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2009 EcoDensity Initiative for accessory dwellings in Vancouver BC
City of Vancouver, Britsh Columbia

2009 EcoDensity Initiative for accessory dwellings in Vancouver BC

The city of Vancouver, British Columbia created the EcoDensity Initiative and relaxed regulations to encourage the construction of laneway houses with the intention of increasing density and creating alternative housing options in an unaffordable housing market. Since the inception of the program over 2,660 permits have been issued and density has been increased without altering the character of the neighborhoods.

Lyon Creek Flood Mitigation Project Restores Salmon Habitat in Lake Forest Park
City of Lake Forest Park

Lyon Creek Flood Mitigation Project Restores Salmon Habitat in Lake Forest Park

Pacific Northwest salmon sustain ecosystems we depend upon, yet road and highway culverts block them from reaching upstream nesting redds. A 2013 court decision mandates culvert infrastructure be replaced with more environmentally sound solutions. Lyon Creek Flood Mitigation (LCFM) is an award winning example of 21st-century green infrastructure improving wetland parks near a suburban shopping center.

Tiny Home OM Village Portable Shelters in Madison, WI
City of Madison, WI

Tiny Home OM Village Portable Shelters in Madison, WI

Occupy Madison Village (OM Village) is a tiny home eco-village that affordably houses previously homeless individuals and couples. Through an innovative zoning process established in city code, OM Inc (OMI), the associated non-profit, negotiated with neighbors and city officials to amend their site’s pre-existing zoning map from Neighborhood Mixed-Use to a self-designed Planned Development District.

Super Insulated Earth at Calliope Farm in Olympia, WA
Thurston County, WA

Super Insulated Earth at Calliope Farm in Olympia, WA

Joseph Becker, Olympia-based natural builder, utilized light straw-clay insulation, perforated plywood shear wall, and expanded cork insulation in the earthen wall system of Calliope Farm’s new residential farmhouse. Using thermal resistance R-values from existing code supplements and references from the cork manufacturer, Becker proved his innovative wall system would exceed WA Energy Code. Sufficient evidence showed that a vapor-permeable wall system adequately managed moisture, thus annulling the required vapor barrier.

2018 Tiny Houses Appendix Q in International Residential Code
International Code Council

2018 Tiny Houses Appendix Q in International Residential Code

Responding to the urgent need for building code provisions for tiny houses advocates came together using the International Code Council's (ICC) Public Comment process to develop and gain approval for the new Appendix Q Tiny Houses for the 2018 IRC. Though many jurisdictions won't adopt the 2018 IRC for some time, in the interim, the appendix will still provide guidance and aid in the approval process for those pursuing tiny house projects.

2005 ASTM Standard E2392 for Earthen Wall Systems
ASTM International

2005 ASTM Standard E2392 for Earthen Wall Systems

This consensus standard was developed by an international task group to serve both U.S. and international needs for sound technical guidance for earthen wall systems, incorporating sustainable building and development goals, and including affordability and use by people of all economic circumstances. It has improved both building safety and recognition of the value of earthen construction internationally.

2005 Rainwater Harvesting Manual reduces potable water use in Tucson, AZ
City of Tucson, Arizona

2005 Rainwater Harvesting Manual reduces potable water use in Tucson, AZ

In a region where fresh water is considered a precious resource, Tucson Arizona's Water Harvesting Guidance Manual was developed to reduce dependence on existing sources while improving stormwater management. The Manual provides basic information and concepts for developers, engineers, designers and contractors of commercial sites, public buildings, subdivisions and public rights-of-way, to meet stormwater related Land Use Code requirements. The Manual is also useful for water harvesting for residential sites.

McGilvra "Living Park" at the Bullitt Center in Seattle
City of Seattle, WA

McGilvra "Living Park" at the Bullitt Center in Seattle

On a busy corner in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the developers of the Bullitt Center partnered with neighbors and the City to renovate a run-down public park into a vibrant public tree-lined plaza that quickly became a hub of urban activity. It’s right next to the world’s greenest office building, the Bullitt Center in Seattle, WA.

