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TR A NSFORM ATION A L THOUGHT

LIVING COMMUNITIES OF THE FUTURE TR A NSFORM ATION A L DE SIGN

BERTSCHI SCHOOL THE WATER PETAL TR A NSFORM ATION A L ACTION

CONCENTRATING ADVOCACY FOR A LIVING FUTURE TR A NSFORM ATION A L PEOPLE

SANDRA POSTEL FEBRUARY 2015


EDITOR-IN- CHIEF

Jason F. McLennan jason.mclennan@living-future.org

C ONTRIBU TING EDITOR

Michael D. Berrisford michael.berrisford@living-future.org

EDITORI A L DIREC TOR

Joanna Gangi joanna.gangi@living-future.org

A S S I S TA N T E D I T O R

Krista Elvey krista.elvey@living-future.org

C R E AT I V E D I R E C T O R

CONTRIBUTORS

Erin Gehle erin.gehle@living-future.org James Connelly, Krista Elvey, Marisa Hagney, Chris Hellstern, Paula Kehoe, Sunshine Mathon, Jason F. McLennan, Rachael Meyer, Stacia Miller, Sarah Rhodes, John Scarpulla

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For editorial inquiries, freelance or photography submissions and advertising, contact trimtab@living-future.org. Back issues or reprints, contact trimtab@living-future.org F E B R UA RY 2 015 , I S S U E 2 4

Trim Tab is a quarterly publication of the International Living Future Institute, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. All rights reserved. Content may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission and is for informational purposes only. COVER IMAGE © ISTOCK

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Winter 2015

TR A NSFORM ATION A L DE SIGN BY CHRIS HELL S TERN

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

TRANSFORMATIONAL THOUGHT:

Living Communities of the Future BY JA SON F. MCLENN A N

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TRANSFORMATIONAL DESIGN:

Bertschi School: The Water Petal BY CHRIS HELL S TERN

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TRANSFORMATIONAL PEOPLE:

Change the Course with Sandra Postel BY K RIS TA ELV E Y

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TRANSFORMATIONAL ACTION:

Concentrating Advocacy for a Living Future BY S TACI A MILLER


contents F E B R U A R Y 2 015

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TR A NSFORM ATION A L PEOPLE BY AUTHOR N A ME

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TR A NSFORM ATION A L THOUGHT BY JA SON F. MCLENN A N

FEATURES

NUTS & BOLTS

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Moving Upstream

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FWD: Read This

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McGilvra Place Park: The First “Living Park” BY R ACHAEL MEYER

Blueprint for Onsite Water Systems Shifts Traditional Views on Water Use BY PAUL A K EHOE, SA R A H RHODE S & JOHN SCA RPULL A

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Net Positive + Affordable Housing For All: The Right to Fair + Deliberate Shelter BY LI V ING BUILDING CH A LLENGE TE A M & SUNSHINE M ATHON


A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Water is the planet’s most vital resource, and access to clean water is a basic human need and a fundamental human right. The issues surrounding water may seem insurmountable—the supply of potable water is limited, yet there is an ever-growing demand on global water resources. More than one billion people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water. Meanwhile, the average American uses about 2,000 gallons of water a day, consuming twice the global average. In the United States, many aquifers are being over-pumped, depleting the groundwater sources that supply much of the country’s drinking water. As the California drought worsens, and as rivers and lakes continue to dry up, we must change the way we interact with water and reimagine the traditional systems upon which we rely. The International Living Future Institute is headquartered in a water-rich region that receives ample rainfall and snowfall in the winter months. However, we need only look to our neighbors to understand that we cannot afford to be wasteful. To prepare for an uncertain future, we must revaluate our relationship with water. Projects like the Bertschi School chart a more responsible course. People like Sandra Postel are champions in the effort to find practical, large-scale solutions to the most pressing water issues. The redesigned McGilvra Place Park demonstrates an elegant interplay between the natural and built environments. The City and County of San Francisco is creating blueprints that encourage cities to move beyond outdated views of on-site water systems. The water resource issue is as urgent as it is complex and critical, demanding from the green building industry a management approach that is attainable, conscientious and enduring. We devoted this edition of Trim Tab to the people and projects that are rethinking how water is used in the built environment and redefining the status quo so that water is respected as a precious resource.

JOANNA GANGI International Living Future Institute Editorial Director of Trim Tab magazine


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Muscoe Martin – A Tribute

PHOTO: Muscoe explaining the green features of his naturally filtered swimming pool to

Jim Newman in October 2009. © GAGE NEWMAN

I’m going to miss Muscoe Martin. Heck, a whole lot of people will. In fact, our entire movement is going to miss him a great deal, even those that don’t know him. I first met Muscoe back in the nineties through the AIA Cote Committee. He was an early, dedicated pioneer and champion for green building at a time when it wasn’t so easy to be green. It didn’t take long for us to become friends, and although I didn’t see him often, I always looked forward to annual meetings at Greenbuild, Living Future and other green events where both of us often showed up. He was one of those good spirits who you were always happy to see. Always pushing for change and totally dedicated to the cause. Not a big ego, but a caring soul. When we launched the Living Building Challenge Muscoe, of course, was one of our pioneers— helping spread the word and helping project teams make better decisions. I’m not sure how many of the thousands of people now in the green building industry know how important the contributions of a few pioneers were to keep momentum going during the eighties and nineties—especially prior to LEED and during its early few years. Muscoe was one of those critical voices. The International Living Future Institute would officially like to dedicate this Trim Tab issue to Muscoe for his great leadership and support for green building for the last two decades. Annual gatherings will be just a little less bright now that he’s gone. Fuck cancer—you bastard. You took one of the good ones. Here’s to you Muscoe. You were a Trim Tab and green warrior. — Jason F. McLennan

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Learn. Share. Collaborate.

J. Craig Venter Institute | La Jolla, CA Stephen Whalen Photography

GETTING TO

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Join the nation’s leading policymakers, design professionals, building owners and commercial real estate professionals at the 2015 Getting to Zero National Forum to share perspectives on the growth of zero energy buildings, learn about best practices for successful projects and collaborate on opportunities for zero energy to transform the built environment.

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B Y J A S O N F. M C L E N N A N

The gleam of an heroic Act Such strange illumination The Possible’s slow fuse is lit By the Imagination. EMILY DICKINSON

LIVING COMMUNITIES OF THE FUTURE This article was originally published ‘Cities are Now,’ the Winter 2015 issue of YES! Magazine. PHOTO: ISTOCK

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T RAN S FO RMAT I O N AL T H O U GH T

there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that the future hasn’t happened yet. How we will live a few decades from now is anything but clear, despite predictions from our wisest architects, planners, politicians, philosophers, futurists, and science fiction writers. For anyone committed to creating a more sustainable and just culture, here’s a sobering exercise: Try looking into the past as a way of tracking society’s expectations for itself. Look back a few decades and see how yesterday’s visionaries predicted we’d be living now. I must do this routinely in my work in setting

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standards and developing tools for change at the International Living Future Institute. So I can tell you a common thread weaves through most fictionalized, artistic, and scientific forecasts: that the ongoing march of technological progress will continue unabated, further mechanizing our experience as humans and separating us from nature until everything we need is provided by machines and computers whose intelligence surpasses that of their operators. A companion theme in futuristic prophecies is the subjugation and taming of nature or, in extreme cases, nature’s total elimination. In these depictions, there is little room for nonhuman life.

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“T HE GOOD NEWS IS THAT A CHILD-CENTERED CITY IS NOT SIMPLY GENEROUS; IT’S PRACTICAL. AND WHAT NURTURES SMALL PEOPLE OFTEN HELPS OUR ELDERS AS WELL.”

Think for a moment about the sheer bulk of stories you’ve read and movies you’ve seen, and how many of them warn of a bleak future for society—books such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and a catalogue of dystopian cinema: Metropolis, Blade Runner, Road Warrior, Terminator, and Wall-E, just to begin the short list. The current epidemic of zombies chasing after us through our popular culture is, I think, nothing less than a psychological manifestation of our species’ sense of worthlessness. The undead trudge through our cities consuming us like a cancer. What better symbol of hopelessness and lack of self-worth could we possibly conjure up? After World War II, there was a brief age of technological optimism. People, particularly Americans, believed in the promise of new frontiers. We saw residential and commercial potential in everything from our emerging suburbs to our rising office towers—we even pictured ourselves living “soon” on the moon or in terraformed space colonies. In the mid-20th century, we were suddenly (and curiously) willing to dump models of living and community that had worked well for hundreds of years in favor of these new ideas. We raced to build an automobile-dependent world, lined with interstates and freeways that would provide the straightest path toward the idealized future. Usually these new freeways carved through our least affluent neighborhoods, separating rich from poor—and typically, black from white. It is tragic that many of our first and largest social experiments in reshaping community were conducted in disadvantaged communities, most often populated by African American residents. Most of these social experiments supplanted viable working communities with “new urban

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visions” that increased crime and diminished community bonds. It should not be lost on us that planning paradigms have often tested ideas on the poorest among us, only to reinforce race and class distinctions once the polished plans are eventually implemented. Many famous architects of the last century proposed plans for communities that, while well-intentioned at the time, had seriously negative outcomes. In 1924, architect and planner Le Corbusier unveiled his Radiant City, a proposal to bulldoze the heart of Paris and replace it with tall, monolithic towers—something Paris wisely ignored. Unfortunately, his ideas gained traction in American planning circles, and cities here lacked the wisdom of French city planners. Chicago’s Cabrini Green and St. Louis’ Pruitt-Igoe (both public housing projects) mimicked Le Corbusier’s model only to be torn down after a few decades because the living conditions in these concrete environments grew so dreadful. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City concept, which in the 1950s pictured “people living in parks connected by highways,” brought us the decentralized sprawl that now mars our landscapes, separates people from the natural world, and discourages healthy walkable communities. Meanwhile, no positive, ecologically grounded conception of the future has been presented convincingly to counter these assumptions in our collective consciousness. Most futurists, whether basing their predictions on fact or fiction, seem so focused on technomarvels they omit resilient environments and healthy communities from the stories they proffer. As a result, a more pessimistic, less natural set of mythologies has shaped our default assumptions about where we seem to be headed.


