Equity and resiliency are in the spotlight for Portland’s Third Annual Sustainable Building Week

Equity and resiliency are in the spotlight for Portland’s Third Annual Sustainable Building Week

Equity and resiliency are in the spotlight for Portland’s Third Annual Sustainable Building Week

September 29, 2020 — Three years ago, Sustainable Building Week was founded as a new way for Portland’s design and building communities to convene and foster collaboration to “Keep Portland Green.” The event brings together the different worlds of architecture and design, building and construction, and community planning` allowing all participants to learn and share ideas and continue to evolve Portland’s legacy as a leader in sustainability practices.

With 2020 comes hurdles. The event has moved to a virtual format this year due to COVID-19 restrictions; however, that has also allowed the program to extend from one week to two weeks, while eliminating overlapping events. And out of a year of crisis, has come a unique opportunity to foster new conversations around sustainability tied to equity and resiliency from some of the region’s foremost thought leaders.


“While Sustainable Building Week has always focused on the latest issues and planning for the future, we are especially excited about the unique energy of our 2020 event,” said Terry Campbell, co-creator of Sustainable Building Week. “This is an opportunity to respond to major headlines facing our region right now — whether that’s social justice issues or climate change — and through cross-disciplinary education and connectivity, evolve to build greater equity and resiliency into the work we do as leaders in sustainability.”


The 3rd annual Sustainable Building Week takes place October 12-23 across various virtual platforms and includes over 25 educational presentations, panels, engaging open houses — and even an entirely virtual Zero Energy homes tour.  Attendees can choose which activities fit their interests and schedules, then sign up for individual events. Admission costs are free for most topics, with fees charged for specialized training or events. The full event schedule is available on the event website at www.sustainablebuildingweek.com.

Event Highlights include:


  • It All Starts At School (Oct 15) — Third in a series, Portland Green Schools Committee will host discussions around ways to support greater equity and inclusion in local architecture, engineering, and construction industries by building new opportunities in education and training for today’s students. In partnership with Room for More and AIA Oregon’s Committee on Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion.


  • Sustainable Building for All Town Hall (Oct 14) — Sustainable Buildings for All (SB4A) is an effort to create an incentive policy to accelerate climate action in the building industry in Portland while centering equity and racial justice. The group will share their working toward a draft policy to be presented to the City of Portland and capture ideas to integrate into final policy language.


  • Small but Mighty (Oct 19) — Innovators from the Portland community will convene to share their stories of impact as small organizations that make a big impact. This event features Eddie Hill with Black Futures Farm; Jennifer Levy with Environmental Clean Up; Ozzie Gonzales, 2020 Portland Mayoral Candidate; and Eric Corey Freed, sustainability consultant.


  • Living Building Certification Virtual Open House (Oct 21) — Mahlum Architects’ Portland studio is a 7,500 square-foot tenant improvement project in the historic 1950’s Custom Blocks Building that is the first in Portland to be “Living Building Challenge Certified” (an ambitious green building standard). The team will share details about the project design centered around key themes of Place, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. In partnership with Perlo Construction and Sustainable Northwest Wood.


  • Go Zero Tour 2020 (Oct 14 and 21) — Residential buildings account for ​almost a quarter of all energy usage​ in the state of Oregon, and zero energy home design is an important strategy in climate change mitigation. Solar Oregon will host two events, highlighting multiple zero energy homes across the state through virtual video tours. presented by Solar Oregon and Energy Trust of Oregon.


  • Electrify for a New Tomorrow (Oct 20) –– Kicking off “Electrification Day,” New Buildings Institute (NBI) envisions a future where building electrification technologies reign to help meet local climate goals. NBI will present cutting edge electric technologies and initiatives that will support the industry’s transition to low carbon building operations.

“While sustainability practices work to support a variety of social and environmental issues, the recent wind event and forest fires in Oregon are a wake-up call that the effects of climate change are with us more than ever before,” commented Webly Bowles, co-creator of Sustainable Building Week. “Healing our planet starts locally, and at this year’s event, we’re helping to unite our local building and design community in furthering sustainable building practices, which are key to reducing our carbon impact and ensuring a healthier future for our region and our world.”


Sustainable Building Week collaborators come from a variety of disciplines and include AIA Oregon, Build Local Alliance, University of Oregon Institute for Health in the Built Environment,  Oregon State University Tall Wood Design Institute, Portland Green Schools, Portland Materials Transparency Collaborative, Solar Oregon, U.S. Green Building Council, Portland Society of Plumbing Engineers, Electrify Now, Forth Mobility, ReBuilding Center, and Zero Energy Ready Oregon.


The not-for-profit event is supported this year by major sponsors, including Mahlum Architects, Hennebery Eddy Architects, Holst Architecture, BORA Architects, PAE Engineers, New Buildings Institute, Sustainable Northwest Wood, Portland General Electric, Associated Builders and Contractors Pacific Northwest, Green Hammer, Holst Architecture, Project Pivot, and Eteriors.


For more information or to register, please visit sustainablebuildingweek.com.


About Sustainable Building Week

Sustainable Building Week works to maintain Portland’s green building leadership by curating a week of events to promote cross-disciplinary education, connectivity, and collaboration in the design and construction industry. Sustainable Building Week is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization registered with the State of Oregon.


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