How Green Was My Spinach

The planet is warming. Every person and every business should consider the carbon impact of every purchase. Pringle Creek does. Unfortunately, most people and businesses don’t care enough to do that thinking. Governments will need to tax carbon, we suspect; people and businesses do care about prices.

For now, those of us who care could use more information. From The Daily Score, the weblog of Sightline Instititute, “Look for the Onion Label:”

British supermarket chain Tesco--apparently, the world's fourth-largest retailer--is going to start labelling the carbon footprint of its foods.

Most of the remainder of the Daily Score item is about how complicated it will be to compile this information—and even to decide what should be included. The gasoline used to drive the workers to the farm to pick the crops? If you buy a loaf of bread you need to know how much energy the commercial oven used. How will that compare with the rice you still need to cook at home?

Such labelling information would be complicated but probably still useful, so we would love to see it in the US. But for now, for those of us who care, it’s enough to know a few things. 1) Where the food is from, so when we compare apples with apples, we can buy Washington instead of New Zealand. 2) Whether the food is organically grown. 3) That cows “emit” methane, a greenhouse gas that is 10-20 times worse than carbon dioxide, they eat feed crops that require energy inputs, and cows cause many other bad environmental effects. However, it is unknown whether the wild animals that roamed 200 years ago were any better.

Buying locally grown food is heathier, fresher, better for our local economy, and it causes less carbon. We’re so lucky to live in one of the world’s greatest agricultural regions. We have mighty fine local food.

Speaking of locally grown food, Pringle Creek’s community garden will be planted in April.


A batch of articles and websites

We have here a batch of good articles that we've been saving up for this forum. Some of them are already a few weeks old. We expect that in the future we will bring to your attention newer news.

From the Urban Land Institute: The Next Thing: Miles Per House? ULI Experts Discuss Impact of Transportation Costs on Location Decisions; Look at Future Infrastructure Financing. Senior Fellow of Transportation at the ULI, Bob Dunphy, mentioned in the article, came to Salem last summer to give a talk. Many people were excited about Dunphy's ideas for our fair city. As for the above article, its message is inescapable: we need more compact development to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.

We have added the Urban Land Institute’s website to our list of favorites. When ULI speaks, we listen. ULI is the world's largest organization of development professionals and is dedicated to efficient land use, building dynamic communities and protecting our natural resources.

Also added to our essential websites listing: The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program

This article, The Apartment Atop the Garage Is Back in Vogue, is important because Pringle Creek is a believer in "accessory dwelling units." They are small, flexible spaces above (or instead of) garages that are great for 1) providing space for in-laws, parents, returning semi-adult children; 2) use as an office, studio, or library; 3) renting out as living quarters--to a caregiver, a recently divorced old friend, a young single school teacher.

In Montgomery, N.Y., the parents are moving into the redone garage, left, and giving the house to their son and daughter-in-law.

This Washington Post article reports on a new spirit of cooperation between conservatives and progressives in western states: In West, Conservatives Emphasize the 'Conserve'

Sir Richard Roger, author of this essay, How to build intelligent suburbs: The urgency of climate change makes the rebirth of our cities crucial to the planet, and its people, is a UK architect who leads the way in advocating for community and building design that support environmental and social stewardship.

It's a good year for eco-resolutions, from The Seattle Times provides ideas for consumers who care.


Straub Lecture

Thursday, January 25, 2007
Sustainable America: Why Doesn't US "Get" Equity, Presented by Robin Morris Collin
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Salem Public Library's Loucks Auditorium

Willamette University Law Professor Robin Morris Collin examines why sustainability programs in the United States ignore poverty to our detriment, then explores ways to systematically include such equity issues into our thinking. A widely sought speaker on ethics, sustainability, environmental justice, and civil rights, Professor Morris Collin was awarded the David Brower lifetime achievement award in 2001 by the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference and the Orlando John Hollis Distinguished Teaching Award in 1997.

In case you hadn't looked at Pringle Creek Community’s “Upcoming Events” page recently, we duplicated the information, above. We would have added some information, but none of the articles/essays from this list of Professor Morris’s recent publications appear to be available online--except her most recent, a Willamette Lawyer article, "Professionalism Matters". If you’re interested, you can access it here, in the Spring 2006 issue, which is a largish pdf file. That article is unrelated to her sustainability work, which is extensive, so don't miss the talk. See you there.


OR Business Community Attains Enlightenment

We are calling this not a mere trend, but a tipping point: Oregon’s business community just went over to the green side. Our evidence is below: articles about the recent business summit and the Oregon Business Plan.

Sustainability is Oregon's claim to fame. We have a reputation, and it rests on the shoulders of progressive leaders going back many years--Tom McCall and Neil Goldschmidt come to mind first. It’s a reputation that can be marketed, branded; using Oregon’s livability and sustainability to bring about more livability and sustainability.

Exhibit A, "Oregon Plan is Tinted Green," Ted Sickinger, Oregonian 1/05/07 [no longer available]:

If one asset defines Oregon internationally, or could make its boom-and-bust economy more globally competitive, it is the state's identity with environmental stewardship and sustainable business practices.