PHOTO: PAUL KNITTEL / FLICKR CC

PHOTO: WILSONIOUS / FLICKR CC

“C HICAGO’S CABRINI GREEN AND ST. LOUIS’ PRUITT-IGOE (BOTH PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECTS) MIMICKED LE CORBUSIER’S MODEL ONLY TO BE TORN DOWN AFTER A FEW DECADES BECAUSE THE LIVING CONDITIONS IN THESE CONCRETE ENVIRONMENTS GREW SO DREADFUL.”

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“W E HAVE GROWN USED TO IMAGINING AN INCREASINGLY MECHANISTIC FUTURE, WITH GREATER AND GREATER DENSITIES, BUT WHAT WE HAVE FORGOTTEN IS THAT A FUTURE THAT CROWDS OUT THE NATURAL WORLD IS NOT SIMPLY BLEAK. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. A WORLD WITHOUT A HEALTHY AND VIBRANT NATURAL BIOSPHERE CANNOT SUSTAIN HUMAN LIFE.”

We have grown used to imagining an increasingly mechanistic future, with greater and greater densities, but what we have forgotten is that a future that crowds out the natural world is not simply bleak. It is impossible. A world without a healthy and vibrant natural biosphere cannot sustain human life.

Remember: The future hasn’t happened yet. With enough people, wisdom, and ideas it’s possible to resist the culture of inevitability. We’ve done remakings of cities, towns, cultures, religions, governments, and more. We changed every community in America after World War II from ones that functioned primarily around walking and streetcars, to ones that function to DEBUNKING THE “INEVITABLE” serve automobiles. Now, clearly, it is time to switch to a Despite what the commercial real-estate industry or more resilient paradigm. Human behavior is shaped in science-fiction authors might want us to imagine, large part by our ability to pursue what we can imagine. our future does not have to be defined exclusively by megacities, mile-high skyscrapers, machines that do The task before us now is to harness the power of everything for us, and hyperdensity filled with flying imagination to create a different future—one of our cars. This “culture of inevitability,” defined by popu- own choosing, and one crafted to sustain our comlar culture as well as market-driven development— munities, ourselves, and the other creatures with despite being an imaginary concept—lulls us into in- which we share this planet. action because it can seem futile to resist something so inescapable.

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PHOTO: ISTOCK

REIMAGINING A MORE LIVABLE FUTURE The Human Revolution To take control of our next evolution, we must embrace and prioritize what it means to be human; what it means to live in concert with nature. Creating a truly living community will mean changing our role on—and as a part of—the planet. It starts by reimagining our role as a species—not as separate from and superior to others, but inextricably linked to all other life and with a profound purpose as steward or gardener, helping to ensure that each act of our doing creates a net positive benefit to the greater web of life.

piens, is suggestive of our next evolution to a state of being with a profound love of life; an affection for and affinity with living organisms and natural systems that is prioritized over a fondness for technology and mechanized systems. Understanding Homo regenesis means understanding the fundamental truth that only life can create conditions for life. The Building Revolution

Next we’ll need to build models of the future we seek—now. My organization, the International Living Future Institute, has been pushing the Living Building Challenge as an essential framework for all new buildings. With the Living Building Challenge we are proving it is possible to build within the Instead of Homo sapiens we become (a term I have carrying capacity of any given ecosystem— building coined) Homo regenesis. Homo regenesis, which sugstructures that are completely powered by renewable gests moving beyond our current state as Homo sa-

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“T HE BULLITT CENTER IS A SYMBOL OF A REVOLUTION IN MODERN ARCHITECTURE: BIGGER THAN THE MAJORITY OF BUILDINGS IN THE UNITED STATES, YET FREE FROM THE BURDEN AND LEGACY OF FOSSIL FUELS IN THE COUNTRY’S LEAST SUNNY MAJOR CITY.”

energy, working within the water balance of a given site, treating their own waste, and doing so with materials that are non-toxic and local. The Bullitt Center in Seattle is one such model—a sixstory office building completely powered by the sun when averaged over the course of the year, with composting toilets on all six levels. The Bullitt Center is a symbol of a revolution in modern architecture: bigger than the majority of buildings in the United States, yet free from the burden and legacy of fossil fuels in the country’s least sunny major city. Throughout the world, living schools, parks, homes, offices, and museums are cropping up in a variety of climate zones against various political backdrops. Currently more than 200 of these transformative buildings are taking shape in communities as far flung as New Zealand, China, Mexico, Brazil, and in nearly every U.S. state. If these diverse projects can achieve Living Building Challenge goals, there is no limit to how broadly we can apply these systems. Because we now have the technology to build truly regenerative communities, it is no longer a stretch to imagine the “living” paradigm as the new normal.

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PHOTO BY NIC LEHOUX


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The Scale Revolution Another relevant topic in the context of this discussion is something I call the “Boundary of Disconnect.” I define the Boundary of Disconnect as any system’s metaphysical and tactile boundary at which the individual (or any species or colony of species) is no longer able to connect or relate to the totality of the system itself. This concept is all about scale, and how we as humans should best live and relate to each other within the communities we build. In our current model of the built environment, we typically develop without heeding scale, or build slavishly to the scale of the automobile. We binge on materials, energy, and water, climbing higher and sprawling farther without considering the natural, social, or emotional consequences. But if we were smarter about the appropriate scales for our systems— building, agriculture, transportation— we would minimize problems that arise from disconnectedness. As the writer Richard Louv

PHOTO: ISTOCK

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put it: When density is disproportionate to nature and we are disconnected from our earthly surroundings, we succumb to “nature deficit disorder.” When it comes to scale, a powerful litmus test for any community is its ability to support and nurture children. Child-centered planning would focus on our most precious and delicate citizens. It would heed the advice of Enrique Peñalosa, a former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, who wrote, “Children are a kind of indicator species. If we can build a successful city for children, we will have a successful city for all people.” The good news is that a child-centered city is not simply generous; it’s practical. And what nurtures small people often helps our elders as well. For starters (this is a very incomplete list) we would: Involve children in local food production. Sprinkle bike racks, sport courts, public art, and natural playgrounds throughout the city. Eliminate poisonous substances from the built


“U LTIMATELY, LIVING COMMUNITIES OF THE FUTURE ARE BOTH SCALED TO THE HUMAN DIMENSION AND INCLUDE FUNCTIONING ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS THROUGHOUT, WHERE GREATER BIODIVERSITY AND RESILIENCE CAN OCCUR.”

environment. Design sheltered public waiting areas. Install swings designed for all ages across the metropolis. Create “sound parks” powered by fountains, wind chimes, drums, and live-music performances that amplify the music of nature. Scatter courtyards linked to public spaces that offer acoustic and visual privacy from the street. Get rid of most advertising.

als, and inspire their inhabitants. But only if we start imagining and insisting now.

The game-changing success of the Living Building Challenge is proof that Living Communities are feasible within a fabric that supports strong social and cultural networks. As we imagine and then build examples of this new paradigm, it is essential that we do not Even if more and more people are moving to cities, we use our most economically disadvantaged as guinea can design streets, sidewalks, and pathways at a scale pigs. Indeed, the human dimension of our cities must that is safe and pleasant when experienced by someone be carefully considered as we go forward to overcome under four feet tall rather than designing everything the legacy of racial and economic prejudice that has around the scale of 3000-pound automobiles. We can pervaded city planning in the past. design neighborhood features that support child development through welcoming natural systems such as Perhaps in the future, popular books and films will flowing water, trees, and a myriad of ways for children portray how we overcame mind-numbing odds and to interact with the living world rather than merely be- defeated the seemingly unstoppable Culture of Ining presented with a lifeless concrete jungle. evitability, and instead embraced a new vision for the way we will live on the planet—one that puts people The Living Community Revolution and life squarely where they belong: at the heart of our communities. Ultimately, Living Communities of the future are both scaled to the human dimension and include functioning ecological systems throughout, where greater biodiversity and resilience can occur. Instead JASON F. MCLENNAN is the CEO of flying cars and moon colonies, Living Communiof the International Living Future ties will be filled with ultra-efficient, nontoxic Living Institute. He is the creator of the Living Buildings that generate their own energy onsite using Building Challenge, as well as the author of five books, including his latest: renewable resources, capture and treat their own waTransformational Thought. ter, are made of nontoxic sustainably sourced materi-

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BY CHRIS HELL STERN

With an extensive history of sustainable curriculum and success in educating compassionate and creative students, in 2009 Seattle’s Bertschi School embraced the most stringent sustainability building standard in the world to manifest the school’s values through its new science wing.

In pursuit of the Living Building Challenge and inspired by the dreams of Bertschi School’s elementary students, a pro-bono design team worked to create one of the most sustainable education buildings on our planet. Along the way, facing seemingly overwhelming challenges and learning invaluable lessons, the design team worked diligently with its project partners to advance the environmental rigors of the building industry.       

