SBW 2019 Schedule is Live!

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We are so proud of the Portland sustainability community for collaborating to develop a week of brilliant events that will inspire, educate, and provide networking opportunities. Currently we have 26 events on our calendar ranging from tours, panels, happy hours, and even yoga, hiking, and running (!!). More events are being planned so stay tuned to our website! If you’re looking for a physical postcard of events, visit the Center for Architecture or hit up one of the executive committee members (and ask them for a button!)

Why I joined SBW & what I hope to see this year

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I have long been inspired by our local influencers in high performance building and Portland’s efforts in moving the needle on all things Green.

Being on the builder side of the sustainability equation has been both empowering and limiting. Often a project’s sustainability prospects live and die based on the owner’s program/pro forma. As builders, however, it is our responsibility to advocate for the highest performing, most durable building we can produce, shepherding owners and subcontractors along the path when needed. Easier in theory than in practice because we do also have a responsibility to advocate for the owner’s bottom line (budget, schedule, program) and the architect’s design intent. It is indeed a delicate balance to strike, but when we lock arms, not only as a project team, but further, as an industry, to share knowledge, stories of success & failures, and commit to collaboration, we can hit on all parts of the equation: budget, design AND sustainability. There are many myths and stories about why this can’t work, but events and efforts like SBW are debunking these notions.

Last year I attended several SBW events. The event that really struck a chord with me was held by collaborator “Zero Energy Ready Oregon” (ZERO) and included Nathan Young (MODS PDX), Mike Steffen (Walsh Construction), and Vassar Byrd (CEO of Rose Villa who spoke on the The Oaks at Rose Villa, built by Green Hammer). The topics they touched on included building sustainably while tackling affordable housing issues, delivering quality senior housing, gaining efficiencies through pre-fab, and the concept of folding design, budgeting & program into a more wholistic, collaborative effort. This event reminded me that there is synergy here in PDX around sustainability; that there are very smart, passionate people working extremely hard to do good; and that anyone who cares enough to roll up their sleeves and put forth the effort to align their interests with action can make a difference. This inspired me to act and get involved with SBW.

This year, my hope is that we reach more people who have an interest in sustainability, but perhaps aren’t sure how they can make a difference. SBW is an opportunity for Portlanders to explore this question and learn how to contribute to the collective efforts being made right here in our city.

Authored by Aaron Stevens, Walsh Construction, Co-Executive Director of Sustainable Building Week

Why Sustainable Building Week Matters (To Me, and To You!)

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Portland has a long history as a hub for Hippies and an incubator of Green innovators. Well before either
of those were cool (“Keep Portland Weird” is a thing for a reason). Now that Hippies have morphed into
Hipsters, and Green has branched off into many things (including Sustainability & Resiliency), the need
for a week to bring the disparate, but equally impressive, folks on all sides together is truly vital. Back
when I was in design school in the early 2000’s in San Francisco, I was in the inaugural class to graduate
with a Green Design emphasis. I flew up to Oregon to attend the USGBC’s GreenBuild Conference in
Portland in 2004. This was a pivotal moment for me and for the Sustainable Building movement in
Portland. For Portland it brought over 8000 professionals here to showcase how and why Portland was leading the way in all things Green. For me, it was incredibly inspiring and fully solidified my commitment to being a part of designing and building for a better world.

Let’s take a quick step further back to understand what sustainable building even is before discussing
where it’s going and what it means to we Portlandians today. . . . In 1987 the United Nations World
Commissions on Environment and Development published a report titled, “Our Common Future”. In it,
the authors defined Sustainability as: development that meets the needs of the present, without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Over the past three decades,
sustainability has evolved into a noble buzzword and the active green movement ranges from
conservation of materials to development of non-harmful new materials, from climate change recourse
to biodiversity & even biomimicry. In essence, sustainability is all about protecting nature and the
environment from human endeavors.