Believe it or not, this message is sponsored by your statewide business community, which is collectively vowing to go green.

Sustainability was the new rallying cry for more than 1,000 business, academic and legislative leaders who packed the Oregon Convention Center on Thursday for a fifth annual leadership summit on Oregon's economy.

It also has become the unifying theme of an economic-development master plan and legislative playbook called the Oregon Business Plan.

Sustainability means different things to different people. But authors of the plan think the concept plays to Oregon's core strengths. Furthermore, it can be infused into many of their initiatives for education, tax reform, health care and economic development. (emphasis added)

The new focus is an outgrowth of last year's leadership summit, where Harvard Business School professor and business-strategy guru Michael Porter urged business leaders to focus their laundry list of initiatives on a competitive theme that would complement the state's economic and cultural strengths.

Porter suggested sustainability as a potentially compelling theme in a state that already has an international reputation for land-use planning and recycling initiatives, specialized expertise in areas such as green building, and large employers, such as Nike, Intel and Hewlett-Packard Co., that have folded sustainability into their strategies and brands.

That’s almost enough that we could rest our case. Oregon business is going green, and this new course will magnify Pringle Creek Community’s influential role as a place, a neighborhood, where every decision is about the future. Here's more from the article:

"Economic development in harmony with our planet is not only the right civic thing to do, it's the right business decision," said Allen Alley, chairman of Tualatin-based Pixelworks Inc. and chairman of the business plan's steering committee. "Many of the keys to how this can be accomplished already exist in this state."

At the summit, Gov. Ted Kulongoski announced that Alley would become his deputy chief of staff focused on technology, energy, transportation and economic development.

Okay, the article does bring up a few bumps in the road.

  • The business group didn’t endorse the governor’s plan to use the corporate kicker for a rainy day fund.
  • The business plan praises a sales tax that was proposed by a bipartisan group. Good luck with that--we can only hope.
  • The plan wants spending on roads to go from $300 million to $500 million (without saying where to get the cash), not a pet project of mine.
  • Some business groups oppose Governor Kulongoski’s proposal to require utilities to provide 25% of retail energy with renewables—because it will make energy too expensive.
  • And finally, there’s widespread agreement that the health care system is unsustainable.
  • So maybe we don’t have an open and shut case for imminent ecotopia. But a lot of folks like the idea of Oregon getting more famous for it’s environmentalism. We can run with that.

    Here is the other article, "Sustainability, Oregon’s brand and niche," Aliza Earnshaw, Portland Business Journal, 1/4/07

    Oregon can--and should--seize the moment and capitalize on its worldwide reputation for sustainability. That was the recurring theme of the opening remarks and first panel discussion at Oregon's fifth economic-development summit, held Thursday [1/4/07] at the Oregon Convention Center.

    The article provides “testimony” in support of our case from these illustrious business persons:

  • John Carter, president and CEO of Schnitzer Steel Industries: sustainability is not an expensive luxury.
  • Dennis Wilde, principal at Gerding/Edlen Development: “building sustainably has become an export industry for Oregon.”
  • Al Gosiak, CEO and president of Pendleton Grain Growers: invest in R&D of biofuel; if a tricky chemical problem can be solved, cellulosic ethanol can be made from grain or dead and diseased wood products.
  • Nancy Floyd, managing director of $400 million firm Nth Power, an energy technology investor: Oregon can be a leader in clean energy.
  • Not necessarily a perfectly representative selection of Oregon business persons. But there is no disputing that more and more Oregon businesses are embracing Oregon's legacy--and creating our heritage. From small community organizations to large corporations, our fair state has leaders showing the way. How cool that we have Nike and HP and not Monsanto and General Dynamics. Oregon has visionaries, pioneers—prime example, John Emrick of Norm Thompson Inc.

    Now Oregon stands at the tipping point, say we. It is a very exciting time to be involved in sustainability. However the opportunity comes to you, embrace it.


    Build a Green Home (the Good way)

    This article, “Keeping it ‘Green’ with Panels and More” is a New York Times primer on what it means to build a green home. Note the range of choices and tools to build your home with stewardship of the environment in mind. Make sure you get to page 2 of the article, where it mentions that certification by Earth Advantage is a more stringent measurement than the LEED program. Pringle Creek homes will exceed the Earth Advantage standards.

    Page 2 also talks about an award-winning home designed by PCC architect Nathan Good. That home is featured in the page 1 photo, reproduced above.

    Entire neighborhoods designed as green, he [Nathan Good] said, can offer community benefits like streets with permeable pavement that allows rainwater to seep directly into the ground and reduce the impact on municipal storm sewers.

    That sounds kinda like . . . Hey! That’s us!

    We’re presuming Mr. Good told the reporter about PCC, spelled out the name, provided our website url. Darn reporter left it out.

    Anyway, the article does not touch on elements of design that also serve the sense of community, perhaps as important as ecological construction.


