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City looks toward greener buildings.

Byline: Diane Dietz / The Register-Guard

The city of Eugene is poised to adopt a green building standard for all city buildings larger than 10,000 square feet. The City Council will take up the issue on July 10 and, based on previous discussions, the standards are a shoo-in.

If anything, councilors will push for an even stricter set of requirements for energy efficiency, nontoxic building materials and waste-limiting processes, said Mike Penwell, Eugene design and construction manager.

The standards were established by the U.S. Green Building Council and they range from a flat certification, up to silver, then gold and platinum.

Depending on the level of standard, components can include such things as low-flow toilets, computer-controlled shutters, solar heating and recyclable building materials. The top, platinum standard requires a building to use no more energy than it generates itself.

Eugene is lagging behind on the green policy front. Seattle and Portland adopted silver standard requirements in the past six years, and they've since stepped up to gold.

Penwell recommends that Eugene start with silver.

That would increase the upfront costs of large buildings - for example, a new city hall - by $75,000 to $100,000, he said.

Over time, however, the energy savings would more than make up for the costs, he said.

The city planning staff is gung-ho on green building and it's using three private projects, including the one by Jeff Wilson-Charles near the Ferry Street Bridge, as a demonstration of how smoothly plan approval, permitting and inspections can go, even with new and unusual features.

"They want to use this to put to rest the idea that this can't be done," said Gene Johnson, engineer for the Eugene-based Solarc Architecture & Engi- neering.

In the meantime, green building expertise among Eugene's designers, engineers and contractors is snowballing.

Recent green projects:

The Fairmont Square Rowhouses, which went up this winter at 15th Avenue and Walnut Street will put in for residential certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Crescent Village in North Eugene, which is starting construction on 20 townhomes, is registering with Earth Advantage, an alternative energy, air quality and resource efficiency program.

Builders of the downtown federal courthouse, which is slated to open in September, are shooting to meet the building council's silver standard.

The Slocum building, a four-story medical office that will replace the Goodwill store on Coburg Road in 2007, will also strive for certification.

The Lillis Business Complex on the University or Oregon campus met the silver-level standards; the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines building in Springfield went a step above, to gold.
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Title Annotation:Business; New standards are in store for new construction say Eugene planning staff
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 13, 2006
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