Sustainable Building at Heart of Collaborative Project

The South Landing project in Spokane, Washington, has been called “the five smartest city blocks in the world.” The development is said to feature “the most sustainable large building in North America.” Known as the Catalyst Building, it is intended to anchor a planned “innovation hub.” The five-story, 150,000-square-foot building features two wings around a light-filled collaborative atrium. Catalyst will host dry labs, offices, classrooms, and common study areas.

The Catalyst design team reportedly emphasized sustainability as a core value. The building features cross-laminated timber (CLT)—a mass timber building material made of laminated wood panels—for major structural elements. The design reduces the buildings environmental footprint by reducing energy use and prolonging the expected lifespan of the building. The Catalyst Building connects to Spokane’s growing University District by way of the Gateway Bridge, designed to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.

The South Landing project is a joint development of Avista Development and South Landing Investors LLC. Other stakeholders include Katerra (maker of the CLT), Eastern Washington University, McKinstry, and Michael Green Architecture. The sustainable features include an energy-efficient radiant heating and cooling system throughout the building, heat recovery of all exhaust air, high-performing building envelope design, LED lighting, sun shading in the lobby, and a smart building management system to maximize building operations efficiency.

Heather Rosentrater, senior vice president of Energy Delivery and Shared Services with Avista Utilities, and Ash Awad, Chief Market Officer from McKinstry, were guests on The POWER Podcast. They explained why the project is important for the community and the many ways all the stakeholders collaborated to make it a success.

“As a utility, we recognize that a healthy community creates a healthy utility,” Rosentrater said. “And so, that’s at the core of being involved in this kind of a development is recognizing the value that it can bring to the community in terms of attracting businesses and just providing economic development in this area. So, that’s a big piece of why we’re involved.”

“Typically, when a development is happening, the developer and the general contractor and the architect are really working from a top down perspective,” Awad said. However, the South Landing stakeholders worked together in atypical ways. He said Avista and McKinstry collaborated “to think differently about how energy moves.” The two also worked closely with Katerra to bring CLT strategies into the building.

“But then, we actually worked with the community, and we thought a lot about ‘What does this southern part of the University District need?’ and working quite closely with the higher ed community and the greater Spokane area to think about some of those elements,” Awad said.

Hear the full interview on The POWER Podcast. Follow the links below to subscribe via your favorite platform or click on the SoundCloud player to listen now:

For more power podcasts, visit The POWER Podcast archives.

Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine).

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