However, who protects humans from Mother Nature? This is the heart of the Building Resilience and
Wellness movements that have really come to the fore in only the last couple of years. In Oregon we’ve
had a surge of preparing for the Big One. Those recent earthquakes in Southern California were a stark
reminder of the importance of being well prepared. Very little damage and therefore very little waste
came of those fairly large seismic events. Whereas in Oregon, we would likely see a much larger cleanup
and much more expensive (in dollars and in lives) consequence if we hit the same level on the Richter
Scale. And when it comes to Wellness – that is another buzz word that seems to be on everyone’s mind.

How can we develop spaces that aren’t just neutral but contribute to our well being and health?? Being health conscious & wanting our built surroundings to reflect and/or harness nature are far from a “Weird Hippie” concept these days. People will put significant time & money into ensuring their workplaces and homes are healthy, safe, and as future proof as possible.

Recalling that huge GreenBuilding Conference years ago, I thought if we had a version here that was for and by our own local talent, and happened on the regular, we could really reinvigorate the whole Green Movement. Low and behold last year, Sustainable Building Week was launched, and it truly felt like fate! My company joined at the Harvester level and had an incredible experience hosting as well as attending many quality events. Sustainable Building Week {SBW} was formed with the goal of bringing together Green Industry Experts and Sustainability Enthusiasts during one dedicated time to share ideas, show off what has been done, and explore how to better progress into the future. Ultimately, it’s all about keeping Portland on the top of the Sustainability Movement in North America. When we come together and collaborate, we all rise-up and benefit. We don’t need to be doing our great work in silos to make the greatest strides. I came to SBW’s Board of Directors for that exact reason. I felt like the offsite construction world was off in its own silo and very few people fully understood what it was or why it is so vital to the sustainable building narrative. I also didn’t feel like I had a great grasp on the incredible work other design/build professionals were doing in our region. But most importantly, I am passionate about leaving a better world than I’ve been given, and I know it takes a vast village to do that. That’s where all of you come in! I’m super excited to immerse myself in what SBW 2.0 has to offer this October and look forward to meeting with you, learning with you, and growing with you into the next phase of Portland’s greatness in all things Green!

Authored by Angela Glatz, GRIT Building Solutions, Co-Executive Director of Sustainable Building Week

Sustainable Northwest Wood Reflects on the First Ever SBW!

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Sustainable Building Week – Wow what a week!  It’s been a week and a half since the first annual Sustainable Building Week (SBW) ended and I think I am finally rested up.  The three goals of Sustainable Building Week were to empower design and building professionals to learn, connect and collaborate.  I can say from first hand experience that all three of these goals were met for me.  The week of 21 events was the result of a collaboration between eleven non-profit professional organizations and three local universities.  Events during the week covered the gamut from A Walk in the Woods to an Innovation Bazaar to AIA’s Green Champions to a set of presentations from small firms called “Small but Mighty.” Continue reading here… 
By Terry Campbell


Forest Bathing in Forest Park….
One of my favorite events of this first annual Sustainable Building Week was the Happy Hour Hike with The Build Local Alliance. Led by Forest Conservationist Michael Ahr and BLA co-founder and forest owner Peter Hayes of Hyla Woods,  this educational stroll through Forest Park, got us out out of the office and into nature on a rare sunny October day in Portland…  Continue reading
By Lynn Morgan

Hot Off the Presses! Check Out Our New Press Release

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Download the press release

October 8, 2018 — Kicks off the first annual Sustainable Building Week (SBW) an event-filled week from a cross section of Portland’s design professional organizations. The week will bring the best and brightest building professional organizations together to educate, connect and foster opportunities for future collaboration to Keep Portland Green.

With 14 planned educational events plus partner open houses and happy hours, SBW will increase the profile of sustainable building issues through outreach, advocacy and education. A collaborative group of volunteer professional organizations and academic institutions has come together to provide a truly compelling program.

