in environmental stewardship. Below is an excerpt of his speech, where he makes a Salmon-Safe challenge to each service-delivery bureau in his city.
"In 2004, the Portland Park System became the first Salmon-Safe certified system in the nation. Let me repeat that: The first such system in the nation, signifying our success and dedication in reducing impacts on water quality and fish habitat from park operation and maintenance.
Last year, our Parks Bureau won recertification from the Salmon-Safe program. We are proud of that. But it's not enough.
As another challenge to our City Council and City Bureaus, I have asked that EACH service-delivery bureau in the city seek and achieve Salmon-Safe certification within the next two years.
I ask each service-delivery bureau to work with the Salmon-Safe team to evaluate their impact on habitat and water quality. Through determination and collaboration, our City can ensure that every practice we take is done with the least amount of harm to our natural environment, and by doing so, an uptick in the quality of our lives. And as we implement this locally, we will gladly share the results globally, through our friends in the United Nations Environment Programme."
Read the full speech here.
Like other financially-constrained agencies, Metro Transit doesn't have the funds to implement conservation measures solely for the sake of reducing its environmental footprint. Instead, Metro leverages the opportunity when building systems near the end of their useful lives through replacement with the most resource-efficient technology available. Whenever possible, Metro seeks financial incentives from local utilities to cover the incremental cost of these energy upgrades. Three exemplary projects underway at Metro's North transit base in Shoreline are estimated to save more than $150,000 annually in natural gas, electricity and water. All three are being funded in part by Utility rebates totaling over $700,000 from Seattle City Light, Puget Sound Energy and the Saving Water Partnership.
The first of these projects is replacement of aging and obsolete ventilation fans in the bus garage. This 157,000 square foot underground structure with parking for 120 coaches was originally ventilated by massive timer-controlled fans that continuously replaced the air. Thanks to new technologies like less-polluting hybrid coaches and control systems that monitor Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide levels by zone, the old fans were replaced by smaller fans that run only when needed. This should save an estimated 2 million kWh of electricity worth $126,000 and reduce 2,200 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. The estimated payback period for this project is 7.7 years. Seattle City Light is providing $460,000 in incentive payments toward this project.
The second project at North Base is to replace its 24 year-old HVAC and electrical system. As required by the King County Green Building Ordinance, this project used an integrative design process. Integrative design began with an eco-charette attended by all project stakeholders to explore ways to optimize environmental performance. As a result of this exploration, less cost-effective upgrades like window replacement were eliminated in favor of innovations with the highest return on investment.
The opportunity of planned construction was also considered. For example, ceiling demolition required to remove existing ductwork created an opportunity to redesign the lighting system. Accordingly, the existing T-12 florescent lamps are being replaced with daylighting and centrally-controlled LED fixtures. The new LED lighting, field tested for illumination quality, is estimated to reduce electrical use by 373,000 kWh each year. The payback should be about 12 years and generate significant labor savings since LED lamps last far longer than fluorescent tubes. Seattle City Light h as contracted to contribute $93,000 in incentive payments for this lighting upgrade.
The closure of areas for construction created another unique opportunity to upgrade restrooms without impacting staff at the base. These upgrades will replace 37 existing toilets and urinals with high efficiency fixtures partially funded with incentive payments by the Saving Water Partnership—Metro's first. This will significantly reduce costly annual water usage and wastewater generation for which rates increased 18.6 percent last year.
Another innovation resulting from the eco-charette is the recovery of waste air compressor heat to supply domestic water heaters, essentially providing a source of free energy. "The eco-charette proved to be an excellent source of ideas for both resource conservation and cost savings" stated Project Manager Ron Moattar. "Recapturing waste heat from the compressor's cooling system is just one example of how the integrative process can improve a project." An additional example Moattar cited was pursuing LEED. "With all the improvement ideas the team came up with, we realized the project should qualify for LEED Silver, not just the County's green building scorecard."
The third North Base project is replacement of the HVAC system itself. The system being installed is an all-electric Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system. Joshua Yeary of Hargis Engineers who helped design the project estimated the new system to be about 35 percent more energy efficient than the existing gas-fired multi-zone system. This technology is so cutting-edge that neither Seattle City Light nor Puget Sound Energy had previous experience in calculating incentives, so both Utilities worked closely with the design team to develop an appropriate methodology. "The consultant's energy modeling was critical to City Light's being able to incentivize this important project" stated Jim Healy of Seattle City Light.
