No. 223 . 12 January 2005 
ArchitectureWeek
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Green Building Does Portland

by Brian Libby

"Welcome to Portland, the city that gets it," said U.S. Green Building Council president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi as he opened the 2004 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. "I want you to think about what they've done here and take it back with you to your cities and towns."

Indeed, Portland, Oregon — like previous Greenbuild host cities Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Austin, Texas — is among the nation's most enthusiastic in embracing sustainable, or "green," building methods, materials, and advocacy. Portland is currently home to more accredited LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects than any other city. In addition, Portland's LEED standard for its greater metropolitan area is so far the only regional adaptation of the national standard.

As the conference opened at the Oregon Convention Center, designed and recently "greened" by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership, it quickly became clear that promoting green design as business-friendly was of paramount importance to the USGBC. A string of speakers cited reduced operating costs for green buildings, an emerging market of sustainable products, and a way of building that represents people's concerns about environmental stewardship.

One speaker was Sacramento developer Craig Sheehy of Thomas Properties, who helped steer the California EPA Headquarters toward a platinum rating in the "LEED-EB" category for existing buildings. The building is now projected to save just over one dollar per year for each of its 988,000 square feet (91,800 square meters). One curious new feature is the building's vermicomposting system, in which 30,000 worms are fed vegetable waste, saving 10 tons (9070 kilograms) per year from the landfill.   >>>

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