Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The World's Greenest Building?

Even though Independence Station will not include a hotel component per se (although it will have units for daily and weekly rental) when it is completed in 2010, the mixed-use structure is most definitely a project worth checking out. Located in Independence, Ore., Independence Station is on track to become the world's greenest building, according to Aldeia, LLC, the building's developer. The 40 percent complete, 57,000-square-foot structure will house offices, retail space, a restaurant, research facilities, classroom space and 15 residential units. Aldeia is pursuing the world's highest (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) LEED rating ever awarded for new construction.

What makes Independence Station unique? The building will boast a 120-kilowatt installation of photovoltaic panels. During sunny months, the panels will produce more than enough energy to run the building, store extra energy in a large battery bank for nighttime use as well as feed power back into the grid. In cooler, cloudier months, the building will rely more on a biodiesel-fueled cogeneration and thermal storage system, including a retired tug-boat engine affectionately named Mabel, which will serve as a backup and run on waste vegetable oil from local restaurants.

Radiant floor heating and cooling, displacement ventilation, solar water heating, day lighting design, an ice-based cooling storage system, water-based ground source heat pump, and extensive use of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are some of the systems that will minimize Independence Station’s “off the grid” energy consumption.

Independence Station is expected to exceed the strict Oregon Energy Code by 74 percent. In fact, Independence Station is expected to operate in a carbon negative manner. Because enough rainwater is stored in the winter to supply 100 percent of the building’s needs for laundry, toilet flushing and irrigation of the both the green roof and planned 40-foot interior vertical “urban garden,” water consumption records are expected to fall as well.

The current LEED record holder, a Canadian project, has a score of 63 out of a possible 69 points. At its completion next year, Independence Station will likely earn between 64 and 66 points, bringing the top score back to the United States.

No comments: