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Portland’s Twelve West

December 28, 2010

Season’s greetings to you, my dearest readers! How have you been? I hope you are enjoying some time with family and friends.

Well, as many of you know, I’m quite intrigued by the environmental scene in Portland, OR. Today I came across a new multi-use building, the Indigo 12 West designed by ZGF Architects. The 550,000 square foot building houses apartments, offices, roof terraces, parking and retail space and is anticipating LEED platinum certification. The most notable feature of the building are the four wind turbines that top the structure, but most of the energy savings is tucked into the structure and less visible.

photo: Brian Libby

The building has a highly efficient HVAC system and an array of flat-plate solar hot water heaters on the roof that provide nearly a quarter of the domestic hot water use. Many of the materials were chosen carefully as this article via Eco-Structure explains:

Recycled materials include 100 percent corn-fiber curtains, linoleum flooring, recycled-denim insulation, and 96 percent recycled, locally manufactured gypsum wallboard. Locally sourced concrete and natural materials also were specified throughout the building.

More than half of the wood used in the office space is Forest Stewardship Council certified. The designers selected bamboo for veneers on doors, casework, flooring, and cabinets, and the office lobby’s wood siding was salvaged from an old trolley barn. An artist crafted the reception desk from wood salvaged from a 270-year-old walnut tree that was felled in Salem, Ore., because it was diseased.

I’m also particularly fond of the use of a vegetated roof and rainwater recovery system. The building has a 23,000 gallon cistern which satisfies all irrigation needs and provides water to flush toilets in the offices.

Another thing I like about this building is that it is designed to incorporate residents and occupants with the urban environment. 12 West is partnered with B-Line, a fairly new company that facilitates urban delivery among local businesses via bicycle. So, if you want your dry cleaning delivered, or local produce, you can have all the conveniences of city life without incurring transportation emissions.

Check out the building here and this article to learn more about it’s environmental features (it just won an honorable mention 2010 Evergreen award).

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