This week, the Portland City Council unanimously approved a green building resolution, requiring all municipally owned new construction and major renovations building projects to be built to LEED Silver standard with additional energy credits to meet the energy and carbon reduction goals of the Architecture 2030 Challenge.
"The climate is changing faster now than any time in the past 500,000 years. The public wants change - is demanding change - and cities must take the lead to make it happen," stated Mayor Jill Duson. "Since buildings are the single largest contributor to carbon emissions to the earth's atmosphere, it makes sense for us to reach our carbon reduction goals by targeting buildings." Portland was the first city to sign on to the Governor's Carbon Challenge during Duson's first term as Mayor. Duson, along with fellow councilors David Marshall (Chair) and Dory Waxman, serves on the Council's Energy and Environmental Sustainability Committee, which crafted the ordinance with city staff.
The ordinance requires all municipally owned or occupied new construction and renovation projects over 5,000 square feet with a total construction cost of more than $250,000, and all new city-funded private construction and renovation projects over 10,000 square feet with a total construction cost of $250,000, be certified to the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver Standard and achieve the minimum LEED Optimize Energy Performance points necessary to meet the targets of the Architecture 2030 Challenge.
Since signing its Climate Action Plan in 2008, Portland has taken a number of steps to meet its climate change goals. The plan states that 59% of the greenhouse gases emitted by city operations are from buildings with another 25% emitted from water and sewer operations. Beyond cost and environmental benefits, green buildings are healthier for people, use water more efficiently, aid storm-water management and are built with materials that promote savings, efficiencies and sustainability.