Building developers, owners and architects are seeking to incorporate greater sustainable construction and operational practices into structures in King County. Such strategies can include ultra-sustainable structures that do not anticipate discharging waste to the wastewater collection system for treatment because they have incorporated on-site treatment systems.
To make it easier for developers to pursue "living building" projects, King County recently revisited its policies on the capacity charge, which newly connecting customers pay to help fund the cost of sewer expansions and improvements.
The changes are in part a result of collaboration on the new Bullitt Center, a commercial office building designed and constructed to achieve a Living Building Challenge certification, which promotes energy efficiency and recycling waste products on-site, including wastewater.
Recently the King County Council approved Ordinance 2013-0225, developed by the Wastewater Treatment Division, which allows those plumbing fixtures that are not designed to discharge into the sewer system to be excluded when calculating the capacity charge for a non-residential structure.
Once a structure with zero discharge fixtures qualifies for the reduced capacity charge, the owner must install an alarm system that activates should the system discharge into the sewer and pay three months of the capacity charge if there is a discharge. Should the structure experience three discharge events during any 15-year period, the full capacity charge will apply.
"We understood why there'd be questions about assessing a capacity charge of $53.50 a month for 15 years to a building that wasn't being designed to discharge into the sewer system," said assistant WTD Director Sandy Kilroy. "At the same time, King County wanted to make sure that building owners would pay their fair share for infrastructure they might need in an emergency. The recent code changes strike a balance between these issues."
Current state law and local building codes allow the local jurisdiction issuing the building permit to require urban structures be connected to the sewer system. This legislation reflects progress by allowing onsite treatment systems to be allowed to connect to the sewer system without payment of a capacity charge at the time of connection with provisions for monitoring.
This legislative action will benefit future projects seeking a Living Building Challenge certification or design for zero discharge onsite treatment systems, while ensuring that everyone is paying fairly for the costs to build needed infrastructure.
For more information, contact Sarah Ogier, Senior Strategy & Policy Planner, King County Wastewater Treatment Division.
Friday, September 27, 2013 | 6:00pm - close
Groundswell: Cascadia Green Building Council's annual Gala celebrating support and achievement across the Cascadia bioregion. It will honor the deep leadership stretching across our bioregion that stretches from Alaska, British Columbia, Washington to Oregon.
Mix, mingle and network with the innovators, the rulebreakers and the changemakers of the green building movement that have hailed from the Cascadia bioregion and beyond celebrating leadership in shifting the market toward true sustainability.
Join us for this inaugural event in support of Cascadia Green Building Council as we celebrate (y)our support and achievements of rapid and effective transformation toward true resiliency and true sustainability.
For more information about the event, go here.
zHome is a revolutionary 10-unit 5-Star Built Green-certified project in the Issaquah Highlands. Built Green is operating one unit of the project as a Stewardship Center with the goal of being a sustainable building educational resource for our community. The center is available for use for educational tours, classes, design charrettes, meetings or anything else that promotes the mission of sustainability.
By David Broustis, King County Energy Manager
King County government has reached an ambitious goal from its 2010 Energy Plan to "Produce, use or procure renewable energy equal to 50 percent of total County energy requirements by 2012." As of the end of 2012, the county was generating 53% of its county government energy needs from renewable resources. The county consumes significant quantities of energy to provide its services – from operating facilities such as public health facilities and courts, to treating the region's wastewater and operating the Metro transit system.
The county has been able to both consume renewable energy, and make use of resources by capturing the energy content of waste products. The largest contributors toward the county's renewable energy goal are the wastewater treatment plants and the Cedar Hills Landfill. At King County's three large wastewater treatment facilities, biogas (methane) is a byproduct of the treatment process and is used to operate equipment such boilers and pumps. At the South Wastewater Treatment Plant in Renton, a significant volume of the methane is also scrubbed (purified) and injected into the natural gas pipeline for use by businesses and residences in the region.
The largest contributor toward the renewable energy goal has been the county's Cedar Hills Landfill. After many months of refinements and operational changes, the landfill's "high British Thermal Unit (BTU)" landfill gas scrubbing system has been in full operation since September of 2012. On a monthly basis, the energy content of the gas (measured on a BTU basis) is the equivalent of over 40% of the county government's operational needs. Similarly to the biogas generated at the South Treatment Plant, the scrubbed gas is injected into pipelines for use as natural gas.