    Green tipping point?

    Warren Karlenzig has listed what he thinks are the Top Ten Sustainability Stories for 2006 on his "Green A City" blog [my dictionary confirms that "green" is a verb; I'll be greened]. Number five on the list: Portland’s new renewable fuels ordinance, which will require:

    "...that the city's gas stations provide 5 percent biodiesel of all diesel fuel sold by July 2007 and 10 percent by 2010. This has stimulated local production of biodiesel start-ups, and will enable local farmers to have a market for biodiesel crops such as as canola, which can be grown in eastern Oregon."

    Other stories on the list include California’s efforts toward stricter climate change policies, Boston’s green construction requirement for all large buildings, Portland (again) instituting a green multiple listing service. Karlenzig sees these stories as evidence that the nation is experiencing a collective tipping point when it comes to sustainable development.


    Breakfast in America

    We'll start with a headline from the Oregonian that jumps out at you: Making your breakfast every morning pumps nearly 200 pounds of CO2 into the air each year. What can you do about it? [no longer available]

    Is it my toaster?

    Part of the impact of the headline comes from making a switch from "every morning” to “each year.” But still, it’s a fine long article on specific causes of carbon dioxide in our daily lives and how we can cut down.

    Run your 1,200-watt hair dryer for 20 minutes? You won't see smoke. But 160 miles away at PGE's Boardman Power Plant, coal is burning, spinning turbines that drive generators that send the juice to your dryer. Output for one blow-dry? A half-pound of carbon dioxide.

    But . . . the biggest--and most controllable--share of the typical family's carbon life involves transportation. Getting from place to place pumps out more carbon dioxide than heating and lighting your home. . . .One gallon of gasoline, rich in carbon, starts out weighing 6 pounds. Combusted in your engine, each atom of carbon in the gasoline combines with two atoms of oxygen to produce more than 19 pounds of carbon dioxide--three times the fuel's original weight in the No. 1 greenhouse gas.

    Reducing the carbon footprint of residents is central to the planning of Pringle Creek Community. Always, all aspects, everywhere. The hope is to also enhance quality of life, and to be a model for others, add knowledge, add ideas, be a pioneer.

    Statesman Journal reprint

    The Statesman Journal article is no longer available for this hyperlink but the text is reproduced below.

    Project reflects push for efficiency
    Officials: Homes will have energy conservation focus

    by Beth Casper, May 27, 2007

    The new energy-efficient, green homes at Pringle Creek Community won't be cheap. The 1,400-square-foot model home under construction will set someone back $432,000. It's a price some would consider steep given that new construction prices in south and southeast Salem range between $370,000 and $450,000.

    And that's for a home almost twice as big, according to the Willamette Valley Multiple Listing Service.

    But that's not the point of this home.

    The almost-completed cottage home will be a model nationwide for its durability, energy efficiency, low environmental impact and healthy indoor environment.

    The home likely will be certified next month as one of the greenest homes in the nation. Developers are aiming for the same certification for the rest of the homes -- and even the commercial buildings -- in the community.

    "We've been studying market trends across the United States and there is a great demand for energy-efficient homes," said Pringle Creek Community developer Don Myers. "We've all seen what is happening with the cost of gas and the cost of heating and cooling a home. In Salem, there wasn't a choice in the marketplace for a very progressively built home. We are trying to make a mark on the marketplace."

    Even though the trend toward green living is growing, Pringle Creek Community is attempting the extreme.

    Only one other development in the country comes close to the scale of green development in the works at Pringle: A residential neighborhood in Rocklin, Calif., has 40 LEED-certified homes.

    "The movement toward being energy efficient, saving money on high energy bills and being a good steward to our environment has been going on awhile," said Laura Dorn, a Realtor for more than 16 years in the Salem area. "It just makes good sense."

    Even though the cottage home embraces all of the new green trends, it's bucking the one trend most people are familiar with -- the growing size of homes.

    New construction during the years has consistently added square footage: in 2002, the average size of a home in the Willamette Valley was 1,739 square feet. By 2006, it was 1,929 square feet, according to the Willamette Valley Multiple Listing Service.

    But the home's size is a major component of a green building. When James Meyer of Opsis Architecture began designing the model cottage home, he first picked out what he calls "an appropriate footprint."

    Everything else in the design fell into place.

    It's easier and cheaper to heat, cool and ventilate a smaller home, which also uses fewer resources.
    A certain segment of the population is looking for smaller homes, partly for the reduced maintenance.

    "I think there is a little bit of a sea change now," said Mark Kogut of Opsis Architecture. "There are a lot of people looking for less in size and more in quality."

    Over the home's lifetime, owners can expect to pay significantly less in energy bills than their counterparts in a conventional home.

    The model cottage house is expected to perform more than 35 percent better than homes built to Oregon's building code and 50 percent better than federal building codes.

    "Energy is the big footprint of a house over its lifetime," said Christopher Dymond of the Oregon Department of Energy. "The bulk (of homes) are built to bare minimum code. Ten percent are going to Energy Star and Earth Advantage levels. But this home, this is the top 1 percent of performance."

