Portland Requires High Green Building Standards

Portland’s leadership in high performance green buildings, low impact development, and smart growth got another boost from the City Council, with recommendations to improve and expand the City’s four-year old Green Building Policy to include more rigorous standards for City-owned facilities and incentives to facilitate the permitting of LEED registered buildings. Introduced by Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the Resolution recommends a series of new actions including that all new City facilities must meet the Gold level of the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system.

Portland joins Scottsdale, Arizona as the second city in the country to require LEED Gold certification for City facilities. Regionally, Vancouver, BC also requires all of their municipal facilities achieve LEED Gold. LEED, a green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, has become the most widely used tool in the U.S. to help design and evaluate the environmental performance of a building. The City’s strategic investment in green building practices and technologies does triple duty. It helps clean up Portland’s environment – protecting local watersheds, improving air quality, and creating new habitat; enhancing livability through pedestrian and transit friendly buildings with healthier indoor air quality; and stimulating investment in sustainable economic development. “Enhancing Portland’s green building policy helps link environmental protection with job creation” said Saltzman. Portland is home to a diverse array of companies ranging from LEED-accredited architecture & engineering firms to green building product manufacturers and financial institutions – all benefiting from the City’s commitment to environmental innovation and sustainable economic development,” he added. The City’s updated policy addresses four major areas: – City facilities – (Buildings constructed, owned, leased and managed by the City of Portland). Increase LEED NC (New Construction) threshold for all new facilities projects from “Certified” to “Gold.” Major retrofits and existing occupied buildings will achieve LEED EB (Existing Buildings) “Silver” standards. Tenant Improvements and leased facilities will achieve LEED CI (Commercial Interiors) “Silver” and/or G/Rated Tenant Improvement Guide certification. The City will also incorporate ecoroofs and Energy Star rated roofing when practical green building practices into all operations and maintenance guidelines. – City-funded private sector projects – City Council directs the Portland Development Commission (PDC) to adopt LEED NC “Silver” standards for all private-sector development over 10,000 square feet that receive financial assistance from PDC and other public agencies (including value of fee or tax waivers) totaling over $200,000 or 10% of the total project costs. – Public infrastructure – The construction and maintenance of public infrastructure (utilities, streets, etc) will incorporate green “best practices” established by the Water Bureau, Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Office of Transportation and Office of Sustainable Development. – Private sector development – In addition to the City’s nationally recognized G/Rated technical assistance program and Green Investment Fund (a five-year, $2.5 million grant program that supports cutting-edge green building technologies funded by the City’s Office of Sustainable Development, Bureau of Environmental Services, and Water Bureau and Energy Trust of Oregon), the City will provide Process Management for all qualified public and private sector LEED Silver-registered building projects through the Bureau of Development Services. “The City’s Green Building Policy has helped transform the development industry in Portland. We now have the most LEED-registered projects in the country,” said Susan Anderson, OSD Director. “This new, and most importantly integrated package of requirements and incentives will ensure Portland continues to pace the country as a green building leader.”
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