You are here: Home Making it Easier to Build Green! Case Studies All Case Studies

All Case Studies

Hybrid Wetpond/Wetland at Yauger Park LID Stormwater Facility
City of Olympia

Hybrid Wetpond/Wetland at Yauger Park LID Stormwater Facility

The Yauger Park Low Impact Development (LID) Project provides for enhanced water quality treatment, additional storage volume and an enhancement to the recreational facilities at the City of Olympia’s Yauger Park regional stormwater facility. This green infrastructure stormwater treatment project includes bioretention areas (Wetland and Wetponds) that harbor native flora and fauna to promote biofiltration. The bioretention areas of wetlands and wet ponds function as educational and recreational purposes for the community. It also functions to innovate Best Management Practices within each other for demonstration for private property owners and municipal jurisdictions.

Load Bearing Cob: Eco-Sense Home
Victoria, BC

Load Bearing Cob: Eco-Sense Home

Cob is an ancient building material made of clay, sand and straw. Once compacted, it is durable, energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing. The cob Eco-Sense building, home to Ann and Gord Baird, was a labor of love. The Bairds used a variety of innovative strategies to complete the permitting process, including wall sensors to track moisture levels, custom engineering for lateral load requirements, and a rototiller for cob mixture consistency. The house is efficient and uniquely harmonized with the family’s lifestyle and values.

Straw/Clay Insulation and Permeable wall system at Port Townsend Ecovillage
Port Townsend

Straw/Clay Insulation and Permeable wall system at Port Townsend Ecovillage

This permitted installation of straw/clay wall insulation had to meet Washington energy code and International Building Code standards. Existing code supplements from other states were referenced and applied by the building team and the approving building department. The straw/clay insulation filled a 12” thick split stud cavity in a single family structure at the Port Townsend Ecovillage. It appears that this was the first straw/clay house permitted in the State of Washington. The permit was issued in May of 2013

Crushed Glass Structural Fill at West Bay Business Park
City of Olympia

Crushed Glass Structural Fill at West Bay Business Park

Crushed glass cullet was used below a sidewalk as fill and leveling agent in place of sand and gravel at 304 West Bay Drive in Olympia, WA. The material is made up of glass otherwise unsuitable for typical glass recycling and is created at a local quarry. Due to knowledgeable building officials and engineering examiners in Olympia, the material proved to meet the IBC compaction requirements with no additional procedures to permit the project. The project was successfully completed and crushed glass cullet proved to be safe and cost effective.

Highest-Efficiency HRV without UL Listing for Futurefit Home
City of Portland

Highest-Efficiency HRV without UL Listing for Futurefit Home

To futurefit our home (remodel for the future) to the Passive House Standard, we air sealed to reduce air leakage by a factor of 5. Without this "accidental ventilation" we needed to add balanced, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. At the time, no UL-listed heat recovery ventilator (HRV) was available with the necessary combination of 75%+ effective heat transfer and low electrical consumption. The ZehnderAmerica CA 350 HRV was certified by the Passivhaus Institut (PHI) for superior performance, but it was not tested and listed by Underwriter's Laboratory (UL). The City of Portland allowed us to install it without UL listing as an alternate material through its Alternative Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC) process. We enjoy superior ventilation, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency with our HRV.

Kitchen Exhaust Ventilation with HRV at Ankeny Row
Portland

Kitchen Exhaust Ventilation with HRV at Ankeny Row

Green Hammer’s Ankeny Row homes meet the Passive House Standard with whole-house, balanced, continuous ventilation with heat recovery. This ventilation system includes an exhaust vent located in the kitchen. Code requires a direct-through-envelope, intermittent operation, high-volume range hood exhaust system. On appeal, Green Hammer demonstrated the passive house ventilation system is environmentally superior because it provides more ventilation than the code requires as well as heat recovery for greater energy efficiency. The City of Portland allowed this ventilation system as “an alternate method/material.”

Rainwater Harvesting for Potable Use at the Bertschi School
Seattle / King County Health

Rainwater Harvesting for Potable Use at the Bertschi School

The Bertschi School Living Science wing is an award-winning building completed in 2011, which includes a small classroom, science lab and ethnobotanical garden. It was the first building certified under the Living Building Challenge V2.0, considered to be the most stringent green building certification in the world. The LBC's Net-Zero Water imperative requires on-site supply, treatment and reuse of all the building's water needs. They met this in part by installing an innovative rainwater harvesting system that uses filtration and sanitation to treat water for potable use by the school's staff and students.