For more information, feel free to contact David Broustis.
The December 2012 electricity bill for the Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland, was over $77,000, a significant drain of resources for an institute that includes energy science as one area of study (Washington prepares students to obtain electrical licenses). We approached LWIT administration and asked if they would be interested in studying the use of an urban anaerobic digester to generate electricity. They said yes.
The Bridle Trails neighborhood, which straddles the cities of Kirkland and Bellevue, has a significant equine population. Horse manure has a serious effect on water quality in nearby Lake Washington and its tributary streams. Several horse interest groups, including the Lake Washington Saddle Club, King County Executive Horse Board and Horses for Clean Water, expressed interest in creating a manure receiving site. They quickly wrote letters of support for the idea.
Bellevue recently received a King Conservation District Grant to determine if there is a business case for a horse manure digester in the area. Mike Graves from Bellevue's Water Quality Department is leading this study. We hope to find a location for the digester that has no impact on residents such as under parking lots. Odor scrubbing technology could be used due to the urban setting. While that technology could tip the scales on cost versus gain, hopefully this grant will help us flesh out these issues and turn pollution into energy.
Our communities struggle with another problem, fats, oils and grease (F.O.G.), which blocks sewer lines and spills into nearby waterways. Many agencies are considering the use of brown and yellow fat as energy sources. F.O.G. can be used to increase the BTU output in incinerators and anaerobic digesters.
Pumper trucks can clean out businesses' interceptor vaults (capturing F.O.G. at the source) and transport the F.O.G. to energy receiving sites. California currently has these energy receiving systems in place and the involved parties have to keep their F.O.G. under lock and key due to its value.
Efforts to develop consistent cleaning and disposal requirements are being developed with the Oregon, Washington, and Idaho American Public Works Association (APWA) wastewater members. Together they are working with Paula Del Giudice, Executive Director of the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center, to establish a Western States Alliance to tackle these types of concerns. One major goal is to set up a web-based database to track F.O.G. removal in hopes of delivering it to energy conversion receivers. The coalition would also like to establish tax incentives for the businesses that deliver the material to energy manufacturers.
In 2011, the Bertschi School, a K-5 private school on Capitol Hill in Seattle, built a 1,425 sqft science building using the guidelines and requirements for the International Living Future Institute's Living Building Challenge (LBC). In April of this year, after completing the required 12 month operational and performance audits, the building was certified under the LBC version 2.0. The building became the world's fourth fully certified Living Building and the first on the West Coast and is currently the only project certified west of Missouri.
Some of the sustainable features in the design include:
By Lindsey Hoeft, Health Educator, King County Employee Health and Well-Being
Take a vacant lot, donated and salvaged materials, and a group of dedicated county employees; provide leadership support, water, and sun. What do you get? Sprouting right in the heart of downtown Seattle is King County's own Goat Hill Giving Garden. The garden is home to nine raised beds, ten round planters and two bee hives. Since its inception in 2010, over 730 pounds of food has been produced (fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey!), all donated to the Pike Market Senior Center's free meal program.
The garden is tended by a 'crop mob' of employees volunteering their time on lunch breaks and after work to plant, weed, water, and harvest. In addition to being a giving garden, it also serves as a demonstration plot of how to organically grow food in an urban setting. Classes, on everything from building raised beds to beekeeping to trellising, are held on-site over the lunch hour and are taught by employees to their peers for free. "Community gardens such as this teach sustainable and healthy food options," says Cristina Del Alma, Public Health employee and co-leader of the garden. "Gardening is a great way to get exercise, reduce stress and eat healthy."
The Goat Hill Giving Garden is part of the Healthy Incentives Program, a larger county-wide initiative to address rising health care costs by providing incentives and opportunities for employees to Eat Smart, Move More, and Stress Less – and it's working. Between 2007 and 2011, the county has saved $46 million and employee health has measurably improved. The garden is an important demonstration of the county's commitment to these goals.
Planting for 2013 is under way. Watch this video to find out how your Goat Hill Giving Garden grows.