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T RAN S FO RMAT I O N AL D E S I GN The following is an excerpt from the book, Living Building Education: The Evolution of Bertschi School’s Science Wing by Chris Hellstern

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Now a fully-certified Living Building, crafted of healthy materials, operating on net zero energy, net zero water and cultivating a food-producing garden, the Bertschi students are living and learning surrounded by natural science every day. Through the 2014 publication titled Living Building Education, author (and member of the project design team) Chris Hellstern tells the story of the school’s journey with a team of dedicated deep green professionals to make this leading edge science wing and its sustainable learning experience a reality. The following is an excerpt of the WATER Petal chapter of Living Building Education: The Evolution of Bertschi School’s Science Wing. Ecotone Publishing’s Living Building Education is part of the first wave of groundbreaking publications in the Living Building Challenge Series documenting the path to a sustainable future. To learn more about Ecotone’s authoritative and accessible books on sustainable design, materials selection and building techniques visit living-future.org/ecotone

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The design responses for the Water Petal at Bertschi were truly inspired by the students. Here, the students asked for a river in the classroom with removable glass tiles. With one of their very first requests for what a building about nature could be, the students wanted to uget Sound and the Cascadia bioregion are the bring the powerful river element directly inside. perfect natural inspiration for the Water Petal as this area is blessed with an abundance of water in so The students’ wish for the stream was very influential many beautiful forms. This abundance leads to a mis- to our team. From the outset, the team wanted to keep management of water resources, however. While we the stream in the project but we had to come up with may receive steady recharge of our water resources in a functional reason for its inclusion. It quickly became the winter from rain and snowfall, the summer seasons clear that we could incorporate the stream into a runusually experience long periods of dryness. These nat- nel to transport captured rainwater. I recalled having ural patterns are only a problem if humans use this wa- seen an interior runnel in the floor of a retail store in ter in a wasteful manner. From Elliott Bay, which meets downtown Seattle. This pebble-lined, glass-covered the skyscrapers of downtown Seattle, to the rainforest runnel wound its way through the entire store carryless than 100 miles away, water defines the Northwest. ing water to a decorative fountain. This installation Although the average annual precipitation in the Puget became our inspiration. Sound region is an estimated 2.5 trillion gallons and freshwater streams flow into the Sound at a rate of 1.5 The process for designing the runnel was quite trillion gallons per year, “one-quarter of the state’s wa- lengthy. As architects, we spend a lot of time crafting tersheds do not have enough water to meet the needs of building details to keep water out of buildings. But for both people and fish.” Conserving and reusing water, the runnel, we not only wanted to have water in the space, but also to bring it from outside and allow it to even in the Pacific Northwest, is imperative.

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flow through the classroom floor slab. Since there are not many precedents for this type of feature, we had to work to determine the appropriate dimensions for the runnel. It had to be deep enough so a heavy rainfall would not allow it to overflow onto the floor but shallow enough for students to clearly see into it. Perhaps the most difficult challenge to overcome was to accurately plan the slope for the runnel so that water would flow to the cisterns. The tolerance needed in the concrete base of the runnel was much higher than for typical concrete construction so the runnel had to be crafted with great care and precision. Our team also needed to solve the condensation issue we had observed in the retail store runnel. We already had a well-defined path to solving this issue because, in their wish list, the students had asked for removable panels to perform water tests. In order for the thick glass panels to be of a manageable weight for lifting, we had to segment them. At each of these segments, we provided a gap between the

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glass panels so that air could flow through the runnel, eliminating any condensation. To line the runnel, the reclaimed pebbles from the retail store were individually hand laid along the length of both the interior and the exterior. With this design, perhaps the most iconic feature of the Bertschi Living Building was born. We have mentioned before that all of the Imperatives in the Living Building Challenge are linked. Net Zero Water was one of the first times we began to see this reality. While we would need to collect rainwater and transport it via the stream, we would need to find a way to get it to the cisterns without using energy. Gravity flow for harvesting rainwater meant that the cisterns needed to be below grade. As the cistern location was redesigned to be underground, we needed to find tank material that was both structural and could hold water. This requirement led the team to a local company that manufactures pre-cast concrete utility vaults. Once

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construction began, the cisterns were among the first things to be installed on-site. When investigations into the Water Petal began for Bertschi, 2020 Engineers performed detailed calculations to determine the amount of water the building would need for both potable and irrigation needs throughout the year. Essentially, both Mark and Colleen from 2020 designed the systems to achieve the Net Zero Water and Ecological Water Flow Imperatives. Unlike the typical scope of civil engineers, most of their work occurred within the envelope of the Bertschi building. This was one of the many examples of our integrated design process which Colleen describes as, “necessary and natural.� Her idea to achieve the Water Petal was to “illustrate how water is used within a building while operating within the carrying capacity of the site.

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2020 Engineering performed hydrologic calculations using the Western Washington Hydrology Model, version 3. This software contains over fifty years of historic rainfall data, and has been calibrated to calculate site-specific rainfall, evaporation and infiltration parameters. They extrapolated data from these models into project-specific spreadsheets to help determine our design parameters. Along with this model, 2020 researched the average water usage of similarly sized schools, interviewed Bertschi teachers and maintenance staff about their water use habits and needs and adjusted demand estimates to reflect our planned water-conserving fixtures. Once an overall picture of a water use estimate became clear, we also discussed strategies for further water conservation to help reduce overall consumption. With all of this data, a daily demand was calculated and used to determine the necessary volume of storage needed to supply enough water year-round based on rainfall. Our team determined


that the average potable water use for the building would be about 2.8 gallons per person per day for a total daily use of about fifty-six gallons per day. For the irrigation demands, 2020 discussed estimated quantities with GGLO, the landscape architect, along with nurseries and botanists and applied estimated indoor evaporation rates based on the type of irrigation system to be installed. This approach helped to determine a weekly irrigation demand that was used to calculate the necessary volume of storage needed to supply enough water for an entire year based on rainfall. In a true case of form follows function, often a necessity in sustainable design, the main roof of the Bertschi building is a butterfly shape to funnel rainwater to rain leaders directly inside the building. Since we also had the benefit of being connected to the existing church building, we also captured rainwater from half of that roof. A variety of filters are included with the system to help remove any particulates or debris that may enter the system from the collected rainwater. The rain leader that brings the church roof water into the science room is the start of the runnel in the floor. The City of Seattle recognizes rainwater cisterns as structures and requires their size to be counted in building square footage calculations. In order to fit our two cisterns on the tight urban site while meeting zoning codes prohibiting the exposed size of cistern we would need onsite, we located them below grade. To save space and materials, the primary potable cistern is located in the floor of the Ecohouse. Here, this 2500 gallon tank is closest to the sinks that will draw its water. And with a location inside the building, students can easily explore the cistern’s equipment and perform various water studies. As the potable water cistern fills with water, it will overflow back into the runnel which continues outside into the garden. From here, water flows into the 2700 gallon irrigation cistern and, as that fills, the water backs up into the exterior runnel ultimately overflowing and infiltrating into the rain garden.

PROJECT TEAM GEOTECHNICAL: GeoEngineers CIVIL: 2020 Engineering LANDSCAPE: GGLO STRUCTURAL: Quantum Consulting Engineers ARCHITECTURAL: KMD Architects PLUMBING: Rushing MECHANICAL: Rushing ELECTRICAL: Rushing SPECIALTY CONSULTANTS: O’Brien & Company CONTRACTOR: Skanska USA Building, Inc. URBAN ECOLOGIST: Back to Nature Design, LLC BUILDING ENVELOPE ENGINEER: Morrison Hershfield

This process provides one of the most important educational aspects of Bertschi’s water system. It is a representation of the hydrologic cycle right in the classroom.

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The students are able to see how rainwater is collected from the atmosphere, enters a stream, is used as needed and then discharged back into the water table to begin the cycle all over again. And all of this happens right next to the students’ desks. At the grand opening of the building, our team was torn about the weather.

vesting. Previously, it had been illegal to collect rainwater even from one’s own residential roof.

For a commercial building in Washington State to provide its own water supply for more than fifteen service connections or to more than twenty-five individuals regularly, it is must be classified as a Group A Public Although the Water Petal may be one of the most beau- Water System. For a new Group A water system to be tiful parts of the Challenge, it is certainly not without allowed, permission must be granted from any existcontroversy. Once rainwater has been captured for ing public water system within the same service area. use in the building, it must be treated to potable stan- Past experience has shown that water purveyors will dards. Currently, the Washington State Department of not often allow a new Group A water system within Health, which is the state agency that oversees drink- their service area. This was one of the first permiting water, does not allow commercial buildings to treat ting challenges our team encountered. If the site is not rainwater to potable standards for human consump- within an existing service area, or if the water purveyor tion. In fact, it was only recently, in October 2009, does allow a new Group A water system within their that the Washington Department of Ecology lifted the jurisdiction, then the Washington State Department long-time water rights ban on rooftop rainwater har- of Health may accept an application. This application must include information describing how rainwater of-

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fers comparable supply and quality as other available water supply options such as a well, public water supply or surface water intake. Rainwater is only considered as a primary water source if other water sources are considered unfeasible. Rainwater is then considered a surface water source and required to be treated in the same way as river or lake sources that may contain polluted runoff from roadways, industry, agriculture and other land uses. It is also required to carry a disinfection residual, meaning it needs to be chlorinated. Under the Living Building Challenge, chlorine is considered a forbidden Red List chemical. In order for Bertschi students to be allowed to drink the rain they have captured, the school would need to be reclassified as a new Group A water system. This redesign option would trigger the need to have a fulltime staff member who could take daily samples of the treated rainwater on-site and then have those independently verified. Since Bertschi School’s primary focus is operating as a school, this is not a feasible task. Although we knew going into the Living Building project that potable water treatment would be an issue in this jurisdiction, we pursued it at length. Team members engaged city, county and state regulators through numerous meetings and symposia because we believe in the decentralized water treatment the Challenge supports. While there were individuals in each of these agencies who supported our intent, it was clear that they were not in a position to set a precedent with our system. Colleen believes that for these standards to change, several advancements would need to be made including, “updated guidance and regulations based on a better understanding of what types of contaminants, and in what concentrations, exist on our roofs; a performance-based treatment requirement for obtaining water quality benchmarks; a more appropriate sampling and testing protocol; and higher confidence in predictable, successful maintenance and operations tasks.”