Portable Bio Retention Planters at Port of Seattle
King County/Port of Seattle

Portable Bio Retention Planters at Port of Seattle

The "Moving Green Infrastructure Forward" Project is a two-year stormwater monitoring project at Terminal 91, Port of Seattle. Using the Splash Boxx, a bioretention planter box used for stormwater management, the project compares the pollutant removal efficiency two bioretention soil mix designs: one with conventional sand/compost and another with volcanic sand/compost. Splash Boxx is recognized by the Washington Department of Ecology as equivalent to a bioretention facility, so the project was easily approved by the Port of Seattle. It was also designed consistent with City of Seattle guidelines for bioretention planter boxes.

Plumbing Air Admittance Valves at FutureFit Home
City of Portland

Plumbing Air Admittance Valves at FutureFit Home

We reduced air leakage and thermal bridges by replacing our through-roof plumbing waste piping vent system with a combination of air admittance valves (AAV) and a two-way, filtered outdoor valve. Oregon’s plumbing code recognized AAVs, but restricted their use to 3 per house and required one through-roof vent. On appeal, the City of Portland allowed us to install AAVs according to manufacturer’s guidelines so we could eliminate all through-roof vents, using the "alternate materials and methods" provision through its Alternative Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC) process.

Sanden CO2 Refrigerant Heat Pump Water Heater at FutureFit Home
City of Portland

Sanden CO2 Refrigerant Heat Pump Water Heater at FutureFit Home

Conventional heat pump water heating systems use synthetic refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP). Japanese engineers developed heat pump domestic hot water heaters (HPDHW) using CO2, an abundant, natural refrigerant in the 1990s (known as “Eco-Cute”). Oregon’s plumbing code prohibits installation of a domestic hot water heating system until it is tested and listed by a testing agency approved by the State of Oregon. Although Sanden’s Eco-Cute is not yet tested by an approved agency, the City of Portland allowed us to install the CO2 HPDHW system as an alternate material through its Alternative Technology Advisory Committee process.

Pin foundations for Low Impact-Clearwater Commons
Snohomish County

Pin foundations for Low Impact-Clearwater Commons

This sustainable community development of 16 homes used innovative Diamond Pier precast pin foundations to virtually eliminate soil disturbance and storm-water impacts on their hydrologically sensitive site, as a result, no excavation & grading permit was required. By implementing this technology as part of a low-impact development strategy for the whole development, Clearwater commons navigated a path to compliance that protected their watershed, while allowing more homes, that were more affordable than would have been possible with other low-impact development strategies

Ground source heat pump at 21 Acres Farm
King County

Ground source heat pump at 21 Acres Farm

The ground source heat pump used at 21 Acres farm helped to earn them a LEED Platinum certification. A geothermal system is the most efficient and healthy way to heat a building, with minimal environmental impact and long lasting performance. The heating/cooling system uses 1/4th the amount of energy as a conventional system, and when coupled with radiant floor heating, delivers an even dispersion of heat across the floor, making it suitable for buildings with high ceilings.

Graywater Reuse to Irrigate a Living Wall at Bertschi School
City of Seattle

Graywater Reuse to Irrigate a Living Wall at Bertschi School

The Bertschi School Living Science wing is an award-winning building located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, completed in 2011, which includes a small classroom, science lab and ethnobotanical garden. It was the first building certified under the Living Building Challenge V2.0, considered the most stringent green building certification in the world. Among other deep green features, the project reuses greywater from handwashing sinks to irrigate an interior living wall. This helped the project achieve “Net Zero Water” as defined by the Living Building Challenge, i.e. a building that collects, treats and infiltrates all water used on the site. To meet state and local code requirements, the greywater system had to have a conventional overflow connection to the city sewer but under normal operation, no water is sent down these pipes.

Solar Canopy at The Bullitt Center
City of Seattle

Solar Canopy at The Bullitt Center

The Bullitt Center aspires to be the "greenest commercial building in the world" by pursuing the Living Building Challenge which includes a net-zero energy goal to produce all the energy the building uses. The Northwest's variable amount and intensity of daylight affects solar production values, so scaling the system to meet the needs of a six-story building required a 244 kW array with 570 solar panels, which installed cover an area larger than the footprint of the building, overhanging the sidewalk below. Normally this would not be allowed, but a land use interpretation helped them gain approval.

CO2 Heat Pump Water Heater in Seattle Passive House
City of Seattle

CO2 Heat Pump Water Heater in Seattle Passive House

Seattle’s residential building code requires domestic hot water heating system be tested and listed by a testing agency approved by the State of Washington. in the 1990s, Japanese engineers developed heat pump domestic hot water heaters using CO2, an abundant, natural refrigerant. These systems are known as “Eco-Cute” which means environmentally-friendly hot water because using CO2 avoids conventional synthetic refrigerants which have high global warming potential (GWP). Although Sanden’s Eco-Cute is not yet tested by an approved agency, the City of Seattle’s Innovative Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC) recommends Hammer & Hand be permitted to install the CO2 system as an alternate material because of its superior performance and environmental attributes if it meets four conditions.

