South Waterfront's anchor, an Oregon Health & Science University bioscience center opening in November, is the nation's first large building to use chilled "beams" instead of conventional air conditioning. Picture a car radiator on its side on the ceiling. Chilled water passes through and cool air falls into the room, requiring no power to run fans or blowers.
According to a story in USA Today, the university aims for the top LEED rating — platinum — which would be another first.
Medical buildings that combine research labs, surgery and a lot of daily traffic to doctors' offices aren't easy to make green. The 16-story, $145 million building will produce a third of its electricity and treat its own water.
"Not only will they have bragging rights on the first and largest platinum building of its type, they'll also get a very high-performance building that saves money over the long haul," says Dennis Wilde, a partner in Gerding/Edlen, a principal developer at South Waterfront.
Cost premiums on green building have shrunk "but were never as significant as people were afraid," Wilde says.
For additional information on this project in the form of a free 50-page case study on the engineering design, go to www.ieice.com and follow the links to order your copy.