Stuff We Need: Green Building

One of the things that I love about Bellingham, my fair city, is the very strong sustainability movement afoot here. It’s rare that a few days go by wherein I don’t catch wind of some event having to do with buying local or organic farming or rain water catchment or salmon habitat restoration or…

…and it goes on and on.

Sure, there are setbacks and disappointments. Just last week the Whatcom County Council ruled to open up growth areas for development that had been declassified for growth in order to control sprawl and protect our drinking water source: the Lake Whatcom Watershed.

And yet, I’d never come to the overall positive view of Bellingham that I have if I interpreted every setback as the beginning to the end or the continuation of everything bad I’ve read in the past. To use an apt metaphor, doing so it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, to see the many good things that happen, large and small, everyday.

So, a few days ago I read this, and thought that this is stuff we definitely need:

Faster permitting for green projects part of Bellingham’s Ten in ’10 effort
JARED PABEN / THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

BELLINGHAM – The house Grant Myers plans to build is environmentally friendly, incorporating everything from wider-spaced studs to save wood to a central air system that stays within the insulated part of a house, saving energy.

But perhaps the most amazing thing: He submitted the building permit application on Thursday, April 15, before he went on vacation, and it was ready on Tuesday, April 20.

“I never expected the permit would be ready before I got back,” he said.

The project qualified for what city officials are calling a “bin-bump-up,” meaning it scored high enough on an environmentally friendly construction rating system to qualify for expedited permit review. That’s part of the Ten in ’10 initiative, where the city will do 10 things this year to encourage green-building techniques.

See, I read this and I remember that my employer, Western Washington University, is currently constructing its third LEED Certified building, and that the Pickford Film Center got a $250,000 state grant that will help them finally move forward with the renovation of their “Dream Space”, a project that will also be LEED certified…oh, and the Pickford has pledged to be a zero waste operation…seriously…it’s a movie theater!

I love this town!

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