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Project: The Burnside Rocket

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The Burnside Rocket          

Project: The Burnside Rocket
Architect: Kevin Cavenaugh
Typology: Mixed-Use Office Building
Location: Portland, Oregon
Sustainability Elements: Health, Food, Ecology, Energy, Resources

At first glance the cheerfully gritty Burnside Rocketmay seem to offer little in the way of architectural distinction other than a few eccentric shutters painted by local artists. However, between its crimson painted walls a powerhouse is at work. The LEED-Platinum certified structure is built both to last, an estimated 300 years, and operate efficiently. Hollow-core concrete slabs distribute conditioned air in lieu of metal ductwork. The raw, industrial aesthetic reduces the need for finishing materials and interior partitions. And a ground source heat pump provides efficient indoor air conditioning while desuperheaters recover “waste heat” for domestic water heating. It also provides no parking on site, the the first outside Portland’s downtown to do so.

The building’s signature feature, a rooftop edible garden is harvested daily by a restaurant tenant. Though only about half of the green roof is built into the building, the Burnside Rocket maximizes its roof space by providing harvestable roof space in the form of “kiddie” pools planted with vegetables and planter-lined parapets.

The Burnside Rocket is also an excellent case study on the economic benefits of “going green.” Because of the massive energy savings, an estimated 50 percent reduction from traditional construction, the property owner can offer tenants a full-service lease. Unlike conventional triple-net leases, where lessees pay for all taxes, maintenance, and insurance associated with their tenancy, the property manager assumes those costs and leaves tenants only with rent. The result? Property owners can charge more for rent while offering savings when compared with a triple-net lease, and achieve higher profit margins from the reduced operating costs.

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