Future Energy Conference: John Russell on cleaner buildings
By Andy Giegerich
Digital Managing Editor
Portland developer John Russell said fixing 200 Market's energy issues required many little steps.
When John Russell began redeveloping the 200 Market Building around 1988, it was, in his words, "an asbestos building."
Two years later, the building was clean. Sixteen years later, it earned Leadership in Environment and Energy Design "Gold" status. By 2010, that U.S. Green Building Council designation was bumped up to "Platinum."
"There's an old adage that energy efficiency doesn't come from a silver bullet," Russell told seminar attendees at Wednesday's Future Energy Conference, in North Portland. "It's many little things you do that lead up to a big thing."
At 200 Market, those steps included many such "little things."
- When Russell bought it, the city water system only supplied enough pressure to flow up to the fourth floor. Clunky pumps were required to get more water to the upper floors. "It was like having a weightlifter standing there," Russell said as he raised his arms above his head, "holding weights when you could just put it on a shelf." A new gravity-based system fixed the problem. "It wasn't rocket science," Russell said.
- A fresh-air cooling system not only cut costs, it reduced carbon dioxide in the the structure, making it more attractive to tenants.
- Variable frequency fans helped reduce blockage in ducts that prevented air from reaching offices during Portland's hottest months.
- Occupancy sensors now regulate lighting in stairwells and in nearly every building corridor.
- The same types of sensors were installed in the parking garage. Russell also installed variable frequency fans triggered by carbon dioxide sensors to flush the facility of noxious gasoline odors.
The next step for Russell?
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