Commercial Composting Toilet at Lewis & Clark College
City of Portland

Commercial Composting Toilet at Lewis & Clark College

A composting toilet (M54W Trailhead) will be installed on the campus of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. Composting toilet systems generally provide a lower cost, lower impact option for restroom locations lacking existing access to utilities or in areas where improving access would be prohibitively expensive. Composting toilets provide significant environmental benefits when compared to conventional flush systems. In Portland, this system has the added benefit of reducing impacts on an already taxed sanitary and storm system, reducing its contribution to combined sewer overflows to the Willamette River.

Water Heating & Radiant Heat Combo at Birch House
City of Bellingham, WA

Water Heating & Radiant Heat Combo at Birch House

Bellingham’s residential building code requires domestic hot water heating system be tested and listed by a State-approved agency. In the 1990s, Japanese engineers developed heat pump domestic hot water heaters using CO2, an abundant, natural refrigerant – more environmentally-friendly because they avoid conventional synthetic refrigerants which have high global warming potential (GWP). Although Sanden’s “Eco-Cute” system was not yet UL listed, the City’s Building Official allowed [bundle] design studio to install the system as an alternate material because of its superior performance and environmental attributes, once it met outlined conditions. The unit has been in operation since October 2014.

Courtyard Lid over Parking at Marion Green Courtyard Townhomes
Seattle

Courtyard Lid over Parking at Marion Green Courtyard Townhomes

Marion Green Courtyard Townhomes is a new form of urban townhouse that utilizes a structured lid built over the top of surface parking, creating a pedestrian entry courtyard shared by all of the housing units. This new archetype mitigates the aesthetic impacts of parking areas, increases usable open space, and facilitates chance interaction to help build familiarity and community among neighbors. Gaining approval for this approach was a 7-year effort including lobbying for changes to the zoning code, then working with city agencies to resolve code compliance issues associated with the new building archetype.

Continuous Mineral Wool Insulation-Blakeley Manor
City of Seattle

Continuous Mineral Wool Insulation-Blakeley Manor

The Blakeley Manor project was one of several similar projects consisting of a full exterior wall rehabilitation to improve building envelope performance of an existing 4-story 70-unit senior housing facility owned and managed by the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA). Existing exterior wall cladding of stucco installed over wire lath and building paper was removed and replaced with an innovative assembly of new plywood sheathing, continuous, higher density mineral wool insulation covered with fiber cement siding to provide 1-hr fire rating for both “outside-in” and between floors. This was reviewed and approved through a code modification request.

Supply Laundry Historic Retrofit via Outcome-Based Energy Code
City of Seattle

Supply Laundry Historic Retrofit via Outcome-Based Energy Code

Adaptive redevelopment of the historic 110-year old Supply Laundry building, vacant for over a decade, required an upgrade to the stringent 2009 Seattle Energy Code. To maintain as much of the architectural character as possible, the owners partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the City on the nation’s first outcome-based energy code pilot project. In exchange for access to post-occupancy performance data, the City granted code flexibility in how energy targets were to be achieved.

zHome First Rainwater Harvesting for Indoor Use in Issaquah
Issaquah, WA

zHome First Rainwater Harvesting for Indoor Use in Issaquah

zHome is a zero net energy, highly sustainable, ten-unit market-rate townhome development, part of a mixed-income planned development. Led by the City of Issaquah Office of Sustainability as part of an innovative land deal, the builder received the land for no cost, and in exchange agreed to meet rigorous environmental benchmarks (e.g. net zero energy, 70% reduction in city water use). zHome was the first project in Issaquah permitted to use rainwater indoors for toilet flushing and laundry, using the Alternative Engineered Design Section 301.4 of the Uniform Plumbing Code. As a result, the project helped change code and add flexibility for green building innovations, and set an example for other small municipalities in the region.

Greywater Treatment & Infiltration at the Bullitt Center
Seattle, King Co, Washington

Greywater Treatment & Infiltration at the Bullitt Center

The Bullitt Center, arguably the greenest office building in the world, is certified by the International Living Future Institute having met the Living Building Challenge. The building is designed to capture and treat rainwater for all uses, and handle all wastewater on-site, including an innovative greywater treatment using a green roof constructed wetland and infiltration facility in the public right-of-way. Approval required multiple code waivers but the project was allowed extraordinary flexibility under the Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Ordinance.