    Homes built to Energy Star standards -- a minimum of 15 percent more energy efficient than building code -- save homeowners almost $25 per month on energy bills, said Dan Cote of Energy Star.

    "The increased cost of the house might be $10 to $15 a month on the mortgage," Cote said about a typical 2,000-square-foot home. "You have positive cash flow on Energy Star homes. The upgrades pay for themselves on a monthly basis. And the numbers hold true for smaller homes, too."

    The model cottage home focuses on far more than energy efficiency.

    For example, all of the wood used is certified as sustainably grown. Also, architects designed the home to minimize the amount of wood needed -- by as much as 25 percent.

    The wood flooring is made from local madrone trees, and the concrete foundation includes fly ash, which keeps the by-product of coal-fired plants out of landfills.

    None of these green features affected the home's style however. It has an open airy feeling and tons of sunlight pouring in the windows. The kitchen, dining area and living room are basically one giant area, great for gathering people. The bedrooms include large closets and the main ceiling is vaulted.

    But it's the value of the community these homes will be a part of that has attracted many residents.

    "We like the community oriented focus with the houses more open to the streets so there is more connection between the home and pedestrians," said Mike Marsh, who would like to build a net-zero home. "We like the innovative approaches with the green spaces and village center ideas and the value of being able to walk ... to meet our basic needs."

    Myers wants a post office, restaurant, coffee shop and general store on site. He dreams about a farmer's market on weekends, classes on baking bread at night and conversations with neighbors along Pringle Creek in the mornings.

    "For most people, buying a home is really the largest investment they will make in their lifetime," Myers said. "For a car, people will study the Blue Book value and gas mileage. We think they should put that same due diligence in their home as they do their car."

    bcasper@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 589-6994

    Home’s green elements

    Solar power
    Green home: Photovoltaic panels produce 2-kilowatt hours of energy per year; solar water heating system saves two-thirds of a resident’s annual hot water bill.
    Conventional home: All energy is purchased from a utility; conventional hot water heater uses gas or electricity.
    Green home: Aluminum-clad exterior on wood rated U=.32
    Conventional home: Vinyl windows rated U=.40. The manufacture of vinyl releases toxic chemicals including dioxin.
    Note: U-values are used to rate energy efficiency of windows. The lower the number, the more energy efficient they are.
    Green home: Native, drought-tolerant plants and limited lawn, irrigated with a drip-irrigation system. A rainwater-harvesting system collects runoff from the roof and stores it in a cistern or rain barrels to irrigate in the dry season.
    Conventional home: Typically a huge expanse of lawn, which needs to be watered regularly in the summer. Sometimes sprinklers are installed to automatically water the lawn.
    Air quality
    Green home: An energy recovery ventilator brings in fresh air, which is heated by exhaust air leaving the home in the winter. Low- and no-VOC paints on the walls. VOCs are volatile organic compounds, which can be emitted into the air by regular household products. The cabinets will be free of formaldehyde, which can enter the air.
    Conventional home: Purposely made less airtight to allow fresh air to move throughout the house, increasing heating costs in the winter. Regular paint, which contains VOCs. Cabinets are often made of pressed wood, which are made with formaldehyde.
    Note: The Environmental Protection Agency says VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to 10 times higher) than outdoors.
    Green home: EnergyStar appliances for the kitchen and laundry are 20 percent to 25 percent more efficient than regular ones; dual-flush toilet uses up to 2 gallons less per flush; low-flow shower heads use
    2 gallons less per minute; compact fluorescent bulbs use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, used in conventional homes, and last 10 times longer.

    Green home: Uses a combination of spray-foam insulation, blown cellulose and rigid foam insulation at R-28. These walls have 30 percent less heat loss than a wall built to standard building code.
    Conventional home: Insulation must be R-21.
    Note: R-values are used to characterize thermal insulation materials in buildings. The higher the number, the more insulated the building.
    Heating and cooling
    Green home: Geothermal water-to-air, high-efficiency heat pump, which pulls heat out of the ground to heat the air. It is more efficient because typical heaters pull heat out of the air, and the ground is warmer in the winter than the air. It is almost four times more efficient than an electric furnace and two-thirds more efficient than a standard gas furnace. The opposite effect works for cooling — the ground is cooler in the summer than the air and the house stays cool with the pump.
    Conventional home: For heating, a gas or electric furnace, which pulls air into an area where it is heated by a flame or an electric coil. Most new homes, even in Oregon, are built with central air conditioning, which uses a lot of energy to cool warm air.

    Pictures: Pervious meets impervious

    Photos taken late January 2008

    All about Cottage Home #1

    November 28, 2007

    Here is what makes Cottage Home #1 a gold award finalist:

    From the beginning, Pringle Creek and Bilyeu Homes went all-out. Beginning in the fall of 2006, the design team, led by James Meyer and Mark Kogut of Opsis Architecture, held weekly workshops with Pringle Creek’s select builders and the Oregon Department of Energy (ODE) to establish performance goals for the exterior envelope and work out constructability issues. This collaborative process helped the entire team to understand the architect and builder perspective while learning about the energy performance of different envelope systems for the home. The team vetted three roof systems, four high performing wall systems, and two foundation systems.