Attendees have the flexibility to choose which activities fit their interests and schedule then sign up for each organizations’ event – there’s no commitment to attend all events. For more information on the upcoming events please visit:

Why does this event exist?
We aim to Keep Portland Green. Over the years we’ve watched our beautiful city fall from a leadership position in the green building industry. We plan to change that and remind the local industry that we must reclaim the throne and show the world what sustainability really is

Thank you to our top partners, it is with their generous support we are able to bring you this event.

Contact us!
If you’re interested in learning more, sign-up for our mailing list. To contact us please email


October 8, 2018
Green Champion’s Summit
American Institute of Architects Portland Committee on the Environment
The GCS will highlight ways to reduce the environmental footprint of a building through lifecycle analysis from design, construction, and operations.

Open Houses
Open houses from Portland’s design and construction firms.

October 9, 2018
Passive Buildings Tour
Passive House NW
Come tour three new passive buildings to see the latest in low-energy load assemblies and systems.

Portland’s New Ecoroof Requirement: New Design and Maintenance Strategies
American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Oregon Chapter
Presenters will discuss ecoroofs in detail beginning with a look at some of Portland’s first ecoroofs and concluding with a discussion on innovative ecoroof strategies.

Open Houses
Open houses from Portland’s design and construction firms.

October 10, 2018
2018 GoGreen Portland Conference
The largest regional conference for business and government decision-makers to come together for one day to learn from recognized community leaders to advance sustainability best practices in their own organizations.

Inefficiency is Old School: Understanding the Process of Achieving Sustainable Schools
Portland Green Schools Committee
A Brunch and Learn panel where experts from the field of sustainable school design will discuss the no cost and low-cost options for improving the school built environment.

Beyond the Building: Advocacy & Sustainability
International Living Future Institute (ILFI) Portland Collaborative
Learn specific tools to make sure you stay connected, know how and when to speak up and empower you to be active in our open democratic society.

Happy Hour Hike
Build Local Alliance
You’ve hiked our local dense forests plenty, and want to know more about the trees around you – how these trees grow and interact in the forest. Join the BLA for a guided walk in Forest Park followed by happy hour drinks.

Design for the Unseen: Educating Designers to Consider the Micro and Macro for Sustainability
University of Oregon’s Institute for Health in the Built Environment, Portland State University, and Art Institute of Portland
The University of Oregon, College of Design, Department of Architecture and Institute for Health in the Built Environment will present innovative student and faculty research advancing sustainability with an ensuing panel discussion on academia’s role in advancing sustainability.

Open Houses
Open houses from Portland’s design and construction firms.

October 11, 2018
Materials Matter
Portland Materials Transparency Collaborative
A dive into the science behind materials and human health to understand how material substances reach people and lead to health consequences.

Zoo Education Center Tour and Biomimicry Exploration
Portland Green Schools Committee, AIA COTE, and Biomimicry Oregon
Tour the complex of buildings that were designed for net-zero annual energy use, with passive ventilation cooling strategies, ample daylighting, and aggressive energy efficiency targets.

Street Seats UNITE Panel Discussion: Reimagine the Urban Experience
Design Museum of Portland
Industry experts discuss what it means to activate the visibility and livability of an urban area while being socially and environmentally conscious.

Open Houses
Open houses from Portland’s design and construction firms.

October 12, 2018
Oregon’s Women in Green
US Green Building Council – Oregon
Women in Green celebrates female leaders in sustainability who are at the top of their field, fueling ambitious young women and catalyzing change.

Green Building Slam
Northwest EcoBuilding Guild
This final, wrap-up celebration for Portland’s Sustainable Building Week features ten innovative and remarkable projects in ten slides, ten minutes each.

Open Houses
Open houses from Portland’s design and construction firms.

October 13, 2018
Potential building tours from Portland’s sustainable businesses.

