Green Building Services Aims to 'LEED' the West

Green Building Services Aims to 'LEED' the West

Two building projects under review for the U.S. Green Building Council's green certification could be among the first in the West to land the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designation.

According to Green Building Services, which submitted these projects to the U.S. Green Building Council for review, the sites include the 70,000-square-foot Ecotrust Natural Capital Center in Portland, Ore., and Viridian Place [PDF], a 15,000-square-foot office building in Lake Oswego, Ore. Certification could arrive in November.

Both projects are shooting for the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standing. The U.S. Green Building Council is a 1,000-member national building industry organization.

LEED was developed over a three-year period and introduced in April 2000, and can be given only to completed projects. More than 220 projects nationwide have registered with the USGBC to become LEED-certified.

The Ecotrust Natural Capital Center houses a number of organizations and the first Patagonia store in Oregon -- and their largest store in the nation. It involved the complete renovation of an 1895 warehouse into a modern office building.

Green building features in this project include:
  • Reuse of an historic structure, including the complete building shell and most of the interior
  • Extensive use of salvaged and recycled-content materials and building materials
  • Recycling and salvage of 98% of construction and demolition waste
  • Location near mass transit, specifically the new Portland trolley
  • Creation of a major environmental education center for the community
  • A "green roof" for retention of stormwater, and on-site recharge of stormwater from the roof and parking lot with infiltration swales and stormwater planters.
  • Water conservation measures to reduce use by 32%, through the use of low-flow fixtures.
According to Ralph DiNola, green building specialist at Green Building Services, the Ecotrust project is one of the first in the nation to employ federal historic preservation standards and the LEED green building standards.

“Using off-the-shelf technologies, this project demonstrates that green building is not only a practical way to redevelop historic building, but economically feasible as well,” DiNola said.

The Viridian Place Office Building houses the showroom for Neil Kelly Remodelers, the largest such company in Oregon, and the offices of CES/NW and Blazer Development. It sits adjacent to Interstate 5, just south of Portland.

Viridian Place features:
  • Extensive use of daylighting to improve health and productivity of the employees, along with energy efficient glazing
  • Energy use modeled at 40% below current Oregon energy code requirements
  • Occupancy sensors for lighting and heating/cooling/ventilation controls
  • Full commissioning of the building
  • Recycling of more than 70% of construction waste
  • Use of photovoltaics (solar electric panels) to power the parking lot lights
  • Extensive use of recycled-content materials
  • Procurement of over 50% of the building materials from local/regional manufacturers (within 500 mile radius), supporting the local economy and reducing energy use and pollution from material transport
  • More than 28% of wood materials were harvested from certified sustainably managed forests
  • Landscaping consists entirely of native and adapted vegetation that will require no irrigation after it has become established
Both of these buildings also received Portland General Electric’s "Earth Advantage" certification. Earth Advantage buildings meet high environmental standards, create clean indoor air and are at least 20% more energy efficient than building codes require.