» Discoveries: That funny little building in the picture

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Bike LogoDiscoveries: That funny little building in the picture

The header on this page has a series of photographs and the one for the Discoveries page is of a rather odd looking building with a steep green metal roof.

A few questions have come my way about that building in the picture.  So I thought I would tell you about it.

wsp weigh station

WSP weigh station

It is the first Washington State Patrol Weigh Station I designed in the late 1990’s and it is outside Cle Elum, Washington, in a rather isolated location.  It is an efficient and very functional project that deals with large trucks and truckers, freeway maintenance and State Patrol safety needs.

It’s steep pitched roof has potential for solar panels or using snow run off to flush toilets.  The building is heavily insulated and its materials are simple and durable. There are backup generators to run the computer systems even if the trooper stationed there becomes trapped by the weather.  All of the mechanical systems are tucked into attic space.   Being one story (instead of 2 as the owner originally requested), there is no need for elevators or stairs, saving space and energy.

The building fits nicely into the environment and the color makes it non-distracting, yet a nice statement beside the highway.  We have completed 2 other weigh stations in Prosser and Stanwood, Washington, and are now working on 4th just outside of Spokane.

Although the building is efficient and interesting, it is not dramatically “green”.  It makes me think back to buildings I designed in the 1970’s and 1980’s that included large Trombe walls, solar panels for hot water heating, much more extensive daylighting and much greater use of thermal mass.  I think we did buildings far more creative and earth friendly long before we knew about LEED silver or gold, Green Building Council, Better Bricks, Seattle Lighting Center, or even computer modeling.

Through the late 80’s and 90’s I was told constantly that clients will not pay for the energy efficient systems.  The energy crisis was over and I should stick to aesthetics instead.  (How small headed!)  It has now taken another energy crises and finally global warming just to get back to where we were in 1980.
So the big issue for me is how to help clients understand what is needed, how far we must go and why they need to invest in energy efficiency and solar powered building systems?  How do we get the fear taken out of their projects?

Clients need incentives and building codes must advance dramatically in energy requirements, encouraging clients to think into the future.

What do you think?  Looking forward to your comments.

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Tue, January 20 2009 » Discoveries

2 Responses

  1. Whitney January 26 2009 @ 4:59 pm

    Love driving by these buildings and knowing you designed them!

  2. Tom January 26 2009 @ 6:35 pm

    Hip Hip Hurrah! Good work IT guru!
    Thank you

    Toms last blog post..The Dirty Truth

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