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Climate change pushes some companies to go green

Lucas Mearian | April 30, 2013
Severe weather shifts are forcing companies to rethink their energy strategies; they're using both technology and geography to become more energy independent.

And motorized office windows automatically open and shut to provide natural ventilation.

The Bullitt Building's automatic windows open and close to help adjust the indoor temperature

The Bullitt Foundation describes the structure as "a living building behaving like a living organism," one that can server as a model for sustainability. It was built to last up to 250 years.

Part of the problem with constructing environmentally safe and self-sustaining commercial buildings, Hayes said, are state and local building codes, which are often outdated and restrict the use of some materials and building processes.

"If you really want to build a green building today in any city in the United States, you'll find yourself in violation of maybe two dozen regulations and laws," Hayes said.

As a result, the Bullitt Foundation worked with the city of Seattle to review its building codes to help with the creation of greener, "living" buildings.

"We didn't know what changes needed to be made in our codes, which is why we did the demo ordinance and basically said, [offer] greater flexibility but still meet community standards for designs," said Diane Sugimura, director of Seattle's planning and development.

"We've gotten to the point where incrementalism no longer is doing the trick. We've got to make giant ... leaps into a new way of doing things," Hayes said.


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