Wednesday, April 24, 2013

SEAW Dinner Meeting Mini Seminar on Disaster Resilience

Last night I had the pleasure to present a mini seminar to the SEAW dinner meeting attendees.  The talk was on Disaster Resilience and focused on it from the mindset of a structural engineer.  It was broad based and really tried to convey what disaster resilience is and how structural engineers can contribute to making disaster resilient communities. 

I got a good feeling from talking with several audience members after the talk.  It seems that the content was well taken and fed into the main talk about the Seattle URM ordinance very well.  I was pleased to find that Council Member Richard Conlin mentioned that part of the impetus behind the URM ordinance was to help Seattle be more resilient.  He even did this without seeing my mini seminar presentation!

For those of you wanted to be able to see the slides again I have linked to a pdf of them. 

Disaster Resilience: A Perspective from the Sustainable Mindset of a Structural Engineer


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 24 Meeting Agenda

SEAW – Sustainability Committee Meeting Agenda for April 24, 2013
Location: Coughlin Porter Lundeen, 413 Pine St #300, Seattle - noon
1.     Introductions (12:00).
2.     Current Work/Old Business (12:05)
a.     Disaster Resilience Mini-Seminar at SEAW recap
b.     Concrete Subcommittee
c.     Solar Ready Roofs
d.     European Green Standards
e.     Guest Speakers
                                  i.    Project Haiti by HOK and USGBC
                                 ii.    Greenroads/Envision rating systems
f.      Tours
                                  i.    Bullitt Center
                                 ii.    Reclaimed Timber
3.     Featured Topic (12:15)
a.     Top 10 LCA FAQ
4.     News & Education (12:45)
a.     Recent Publications/Presentations
                                  i.    HOK’s Thomas Knittel, UW, April 4.
                                 ii.    Preservation Greenlab Report on Building Reuse
                                iii.    Composite Wood-Concrete Floor, April Structure Magazine
b.     Upcoming Events
                                  i.    DECON '13 (Building Materials Reuse Association), Seattle, April 29-May 1
                                 ii.    SEI Structures Congress, Pittsburg, PA, May 2-4
                                iii.    Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System, Rock Salt, May 15
                                iv.    Living Future unConference, Seattle, May 15-17
c.     Liaison Activity
                                  i.    SEI Sustainability Committee
                                 ii.    SEAONC Sustainable Design Committee
                                iii.    Cascade GBC
                                iv.    AIA+2030 Lecture Series
d.     Announcements
5.     Upcoming Events
a.     Open Announcements
6.     Next meeting (12:59)
a.     Wednesday, May 22, at noon
b.     Main Topic: TBD
c.     Location: KPFF
7.     Adjourn (1:00)

Friday, April 19, 2013

ShelterWorks Nets Grant for Recycled Brick

An Oregon company got a grant to get their green building product tested in hopes of wider distribution.  Looks promising.  From Sustainable Business Oregon:
ShelterWorks, which operates out of a former lumber mill in Philomath, will work with seismic experts at Portland State University's InfraStructure Testing & Applied Research Lab to generate specific seismic information about the building material that will make it easier for engineers to use it in building projects.

So far, the company's Faswall-brand building blocks — which contain 85 percent chipped pallet wood and 15 percent cement — have been sold mainly to residential builders. The blocks are a greener alternative to conventional wall framing or other insulated concrete form blocks. ShelterWorks blocks have been used in a few commercial projects but research data is expected open up the market for the product by simplifying the engineering process.

April 24 Committee Meeting

Our next committee meeting will be next Wednesday, April 24th at noon at CPL.  The main topic with be Life Cycle Assessment FAQs.  An agenda will be posted at on this blog by Wednesday. Meeting minutes from March are here. Let me know if you would like to join by audio/video conference.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

NRMCA Sustainable Concrete Webinar

The National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association is holding a webinar on April 24, at 9:00-10:30 on the role of performance-base concrete specifications play on delivering concrete with sustainable design criteria.  From their announcement:

Prescriptive requirements such as minimum cement content or maximum water to cement ratio are among many common specification requirements that can increase the environmental footprint of concrete. This webinar outlines how concrete performance can be improved while lowering environmental footprint by implementing performance-based specifications.
 You can sign up for the free webinar here.  Past webinars have been recorded an posted on their webpage for viewing on your own time.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bertschi Science Wing certified as a Living Building

Congratulations to the Bertschi School Science Wing for achieving the final certification as a Living Building by the Living Future Institute. Although construction was completed in November 2011, the certification process requires actual operational performance measurements, and full certification was received this month.

The Science Wing is the first certified Living Building on the west coast, and the first to be certified under the version 2.0 criteria.

More information at:

And more information about the Living Building Challenge in general at:

Also many thanks to KMD Architects and Quantum Consulting Engineers, as well as the Bertschi School, for facilitating our SEAW tour of the building last November!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

2014 Structures Congress Call for Proposals

If you have a project or research that you would like to present, you should start to put together your abstract.  ASCE is calling for proposals for the 2104 Structures Congress (in Boston next April).  Sustainability topics are included.
We are currently accepting proposals for complete sessions and abstracts for individual papers to be presented during the Structures Congress 2014.
  • Attendance and registration are required for all presenters.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) does not reimburse or pay the presenter's costs to attend the Congress.
  • SEI does provide presenters a reduced registration rate.
  • Presentations will be selected from the open call as well as by special invitation. . 

Key Dates

All Abstract and Session Proposals due June 12, 2013
Notification of Acceptance September 18, 2013
All Final Papers due December 18, 2013 (extensions not possible)
More information about the requirements and the Structures Congress is here:

Top 10 Structural Sustainability FAQs Answered by LCA

The Structural Engineering Institute's committee on sustainability has put together 10 answers to frequently asked questions about sustainability as it relates to structural engineering, and as it incorporates life cycle assessment.

From their blog post:
Despite the wealth of information now available about using life cycle assessment (LCA) as a sustainable design tool, straightforward answers to some basic questions can be difficult to find. The SEI Sustainability Committee’s LCA working group has prepared answers to ten of the most frequently asked questions by conscientious structural engineers.
Throughout the month of April, more of the 10 answers will come online, so be sure to check back often.  If you don't see a question that you need answered, please put in your vote for question 10 in the comment section.  

The SEAW sustainability committee will discuss this presentation of material at our meeting on April, 24th.