    The roof systems explored were all non-venting. A decision to use a low-density foam was made because of a cost-benefit analysis that indicated the energy saved from the combination system was negligible to the first costs (first costs are the initial expenses of materials and labor as opposed to secondary costs for operations and maintenance, and tertiary costs for eventual replacement).

    A 2x6 advanced frame wall system using FSC-certified lumber and plywood sheathing was selected. Using FSC products help protect our forests, streams and wildlife. The advanced framing system does many things at once. The exterior wall cavity is insulated with dense-pack blown cellulose (an environmentally-friendly product made up of recycled wood fiber). The exterior is sheathed, with all seams and penetrations taped forming a continuous radiant barrier around the perimeter of the home (saving lots of energy). The skin of the wall envelope is a vented rain-screen system that includes a layer of Tyvek house wrap (which allows moisture to drain behind and between the wall to prevent mold and potential dry rot). The foundation system selected was a short basement with the exterior wall insulated (to provide "conditioned" space that keeps a near-constant temperature, again requiring less heating and cooling demand).

    The workshops stressed a best-practice approach to construction, including fully taped Tyvek house wrap; seams continuously taped; rigid insulation on the exterior wall; bottom plate caulked at subfloor; wall penetrations sealed with expandable spray foam; all wall and roof framing cavities filled with air-flow resistant insulations; walls with dense-pac blown cellulose; roofs with low-density liquid spray open cellular plastic foam that does not contain Urea Formaldehyde, CFCs or HCFCs. All of this is about durability, energy efficiency and healthy air quality. It is also the standard approach to every home built at Pringle Creek!

    The driving force behind the design, which was led by Opsis Architecture, was to develop a home that would equal to the innovative features embodied within the planning and infrastructure of the larger 32-acre development. The result is a high performance home that is generating much of its own energy due to energy efficient design strategies, craftsmanship, and a scientific analysis of the systems.

    The design includes a compact open floorplan; careful placement of operable windows; programmable thermostat; advanced framing; radiant barrier; detached garage; simple form; overhangs with trellis designed to filter light; materials sourced within 500 miles; energy analysis of the house envelope and the site; water to air geothermal heat pump; solar collectors; and rainwater harvesting.

    The design addresses the specific climate and site conditions. The Willamette Valley has average winter min/max temperatures of 33/48 degrees; for summer it is 50/80. This is ideal for high performance homes using passive solar site strategies. The Cottage Home is oriented with the long axis running east to west. All windows in the cottage are high performance windows with glazing and are strategically oriented to maximize daylight and views to the neighborhood. Windows are located on two sides of the rooms in order to balance light and facilitate natural ventilation. The window area on the south side of the building is 25%, the north 12%. South facing overhangs feature a trellis, designed to maximize light in the winter and filter sun in the summer.

    Landscaping at Cottage Home #1 utilizes drought tolerant native planting with a high efficiency drip irrigation system. A 1500 gallon underground rainwater harvesting system connects to the drip irrigation system. This reduces the impact of the irrigation needs and delays stormwater runoff entering the porous asphalt street system. Street trees were selected for their growth characteristics, in order to limit interference with active solar collection panels on the roof. The lawn for the Cottage Home comprises less than 10% of the available lot landscaped area, minimizing the need for irrigation and promoting social interaction with neighbors and the community at large (which has also instituted a community requirement for organic landscape maintenance).

    During the construction process, third party testing (Earth Advantage, EnergyStar and LEED) acted as a guide and provided confirmation, via regular inspection, that energy efficiency goals were being met. A regular jobsite presence during construction also aided in streamlining this process.

    Subcontractors with a high commitment to green building were enlisted to work on the project. The HVAC subcontractor, Lyons Heating and Cooling, insist that all of their crew remain involved in continuing education and certification, and each member of the crew is certified to conduct a duct-blaster test, allowing problems to be corrected immediately. Insulation was done in-house by Bilyeu Homes, via a spray cellulose machine to address the installation errors and product flaws of other systems and installers. This allowed full control over the finished product. Bilyeu Homes is dedicated to sustainable, healthier building practices. President Larry Bilyeu has long been interested in the environment and served as a member of the 2002-2004 Salem Environmental Commission.

    That's using the ol' tree

    And here is the orchard (in its infancy).


    More Opsis Architecture Picnic Photos

    Posted Sept. 7, 2010

    Statesman Journal reprint

    From September 23, 2008 Statesman Journal:

    Businesses from construction to retail are working to GO GREEN

    Pringle Creek is helping Salem-area builders gain environmental skills

    Greening your business makes sense. What began as part of the environmental movement has become good business practice as the cost of energy soars and the demand for healthy products grows.