Fire Safety in 8-storey CLT Wood Innovation Design Centre
Prince George, Britsh Columbia

Fire Safety in 8-storey CLT Wood Innovation Design Centre

Located in Prince George, British Columbia, at the time the six-storey, eight-level Wood Innovation Design Centre was the tallest multi-use wood building in North America at 29.5 meters (97 feet) tall. It is built from cross-laminated timber panels that have inherent fire-stopping qualities in order to demonstrate that tall wood buildings can be safe, cost-effective, and beautiful, while meeting the Provincial Government’s goal to push the limits of innovation beyond what was normally allowed by BC Building Codes.

Structural Strength of 8-Storey CLT Wood Innovation Design Centre
Prince George, British Columbia

Structural Strength of 8-Storey CLT Wood Innovation Design Centre

Located in Prince George, British Columbia, the six-storey, eight-level Wood Innovation Design Centre was the tallest multi-use wood building in North America at 29.5 meters (97 feet) tall. It's structural frame is built from cross laminated timber (CLT) panels and other laminated wood members to demonstrate that tall wood buildings can be structurally sound, cost-effective and beautiful. The Provincial Government’s goal was to push the limits of innovation beyond what was normally allowed by BC Building Codes.

Exterior Cork Insulation at Emerson St. House
City of Portland, OR

Exterior Cork Insulation at Emerson St. House

From the living roof to its permeable driveway and attached accessory dwelling unit, this new construction, PHIUS+ certified home beautifully promotes Passive House and net-zero energy building. The home’s highly energy-efficient wall assembly includes 3” of expanded cork insulation board on the outside which was initially rejected by the code official as a non-conforming assembly required to be 1-hour UL listed fire-rated assembly. The cork insulation was approved through a code appeal.

Bullitt Center the first Mass Timber Building in Seattle in 80 years
City of Seattle

Bullitt Center the first Mass Timber Building in Seattle in 80 years

The Bullitt Center, arguably the “greenest office building in the world” was the first mass timber commercial building constructed in Seattle in over 80 years. It has a structural frame of glulam columns and beams, floor decks of 2x6” lumber set on edge and “nail-laminated” together, and plywood used for structural diaphragm and shear wall panels – all conforming to prescriptive code requirements. 100% of the wood used in the project was FSC certified from local sources to meet the rigorous standards of the “Living Building Challenge.”

Extended Eave w/ Sprinkler Protection at Ankeny Row
City of Portland, OR

Extended Eave w/ Sprinkler Protection at Ankeny Row

Ankeny Row is an environmentally-friendly, socially engaging cohousing community in Portland, Oregon with five townhomes, a loft apartment and a community hall surrounding a central courtyard. A Passive House development with a net-zero energy goal, the buildings use an airtight super-insulated building envelope, innovative heat recovery ventilation and passive solar strategies to sharply reduce energy demand. Extended 48” deep eaves that shade the large south facing windows on the topmost floor, and a combustible material wood deck were approved after two successful code appeals, by including fire sprinkler protection.

Harvesting Rain to Drink at Bacon-Brenes Home spurred New Codes
City of Portland, OR

Harvesting Rain to Drink at Bacon-Brenes Home spurred New Codes

This home was one of the first in Oregon to permit rainwater for drinking. By pioneering a potable rainwater innovation, the owners and the design/build team helped spur Portland to become an early adopter of a city-wide rainwater harvesting code in 2004. The specialty designer on this project was landscape architect Pat Lando who himself has gone on to pioneer many advanced strategies for treating stormwater and recycling graywater and blackwater.

Plywood-over-Foam “Martha Wall” at City Cabins® Homes
Cities of Seattle, Shoreline, WA

Plywood-over-Foam “Martha Wall” at City Cabins® Homes

To improve thermal performance of her townhome development “City Cabins” while keeping material and labor costs to a minimum, builder Martha Rose devised a “plywood-over-foam” wall assembly designed to provide greater insulation, air sealing and thermal break. With her engineer’s stamp, City of Seattle and Shoreline have accepted her innovative design numerous times through prescriptive code compliance.

Thermal Break Shear Wall at Sage Green
Washington County, OR

Thermal Break Shear Wall at Sage Green

For this 5-unit entry-level, zero-net-energy subdivision in Washington County, Oregon, the builder used an innovative “Thermal Break Shear” (TBS) wall assembly with rigid foam insulation between the lumber framing and plywood sheathing in an otherwise conventional light-frame wall assembly. The Code Official required proof the proposed shear wall assembly would be capable to resist code level seismic forces, so the builder contracted with Oregon State University to perform destructive seismic testing, which demonstrated not only that the assembly complies with structural code, but surprisingly, TBS wall is significantly more resilient in an earthquake than a conventional wall.

Document Actions
  • Print this Print this
Enter a keyword to search for code innovations.

Advanced Search