Portland Aims for Gold with Revised Green Building Policy

May 4, 2005

Portland, Oregon, has updated its four-year-old Green Building Policy and now requires all municipal buildings to obtain LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The Gold certification is the second-highest rating under the USGBC LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification system. Portland and Scottsdale, Arizona, are now the only two U.S. cities that require municipal buildings to acquire LEED Gold certification. The new policy also requires new city-funded private sector buildings and major retrofits of city-owned buildings to achieve LEED Silver certification, and provides for city support of new private building projects to help them achieve LEED Silver certification. See the press release from the City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development (PDF 89 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

Green building continues to gain momentum in the United States. In Tennessee, DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has built a joint institute building with the University of Tennessee that is expected to receive LEED certification. The joint institute uses 25 percent less energy than comparable buildings. In Maryland, the Maryland Energy Administration has set its own green building standards, and has recently awarded tax credits to both a 65-unit residential building and an office building. Both buildings will be 35 percent more efficient than comparable buildings, and the office building will also generate 200 kilowatts of power from a wind turbine and building-integrated solar power panels. See the ORNL press release and the Maryland Energy Administration press releases for the residential building (PDF 61 KB) and the office building (PDF 65 KB).

Building designers that aim to save energy rely heavily on building energy simulation software such as DOE's EnergyPlus program. Those designers now have more computing power to draw on, as the latest version of EnergyPlus is now available for Windows and Linux operating systems. The new version includes more weather files, the ability to model more complex ventilation schemes, and many other new features. See the EnergyPlus Web page and the full list of new features on DOE's Building Technologies Program Web site.