Your vote counts

This is not about the presidential primaries, it's about Pringle Creek’s Cottage Home being up for the People’s Choice Award at the Energy Value Housing Awards. Anyone can vote--once. You have until February 12. To learn more about the EVHA, see our earlier blog item. To visit the web page where you can vote, click here.


A favorite journalist

I’m a big fan of journalist Neal Peirce. He received the Distinguished Urban Journalism Award from the National Urban Coalition for his outstanding contribution to the cause of America's cities. His columns are syndicated to over 50 newspapers, so he has considerable influence. Peirce tries "to report the best--and worst--of what's happening in our states and communities, to cross-fertilize ideas, to show the amazing new forces at work at the local level, even as the federal government retrenches.” Here is an index page for his columns going back six years. Below is from a recent column:

An open letter to the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates:

When will you finally start talking about the issues that matter specifically to cities and metro areas that are home territory to 80 percent of America's people?

. . .

Climate's a mega-issue, finally getting a smidgen of White House interest. But real cuts in greenhouse gas emissions will have to be focused at the metropolitan level where most energy is burned. More than 500 city leaders have signed the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement initiated by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

But individual cities' climate efforts won't make much difference if neighboring jurisdictions just shrug their shoulders. Please, candidates, tell us how federal carrots and sticks could get all our localities working together for greenhouse gas reductions that really matter.

Week after week Mr. Peirce writes about issues that are central to fixing our cities. Here is from another recent column, on the complete streets movement:

Project for Public Spaces has some of the right advice for cities: “Stop planning for speed.” “Right-size” road projects in cities and suburbs to “reconnect communities to their neighbors, a waterfront or park.” And “think of transportation as public space” -- roads, transit terminals, sidewalks, reconfigured to create pleasant environments, a true sense of place.


American Institute of Architects looks at Pringle Creek

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is an organization of "over 80,000 licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners." They call themselves the voice of the architecture profession. AIA wanted to know how the sustainable parts of Pringle Creek (i.e. the LEED-Platinum Cottage) fit into the whole sustainable project. They spoke with Pringle Creek masterplanner James Meyer and here is their web article.

Opsis is designing several other housing models (row houses, loft apartments, single-family homes, etc.), some as traditional as the cottage house, and others featuring more contemporary flat roofs and vertical profiles. They are currently building their first three-story “Tall House,” and other designs are in various stages of construction design and permitting.

These designs will be suggested templates for builders. Other architects are allowed to create new designs pending approval of the Pringle Creek Design Review Committee. However, the development’s commitment to sustainability is contractually mandated: All new buildings must be LEED certified. Meyer says the Design Review Committee’s charter is less aesthetically fixated and more sustainably oriented than a typical subdivision’s equivalent. “We’re not stylistically driving it, but we’re driving it on a set of principles,” he says.

Key to the development’s potential attractiveness, Meyer says, is allowing the community to grow and develop organically, without restrictive and detailed building regulations, so “that you feel there is a history of [the place], that it wasn’t just sort of a piece of machinery that was crafted the week before,” even though his initial design impulse might be to rigorously define this very machine.


Pringle Creek honored by Cascadia Green Building Council

On December 13, 2007, Pringle Creek Community was honored by the Cascadia Region Green Building Council in Seattle Washington. More than 200 Cascadia members attended the gala celebration to recognize the most advanced green building projects constructed in 2007.

Cascadia Region GBC is one of the three original chapters of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the organization that does LEED certification. The Cascadia region covers Oregon, Washington and British Columbia but includes members from Alaska, Idaho and Montana. The Cascadia Council is the premier green building organization in the Northwest. They have forged alliances with cities, planners, architects, developers and environmental groups to promote green building policies and initiatives, including the LEED green building program.

Pringle Creek's Cottage, designed by Opsis Architecture, was recognized as the first USGBC LEED-Platinum home in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, it’s the greenest single-family home in America according to USGBC. The 1,460 square foot cottage was one of the few single family residences included with the array of Cascadia commercial, retail and government accredited LEED projects.

At the event there was praise for Pringle Creek Cottage's use of environmentally friendly materials, such as 100% FSC certified lumber for framing and cabinets, flooring and finish materials. They also talked about the passive solar design, the use of photovoltaic panels, the solar hot water system and the cottage home aesthetics and durability.

It was an honor to be recognized by green construction professionals and the leaders of our industry.

Don Myers