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Seattle Pilots Code Exemptions For Green Building


Water Use Diagram for the Cascadia Center

Seattle has launched a pilot program that will allow certain code exemptions for buildings seeking certification to its Living Building Challenge (LBC), a program that goes far beyond LEED, requiring a rigorous set of 20 priorities, including 100% on-site waste management and renewable energy generation.

In order to meet the stringent performance standards of the LBC, buildings generally rely upon innovative building design techniques - techniques that are often conflicting with existing codes.

Under the new pilot program, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPB) will expand the existing design review process to address conflicts in a manner that could balance sustainability and design issues. The purpose of the Pilot Program is to allow additional flexibility in the application of development standards in the Land Use Code (Title 23) through the design review process in order to accommodate innovative technologies or design approaches that might otherwise be discouraged or prohibited.

"This could help eliminate some of the current regulatory barriers to achieving the Challenge, setting a precedent for alternative compliance paths," said Eden Brukman, vice president of the International Living Building Institute. "It could also result in twelve new Living Buildings in Seattle."

One of the buildings attempting to achieve the LBC rating is the Cascadia Center for Sustainable Design and Construction, a six story office building that would use less than one third of electricity consumed by the average building, and would generate as much power as it consumed.

According to an article in the Seattle Times, it would rely exclusively on the rain for its potable water. Rain would be collected and stored in a cistern – water intended for potable use would be filtered, subjected to ultraviolet disinfection and piped to sinks, showers and drinking fountains.

Separate pipes would take non-potable water to toilets that use 1 pint per flush. The waste would be composted and used to fertilize landscape around the building. Even the urine from the waterless urinals would be sterilized, mixed with grey water, and also used as fertilizer.

Information about the Pilot Program can be found at: www.seattle.gov/dpd/Permits/GreenPermitting/LivingBuildingPilot/default.asp

The Seattle Times article can be read at:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2011354845_bullitt16.html

A PDF of the Early Design Guidance Proposal for the Cascadia Center can be downloaded here:
www.seattle.gov/dpd/AppDocs/GroupMeetings/DRProposal3011010AgendaID2912.pdf



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