Sustainable Building Week Celebrates 5 Years of Industry Collaboration in Oregon

Sustainable Building Week Celebrates 5 Years of Industry Collaboration in Oregon

Sustainable Building Week Celebrates 5 Years of Industry Collaboration in Oregon

Designed to foster cross-disciplinary discussion, the annual event brings the region’s sustainability leaders and creators together — and is continuing to grow.

PORTLAND, Ore., August 31, 2022 — It started as an idea amongst a few sustainable building professionals who were looking for a collaborative space to tap into Portland’s spirit of innovation while connecting across multiple disciplines to positively impact the environmental sustainability of our region.

That need sparked the idea for the annual Sustainable Building Week event, which is getting ready to celebrate its fifth year, October 10-15. The week offers a wide variety of free and paid events, online and in the Portland area, hosted by experts and organizations that represent the many fields of sustainability, including architecture, design, building, construction, education and community planning — all together in one place. A highlight includes the Build Local Alliance which takes attendees outdoors to find connections between Oregon’s natural environment and the materials we use in our buildings.

“There are so many things we’ve been able to achieve in just five years’ time,” said Webly Bowles, co- founder of Sustainable Building Week. “We’ve become a stable and trusty event that Oregonians are counting on year after year.”

Since its first year in 2018, Sustainable Building Week has hosted 108 events for an estimated 2,500 attendees, despite the impact brought on by a global pandemic. Unlike a typical conference that’s organized by one planning committee, Sustainable Building Week offers a platform for multiple collaborators to design their own events as part of the week-long series. It’s also entirely volunteer-run.

This past spring, organizers launched a companion event called Sustainable Building Monthly, with a rotating series of short talks that provide additional opportunities to connect during the year in Portland’s most sustainable space — the PAE Living Building.

“Sustainable Building Week kept people connected during the dark days of Covid, and that connectedness is continuing to grow,” said Terry Campbell, co-founder of Sustainable Building Week.

“Our door is open everyone. No matter your profession or role, this is a place where you can come, meet others and dream up new ideas together.”

Bowles says a top achievement has been the cross-organization collaboration she’s witnessed every year. This October, for example, Oregon Green Schools and the local chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects will be holding an event together. She also remembers a moment on a Passive House tour, when a participant remarked that they had no idea Portland had a local Passive House group, while at the same time, organizers were impressed with the number of first-time attendees.

“Sometimes we forget that to be sustainable, as a society, we need to connect and care for one another. We need those side conversations and to hear about topics that might not come up if we weren’t there in person together,” Bowles explains. “Participants have said that a local event like this allows us to hold each other accountable. And, makes it easier to help people reach their goals by calling on each other
for ideas.”

Sustainable Building Week 2022 Features

Sustainable Building Week 2022 is focused on delivering opportunities that foster education, innovation, collaboration and networking. Around 30 events are planned this year — the highest number yet.

Attendees can choose which activities fit their interests and schedules, then sign up for individual events, which are held online and around the Portland area. Admission is free for most events, with nominal fees charged for specialized training and select opportunities. Most events will be in person, but attendees can join some talks virtually. For details and to register, visit

Some of this year’s events include:

  • Zero Energy Homes Tour with Solar Oregon
  • Homes of Tomorrow, Today Tour with Portland Home Builders Association
  • Green Schools Wins Networking Lunch with Oregon Green Schools
  • Sustainable Schools & Electrification Panel Discussion with Oregon Green Schools
  • Greening Schoolyards Panel Discussion with Oregon Green Schools and American Society of Landscape Architects, Oregon
  • Residential Zero Energy Retrofits Discussion with Birdsmouth Design-Build
  • Passive House Rating System 101 Training with Passive House NW
  • Multifamily Passive House Training with Passive House NW
  • Passive House Building Tour with Passive House NW
  • Elemental Movie Screening with Sustainable Northwest Wood
  • Heat Pump Water Heater Training with Electrify Now
  • Commercial Electric Kitchen Training with Electrify Now
  • Smart Panels with Electrify Now
  • New Building Incentive Programs with Energy Trust of Oregon
  • Green Champion Summit with AIA Oregon’s Committee on the Environment

Sustainable Building Week works with long-time collaborators from a variety of disciplines who return year after year. They include AIA Oregon, Oregon Green Schools, Portland Materials Transparency Collaborative, Solar Oregon, U.S. Green Building Council, Portland’s American Society of Plumbing Engineers, Electrify Now, and ZERO Coalition.

The not-for-profit is supported this year by its sponsors, including Bassetti Architects, Birdsmouth Design-Build, BRIC Architecture, Brightworks Sustainability, CLEAResult, Gensler, Glumac, Green Hammer Design Build, Intertek, Lever Architecture, New Buildings Institute, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, PAE, Portland General Electric, Resilient Framing Systems, SERA Architects, Skanska, Sustainable Northwest Wood, and Walsh Construction.


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