Feature Article - March 2008
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Easy Being Green

By Dawn Klingensmith

Exemplars in Eco-Friendly
Design and Materials Usage

IslandWood Outdoor Learning Center, Bainbridge Island, Wash.

  • High-performance windows optimize solar heat and reduce energy consumption
  • All concrete contains 50 percent fly ash, a waste product of coal
  • Utilized computer modeling to locate windows and operable skylights for maximum air circulation, eliminating the need for air conditioning
  • Entry mats made from recycled tires
  • Roof rainwater collected and used for landscape irrigation
  • Flooring assembled from salvaged wood, or sustainable or rapidly renewable materials such as cork, bamboo and recycled rubber
  • Solar-heated water used in kitchen, restrooms and laundry facility
  • Bathrooms feature recycled glass tiles; stall partitions are recycled plastic
  • Photovoltaic roof panels on educational studios provide 50 percent of lighting and electrical needs
  • Composting toilets obviate water use
  • Countertops made from recycled yogurt container composite
  • Straw-bale walls (creative arts studio)
  • Throw rugs woven from upholstery remnants and discarded clothing (bunkrooms)

Seattle Parks and Recreation

  • Grass-crete, reinforced turf or open-grid paving system used for parking surfaces minimizes stormwater (Judkins Park)
  • Completely transparent roofs atop sheds and small accessory buildings reduce need for power-generated light sources (Greenwood and Little Brook parks)
  • Occupant sensors and photo-sensitive light switches save energy and reduce operating costs (Lincoln Reserve Shelter House)
  • Broken-up concrete used as a retaining wall (Soundview and Judkins parks)
  • Photovoltaic and solar hot water systems reduce utility bills (Carkeek Environmental Learning Center)
  • Downspout-connected rain barrels and cisterns complement drought-tolerant plants to drastically lower water consumption (Bradner Gardens, Carkeek)
  • Infiltration vault for improved stormwater management (High Point Community Center)
  • Extensive shading on building's south side reduces summer solar gain (Yesler Community Center)
  • Sustainably harvested maple used for gymnasium floor (Yesler)