Seattle Goes Deep Green with Living Building Pilot Ordinance
City of Seattle, WA

Seattle Goes Deep Green with Living Building Pilot Ordinance

In December 2009 the City of Seattle wrote a page in the history of green building leadership, when their City Council adopted Ordinance 123206, establishing the Living Building Pilot Program. The Program’s goal is to promote buildings that meet the Living Building Challenge (full Certification or Petal Recognition) by providing flexibility in development standards in Seattle’s Land use codes. The Bullitt Center building in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood was the first to be built under the Program.

Human Waste Treatment and Water Reuse at Hassalo on Eighth
City of Portland, OR

Human Waste Treatment and Water Reuse at Hassalo on Eighth

American Assets Trust developed this mixed-use three-building project that spans four blocks as part of Portland’s Lloyd EcoDistrict. The three buildings share one of the largest natural organic recycling treatment systems in the US, which treats all the buildings' wastewater (including human waste from toilets) for reuse for toilet flushing, mechanical cooling and below surface landscape irrigation in an urban setting. It was permitted as a Water Pollution Control Facility with two on-site injection dry wells. The project showcases the economic and ecological benefits of district scale onsite wastewater treatment and reuse.

Seattle's Hope Church gets 100% Rainwise Rebate for Cisterns
City of Seattle

Seattle's Hope Church gets 100% Rainwise Rebate for Cisterns

Seattle’s Rainwise program found that large buildings capture and treat stormwater more efficiently than single family homes. The city’s innovative rebate program awarded 100% of the cost for a cistern and irrigation system at a South Seattle church, covering both design and installation, to capture 142,000 gallons of stormwater per year and effectively reduce the force of peak storm flows.

Net Zero Water, Net Zero Energy Full Plane Passive House in Portland
City of Portland

Net Zero Water, Net Zero Energy Full Plane Passive House in Portland

The Full Plane Passive House gives modern form and presence to the owner’s ecological and social values, while providing a playful environment for her son to grow and be educated in sustainable living in the City. To meet net-zero water goals she combined stormwater catchment, graywater irrigation for her living landscape and composting toilets. It all complied with Oregon’s statewide alternative water re-use plumbing rules adopted a decade before many other US Cities even considered it.

Emerald Star Home is Net-Positive Energy in Seattle, WA
City of Seattle, WA

Emerald Star Home is Net-Positive Energy in Seattle, WA

In the heart of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, this home offers an iconic example of an advanced high-performance home. It was the first project in Seattle, and the first speculative home, to achieve Built Green’s new Emerald Star rating , and has won a raft of awards and other recognition. The Emerald Star home uses design, innovative materials and technology to achieve net-positive energy, 70% reduction in water use and 90% reclaimed and/or FSC-Certified wood.

2008 Indoor Graywater Reuse Policies in Oregon
State of Oregon

2008 Indoor Graywater Reuse Policies in Oregon

Oregon created a permit pathway for using graywater to flush toilets and urinals in 2008, becoming the tenth US state to do so. To date less than a half dozen projects in the State (at least one residential, one institutional, and two food coops) have utilized this alternative method and most of them have uninstalled the systems. Treating and storing graywater to meet the high quality standard required is often cost-prohibitive. Several large-scale projects like Hassalo on Eighth and OHSU’s Collaborative Health Building have found it more cost effective to treat all combined wastewater for reuse together (including gray- and blackwater).

2011 Outdoor Graywater Reuse Policies in Oregon
State of Oregon

2011 Outdoor Graywater Reuse Policies in Oregon

In 2011, Oregon created a permit pathway for reusing graywater to water landscapes in commercial and residential projects. There are three tiers to the permits,based on the level of treatment needed for final end use of the graywater. To date twenty-six tier 1 permits have been granted and one tier 2. The rules establish treatment and monitoring requirements, setbacks, access and exposure controls, site management practices and an annual renewal fee.

