Revisiting Oregon’s first green buildings | Sustainable Business Oregon

Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center, 721 N.W. Ninth Ave., Portland

LEED Award: Dec. 12, 2001, “gold” level.

The project: Redevelopment of old warehouse into a 70,000-square-foot mixed use office and retail complex.

Budget: $12.4 million ($177 per square foot)

Construction: 1999 to 2001

The pitch: On-site storm water management, 16 percent water use reduction, 22 percent energy use reduction, extensive use of natural light, 98 percent reuse of construction debris, extensive reliance on public transportation.

The backstory: The project was named for Ecotrust founder Jean Vollum, the benefactor whose money purchased the building. It is best known as the “Ecotrust Building.” Tenants include Hot Lips Pizza, Patagonia, Cascadia Region Green Building Council, the Certified Forest Products Council, the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, the Pearl Clinic and Pharmacy and a recent arrival, Laughing Planet Cafe.

The Ecotrust building was designed to serve as the green capital of Portland, and does.

Spencer Beebe, who founded Ecotrust in 1991, will hand over the reins to Astrid Scholz who will take over as president. Beebe will become chairman of Ecotrust’s board of directors.

Lesson learned No. 1: The building includes incubator space for green-oriented operations. Growing businesses quickly outgrew their quarters.

Lesson learned No. 2: Ecotrust boasted the first commercially installed waterless urinals in Oregon. To work, the cartridges that channel waste to the sewer line must be changed often. Really often.

What works well: The building is meeting its energy goals, according to a study conducted by the Cascadia group. “We’re running an amazingly energy-efficient building that is helping us as owners save energy,” said Sydney Mead, a LEED-accredited professional and director of events and programs for Ecotrust.

Would it do another LEED project? Yes. “We talk about the building being the physical manifestation of our mission,” said Mead, who adds that the cost premium has dropped to perhaps 1 percent over traditional construction costs. “Almost anymore you have to have a reason not to.”

via Revisiting Oregon’s first green buildings | Sustainable Business Oregon.