By Brenda Vanderloop
The regional Food Hub at the 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living in Woodinville, Washington, has begun deliveries for the 2013 season. The Food Hub successfully completed its 10-week pilot last fall making deliveries to hospitals, universities, child care centers and catering companies. Now, after a winter break spent focused on enrolling more than 50 buyers and many area farms, the Hub is beginning its first full season of operations.
According to Robin Crowder, Marketing and Development Director, 21 Acres, "We were pleased to make our first delivery to Overlake Hospital for their food service program. It was an exciting experience to be able to bring early season product grown by Caruso Farm from Snohomish and hand deliver it to Chris Linaman, Food & Beverage Manager / Executive Chef, at Overlake Hospital Medical Center. Chris appreciated the ease of using the online system and we look forward to delivering product from multiple farms on one single truck to their loading dock each week."
Hospitals such as Overlake have signed a pledge related to, "Healthy Food in Health Care" and according to Karen Mauden, Northwest Agriculture Business Center, these institutions are looking to the 21 Acres Hub to help them meet goals to improve the sustainability of their food services. Healthy Food in Health Care (HFHC) is a national initiative of Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), developed in conjunction with its member organizations. They work with hospitals across the country to help improve menus and to improve sourcing for local and sustainable purchasing. The University of Washington Medical Center, Harborview Hospital, Northwest Hospital and Swedish Health Services have also committed to these initiatives and have enrolled in the Food Hub.
In addition to medical centers, the Food Hub will be making deliveries to regional universities, low-income childcare centers, congregate meal programs, and to restaurants and catering companies in the coming months. By using the Food Hub resources farmers are able to spend more time farming and less time traveling. This also means there are fewer vehicles on the road overall which helps reduce carbon emissions. Crowder said, "We were pleased to receive a grant over the winter that allowed us to buy a refrigerated Dodge Sprinter to be able to transport local farm product using reclaimed vegetable oil as fuel. We spent significant time researching alternative vehicles and fuel options to limit negative impacts on the environment. The researchers at Western Washington University's Vehicle Research Institute where very helpful. At some point in the future we'd love to be able to power a vehicle on bio-gas, made from methane captured from cow manure."
Local food systems research across the country, and here in the Puget Sound region, shows that one of the biggest hurdles to building regional food systems are the logistics to selling and buying local farm product in large volumes, conducting efficient purchase and sale transactions, and aggregating and delivering product. Northwest Agriculture Business Center is assisting 21 Acres with the Food Hub and together the organizations are addressing these challenges and removing barriers on both the supply and demand side. These cooperative efforts will help to ultimately increase the sustainability of local farms. It is important to note, that the 21 Acres Food Hub will be unique in that the product will be sourced from farmers using production practices with ultimate sustainability in mind.
21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living is a comprehensive campus with a farm, school, commercial kitchen, market and green-built facility.. All the programming and services offered through 21 Acres focus on the areas of Growing, Eating and Living. 21 Acres is located in the lush Sammamish Valley of East King County, near Woodinville.
For more information visit their website.
But these three methods weren't keeping the furniture stockpile from steadily growing. In 2012, FMD put a hold on material from Harbor Island going to the landfill and set about developing a plan to re-use and re-cycle more of the furniture. They also set aside some money for recycling.
More to Non-Profits
A King County Lean process team changed all that. With shared resources from the agencies involved, the list was cleaned up (only 37 non-profits started the new list) and new recipients were identified and certified by DCHS. The list is now up to 353. And the Orcas warehouse is now open five days a week to non-profit agencies.
Interacting with their non-profit customers, it became apparent to the team that many of them did not have the capacity to haul away furniture. County practice precluded FMD movers from delivering to these folks so the team went to their sponsors and asked if there was some way to remove this barrier. FMD Director Kathy Brown rolled up her sleeves, consulted with the PAO, and found a way. Fleet Coordinator Maria Van Horn reports that the non-profits told her that they would not have been able to participate, or severely limit what they could take, without FMD delivery. Delivering to non-profits was also personally rewarding, reports Chris Black, one of the lead FMD movers. For example, when they got to a senior center in Carnation, the movers found no one there capable of moving anything substantial. Their services were much appreciated.
The team's work here focused on expanding the kinds of recycling and the number of recyclers. Russ Johnson highlights a success in identifying an e-Steward certified recycler for electronics that would take our surplus and non-functioning electronics, for free. We had been paying to get rid of these items. The new contractor will also take more than computers. Russ is pleased that "if it has a cord, it goes," including washing machines and refrigerators, at no cost. For example, we used to have to pay $12 to get rid of a computer monitor. FMD has already delivered two truckloads of electronics from Harbor Island and a full three totes from Black River.
