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Jacobs Installs Ultra-Efficient Heat Pump in SE PDX

The Cyrk building at Southeast Clinton and 20th streets in Portland is a model of sustainable features: The roof will sport solar panels for electricity and water heating, and the indoor temperature will be controlled with an underground water-source heat pump. Altogether, the project is on course to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum certification.

The project team is dedicated to creating as green a building as possible – and overcoming the challenges inherent in such an effort.

Project owners Will Emery and Bonnie Serkin wanted to create an urban space where they could live and work. They will reside on the building’s top floor, which also will include a guest suite for visitors. The main floor will hold the offices of Double E Northwest, the investment management company Emery and Serkin own and operate. The main floor also has space for a retail tenant, which is still being sought.

Double E Northwest owns a number of companies: one is developing a sustainable residential community in Newport, and another owns a certified sustainable forest on the Oregon coast. So creating a sustainable live-work space was a natural step for Serkin and Emery. Serkin believes that green buildings like the Cyrk will be the norm in a decade or two.

“Ten to 20 years ago, this would have been impossible,” Serkin said. “Right now, this is the kind of building that can be built if you work hard and think about it.”

Project team members DECA Architecture and B&G Builders last week offered a tour of the Cyrk Building, now under construction, to architects. DECA principal David Hyman said the team considered sustainability certification methods other than LEED – including the Living Building Challenge.

“I’m fairly confident that we could have met that, but it would’ve required a lot more paperwork,” Hyman said. “It’s a more difficult, more time-consuming process.”

As it was, the project team faced challenges in sourcing material. Working inside a green framework, Hyman said, “narrows the availability of materials.” He credits B&G Builders with providing connections with the right sources.

“The big unknown is always recycled wood, because sources change all the time,” Hyman said.

Much of the Cyrk building is framed and sided with wood that is either recycled or FSC certified. Some large beams visible in the residential area are recycled from a shipwreck.

“It takes quite a bit of research and phone calling to source the facilities that have those resources,” Hyman said.

One of the more difficult aspects of the project, according to B&G, was familiarizing contractors with the process of sorting waste materials. In order to hit LEED platinum, 95 percent of construction waste needed to be recycled or reclaimed, and everything needed to be documented.

Carrington Barrs, a B&G Builders principal, said waste management is the baseline for all of his firm’s green building projects.

“Not only is this project pushing the limits of sustainability, it’s also a very high-end project,” Barrs said. “What I’ve been telling all our subs is this: ‘Nothing out here is like what you did on your last project.’ ”

Serkin added that “it’s not intended to be a shrine to sustainability – it’s a beautiful place to live in a neighborhood that has a lot of integrity.”