Street Seats: Urban Benches for Vibrant Cities Self-Guided Tour (on-going)
Design Museum of Portland
Street Seats is an outdoor public exhibition that celebrates local and international design, urban innovation, and sustainability. Designers from 6 continents, 24 countries, and 22 U.S.

Northwest EcoBuilding Guild Announces 2018 Green Building Slam Presenters!

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The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild and Passive House NW are pleased to announce the slate of presenters for the Portland Green Building Slam, Friday, October 12, 2018, 6:30 – 10 pm, at the Ecotrust Conference Center. The Portland Slam will be a fun, educational event, featuring fast-paced, mind-blowing talks about remarkable and innovative green building projects. Get ready to be inspired by high performance, sustainable building projects, as green builders present innovative, high performance presentations in 10-minute segments. Confirmed speakers include:

Dylan Lamar, Cultivate. “Zen Tiny House Barn-Raising”

Eric Corey Freed, organicARCHITECT. “Prostruction: using biology to grow buildings”

Alex Boetzel, Green Hammer. “Tillamook Row”

Mark Lakeman, Communitecture. “The City Repair Project”

David Shirley, New Energy Works. “Lundy Residence”

Jeff Frost, Brightworks Sustainability. “BrightSide Score”

Join us for great appetizers, drinks and good company at this final, wrap-up celebration for Portland’s Sustainable Building Week, October 8-14, 2018.

Tickets to this event are on sale now. Space is limited so plan to get your tickets early.

The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is a 501(c)3 community of builders, designers, suppliers, homeowners, and partners concerned with ecological building in the Pacific Northwest. Join the Guild to empower people through education to transform the built environment for long term sustainability.

Planning Under Way for First Sustainable Building Week

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Published in the Oregon Daily Journal of CommercePlanning under way for first Sustainable Building Week

Prior to the Great Recession, Portland was the “shining hill that everyone wanted to be” when it comes to sustainability and green building, according to New Buildings Institute project manager and architect Webly Bowles. But that has changed, she said.

“People were coming here to see how we were doing things,” she said. “And now we’re just falling back into the status quo. So we want to inspire our design community to get back to that.”

The inaugural Sustainable Building Week, planned for this fall, was born out of organizers’ desire to restore Portland’s reputation as a green industry leader. And with construction booming here and the rest of the country, Bowles said, the need to further emphasize sustainability became even clearer. So she and like-minded Portland design professionals put their heads together and came up with a series of educational events.

Starting Oct. 8, panel discussions, lectures, building tours, design slams (challenges), open houses and more will take place in Portland – all in the name of promoting green building practices in the local market. These events will be hosted by a wide range of design professionals and professional organizations, including the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), the U.S. Green Building Council, the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Portland Committee on the Environment, the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, Portland State University and many others.

Read more at:

Don’t Be a Chicken – Keep Portland Green!

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The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) – Portland Collaborative is excited about the coming together of so many professional groups in Portland around the issues of sustainable building and high-performance projects that we had to get involved. By our very name our focus is on collaborating to ensure a living future is available to all.

For years, I have facilitated the PDX Collaborative and I never really knew the members of other professional organizations as we worked independently, attempted to not double schedule events, and generally maintained our distance. One of Sustainable Building Week’s goals and legacies will be to break that model and create a new model of collaboration and connectivity. Addressing the diverse set of challenges that face our city, nation and planet will require all of us to develop a new level of collaboration.

By rolling up our sleeves to bring together a fun filled week of tours, educational events, parties, open houses and more we take the first step in building a coalition that is connected. My hope is that in the future when important issues come to a vote at a City Council Meeting or State Legislature we will be able to activate this coalition to write-in or vote for policies and laws that ensure a living future for all.

by Terry Campbell, ILFI Portland Collaborative Facilitator, Portland Sustainable Building Week Executive Committee Officer Note: Portland Sustainable Building week is run by three Executive Committee Officers with support from the 14 collaborating organizations.