Eco Factor: Solar-powered building aims to be the greenest in the world.
In the pioneer town of Independence, OR, Independence Station is on track to become the World’s Greenest Building with the highest LEED rating ever awarded for new construction. The 40 percent complete, 57,000-square-foot mixed-use structure by Aldeia, LLC will house offices, retail space, a restaurant, research facilities, a Direct Current (DC) power based data server room, classroom space and 15 residential units for 21st century pioneers who will work together to shatter worldwide energy consumption guidelines.
The current record holder, a Canadian project, has a score of 63 out of a possible 69 points. At its completion next year, Independence Station will likely earn between 64 and 66 points, bringing the top score back to the United States. Independence Station’s potential rating is owed primarily to its use of renewable energy sources – mostly the sun and vegetable oil – and the means of distributing, storing and managing that energy efficiently throughout the building. The building will boast a unique 120 kilowatt installation of photovoltaic panels. During sunny months, the panels will produce more than enough energy to run the building, store extra energy in a large battery bank for nighttime use as well as feed power back into the grid. Independence Station is likely to be the most comprehensive “Smart Grid” project ever built.
In cooler, cloudier months, the building will rely more on a biodiesel-fueled cogeneration and thermal storage system, including a retired tug-boat engine affectionately named Mabel, which will serve as a backup and run on waste vegetable oil from local restaurants. Radiant floor heating and cooling, displacement ventilation, solar water heating, day lighting design, an ice-based cooling storage system, water based ground source heat pump, and extensive use of LEDs are some of the systems that minimize Independence Station’s “off-the-grid” energy consumption.
Independence Station is expected to exceed the strict Oregon Energy Code by an outstanding 74 percent. In fact, Independence Station is expected to operate in a carbon negative manner. Because enough rainwater is stored in the winter to supply 100 percent of the building’s needs for laundry, toilet flushing and irrigation of the both the green roof and planned 40-foot interior vertical “urban garden,” water consumption records are expected to fall as well.
The $15 million community will include 15 distinctive one- and two-bedroom condominiums. With living space of 600 to 1,660 square feet, the uniquely designed Smart Homes are expected to range from the $300,000s into the $600,000s. In the spirit of the community’s historically significant location at the end of the Oregon Trail, Aldeia, LLC founder Steven Ribeiro is seeking 15 21st century Oregon Trail pioneers to partner with the project by owning and living in the residences. As they live in the high-profile building, these pioneers will become standard bearers whose energy usage habits will likely break records and set new consumption targets worldwide.
Independence Station offers opportunities for pioneering entrepreneurs to set up offices, small retail stores, a restaurant or an Internet café. For businesses who want to be part of the World’s Greenest Building but are not located near Independence, the trophy address will be available to savvy green-minded professionals who are located anywhere in the world via affordable virtual office space as well.
Ribeiro expects the location to become a common destination for professional organizations, school groups, trade groups and curious tourists, who can travel to Independence on a biodiesel powered bus service. While construction is underway, Independence Station will host tours, classes and events in an adjacent location. Independence Station’s materials and product suppliers will have the opportunity to have their environmentally responsible products incorporated into the building and showcased for site visitors, giving them a marketing edge.
Thanks for the tip: [Lauren Montero]