2014 EcoToilet Incentive in Falmouth Massachusetts
Town of Falmouth, Massachusetts

2014 EcoToilet Incentive in Falmouth Massachusetts

The town of Falmouth, Massachusetts near Cape Cod, authorized funding for a pilot project to evaluate the efficacy, installation cost and public acceptance of both composting and urine-diverting toilets (called Eco-toilet Demonstration Program). Homeowners were given rebates and other incentives (called the Falmouth Eco-Toilet Incentive Program) to encourage them to use eco-toilets. Massachusetts is the first state to give a variance to allow urine-diverting fixtures and site-built composting toilets, which do not have ‘product acceptance’ in Massachusetts

Crushed Glass Fill at Little Rock Housing Project
Tumwater

Crushed Glass Fill at Little Rock Housing Project

Construction of a 40-unit apartment complex with a 1,000 square-foot community building. Plus an additional 8 units in a future phase, bringing the total to 48 units. Site was developed with Glass Cullet (made from crushed bottles diverted from municipal waste) as a 100% substitute fill material to construct a slab-on-grade foundation capillary break, and for waterline pipe zone bedding. Approval of the alternative material required endorsement of geotechnical engineer and warrant by subcontractor of product quality, using manufacturer supplied 3rd-party product testing data. Glass cullet provided a low-cost, highly workable, permeable and structurally stable (equal or better) alternative material that is also clean and safe for workers and the environment.

Sandoval Masonry Heater
Lacey

Sandoval Masonry Heater

Replacing an old and poorly installed fireplace resulted in the construction of a handcrafted brick and plaster masonry heater. The owner/builder faced fire hazard concerns, structural hurdles, and indoor air quality standards but used hands-on experience and an extensive support network to see the project become the centerpiece of her household.

Undersized heating system at North Passive House
Olympia

Undersized heating system at North Passive House

High efficiency, building science and technology make a house that is extremely airtight and insulated. It differs from standard design in that a large central heating system is not required. The project’s uniqueness challenged the building official to find a way to permit a smaller-than-standard heating system while still adhering to all building code regulations and generally assumed rules. The building official used the authority found in WSEC Section 103 – Alternate Materials. The heating system was permitted with a caveat that the home’s heat load be monitored over the pilot year, and, in the case of sub-standard heating, a prescriptive heating system be installed. The structure also had to meet all Washington State Energy Code Heat Load requirements.

Permeable ICF wall system at GRuB Education Center
Olympia

Permeable ICF wall system at GRuB Education Center

Garden Raised Bounty is a non-profit environmental learning center built upon the generosity of a whole community. The first-floor walls were constructed with Faswall ICF’s (insulated concrete forms), creating an efficient open-diffusion permeable wall system. Non prescriptive parts to this project include custom engineering for an ICF, energy code compliance an non prescriptive wall assembly.

Ensley Street Strawbale ADU
Tumwater

Ensley Street Strawbale ADU

This project was primarily challenging due to innovative insulation technique (straw bales); Tumwater and Thurston County jurisdictions were previously inexperienced with this type of engineering. Due to material choices based on ecologically based decision making, straw bale walls were approximately 2’ thick, this required extra discussion to verify footprint, whether to count sq ft from internal or external footprint of house—an important qualification to meet ADU permitting guidelines.

Structural Insulated Panels as a Roof at Far Reach Home
Thurston County

Structural Insulated Panels as a Roof at Far Reach Home

This home’s exterior envelope was constructed entirely from Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), and the interior was heated with a Ductless Heat Pump and included a Heat Recovery Ventilator for indoor air quality, all resulting in an extremely airtight, energy efficient non-standard home. While no building codes were ignored, the home incorporates several systems many building officials may be unfamiliar with. There is no code section detailing the use of SIPs as a roof structure, however an engineer or architect may sign off on this usage. Premier SIPs, the company that supplied the Panels, offers technical information for SIPs in roofing and other non-prescriptive uses. Plans were only approved after several educational meetings with Thurston County Building Officials, including Rowland Zoeller, Scott Bergford, his designer, and several building scientists.

