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The Breathe Building Completes Deep Green Retrofit

9.15.15 by the Green Hammer Team

The Breathe Building, a new community wellness center located at 2305 SE 50th Avenue in Portland, recently completed an ambitious deep-green retrofit. It’s the latest project set to achieve Earth Advantage Commercial certification, a third-party green building standard designed to improve the health, comfort, durability, energy efficiency and water efficiency of buildings while reducing operating expenses.

“When we began designing the Breathe Building in 2012, our goal was to create the healthiest and most environmentally friendly wellness center possible,” says Chris Calarco, building owner and instructor at Yoga Union. Calarco hired Green Hammer to help him and other project partners create a vision for transforming an existing 10,000-square-foot industrial building into a yoga studio, wellness center and restaurant.

“We investigated a wide range of green building certifications,” said Alex Boetzel, Green Hammer chief operating officer. “The project team ultimately decided on Earth Advantage Commercial certification because it offers a streamlined, cost-effective and comprehensive approach for small commercial projects.” Green Hammer’s Erica Dunn is the Architect of Record for the project.

The Breathe Bldg

The Breathe Building is a complete wellness center offering indoor and outdoor community gathering spaces, yoga classes, naturopathic and acupuncture care, massage therapy, counseling, a café, sauna, and child care for members. It also includes a 2,000-square-foot rooftop deck and a 10-kilowatt rooftop solar PV array. It was extremely important to Calarco and his future tenants to create a healthy space. This meant significantly reducing the use of fossil fuels and water needed to build and operate the building. A majority of the project's material selections followed the extremely stringent Living Building Challenge process to

investigate and confirm that all ingredients are free of bio-accumulative toxins found on the LBC's materials 'red list'.

Family, friends, and Yoga Union members contributed an estimated 2,000 volunteer hours to the project. They stained and installed reclaimed wood in the walls and ceiling of the main studio, lobby and kitchen. Local artists completed murals, glass art and stonework throughout the building and courtyard. “When you see this building from the outside, you can tell something is very unique about it,” says Calarco. “This building represents the values of an entire community.”

Earth Advantage’s Commercial certification program recently became one of the approved certifications for commercial construction by the City of Portland and the Portland Planning and Development Commission. Earth Advantage Commercial certification addresses the needs of an important sector of the commercial market — the 95 percent of all commercial buildings that are smaller than 50,000 square feet. “Small commercial is a tremendously underserved market when it comes to sustainable construction certification programs,” says Peter Brown, Earth Advantage Director of Building Certifications.

The Breathe Building is hosting a grand opening celebration, September 25-26, 2015. Follow The Breathe Building on Facebook to find details and to view an extensive collection of construction photos. 

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