A facility in Seattle, built to meet the city’s green building certification program, was allowed to bend the local building codes to get its sustainable initiatives to work and be viable, reports Sourceable.
The Bullitt Center (pictured) features solar panels that generates all of its on-site electricity, a green roof seeded with micro-organisms that captures and cleans rainwater, floor-to-ceiling windows that open and close automatically to regulate the temperature; and composting toilets.
To make these things work, the office building was allowed to add 2 to 3 feet to the height of each floor to allow more sunlight in, resulting in an additional 10 feet in overall building height.
The city has since incorporated some of these deviations into its building code to encourage sustainable buildings.
“We need codes and regulations that don’t just require the minimum, but also expect the best. Green building codes — that are starting to catch on in the US — embrace not only the sustainability imperative but also the inherent flexibility needed in regulations to prioritize energy, health, and environmental goals above and beyond the safeguards that codes already require.,” US Green Building Council technical policy director Jeremy Sigmon tells Sourceable. “Since codes also set the context for building product manufacturing, it’s important to have green codes that can standardize many of the sustainability expectations while also leaving room for much-needed innovation.”
In August, USGBC, ASHRAE, the International Code Council, the American Institute of Architects and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America signed a memorandum to collaborate on the development of Standard 189.1, the International Green Construction Code and the LEED green building program.
Construction of green buildings rose to 325 million square meters of new floor space in 2013, representing a $260 billion market, according to an October report by Lux Research.