CITY WATER EVAPOTRANSPIRATION THROUGH GREEN WALL

(3,474 GALLONS)

(3,474 GALLONS)

CITY SEWER (0 GALLONS)

RUNOFF FROM PROJECT AREA (42,352 GALLONS)

INFILTRATION (67,718 GALLONS)

COLLECTION FROM ADJACENT BUILDING (CHURCH) ROOF (32,447 GALLONS)

IRRIGATION (7,081 GALLONS)

had the foresight to install the entire system needed to treat rainwater. The system consists of several filters. Water first flows through a five micron cartridge filter, then an ultraviolet disinfection system and finally through a .5 micron block carbon filter. Since this system is not permitted for use, the city required the project team to provide an air gap and a shut-off valve. At this time, the system is functional and has been used for testing to help promote decentralized rainwater treatment systems. CHRIS HELLSTERN, M. Arch, LFA, LEED AP, CDT served as a designer, project manager and the construction contract administrator for the Bertschi Living Building. He now practices sustainable architecture at ZGF Architects in Seattle.

So, even facing these immense regulatory hurdles that have been in place for years, Bertschi School

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Every Drop Matters Water and energy are inextricably linked. Almost half of our total water usage in the United States goes to generating electricity, more than drinking water and agriculture combined. We believe design can solve these linked challenges — and we’re committed to solving both. NBBJ’s LEED Platinum design of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Headquarters in Seattle reduced potable water usage by 79% and overall energy usage by 40%.

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B Y K R I S TA E LV E Y

C HA N G E TH E CO U R S E WITH

Completely unbeknownst to the masses, something momentous happened last year, something that hadn’t occurred since 1960. While people were going about their daily routines, a binational partnership was ensuring that hundreds of miles of parched terrain would be assuaged at long last—a pulse flow was returning water to the Colorado River delta. Mimicking the natural springtime flooding that persists from the Rocky Mountain snowmelt, the pulse flow of 130 million cubic meters of life’s most precious resource was beginning to rehabilitate the 390 miles (628 kilometers) of long-dehydrated river landscape that it would travel to ultimately reach the sea. The release of the previously dammed water, which for five decades was used to support agriculture and adjacent cities, was a critical first step in aquatic habitat restoration—an event of great cultural, economic and environmental significance.

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T RAN S FO RMAT I O N AL P E O P L E

PHOTO: CHERYL ZOOK

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This historic event was made possible thanks to a number of important leaders, including Change the Course, an initiative led by National Geographic and co-created by Sandra Postel. Change the Course’s call to action is assuredly simple: pledge to reduce your water consumption on their website, and corporate sponsors will continue to fund these restoration projects that return the Colorado River to the sea. Postel’s participation in water policy extends far beyond this milestone project— she is regarded as a leading authority on international water issues and has published over 100 articles on various water-related topics. Her book Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity presents the foundational research that inspired the well-known PBS documentary. She will join the Institute to discuss her critical research as a keynote speaker at the Net Positive Water + Energy Conference. Here, she shares with Trim Tab her insights into some of the most pressing concerns surrounding water.

Trim Tab:

Many environmental advocates can pinpoint a catalyst in their life when they realized their passion or area of focus. Was there such an event in your life? Sandra Postel: It feels like I was born to do something

on behalf of the earth—like it was in my DNA, though it did not come from my parents! I felt the calling from a young age. Once I found my water niche, I was hooked.

TT:

Did your dedication to water policy develop as a reaction to the devastating facts about freshwater depletion that are staring us in the face, or did it form from a passion for nature? SP:

It formed from a passion for nature, though it was compelled by the sense of urgency that we’re losing so many beautiful ecosystems and so much diversity of life. TT:

Change the Course is a restoration movement led by National Geographic and its partners that has a foundation in public participation, empowering individuals to reduce their water footprint. What have been the biggest challenges in this campaign and how are you working through them?

The average American uses over 2,000 gallons of water a day.

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SP: As with any campaign or movement, the challenge

is scaling to reach its full potential—to motivate the public and companies to join. With more than 90,000 people having taken our (free) pledge to conserve, more than half a dozen corporate sponsors, and 2.8 billion gallons of water returned to depleted ecosystems in the Colorado River basin, we’re off to a great start. But there’s so much more to do!

TT:

How effective do you think the notion of natural capital is in developing impactful environmental policy?

to talk about tradeoffs and for designing policies that can maximize value. This said, I don’t like nature to be reduced to dollars and cents. Ultimately it needs to be about a new relationship with the natural world. TT: Ocean acidification seems to be climbing its way to the top of the long list of alarming environmental catastrophes of today. Do you think the ramifications will be more or less dire than predicted? SP:

The predictions are pretty dire. The loss of coral reefs, and the diversity of marine life they support, is mind-boggling. We just don’t grasp how connected SP: Natural capital, or the idea that healthy ecosys- we are to everything else and how acting in ways that tems deliver valuable goods and services to the econ- change the chemistry of the planet’s atmosphere and omy, is a very important concept. It gives us language oceans cannot be considered progress!

O U R DI E TS 50%

634 GALLONS

37 GALLONS

TO MAKE ONE BURGER

FOR ONE CUP OF COFFEE

EN ERGY USE 30%

13 GALLONS

5 GALLONS/HR

TO MAKE 1 GALLON OF GASOLINE

FOR A 60-WATT LIGHT BULB

PRO D U C TS WE USE 10%

2,900 GALLONS

700 GALLONS

FOR A PAIR OF BLUE JEANS

TO MAKE A COTTON T-SHIRT

HOME 10%

COOKING • CLEANING • WASHING • DRINKING

Original Infographic: http://images.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/media-content/photos/000/690/custom/69067_800x3647-cb1372861058.jpg

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TT:

The Colorado River doesn’t reach the sea anymore, and its tributaries are depleted. Here is how Change the Course helps.

You Pledge YOU Pledge to shrink your water footprint

Sponsors Fund Corporate sponsors underwrite your pledges and fund water restoration projects

We Restore We work with conservation organizations to fund projects that restore flows.

You Share YOU share the pledge! The more pledges we get, the more water we can give back!

When one raises the issue of global water policy, the floodgates are opened and unleash a pretty broad spectrum of issues, ranging from climate change to pollution, to fracking and even to water rights. How do you remain hopeful when the gravity of the issues is so vast and the future seemingly so dismal?

SP: It’s easy to get despairing, but I don’t want to reside

in that place. What keeps me hopeful is that here and there we see the solutions to the big problems we’re facing. The challenge is scaling these solutions—to move from incremental change to transformational change.

TT:

What is your opinion on desalination? Do you think it is an intelligent (or necessary) solution for the near future?

SP:

Desalination is a proven technology and crucially important in areas that lack freshwater sources, like island nations and very arid regions. But it is very energy intensive and potentially harmful to marine environments. In most cases, conservation and increased efficiency can meet new water needs much more cheaply than desalination can. TT: What new ideas or projects are at the forefront of your mind? Are there any big takeaways that you’d like our readers to know about? SP: I am focused like a laser on scaling up our Change

the Course initiative—engaging a larger share of the public and companies in freshwater conservation and restoration. If we’re going to meet the needs of our growing population and have healthy ecosystems at the same time, we need to do two things: shrink our human water footprint and restore flows to depleted ecosystems. Change the Course is a practical response to that challenge. It’s about transforming how we use, manage and value freshwater. It can be done! KRISTA ELVEY is the Assistant Editor of Trim Tab and Communications Coordinator for the International Living Future Institute.

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“If we’re going to meet the needs of our growing population and have healthy ecosystems at the same time, we need to do two things: shrink our human water footprint and restore flows to depleted ecosystems .”

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B Y S TA C I A M I L L E R

CONCENTRATING ADVOCACY FOR A LIVING FUTURE

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T RAN S FO RMAT I O N AL ACT I O N

In December 2014, the International Living Future Institute launched the Living Future Congresses. This exciting new initiative is designed to harness bioregional expertise and transform the policy landscape in order to clear the path for Living Buildings and Living Communities. In 2010, the project team for Smith College’s Bechtel Environmental Classroom in Northampton, Maine was working on a holistic approach to manage water on site. They were designing an integrated system outside of municipal boundaries, which would necessitate pioneering regulatory approvals from various permitting authorities. The new classroom would be a single-story, wood-framed laboratory designed to take advantage of the project’s natural setting. The building could utilize the surrounding area to help manage its grey water, but only if permitted by the Whately Board of Health. A recent regulatory change at the state level allowed the use of composting toilets, but the team still needed to educate the permitting officers about their safety. They also needed to seek approvals from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for the drinking water system. Without regulatory buy-in, the project could not move forward as a Living Building.

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Around the globe, innovative project teams are stalled by regulations that favor conventional approaches to development. Since sustainable technologies often fall outside the rigid boundaries of the status quo, project teams are refused necessary permits and thus cannot proceed. Integrated systems are challenged as unsafe, and design teams struggle with delays and added costs.

in materials or district-scale energy production—you will likely be the first in your town to propose such ideas to your building department.

For nearly a decade, the Institute has been a leading advocate for truly sustainable development. We have conducted research to understand the life cycle costs of our centralized water systems and facilitated loImagine if future projects did not face antiquated cal discussions on how to best support green infraregulations. Imagine policy leadership that encour- structure. We have assessed financial mechanisms for ages truly green building. Imagine permitting ini- ecosystem services and explored policy language that tiatives that make it easier, less expensive and more supports truly sustainable development. advantageous to develop Living Buildings and Living Together with our members and project teams, we Communities. have continually pushed for greater flexibility and A Living Future hinges upon making this policy innovation in building codes and regulations. In Massachusetts, the Bechtel project team successfulframework a reality. ly worked with the state’s Drinking Water Program The history of the Living Building Challenge has officials to develop a regulatory pathway for the roof shown that behind every Living Building is a proj- catchment collection system. They also engaged the ect team that has set a precedent with the building local plumbing inspector regarding the compostcode officials. If you’re designing building systems ing toilets and other components of their wastewaaccording to the Challenge—for example on-site wa- ter treatment system. Because of this advocacy, the ter treatment, daylighting, toxic chemical avoidance Smith College project team inspired a new kind of

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policy leadership more likely to permit future proj- gress, the Institute will establish Congresses on a rolling basis in bioregions across North America and ects with resilient and sustainable features. throughout the world. With each new project, the Living Building Challenge raises the bar for what policy makers think is possible. Each Congress will bring together that bioregion’s In New York, the Omega Center for Sustainable Learn- exemplary thought leaders, senior practitioners and ing redefines water treatment facilities by treating over change agents as volunteer advocates. Congress mem16,000 gallons of water each year and providing a beau- bers will be invited to serve a two-year term. They tiful educational space for its clients. The Eco-Sense will tap into what makes their bioregion unique—its Residence in British Columbia worked to change the politics, economy, culture and climate—and inspire local building covenant so that they would be allowed policy leadership. Congress members will help to to build on a previously damaged site. The Energy Lab identify strategic regulatory opportunities, such as at the Hawaii Preparatory Academy appealed to the anticipated legislation, political will, scheduled code Hawaii State Department of Health to allow rainwater review cycles and upcoming committee hearings, and take action as needed. capture for potable and non-potable uses. This model of place-specific advocacy has inspired the formation of the Living Future Congresses, bioregional advocacy groups that will build on our history of advocacy and focus exclusively on shaping codes and regulations in support of a Living Future. The Institute will launch new Congresses in bioregions where we are involved in pilot projects and have active Collaboratives. Starting with the Cascadia Con-

Cascadia Congress Co-Leader Chris Forney explains how the Living Future Congresses are designed to achieve policy impact through collective effort: “The Congresses will play an important role in breaking the silence between individuals who we need to have collaborating. The policy barriers are too great to tackle individually.”

“Imagine if future projects did not face antiquated regulations. Imagine policy leadership that encourages truly green building. Imagine permitting initiatives that make it easier, less expensive and more advantageous to develop Living Buildings and Living Communities.”

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“As the Institute launches each Congress, we will design their advocacy work to reflect its unique bioregional characteristics.�

Image caption TBD

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This new bioregional advocacy will form a critical part of an international network of mission-driven activity. While Institute Ambassadors and Collaboratives work at the local level, Congress members will concentrate on high-level advocacy to achieve policy outcomes. Through the lens of Institute programs such as the Living Building Challenge and the Living Community Challenge, Congress members will promote the removal of regulatory hurdles in pursuit of a truly resilient built environment. Congresses will cultivate strategic relationships to foster more market innovation and transparency; encourage industry leaders to support equitable and socially just practices; help officials generate critical policy initiatives; and urge replication by policy makers around the world. Each Congress will work with Institute policy staff to develop a targeted advocacy plan. This work is already underway with the Cascadia Congress, which held its inaugural meeting in early December 2014. Congress members and Institute staff have begun to identify policy opportunities for the next two years, such as a requirement for healthy materials in afford-


able housing projects as well as Comprehensive Plan updates with an increased emphasis on connectivity and Living Communities. With Institute support, the Cascadia Congress will implement strategic advocacy across the bioregion.

es to identify policy needs at the community level, which Institute staff can then incorporate into Collaborative activity. Congresses, in turn, will stimulate bioregional and national policy discussions. And where the Institute sees international opportunities, for example in shared climatic zones, we will galvanize cross-Congress advocacy efforts. In this way, the Institute’s policy program will create transformative change in bioregions around the world.

As the Institute launches each Congress, we will design their advocacy work to reflect its unique bioregional characteristics. In January 2015, we will establish the California Congress. Given the unique water scarcity issues in California, the advocacy work of the Watch for updates from our new Living Future ConCalifornia Congress will concentrate support for wa- gresses online. ter reuse and community resiliency. Over time, we will build on early Congress successes to replicate exemplary regulation across geopolitical borders. The Institute is uniquely positioned to encourage cooperative efforts at local, national and global scales. We will work closely with Congress-

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STACIA MILLER is the Policy & Advocacy Manager and directs the Living Future Congresses for the International Living Future Institute.

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We thank our industry partners for their support in envisioning a living future. ANGEL SPONSOR

TRANSFORMATIVE SPONSORS

VISIONARY SPONSORS

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ENTERPRISING SPONSORS

STEWARDING SPONSORS Architectural Nexus

Coughlin Porter Lundeen

PrintWest

Berger Partnership

Mithun

Caitlin Pope Daum

PAE

Simon Fraser University-UniverCity

Construction Specialties

Phipps

WSP

SUPPORTING SPONSORS 7 Group 2020 Engineering Building Envelope Innovations Calmac CDI + Mazzetti dbhms Dykeman Architects ECI Hyer Farr Associates

GBL Architects GE Johnson Construction GLY Hughes Condon Marler In Posse Integrus Architecture Johnson Braund KPFF LHB

LMN Architects Mackenzie McCool Carlson Green McLennan Design Otak RAFN Wright Builders Zeck Butler

COMMUNITY PARTNERS Bertschi School City of Portland City of Seattle Earth Advantage

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Macro Design Studio MODS PDX RPKA Schemata Workshop

Sierra Club

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BY R ACHAEL ME Y ER

AREN’T LANDSCAPES ALREADY LIVING?

McGILVRA PLACE PARK, THE FIRST “LIVING PARK”

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Eleven 100-year-old Sycamore trees set the parameters for the design of the first park to achieve the Living Building Challenge under the Landscape and Infrastructure Typology. For the past 100 years, McGilvra Place Park has been a pocket park in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood of Seattle, about a mile east from the heart of the city center. The park gets its name from John J. McGilvra, an early lawyer, judge and landowner in Seattle. McGilvra is credited with drafting the documents for the enterprise of a railroad company that served to establish and build the region despite the terminus

Gravel, salvaged concrete, permeable pavers and new concrete provide circulation around and through the improved park landscape. Photo: Benjamin Benschneider/OTTO

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of the Northern Pacific Railway, which at the time was set in Tacoma. He also established a wagon road to access his property along Lake Washington, later called Madison Street, which defines the northern edge of the park. McGilvra helped to fund a streetcar along Madison, which brought about the construction of a low, concrete retaining wall that is now a prominent element in the park, at times showcasing a colorful display of annuals.

PROCESS APPROACH

The Bullitt Center, concurrently designed with the park, was expected to generate excess stormwater and grey water associated with the building systems, and initial park concepts envisioned reuse or infiltration of the water. There was also the potential to store water for irrigation of the park landscape. As the designs for both projects evolved, it became apparent that this approach was detrimental to the health of the trees, was The current design of McGilvra Place was integral with not easily achieved due to poor infiltration qualities of the design of the landscape associated with the Bullitt site soils and was complicated due to the legal implicaCenter, which is directly adjacent to the park and was tions of infiltrating water collected on a private project designed to be the first commercial building in the for a public park. The final designs respected the propworld to meet the Living Building Challenge. The close erty boundaries of each site and optimized the associproximity of the park and the opportunity it presented ated natural systems separately. as an underutilized green space in an area of Seattle that did not have many parks were two of the reasons the site OPPORTUNITY SEIZED was ultimately chosen for the Bullitt Center. The park also had added complexity due to the opportunity to test the Challenge within a public bid environment. Point32, the development partner for the Bullitt Center, helped to drive the vision for McGilvra Place and initiated conversations with the neighborhood and other partners about redeveloping the space. The project was undertaken through a public-private collaboration between Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Parks Foundation, and the Bullitt Foundation.

3200 lbs

carbon per year

In conjunction with the development of the Bullitt Center, a neighborhood group was formed to submit an application to the Seattle Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund. The project was awarded funding in late 2010, due in large part to its innovative sustainability objectives. The Bullitt Foundation and the Seattle Parks Foundation led a capital campaign to collect the remaining funds needed to transform the site.

THE SIMPLEST SOLUTION IS OFTEN BEST

1 2

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carbon emitted by a 25 mile/gallon car per year

The goals for the park emerged in parallel with the Bullitt Center landscape. As the design team sought to clarify the critical objectives of the park design, they looked to simplify the goals as much as possible. In-


“Instead of imposing new programs and uses onto the site, the priorities were determined by evaluating the highest ecological benefit that the park could achieve.�

Benches, ping-pong table and pedestrian plaza activate the formerly underused park space. Photo: Benjamin Benschneider/OTTO

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stead of imposing new programs and uses onto the site, the priorities were determined by evaluating the highest ecological benefit that the park could achieve. Additionally, the design solutions were tested to determine if they were critical to the ecological function as well as how they incorporated aspects of social justice, material selection and longevity. Could the design prevent the export of any materials? Were there elements that were interrelated to more than one Petal, thereby serving the project and meeting Living Building Challenge requirements at the highest level? Through this lens, the trees emerged as the most critical element of the project. After extensive study of the health of the trees, the focus shifted to ensure the survival of these eleven powerhouses of green infrastructure, each expected to survive another 100 years. The trees together sequester an estimated 3,200 pounds of carbon each year, approximately half the annual amount of carbon generated by the average driver using a 25-mile-per-gallon vehicle. The trees also intercept approximately 44,000 gallons

of water each year, the equivalent of half the average yearly water use for a family of four, or almost enough to fill the cistern in the basement of the Bullitt Center.

PERFORMANCE DRIVEN DESIGN To protect the trees’ below-ground root structure, surgical modifications needed to be made to both the existing hardscape and the softscape. The trees’ roots extend below the concrete retaining wall and into the triangular raised planting area, under the surrounding sidewalks and below the 15th Avenue roadway. The portion of 15th Avenue between the Bullitt Center and the park posed many safety issues (for people and trees) and ultimately required removing the through street to create a pedestrian plaza. The existence of significant tree roots below the street precluded excavating the area to construct the park’s new elements, including stormwater infiltration measures. As a solution, the design team utilized the site’s existing subgrade to locate the new park elements. For example,

“After extensive study of the health of the trees, the focus shifted to ensure the survival of these eleven powerhouses of green infrastructure, each expected to survive another 100 years.”

A new pathway surgically cuts through the existing raised planter. Photo: Benjamin Benschneider/OTTO

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44,000 gallons water/year

1 2

water use of a family of four per year

3 4

cistern in the basement of the Bullitt Center

by closing 15th Avenue to vehicles and removing the eastern curb, the park’s deepest new feature, a surface water runnel, could be placed in the depression formerly occupied by the base of the curb without requiring further excavation.

process and materials used during park construction. To build a park, many materials are sourced from all over the world, transported and installed. An amazing amount of embodied energy goes into creating a park, including many one-time-use materials, used once during construction and then thrown away. A Living Park Within the raised planter area, a new walkway slices approaches this process differently. It takes more than through the existing concrete wall and thin, raw steel an ecologically sound design to establish a Living Park. walls retain the soil and form a set of stairs, displacing The parameters of new materials that can be utilized are a minimal amount of soil and disturbing as little of the defined well within the Challenge and apply to park sites root structure as possible. as well as buildings. For McGilvra Place Park, the design team kept as much soil, concrete and tree root mass on All changes made to the site were purposeful, each el- site as possible. Not only would exported materials need ement contributing to the surrounding environment, to be recycled, but the trucking and effort required for whether to slow the progression of water through the this would also expend fossil fuels. site or to enhance the ecology and habitat for pollinators and urban animals. The benefits also extend With a modestly sized construction project like this to the human population, who, like McGilvra on one, it is easy to dismiss the decision to change habthe way to his lake retreat, may stop here for respite its when considering using only a small quantity of from the busy city streets. The design tells the story a material. This project illustrated how many of the and celebrates the incredible resilience of the trees cheapest and simplest products that are used daily, through the expression of wood in a variety of forms from common posts that support tree protection fencand stages of life. Benches made from salvaged local ing to aggregates in concrete mixes, are manufactured trees provide seating in sun and shade. Bike racks and and shipped from halfway around the world. Other a Ping-Pong table further activate the space and cre- than materials salvaged from other job sites, these baate more reasons to linger. sic building materials are not manufactured locally. It would be easy to rationalize that when only a small A PARK OR A LIVING PARK? amount of something is needed, it doesn’t warrant the While the difference between the park and a Living Park effort to source it locally or to consider a material that might not be visible to visitors, one key difference is the doesn’t have as much embodied energy. However, when

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“McGilvra’s private and legal contributions bolstered the development of Seattle at a critical time in its history. He was an example of the area’s entrepreneurial spirit and the steps that were taken to establish an area valued for its beauty, resources and proximity to nature.”

one considers how many projects are constructed across the nation, these materials make up a large volume. The project also serves as a reminder of the value of reuse. Many basic construction materials are on the Living Building Challenge Red List if purchased new. However, in an effort to encourage reuse of salvaged materials, the Living Building Challenge allows a contractor to use materials already on hand or available from a previous project. The park contractor, who would normally buy new tree protection fence posts for each job, was able to use posts from a previous job. Concrete formwork was salvaged from other job sites, as were erosion control materials. Additionally, the project highlights simple alternatives that are available once we take a minute to consider them. Many common finished materials can be eliminated through creative design. Raw steel was chosen to avoid processes like galvanizing, which brings high levels of zinc into the environment. Searching for al-

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ternatives can be challenging when schedules are tight and budgets even tighter, but exercises like this remind us how routinely we accept what is within easy reach—and also how simple solutions can sometimes be found once we change our frame of mind. It is important to consider not only the ecological function of the project’s end result, but also the responsibility and opportunity to construct the project using ecologically sound methods.

CONNECTION TO THE PAST McGilvra’s private and legal contributions bolstered the development of Seattle at a critical time in its history. He was an example of the area’s entrepreneurial spirit and the steps that were taken to establish an area valued for its beauty, resources and proximity to nature. Just like a century before, McGilvra Place Park and the Bullitt Center seized opportunities and continue to push Seattle toward becoming one of the most progressive cities in the region and a leader for innovation.

RACHAEL MEYER is a landscape architect with Berger Partnership. She was project manager for landscape design of McGilvra Place Park and the Bullitt Center.


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JUST™ is an innovative social justice transparency platform through which organizations can shed light on their operations, including how they treat their employees and where they make financial and community investments. JUST provides participating organizations a succinct way to demonstrate how they measure up in terms of the JUST label’s social and equity indicators. JUST also works seamlessly with the International Living Future Institute’s Declare™ materials label and the Living Building Challenge™. Your organization can contribute to the creation of a better, more equitable world. Become a JUST organization today by visiting justorganizations. com or by filling out the form below.

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B Y PA U L A K E H O E , S A R A H R H O D E S & J O H N S C A R P U L L A

BLUEPRINT FOR ONSITE WATER SYSTEMS SHIFTS TRADITIONAL VIEWS ON WATER USE The continued drought in the American West has highlighted the pressing need for increased conservation, reuse and resiliency of our water resources. Dwindling water supplies and rapid urbanization are straining our centralized water and wastewater systems. While many cities are struggling to effectively reimagine their water systems, San Francisco is looking at these issues head on in a new way that is shifting our traditional views on centralized systems. The City and County of San Francisco (the City) is pushing the conservation envelope through the integration of alternate water sources into the urban water framework. In September 2012, the City and County adopted the Onsite Water Reuse for Commercial,

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Multi-Family, and Mixed-Use Developments Ordinance (commonly known as the Non-potable Water Ordinance or Program) to the San Francisco Health Code. The unprecedented new ordinance allows for the on-site collection, treatment and use of alternate water


sources for non-potable applications, such as toilet flushing and irrigation at the building scale. The alternate water sources include rainwater, stormwater, foundation drainage, grey water and black water. In October 2013, the ordinance was amended to allow districtscale (two or more buildings) on-site water treatment systems to share and/or sell treated alternate water sources for non-potable uses. The Non-potable Water Program involves coordination between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the City’s Departments of Public Health (SFDPH) and Building Inspection (SFDBI) to permit the on-site water systems during both construction and operation. One key component of the

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program is the Permit to Operate issued by the SFDPH, which includes the submission of an application, an engineering report, and ongoing monitoring and reporting. Using existing California codes as a jumping off point, the SFDPH prescribed the water quality criteria that on-site water systems must meet in order to be put to beneficial use. In addition, the SFPUC leads the program administration by providing technical assistance, project tracking and financial grants for larger projects. Over the past two years, the SFPUC has received water budgets for over twenty projects proposing to offset potable water through the use of onsite water systems. All of the projects are building-scale, with most looking to some

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The Nonpotable Water Program involves coordination between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the City’s Departments of Public Health (SFDPH) and Building Inspection (SFDBI) to permit the on-site water systems in both the construction and the operation phase.

form of rainwater or stormwater reuse. In addition, the SFPUC has received interest from developers that are working on district-scale projects with some of the larger redevelopment projects slated for San Francisco. The Non-potable Water Program’s grants offer up to $250,000 for building-scale projects and up to $500,000 for district-scale projects that meet SFPUC eligibility requirements. In June 2014, the SFPUC received its first grant application and has reserved $250,000 for a large mixed-use building that will use grey water and rainwater for toilet flushing and irrigation to offset approximately 1.4 million gallons per year.

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Since establishing the Non-potable Water Program, the SFPUC has been receiving calls from other municipalities that are grappling with the same issues around permitting and oversight of on-site non-potable systems in their jurisdiction. In an effort to create a network of collaboration, the SFPUC convened a meeting in May 2014 with representatives from local, state, and federal public agencies and research institutions from across North America to discuss on-site water systems. At the Innovation in Urban Water Systems meeting, the participants discussed the barriers, opportunities and research needs for on-site water systems. Following the meeting, the SFPUC led the effort to develop the Blueprint for Onsite Water Systems with significant input from a subgroup of the meeting participants. Released


in September 2014, the blueprint assists communities with developing a local program to manage and oversee on-site water systems. The blueprint covers 10 basic steps to help communities establish and move forward with a local program, as outlined below: 1. Convene a working group to guide the development of the local program. 2. Select the specific types of alternate water sources covered in the program. 3. Identify the specific non-potable end uses allowed. 4. Establish water quality standards for each alternate water source and/or end use. 5. Identify and supplement local building practices by integrating the program into the building permit process. 6. Establish monitoring and reporting requirements for ongoing operations. 7. Prepare an operating permit process for initial and ongoing operations. 8. Implement the program, including guidelines to provide clear direction for project sponsors and developers. 9. Evaluate the program to promote best practices. 10. Grow the program by expanding and encouraging on-site water systems. In addition, the Innovation in Urban Water Systems convening confirmed that the most critical issue communities face when implementing on-site reuse is the development of water quality standards and monitoring strategies to ensure the protection of public health. Because there are no national stan-

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LIVING MACHINE In June 2012, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission moved into its new, LEED™ Platinum, headquarters in San Francisco’s Civic Center district. The 277,500-square-foot building houses over 900 employees, and is equipped with cutting-edge green technologies, including wind turbines and solar panels to create renewable energy. The building also employs several water conservation features, including ultra-low-flow toilets and urinals, a 25,000-gallon rainwater harvesting cistern, and a Living Machine®. The Living Machine® utilizes constructed wetlands installed along the sidewalk and within the building lobby that mimic tidal wetlands by alternately flooding and draining the concrete cells filled with engineered shale, microorganisms, and grasses and plants. A disinfection system with both ultraviolet light and chlorination is housed in the building’s basement. This on-site water system treats all of the building’s wastewater and then distributes it to be reused for toilet flushing. The system reduces the building’s total water use by about 65%, and has saved over 2.5 million gallons of potable water in its two years of operation. The system is a blend of function and aesthetics and a demonstration of the new water paradigm of reusing water onsite. To schedule a tour of SFPUC headquarters, please visit www. sfwater.org/HQ. If you have any questions or special requests, please email 525ggtours@sfwater.org.

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“Over the past two years, the SFPUC has received water budgets for twenty projects proposing to offset almost eight million gallons per year of potable water through the use of on-site water systems.”

dards, the group identified that a regional effort to develop common standards would be a key next step.

