What Makes It Green?
by Candace Christensen
The third annual "What Makes It Green?" conference, with a focus on design integration, continued a tradition of bringing awareness of sustainable architecture to the Pacific Northwest. The conference was sponsored by the AIA Seattle Committee on the Environment and the City of Seattle.
The line-up included keynote speaker Pliny Fisk III, a design charrette led by regional engineering and daylighting experts, a green-building tour, a multi-perspective presentation on green roofs, and a lively panel discussion on "What Makes It Green?" project submissions.
Maximizing the Potential of Buildings
Respected as a pioneer in sustainability, Pliny Fisk III opened the conference with a call to go beyond energy conservation to regain balance in the global environment. For over 25 years, Fisk and his nonprofit Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems (CMPBS) have been pushing the envelope of architectural problem-solving and design methodology.
The "green balance" perspective at CMPBS emphasizes that byproducts of creating are as important as the products themselves. So, for example, to reduce carbon dioxide — a contributing cause of the global greenhouse effect — CMPBS wants to reduce the use of carbon-dioxide-producing Portland cement, found in the ubiquitous building material, concrete.
Their green balance perspective has lead CMPBS to develop concrete that uses fly ash as a total replacement for Portland cement while retaining the strength suitable for structural concrete.
NBBJ's Seattle Justice Center will feature a "green roof" as an amenity for building occupants that also reduces stormwater runoff.
For Pliny Fisk III and the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, "green" means looking for balance in the building, its construction, and its entire context.
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