GRuB Farmhouse Zoning Case Study
Olympia

GRuB Farmhouse Zoning Case Study

GRuB (Garden-Raised Bounty) was a project with a lot of community support. Local outreach and a history of service to the area were factors that led to this non-profit’s headquarters being located in a Single Family Residence neighborhood with a conditional use permit. Their facility includes a 5-Star Green Built farmhouse, which they use to stage their activities that provide fresh produce and garden beds for low to no-income households in the South Puget Sound area. GRuB Farmhouse was permitted to build a commercially designated building in a single family residence zone in Olympia, WA. This was accomplished by the acquisition of a conditional use permit through the City of Olympia.

Undersized Heating System with DHP & HRV at Far Reach Home
Thurston County

Undersized Heating System with DHP & HRV at Far Reach Home

This technology was permitted as a part of the home’s larger, airtight design. This home is constructed from Structural Insulated Panels and only requires 7800 BTU to heat, however the smallest DHP available produces 21000 BTU. Thanks to much education, the building official was willing to permit this technology, understanding that despite challenging the code, this solution was the most efficient for the home’s overall design

Methane CoGen System - District Energy at LOTT Building
City of Olympia

Methane CoGen System - District Energy at LOTT Building

All of Thurston County, Tumwater, Olympia, and Lacey's wastewater is cycled through the LOTT alliance. Methane is a natural bi-product of the entire water treatment process. This methane needs to be either used or disposed of, most companies doing the latter. The LOTT Alliance chose to recycle this methane using an innovative technology, the Co-Generation System that turns the methane into electricity. To permit this system, it first had to meet several key requirements.

Photovoltaic Roof Mounted Array at Washington Middle School
Olympia

Photovoltaic Roof Mounted Array at Washington Middle School

Washington Middle School installed a 1.1 KW solar photovoltaic array on the roof of the library. The permit for the panels took over four months to be approved. The panels were installed as part of the Washington State Senate Bill 5509. The panels offset energy costs throughout the school.

Washington Middle School Rain Water Harvesting
Olympia

Washington Middle School Rain Water Harvesting

Washington Middle School installed a rainwater catchment system. There is a large fiberglass cistern in the ground used to collect rain water from the roof. This system uses the water from the cistern to flush toilets throughout the school. Although no permits were obtained for the school to install the system, the catchment system was installed as part of the Washington State Senate Bill 5509.

Composting Toilets at the Six-Story Bullitt Center
City of Seattle

Composting Toilets at the Six-Story Bullitt Center

The Bullitt Center is a unique, first-of-its kind office building in downtown Seattle at 1501 Madison Street. The building is designed to meet the rigorous standards of the Living Building Challenge (LBC), including Net Zero Energy and Net Zero Water. Working directly with the City of Seattle and their LBC pilot program, new technologies and design elements for sustainability were permitted or allowed through conditional-use permits, variances, and exclusive permissions from the city. Micro-foam-flush marine toilets with an onsite composting system are used to help achieve the Net Zero Water goal and adhere to the requirements of the city’s pilot program.

Porous Asphalt at Yauger Park LID Stormwater Facility
City of Olympia

Porous Asphalt at Yauger Park LID Stormwater Facility

The Yauger Park Low Impact Development (LID) Project provides for enhanced water quality treatment, additional storage volume and improvements to the recreational facilities at the City of Olympia’s Yauger Park regional stormwater facility. In this case study, the permeable pavement (porous Asphalt) at the Yauger Park Low Impact Development (LID) Project is examined. Federal funding under the “American Recovery Act” was used to build a demonstration project employing environmentally sensitive Best Management Practices (BMPs). There are several environmental innovations being used at this one site, and permeable pavement is just one.

Subsidized Housing in a Light Industrial Zone at Quixote Village
City of Olympia

Subsidized Housing in a Light Industrial Zone at Quixote Village

This case examines the partnership between the residents of Camp Quixote – a self-governing tent community of homeless adults – and Panza, their nonprofit support organization, Thurston County and the City of Olympia, to site a permanent supportive housing community in a light industrial zone. This required a comprehensive plan amendment and a zoning code amendment adopted by the Olympia City Council over the objections of neighboring commercial property owners, as well as a conditional use permit. On Christmas Eve, 2013 Quixote Village welcomed its previously homeless residents to their new homes, which include a 1700 sq. common house with shared facilities, and 30 individual “tiny house” 144 sq. ft. sleeping units.

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