PAULA KEHOE is the Director of Water Resources with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Paula oversees the development of local water supplies in San Francisco, including conservation, recycled water and groundwater projects. 

Following the meeting, the SFPUC asked for volunteers to participate in a public health coalition to evaluate existing standards for alternate water sources, to identify data gaps and research needs, and to ultimately develop recommended joint guidelines and/or standards to be implemented by the jurisdictions involved. This small group of public CO-AUTHORED BY SARAH RHODESand JOHN SCARPULLA health officials will work to establish water quality guidelines for the use of alternate water sources. The guidelines are intended to serve as a guide for local For more information on San Francisco’s public health agencies and to establish, to the extent Non-potable Water Program, please visit feasible, a uniform practice across several states. sfwater.org/np The City and County of San Francisco is raising the bar and rethinking how water is used in the built environment. The Non-potable Water Ordinance is a step in the right direction to redefine the traditional centralized water systems and to preserve our most precious resource for potable use.

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For more information on the Innovation in Urban Water Systems meeting, please visit sfwater.org/np/iuws


Collaboration. Creativity. Community. Our green building strategy goes beyond checking the boxes.

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KEYNOTES

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin Environmental Advocate + Organizer

Jason F. McLennan

CEO, International Living Future Institute

Janine Benyus

Biologist, Innovator + Author

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B Y L I V I N G B U I L D I N G C H A L L E N G E T E A M & S U N S H I N E M AT H O N

NET POSITIVE + AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR ALL: THE RIGHT TO FAIR + DELIBERATE SHELTER

PHOTO: FLICKR USER COLONELJOHNBRITT

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In November 2014, the Institute published the Living Building Challenge Framework for Affordable Housing, a report made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Kresge Foundation. Through collaboration with several organizations dedicated to providing economical, sustainable housing for all, the Institute was able to conduct the necessary research to prove that affordable housing projects are entirely viable within the rigorous tenants of the Challenge. Achieving Net Positive Water is not a straightforward venture—it requires adroitness in design, in planning and in the inevitable permitting battles. Foundation Communities, a “housing + people” organization that serves communities in North Texas and Austin, has been an eager accomplice on the path toward truly resilient design, and their work has brought the vision of Living Affordable Housing to life. In this article, excerpts and technical data from the report appear alongside insights and success stories from Foundation Communities, as told by Sunshine Mathon. IMPERATIVE 05: NET POSITIVE WATER: PETAL INTRODUCTION (AN EXCERPT) The catastrophic 2014 droughts in California and Texas have highlighted the risks of our current wasteful water practices and the substantial water insecurities that many communities face. In July 2014, the US drought monitor reported that over 81% of California is experiencing an exceptional drought.

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IMPERATIVE 05: NET POSITIVE WATER Project water use and release must work in harmony with the natural water flows of the site and its surroundings. One hundred percent of the project’s water needs must be supplied by captured precipitation or other natural closed loop water systems, and/or by recycling used project water, and must be purified as needed without the use of chemicals. All stormwater and water discharge, including grey and blackwater, must be treated on-site and managed either through re-use, a closed loop system, or infiltration. Excess stormwater can be released onto adjacent sites under certain conditions. —Living Building Challenge 3.0

EXCEPTIONS I05-E1 4/2010 Municipal Potable Water Supply1 I05-E4 4/2010 Transects L5 and L6 Municipal Stormwater Connection2 IO5-E6 11/2014 Black Water Treatment for Multi-Family Affordable Housing For full explanation see page 46 of the Affordable Housing Report. 1 Refer to the August 2014 Water Petal Handbook, p. 10. 2 Refer to the August 2014 Water Petal Handbook, p. 11.

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PHOTO: MARTIN TESSLER


In addition to the issue of water shortages, pollutants are degrading the water that is available and causing broader environmental impact. Traditional stormwater infrastructure allows toxic chemicals from streets and buildings to be washed into waterways and oceans, causing pollution with bio-accumulative potential to impact human and ecosystem health. Water reuse, stormwater management and infiltration at the project scale can eliminate these environmental impacts while restoring a healthy hydrological cycle to a site. The Net Positive Water Imperative offers a new vision for distributed water systems that treat water as a precious resource and reconnects our buildings and communities with natural hydrological flows in harmony with the environment. OVERALL APPROACH Meeting the Net Positive Water Imperative in affordable housing requires careful design of three distinct but interrelated systems: water supply, stormwater management and wastewater treatment. The Living Building Challenge is intended to inspire positive change that greatly advances the green building industry, while still providing feasible pathways to certification. The current market, particularly as it relates to water regulation, is lagging behind the requirements of the Challenge. Therefore, for each of the main requirements of the Water Petal, the Institute has established temporary exceptions to make achieving Water Petal certification possible despite regulatory barriers. The first two temporary exceptions relate to all project types. The third is for affordable housing projects only (see sidebar on page 63). These temporary exceptions will be removed as alternative water system technology becomes more commonplace and as projects are successful in overturning outdated water regulations.

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SCENARIO 1: CLOSED LOOP SYSTEM WITH RAINWATER SUPPLY PROJECT SITE 50% OF SUPPLY

GALLONS/PER CAPITA/DAY (GCD)

NEIGHBOR SITE 50% OF SUPPLY

FIGURE 13: Water Scenario 1: Water Use Pie Chart FAUCET 24% (3.6 gal.)

TOILET 2% (.25 gal.)

DISHWASHER SHOWER + 4% (.6 gal.) BATH 32% (4.8 gal.) WASHING MACHINE 38% (5.75 gal.) FIGURE 12: Water Scenario 1: Closed Loop System with Rainwater Supply

CONSTRUCTED WETLAND GREYWATER TANK

COMPOST

TREATMENT

LBC SITE CISTERN

FIGURE 14: Water Scenario 1: Partner Location Cistern Sizing Table

Partner Locations

Catchment Area (sq ft)**

Rain Collection Resource (in/yr)

Cistern Size (gal)

Cistern Dimensions if 10ft tall

Minneapolis, MN

50,000

32.16

180,000

49’x49’

Christiansburg, VA*

50,000

40.73

20,000

16’x16’

Chicago, IL*

50,000

37.96

40,000

23’x23’

San Jose, CA

100,000

15.82

305,000

64’x64’

Austin, TX*

50,000

34.89

50,000

26’x26’

Vancouver, WA

50,000

41.63

135,000

42’x42’

*Scenario best suited for the following partner locations **Required catchment area to meet 100% of water demand in modeled project.

Original Graph: Page 49 of the Framework for Affordable Housing

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families, as well as for veterans, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. This nationally recognized “housing + services” model empowers residents to achieve The Institute modeled Net Positive Water strategies educational success, financial stability and healthier in five regions in order to determine the feasibility of lifestyles and provides the framework for Foundation meeting the Water Petal for multi-family affordable Communities’ mission, “creating housing where famihousing projects in a number of North American clilies succeed.” mates. The modeling utilized local rainfall data and water balance calculations for each region (see table Foundation Communities’ development goals, paton page 65 taken from page 49 of the Framework for terns and methodologies have changed significantly Affordable Housing). Results show that Net Positive over the past decade. This transition began with Water is attainable using existing exceptions for all the Spring Terrace, an acquisition rehab transformalocations modeled, utilizing appropriate strategies for tion of an old hotel into an affordable housing comeach climate. munity. Spring Terrace was chosen as one of the first pilot developments for the nascent Enterprise Green The Net Positive Water modeling is based on same Communities(footnote) criteria in 2004. With Spring typical building used for the Net Positive Energy modTerrace as the platform, Foundation Communities eling. The basic specifications are: began a structured examination of the alignment between the fundamental themes of sustainability and • 100,000 square feet the organization’s mission-driven goals—improved • Four stories resident health, reduced utility expenses, and lowered • 100 units (135 occupants1) maintenance costs, amongst others. •R  oof sloped to collect water from the entire roof square footage Affordable housing, narrowly defined, simply labels a set of walls and a roof as such, but this label of “affordThree different scenarios were modeled, each of which able” carries a deep societal significance. Affordable meets the requirements of the Water Petal. Each scehousing projects are often built without considering nario utilizes different systems to take advantage of their proximity to residents’ workplaces and schools, different exceptions if needed given a project’s specific the costs of operation or maintenance, the wages of regulatory or financial barriers (see graph on page 65 the construction workers, or the potential impacts and the full Framework for Affordable Housing for adon occupants’ health and wellness. The land and the ditional scenarios). buildings that Foundation Communities develops re not gauged merely by the condition of the soil or the semblance of the walls, but as strategic platforms that BUILDING FOR SUCCESS—INSIGHTS encourage families and individuals to stabilize and FROM FOUNDATION COMMUNITIES thrive. Over the last decade, with a deepening focus on sustainable inquiry, the rubric by which Foundation Since its founding in 1990, Foundation Communities Communities defines success has evolved—they are has provided first-class, affordable homes and robust casting a wider net . on-site support services for thousands of working NET POSITIVE WATER MODELING

1 C alculations based on 135 occupants: 50 studio/efficiency units (50 people); 40 one-bedroom units (60 people); 10 two-bedroom units (25 people)

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PHOTO: FOUNDATION COMMUNITIES

CAPITAL STUDIOS: AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THE HEART OF TEXAS

Housing, utilized the structure of the Challenge to guide planning and development. In fact, the charrette inspired them to seriously pursue Petal certification, with net zero energy being the primary focus.

