December 09, 2010

The Oregon Sustainability Center (OSC) project team, led by Gerding Edlen and including SERA Architects, GBD Architects and Skanska Construction, launched the schematic design phase for the building on Monday, December 6. The team is holding a week-long series of events to address three critical factors for the project design: tenant engagement, technical partnerships, and research and commercialization opportunities.

The pre-committed tenants include Portland State University, Oregon State University, the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and the Oregon Living Building Initiative, a group of leading environmental organizations and firms led by the Oregon Environmental Council and Earth Advantage. They will concentrate on the OSC’s programming needs, lease terms, and the tenants’ role in accomplishing the building’s green performance requirements.

At the same time, clean tech cluster companies will explore the product and commercialization opportunities that the Center will foster in such areas as solar power, energy management, water systems and green building materials. These opportunities encompass both technical capabilities that will contribute to the Center’s performance, and the dovetailing of the Oregon University System’s research agenda with private company interests.

“The Oregon Sustainability Center is the most challenging development project ever undertaken in Portland,” said Gerding Edlen Project Manager Dennis Wilde. “Naturally it’s generating interest from the design, architecture and engineering fields. The very idea of the project is attracting international attention from major corporations. These companies see a unique opportunity for product development and roll out, for corporate branding and for market growth. Portland, in turn, sees opportunities for permanent job growth in key industry sectors.”

The Portland Development Commission (PDC) and design team invited a broad range of technology companies to contribute to the schematic design process. Participation from local, regional and global companies has included Intel, Cisco, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Sanyo, IBM, CertainTeed and others.

To expand the partnership with the research community, the week will culminate with a discussion between the project partners, representatives from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This meeting will focus on the schematic design process as well as the OUS research agenda, and will be convened by Oregon BEST.

The DOE announced last week that the OSC will receive federally-funded technical assistance as part of the federal Commercial Building Initiative to connect building owners and operators with national labs. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will coordinate the technical consulting services on architectural design, energy modeling and energy measurement to get the Center to net-zero.

The OSC is envisioned as one of the highest performing commercial buildings in the world. The Center will achieve triple net-zero performance in energy, water and wastewater management. It is designed to pursue the world’s most stringent green building criteria, the Cascadia Region Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge™. Schematic design of the Center, jointly funded by the PDC and OUS, will be complete in March 2011.