    The emergence of green marketing during the past few years is nothing short of amazing. Small businesses and giant conglomerates are on the bandwagon. BP and Exxon promote renewable resources while the local dry cleaners advertise nontoxic methods.

    Environmentally responsible products and services are everywhere. But consumers are quickly learning to judge shades of green and the level of commitment that companies offer.

    Running a business has always been about ingenuity. Companies have always worked hard for efficiency — such effort goes on through decisions that are made all day every day. Greening a business will occur the same way, from a decision to purchase an organic detergent to putting in a new bike rack for employees.

    Businesses promoting and advocating sustainability are looking for vendors and suppliers who can deliver the same level of commitment and contribute to their green marketing story. The green basics of businesses are the same as at your home: reduce, reuse, recycle. But businesses that keep these principles in mind can apply them to big decisions at the planning stage and, in doing so, can change the paradigm.

    Architects and planners have been leading the effort toward smart growth for years. Developers in cities across America are finding that healthy buildings and mixed-use projects yield better returns as tenants and buyers benefit from energy savings and improved working and living environments. New buildings should all be energy-efficient; they should also be "in-fill" and close to transit, not part of the U.S. suburban sprawl pattern that is ruinously dependent on cheap oil.

    Pringle Creek Community (I work for the project), the green development on part of the former Fairview Training Center property in South Salem, is making green choices: For instance, we're reusing buildings. Some of the existing buildings on the property will be integral to our Village Center.

    Pringle Creek has inspired, and been inspired by, a group of green entrepreneurs here in Salem.

    DeSantis Landscaping is a leader in green landscapes and maintenance services and gained certification from the Pollution Prevention Outreach Team, made up of members of various municipalities and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

    Evolution Paving Resources has become a leader in pervious concrete applications.

    O'Neil Pine Co. and Withers Lumber are partnering to ensure a steady flow of Forest Stewardship Council-certified lumber for new homes.

    North Santiam Paving used biodiesel in some of its heavy equipment while creating one of the country's largest residential applications of pervious asphalt. The company demonstrated ingenuity when it came up with the idea of reusing some concrete beams to build a small bridge over the creek.

    Builders such as Blake and Larry Bilyeu and Spectra Construction have brought knowledge and passion for green building techniques to the homes at Pringle Creek.
    One green project is contributing to many companies increasing their knowledge of green practices. The work is expanding the skill sets among subcontractors and suppliers.

    Together, we are becoming better able to address a market that is moving from niche to mainstream.

    Tony Nielsen of A.C. Nielsen Development Services has served as the master-plan coordinator for Sustainable Fairview Associates and for Pringle Creek Community.

    Tony Nielsen (right) talks with workers at the greenhouses at the Pringle Creek Community. The greenhouses were preserved and are being restored for a community garden area to promote sustainability.

    Live-Work-Breathe course description

    Architecture 484/584 • Spring 2007 • Brook Muller + James Meyer and OPSIS Architecture



    The studio entails collaboration with OPSIS Architecture in Portland and utilizes their state-of-the-art Pringle Creek “green” development in Salem as the locus for design inquiry. Our challenge will be to design high quality and high performance live/work units in close association with memorable, attractive and ecologically rich outdoor space.


    *Working in Teams*

    Effective collaborative work settings increase the likelihood that we will raise the kinds of questions that are germane to the design problem at hand, to the point that it becomes both fun and worthwhile to solve.

    *Respectful Engagement*

    The design studio is a unique educational setting, and we all must strive to build a cohesive environment that promotes communication, respect and open engagement.

    *Competition Mode*

    A 9+ week design quarter corresponds nicely to the amount of time a design team in a professional setting would commit to a competition. Although we value a cooperative studio environment, a competition model will be adopted with respect to the need to express our ideas in an accessible, compelling and timely manner.

    *Integrating Built and Outdoor Space*

    When we concentrate all of our attention on a building, we are led to believe we must solve all of the world’s problems through architecture. When we expand our thinking to include the larger site and landscape, our work tends to get lighter and better.

    *The Creative Class *

    In his book /The Rise of the Creative Class: How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life/, Richard Florida describes an emerging sector of our population that would likely be attracted to the live/work concept. We need to understand who these people are.

    *Contending with Environmental Problems in an Aggressive Manner*

    This studio endorses the architect Ed Mazria’s 2010 imperative “that all projects be designed to engage the environment in a way that dramatically reduces or eliminates the need for fossil fuels.” Design decisions will also be influenced by goals for healthy interior environments, air and water quality, and neighborhood and regional ecological integrity.


    Pringle Creek is real and is intended to attract real people. Our proposals must appeal to an audience beyond that of the academy (architecture school).

    *Designing Drawings*

    Our focus will be as much the design of drawings as the design of buildings and open space. Representations we make are at once studies and for presentation, with the quality of the discussions and learning dependent on the quality of the work. (Quantity also matters!). Please note the “90% set” review scheduled for May 25 where we will not only discuss the details of your proposal but the manner in which you intend to communicate/represent these details.