Two years ago, the primary design charrette for Capital Studios, one of the case studies examined in the The practice of water management (how it is obtained, Living Building Challenge Framework for Affordable stored and utilized) is of enormous relevance to the future of Austin. On average, Austin receives nearly as much annual rainfall as Portland, OR—though in dramatically different precipitation patterns. SpecifiUNIT: G/C/D cally, most of Austin’s rain comes in sporadic, thunderGreywater potential ous deluges throughout much of the year. Summers are typically hot and humid with scarce rain. However, Rainwater potential since 2010, Texas has been in a drought on par with the drought of record. Though the drought has eased in the last year, climate change models suggest that central Texas will see a trajectory toward a drier climate interspersed with more intense storms. 69.3

20.4

20

CODE

DESIGNED

NET POSITIVE

FIGURE 27: Capital Studios: Water Use Comparisons

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In looking to present and future development patterns and practices in the city, precipitation patterns are dramatically impactful. All of Austin’s water is derived


from surface sources, primarily stored in two highland lakes that have dropped to only 34% of capacity over the last four years. Further, in a heavy storm event, which can easily drop seven inches of rain in a few hours, impervious cover and stormwater runoff have significant infrastructural and life-safety implications. As an example, in October 2013, the historically low-income Onion Creek neighborhood in southeast Austin saw its creek rise 11 feet in 15 minutes, destroying or damaging over a thousand homes and killing four people.

current fixtures and technology. The project achieved these water consumption numbers without incorporating rainwater capture and reuse. According to the project team, the extremely efficient fixtures require a bit more attention to detail to make sure they operate correctly; each fixture has to be calibrated to the water pressure of the unit in which it is installed. To meet the requirements of the Water Petal, the team would need to supply the required 20 gcd from captured rainwater or recycled site water, neither of which is currently planned for this project.

Capital Studios is located in downtown Austin’s central business district—the first affordable housing project in Austin’s downtown in over 40 years. The Capital Studios project has prioritized water conservation and the use of extremely efficient fixtures. With this project and others, Foundation Communities has demonstrated that a water conservation target of 20 gallons per capita per day (gcd), which is necessary to meet the Net Positive Water Imperative, is possible using

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PHOTO: FLICKR CC 68


PHOTO: FOUNDATION COMMUNITIES

THE LEARNING CENTER AT LAKELINE STATION APARTMENTS: COLLECTIVE PARTICIPATION

tive Water Imperative in the Learning Center building at Lakeline Station Apartments.

Nearly all of Foundation Communities’ projects have formal Learning Centers that provide a free, wellstructured afterschool program for children in the community. The Learning Centers work directly with the local elementary and middle schools to provide cross-curricular support and tutoring with a specific focus on STEM-related programming and physical fitness. In addition, during the evenings and weekends, the Learning Centers focus on adult education, from financial literacy courses to Zumba classes. The Learning Centers become the operative hearts of our At the 2014 Net Positive Conference, Foundation communities, where children and their parents learn, Communities attended the first stakeholder workshop, play and collaborate. which was focused around establishing collaboration for the Framework for Affordable Housing. It was there Located in northwest Austin, adjacent to a commuter that a pathway was established to successfully achieve rail line, Lakeline Station will be comprised of 128 1-, a fully certified Living Building within one of our next 2- and 3-bedroom apartments encircling a common communities. With this goal in mind, they are current- green. The site plan for Lakeline Station places its ly exploring meeting all requirements of the Net Posi- Learning Center at the head of the common green, Foundation Communities is exploring meeting all requirements of the Net Positive Water Imperative on the Lakeline Studios project, in Austin, TX. This project is a stand-alone community center serving a number of affordable housing developments. Similar to their approach with the Net Positive Energy Imperative, the developer intends to use this smaller project to demonstrate that rainwater collection and on-site water treatment are possible.

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PHOTO: FOUNDATION COMMUNITIES

PHOTO: FOUNDATION COMMUNITIES

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making it the only building in the community that will be visible from all of the apartments, with pedestrian paths connecting the Learning Center to every front door.

MORE FROM FOUNDATION COMMUNITIES Foundation Communities is a local, homegrown nonprofit. They provide affordable, attractive homes and free on-site support services for thousands of families with kids, as well as veterans, seniors and individuals with disabilities. They offer an innovative, proven model that empowers residents and neighbors to achieve educational success, financial stability and healthier lifestyles. They own and operate 18 communities in Austin and North Texas.

The respective goals of achieving net zero energy and water require vigorous occupant participation. Given the established Learning Center focus on STEMrelated curricula, combined with the numeric and systems-based nature of energy and water consumption and production, a vibrant synergy of purpose and means emerges. Similar opportunities for education and engagement are also relevant for other aspects of the building and its operation—from highlighting building material choices to structural system explorations to waste stream diversion. The Lakeline Learning Center has the opportunity to become more than merely a building, but a fundamentally pedagogic instrument for the community. Over the last three years, Foundation Communities has engaged in a variety of intensive resident education efforts focused on green living with a baseline goal to assist residents in saving money by reducing utility expenses. Experience has shown that the most effective means by which to educate entire families is through the children, who rapidly and actively absorb ideas, and then replant them within their own households. CULTURAL AND OPERATIONAL ADAPTATION Many of the systems and materials that will be deployed to achieve the Challenge, specifically those related to water and wastewater, are unfamiliar to Foundation Communities’ staff and residents and are often perceived to introduce risk, both operationally and in terms of cost. Maintenance staff are dedicated and often intrigued by these more sustainable techniques, but they are not systems engineers, and the operational budget doesn’t allow for regular hiring of outside consultants to maintain systems.

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With the future goal to pursue the Challenge at the scale of a full community, the smaller scale of the Learning Center, coupled with the fact that it requires comparatively small water and wastewater systems, is ideal for creating staff familiarity with little operational risk. Additionally, Foundation Communities is learning how to lead residents toward a new paradigm. Frankly, the residents who choose to live in the communities do so because of the beautiful properties, with robust support services, priced with affordable rents—not because it’s a Living Building. In the booming Austin market, where low-income families are being priced out of town, there are year-long waiting lists at all of their properties. Foundation Communities aims to lead people on the trajectory toward true sustainability—educating, adapting and innovating along the way.

SUNSHINE MATHON is the Design + Development Director for Foundation Communities

MARISA HAGNEY is a Technical Coordinator for the Living Building Challenge

JAMES CONNELLY is the Declare Manager for the Living Building Challenge

PHOTO: FOUNDATION COMMUNITIES

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LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE Framework for Affordable Housing A Pathway to Overcome Social, Regulatory and Financial Barriers to Achieving Living Building Challenge Certification in Affordable Housing

READ THE FULL REPORT: LIVING-FUTURE.ORG /AFFORDABLEHOUSING

Photo: Martin Tessler 73

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Stormwater never looked so sassy. Stylishly functional, this urban raingarden shapes a ‘sense of place’ for residents and visitors. Designs that trancend code, promote stewardship, and build community — this is where we excel.

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MOVING UPSTREAM SOLAR POWER BECOMES MORE ROBUST

CHANGE THE COURSE

Solar electricity gained a peg or two in the fight against

A historic event occured in 2014 that brought the Colorado

“solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than

The restoration project is a communal effort led by Change

cheap natural gas. According to a Deutsche Bank report, average electricity-bill prices in 47 U.S. states.” As solar

panel technology increases, efficiency and price decreases.

It is also estimated that solar will be the world’s biggest single source of electricity by 2050. Yay sun!

LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE IN HAWAII

River to the Sea of Cortez for the first time in many years.

the Course, a program of National Geographic and Sandra Postel that is working to bring much needed water to the parched landscape. “Perhaps more than anything, the

sacred reunion of river and sea symbolizes that we humans can choose to repair ecosystems that we might have once written off as gone.”

Hawaii’s proposed center would be an educational hub

for young leaders, and also a gathering place for locals and world. The center would have a K-12 Global Youth

12,000 RAIN GARDENS FOR PUGET SOUND

Leadership Academy, an action-oriented Convening Institute,

Rain gardens have been all the rage in the stormwater

Visitor Center. The facility would achieve Living Building

bioretention beauties have enormous capability to protect

a UH Center for Community Organizing, and an interactive

Challenge certification status, which exceeds LEED Platinum green building standard. The Barack Obama Foundation

would oversee the center’s capital campaign and design, construction, and program operations.

community, but their impact is often understated. These local waterways, in addition to serving as a fabulous

landscape feature. Washington State University Extension

has partnered with Stewardship Partners to encourage the creation of 12,000 rain gardens by 2016; this would be a triumph in protecting ecosystems across Puget Sound.

BIOPHILIC CITIES WEBINAR SERIES What are Biophilic Cities? What do they look and feel like

and what makes them biophilic? Watch this comprehensive webinar series that addresses these questions. The series is brought to you by leading practitioners working to bring abundant nature back into cities and reconnecting the natural world to urban places.

MAKING PROGRESS? Do you have a lead on cutting-edge green building progress in the region? Contact joanna-gangi@living-future.org with “Moving Upstream News Lead” in the subject line.

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FWD: READ THIS! CLICK

CLIMATE CHANGE IS UNEQUIVOCAL

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report in late 2014 that paints a pretty bleak future for our planet and details 10 things that we need to know about the warming of our planet. Climate change deniers (if you are still out there), this one is for you.

CLICK

THE DROUGHT: CURRENT CONDITIONS

The Pacific Institute provides a website completely dedicated to reporting on the current California drought. The state is in its third year of water scarcity, and the impacts are inescapable and extend well beyond the states borders. Stay up to date on latest news, and read the many publications produced on this important issue.

CLICK

Pope Francis has been making huge waves in the Catholic Church since his papal inauguration, with the latest news being his view on climate change. He expressed that man is mostly responsible for the weather anomalies that are all too quickly becoming the norm.

CLICK

If you have something that should be included here please send it to us at trimtab@living-future.org.

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THE LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE GOES TO CHINA

Glumac’s new office space in Shanghai, China is a beautiful example that marries modern architecture and sustainability. The match made in heaven is almost certainly the most sustainable office space on the continent and is the first in China to register under the Living Building Challenge. Check out the engineering firm’s office in the article...

CLICK

FWD: READ THIS!

POPE FRANCIS TAKES A STAND

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE RAIN SMELL

For many of us, the smell of rain brings a sense of calmness and nostalgia. Surprisingly enough, nobody has studied or documented the chemical process that results in that favored smell; until now. MIT researchers believe they have captured this common yet beloved phenomenon on video. Click to explore. 76


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