Another challenge was materials that are mixed metal-wood-fabric, etc. Items such as partitions and metal desks with wood tops were a problem for metal recyclers. Again, the team persevered and found two solutions. They developed a pilot program with AtWork!, a work center for developmentally disabled adults to disassemble partitions for their recycling center. Since AtWork! didn't have the capacity to handle the hundreds of surplus partitions that the County had, the County also worked with a metal recycler to have them recover the usable metal from the partitions and desks.
An RFP process is now underway to qualify more recyclers and create a path for more furniture to be recycled. FMD Mover Chris Black emphasized saving thousands of dollars in landfill fees as we recycle more and landfill less. King County also receives some revenue from metal recycling.
Used 3-ring binders proved to be a particularly aggravating resource to find a new home for. As more and more binders piled up, increasingly more government agencies and non-profits declined to take any off the County's hands. Thankfully, The Seattle Communities in Schools program has stepped forward and said that they, in August, will take ALL of the County's 3-ring binders that don't have logo's on them.
While all these efforts are significantly increasing the percentage of material recycled – and King County is helping to expand the recycling market through our efforts – some material will still go to the landfill, though much less than before.
While more progress will be made, this Lean effort has already resulted in a triple win: less storage and paying rent, more furniture and office supplies for King County non-profits, many of which promote our Equity and Social Justice goals, and less material going to the landfill.
To read more, click here.
King County GreenTools will be providing the following training to County and City staff:
September 5, 2013 - 10:00AM to 11:30 AM
Green building and Parks go hand in hand, especially here in King County. Very few things stimulate our love of the environment and embower us to be good stewards as much as those areas that allow us to connect directly with nature. GreenTools is excited to celebrate King County Parks 75th Anniversary! Below are some of the great events that King County Parks is putting on this summer. To learn more about King County Parks 75th Anniversary, go here.
Racing at the Marymoor Velodrome
For more information go here.
Marymoor Park Concerts
For more information go here.
Every month, GreenTools hosts Sustainable Cities Roundtable events. These are a series of training sessions, discussions and workshops dedicated to green building and climate change policy and programming for the county and cities in King County.
Meeting Environmental Countywide Planning Policies (CPPs)
An afternoon with Sim Van der Ryn
"Designing Suburban Futures" Island Press Author Event
For more information, go here.
Sept. 5, 2013
Sept. 12, 2013
Now until Sept. 24, 2013
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays through Sept. 27, 2013
Sept. 27, 2013
Oct. 10, 2013
October 18-20, 2013
Nov. 14, 2013
County Executive proposes strengthening "farm-to-city connection" with Seattle, King County News Release
Executive thanks Governor for Smart Communities award recognizing completion of wall against sprawl, King County News Release
Partnership reaches agreement to save Squak Mountain, King County News Release
King County Executive announces 'Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling', King County News Release
Skanska drops U.S. Chamber membership over LEEDv4 battle, Sustainable Industries
Seattle City Developing Plan to Protect Local Waterways, Sustainable City Network
Seattle's Million Gallon Challenge Announced, Sustainable City Network
Seattle's Mayor Announces Expanded Transit Program for City Employees, Sustainable City Network
Green Infrastructure Passes KC Test, Sustainable City Network
Commentary: Don't let green standards wither, Washington Post
Vashon: Where Trees Can Be Cut Down – And It's Ok, National Geographic
This is the sweet sound of leaders leading, Climate Solutions
Las Vegas Converts 42,000 Streetlights to LED, Sustainable City Network
Commercial Building Utility Tracking Platform Launched, Sustainable City Network
Hanwha SolarOne Launches New Generation HSL Series, Sustainable City Network
System Expected to Save Water District Millions Over the Next Two Decades, Sustainable City Network
Indiana Finds Creative Way to Finance Brownfields Redevelopment, Sustainable City Network
Where the Rubber Meets the Road in Building Products, Healthy Building Network
Vacuum Insulation Panels Push the Envelope to R-30 Per Inch, BuildingGreen
EcoSeal: A New System for Air Sealing Homes, BuildingGreen
Links to external sites do not constitute endorsements by King County.