    Please note there will be 2 official field trips to Salem and 2 official reviews at OPSIS Architecture in Portland (please see schedule). There will be additional opportunities to visit the site as the quarter progresses.

    *Working with OPSIS Architecture*

    We have a privileged opportunity work with James Meyer, a partner of OPSIS, and his associates. The firm values high quality design /and /environmental responsibility. They are visionaries and pragmatists.


    A sketchbook is a requirement for this course. You should always carry your sketchbook with you, and use it for reflective thinking, and to record compelling places, objects and experiences, class discussions and presentations. Cite all books and other sources you use. Your sketchbook will become an invaluable resource for future design work!

    You are asked to generate an elaborated diagram - an illustrated timetable with words - that describes your future life and career: what you will do, where you will live, the community (communities) you wish to be a member of, how often you will be moving to take on new challenges, etc.

    *Some questions to consider:*

    • If you expect your life to have a measure of complexity and richness, the elaborated diagram should reflect this. Is there a pattern? Will your future life be characterized by collage-like superimpositions/juxtapositions or fluid continuity (best of luck with the latter)? Will it be colorful and creative? Will your life be more linear (arrow) or circuitous or perhaps even radial (characterized by probings from and returnings to a home base)?

    • What is the relationship between your occupation and other aspects of your life? Is it consuming? Sustainable? Balanced? Rich? Rewarding?

    • What kinds of communities do you intend to immerse yourself in? How might your community be affected by the places you choose to live? How might your community be affected by the technology you will use?

    *Formatting and compositional recommendations*

    • The elaborated diagram should be prepared on a 17”W x 11”H sheet (landscape format)

    • Focus on pattern, line weight and line type, color and composition to tell your life’s tale, vs. iconic imagery (although use of collage and ‘borrowed graphics’ is encouraged, it is not necessary or desirable to cut images of beautiful interiors out of /Architectural Digest/)

    • Words are always helpful in communicating additional layers of


    Monday, April 2 • Introduce EX01

    Wednesday, April 4 • Pringle Creek Field Trip 1; EX01 due for discussion

    *Some Possible Resources*

    Mark Lombardi • /Global Networks/
    Ben Nicholson • /Appliance House/
    Edward Tufte • /Envisioning Information/ (see also his other works)

    Trees Planted for Bill Lindburg

    Here are Tony Nielsen's remarks on the occasion of the planting of trees at Pringle Creek Community to honor Bill Lindburg.

    I first got to know Bill when he invited me to join a little organizational committee that was looking at the future of Fairview. As the President of the Salem Chapter of the AIA, he was inspiring a group of young architects to work with the broader community and to think big about the future. They kicked off a community vision for Fairview that celebrates the relationship between buildings, people and nature. Pringle Creek is the wonderful expression of those relationships and Bill’s inspiration.

    I got to know Bill a lot better at Salem City Council meetings when we both thought there were better ways of connecting downtown and Riverfront Park than building a tunnel to keep people out of the way of cars.

    Bill was incredibly eloquent about vibrant public spaces and great architecture - really about places that made people happy and comfortable. Places that energize us and places that give us cause to celebrate. Anyway, Bill was so eloquent at City Council that I couldn't understand why they didn't just pack-up and go home, they could have just declared Bill our “Civic Architect Emeritus”, or maybe just “Citizen Emeritus” and with his vision and passion we would have had one of the best cities in the world.

    Having just experienced Bill's leadership on rethinking Fairview, and watching him build community and mentor both young architects - and one local developer - in the process, we tried to work the same magic for downtown. We brought in a national expert on livable streets - and Bill had the great idea to integrate an Architectural Design Competition to showcase creative solutions for connecting downtown Salem and Riverfront Park.

    This was a part of Bill's effort to demonstrate the importance of creative thinking, expertise, community participation and really just great placemaking.

    That whole day, from the outside expert to the Design Competition to the community involvement, was a wonderful success. Bringing ideas and energy to everyone in the room, everyone there felt they had been a part of creating solutions and vision. I’m not sure if Bill joined with another of his protégés, James Meyer (who later became the principal architect for Pringle Creek) or the original planner of Salem’s Riverfront Park, Carol Mayer Reed – upon reflection I think he worked with both and both were among the winning entries. But all twelve submissions were winners and so were we. As a community we all benefited. Because again, Bill demonstrated the importance of vision, community and the art of real expertise.

    Another year went by and a little group of downtown supporters wanted to bring one of the world's leading advocates of vibrant public spaces to Salem. Naturally we turned to Bill (and another passionate advocate for downtown, Wes Bouche') to meet the dynamic leader the Project for Public Spaces, Fred Kent, at the Portland Airport. The idea was for Salem to put its best foot forward by having our elder statesman of urban vitality spend the evening showing Fred downtown Salem and sharing dinner. The choice was obvious because Bill was knowledgeable, passionate and articulate about the importance of plaza's, courtyards, parks, and successful urban environments. Mr. Kent is incredibly well traveled and expert in the design and programming of the best public spaces, but I think he met his match in Bill. They had a wonderful time and Fred came away with a glowing respect for Bill and our community.

    Now to something I am especially proud to share with you:

    The Urban Land Institute is widely considered the premier organization of development professionals. Their magazine is read by 35,000 of the world’s leading developers, planners, designers, architects and their clients.

    Michael Mehaffey, recently retired as Director of Education for the Prince of Wales Foundation for the Built Environment, writes in the current issue (June 2007) of Urban Land Magazine [Click here for the pdf version with photos; here for just the text of the article] about Bill laying the foundation for Pringle Creek Community. Mr. Mehaffey tells the story of Bill lighting the spark, planting the ideas of stewardship, community, and sustainability, with a passion for wonderful places. And honestly that happened everywhere Bill turned his attention.

    Finally, I served with Bill on a committee appointed to study the feasibility of the future Salem Conference Center. Once again he was the articulate voice calling out for great architecture, but only so far as it served to foster community. It was never about the architect’s ego, it was always about creating a wonderful interface between people and places. The happy places where people celebrate together. Bill campaigned for a meeting place that would be emblematic of community – and that the conference center should represent the aspirations of our City with a signature building that was also part of the fabric of our city.

    Even as the early designs disappointed many of us, Bill worked quietly behind the scenes to help move the project in a better direction. I loved listening to Bill talk about the importance of public spaces. He was a joy to be around. I wish everyone had the chance to listen and learn from this gracious man. He certainly influenced a lot of people and a lot of places. Not least of them Pringle Creek Community.

    More Battle-of-the-Locavore photos

    September 2008 Battle of the Locavore

    Nice sign!
    Young locavore
    Homes of the future on display
    Great conversations about food
    Voting and eating
    Dish description
    Local grapes
    Giving out the prizes
    The awards ceremony
    Kids love to climb this oak tree nurse log
    Fresh local fruit
    The local labor family garden basil pesto pasta
    Each dish had an ingredient list with source

    October 29, 2009 Statesman Journal article

    Salem site closes in on platinum designation

    Pringle Creek building to get highest 'green' rating

    By Beth Casper, Statesman Journal, October 29, 2009

    Just try to find a draft or even a tiny air leak in the new community center at Pringle Creek Community.

    Its walls are so thick, its ceiling so insulated and its heating so efficient that nary a wisp of energy will leave the building.

    The so-called Painter's Hall is so "green" that it is on track to get the highest green-building rating by the U.S. Green Building Council: platinum.
    It will be the first platinum commercial building in Salem, one of 11 in Oregon and one of 52 along the West Coast.

    The solid concrete building built in 1938 served as the paint shop for Fairview Training Center, which closed in 2000 after operating for 92 years as Oregon's largest institution for people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

    Situated at the heart of a 32-acre mixed-use, eco-friendly development, Painter's Hall incorporates all of the most advanced energy efficiency and water conservation building designs possible.
    The builder used the existing structure, eliminating the need for 3,200 square feet of new materials. Even if those materials are recycled or otherwise green, it takes energy to create new wood, metal and other construction materials.

    "The greenest building by far is the one that is already built," said James Santana of Pringle Creek Community.

    To reduce noise problems in the community center, wood slats from another building on the property were used. It eliminated the need to purchase new wood.

    The ceiling has 14 inches of insulation, an R-value of 49 compared to building code level of R39. R-value is the measure of a material's ability to resist heat conduction. The greater the material's R-value, the better it performs as an insulator.

    The building wasn't just built to reduce energy use, but also to generate its own energy.

    Solar panels line the roof, designed to generate 18,345 kilowatt hours per year. Excess generation from the solar will then be used to offset the electricity that powers the ground source geothermal pump, which will heat and cool 70 homes and seven commercial buildings once the site is fully developed.

    Large, white storage bins along the side of the building will collect rainwater and use it to flush the center's toilets. The system can hold 2,000 gallons at any given time, and the toilets are expected to use 16,800 gallons a year. The toilets have a dual-flush feature to use more water only when needed.
    In addition to having the best energy and water efficiency systems, the building has the most sophisticated technology and comfort amenities.

    For example, a video screen will provide people with live information on how the solar and geothermal systems are working.

    "It's kind of an old-looking building," said builder Phil Klaus of Spectra Construction. "And you go inside and you have no concept of how sophisticated that building is. This is probably the most sophisticated building I have ever worked on."

    One of the highlights of the center is a community kitchen which offers lots of space for preparation — room to make food for dozens of people.

    "We had to have a killer kitchen," Santana said. "It's all about fresh, local food. It's prep space for food."

    The vision for Painter's Hall is to have a place for family reunions, documentary film nights, nonprofit meetings, workshops and classes on sustainability, and a comfortable coffee shop area.
    To be energy and resource efficient, many of the homes on the site will be a smaller design than typical new homes, so providing additional community space is important to the community's developers.

    The community center will be an extension of people's living rooms, Santana said.