A call for designs that provide Portland a more equitable future

By | News, Press

Published in the DJC Oregon: Black Women Help Kick off Sustainable Building Week

The notion of equity in design can have many different meanings.

For instance, the U.S. Green Building Council in 2013 introduced Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design social equity pilot credits. They address equity within the project team, equity in the community around a project and equity within the project supply chain. However … “When folks questioned us about the human impact we found it was missing the people side of the framework,” said Kimberly Lewis, U.S. Green Building Council senior vice president for market transformation and development.

Six years later, the LEED social equity credits remain a work in progress. But Lewis believes the design community can do more to move the needle. “We struggle with amplifying the message,” she told attendees at a panel discussion Tuesday at the Center for Architecture in Portland. “Our heart and our mission are as powerful as we want, and it’s a great social justice message. But to the people on the street all things are local, and engaging vulnerable communities is not easy. Trust takes time, and we have a responsibility to shift the conversation. It’s us – even here.”

The discussion was part of Portland’s second annual Sustainable Building Week, a weeklong event dedicated to sustainable design and construction.

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‘Grassroots’ building industry conference on tap

By | News, Press

Published in the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce‘Grassroots’ building industry conference on tap

Sustainable Building Week was born of recognition that some of the Portland-area building industry organizations had overlapping and in some cases redundant events.

Organizers reasoned: Why not bring them together under one umbrella? So they did.

Next week the conference returns for a second year, bringing together architects, engineers, product manufacturers, builders, subcontractors, developers and others for a series of green-building talks and events.

The conference organizers hope to encourage cross-pollination. For example, landscape architects are welcome to join American Institute of Architects events.

“You’re just kind of breaking down the silos between the professions a little bit more,” said Terry Campbell, co-founder of Sustainable Building Week and one of five volunteers who run it. “This is very much a business professionals’ series of events.”

Most events are open to the general public, although the topics are geared toward building-industry professionals and aspiring professionals. Some of the events are free, while others require a modest fee or donation.

Last year, the inaugural Sustainable Building Week attracted 700 to 800 people to 23 events. This year’s iteration will have about 30 events.

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Sustainable Building Week: reviving Portland’s lost momentum?

By | News, Press

Published in Portland Architecture: Sustainable Building Week: reviving Portland’s lost momentum?

There was a time 10-15 years ago in the early 2000s when the city seemed to be continually registering firsts when it came to green buildings, especially the LEED rating system. We saw some of the first LEED-rated office buildings, the first historic building on the National Register to earn a Platinum LEED rating, and the first medical building to earn that distinction. And these pioneering efforts seemed to follow on the heels of similarly lead-taking efforts in the realm of urban planning.

It’s not to say no innovation is happening today, for in particular Portland seems to be modestly ahead of the national curve when it comes to mass-timber-framed buildings, which are inherently greener than any steel or concrete-framed structure. We’ve continued to explore eco-districts as well, and to look at not just net-zero energy usage in our homes and workplaces but net-zero carbon.

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Black Women Help Kick off Sustainable Building Week

By | News, Press

Published in the The Skanner: Black Women Help Kick off Sustainable Building Week

Join members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. at Portland’s first and only “green building” owned and operated by African-American women–the June Key Delta Community Center– for a community conversation about how the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund and other resources are being developed to create equitable access to the clean energy future.

Learn about the history of the June Key Delta Community Center and the importance of sustainability to one group of African-American women. Attendees and panelists will discuss how people of color can constructively challenge and influence how decisions are made, access clean energy funds, and work together to construct more green buildings in traditionally marginalized community.

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SBW 2019 Schedule is Live!

By | Blog, News, Press

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

By | Blog, News

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!)

By | Blog, News

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

2019 SBW Kicks Off! Join us for a Launch Party and Read our Press Release!

By | Default, News



May 2019 — Sustainable Building Week (SBW) has announced the dates for the second annual event-filled week for Portland’s AEC industry professionals and organizations: October 14-18, 2019.  The week will bring the best and brightest together to educate, connect and foster opportunities for future collaboration to keep Portland on the forefront of the green building industry.

Providing educational events along with 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 will come together to provide a truly compelling program.

Attendees have the flexibility to choose which activities fit their interests and schedules, then sign up for each organizations’ event – there’s no commitment to attend all events and no subscription required. Events will provide the opportunity to learn about new trends in sustainable building design and use, connect with fellow professionals and build a coalition of practitioners that can strive for continual improvement in our built and natural environments.

New this year
The kick-off Launch Party event will be held on June 13th from 4-7 pm in downtown Portland. Join us to celebrate the official launch of the second SBW collaboration season!

For more information on this and other upcoming events, please visit:

Mission Statement
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.

How can you get involved?
Organizational support of SBW is essential to building a more sustainable Portland. We are actively accepting sponsorship for 2019 SBW. As a reminder, there are three tiers of partnership for you to consider with benefits at each level. For more information, please see our sponsorship page:

Contact us!
If you are interested in hosting an event, joining our mailing list or sponsoring, please contact us.  To contact us please email

Sustainable Building Week is a 501(c) 3 Non-profit organization registered with the State of Oregon.



.@DesignWeekPDX is being postponed. SBW plans to be a part of the week in August, so stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks. Keep those around you safe!

Join us for a webinar on April 2 at 10 am PDT, A Call to Action for Zero Embodied Carbon. Getting to zero requires targeting both operating and embodied carbon, the session will feature case studies that aim to be zero embodied carbon.

Embodied carbon is becoming an increasingly more important topic which we'll discuss at our @DesignWeekPDX event on 04/23.

The schedule for Design Week Portland 2020 is officially live. This year is bigger than ever. Ready to go? Start registering now, before it's too late.

Do you want to know about what's next in Portland building sustainability? Come to our @DesignWeekPDX event! #keepPDXgreen #PortlandArchitecture #PDXsustainability #DesignWeekPortland

We've decided to offer a limited number of student tickets for the same price as ZERO members! Email for the promo code if you are a student that wants to attend!
#equitytraining #student #JEDI #diversitytraining #ZEROCoalition

We have just $5,000 left to meet our Kickstarter goal! Please help us make the new and improved Design Museum Magazine happen. Check it out:!

Long-term, will autonomous vehicles, #ecommerce & TNCs like Uber and Lyft have a net positive or negative impact on the environment? Learn more on the #NEXUS, the go-to place for resources & information on the ongoing impacts of emerging technologies. ⬇

The Kendeda Building @GeorgiaTech will be the 25th certified @livingbuilding on the planet if it meets a set of rigorous benchmarks. @AtlantaMagazine @kendedafund @lordaecksargent @millerhull @SkanskaUSA @CabreraAngel @KeishaBottoms @GovKemp

What do you think is the future of sustainability in Portland? We’re assembling a great discussion for you during @DesignWeekPDX. #sbw20 #Sustainablepdx #Portland

This is a really cool event(s) That @ZEReadyOregon has put together. We know there’s interest and needed education around DEI. See you there.

.@DesignWeekPDX is coming! @KeepPDXGreen is excited to be participating this year. Our event will highlight hot topics from last year and give you a peek into the 2020 SBW event.

DWP ifs a week of fanatic events that will lifts your spirits and inspire you to try something new. @KeepPDXGreen is excited to be participating this year. Our event will highlight a few hot topics from last year and give you a peek into the 2020 SBW programming. See you around!

Hi, we're @SunrisePDX. We are a movement of young people working to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.

We also really love singing 🥰

Great explanation of the difference between #passivehouse and #netzero or #zeroenergy #building.

That’s a wrap on #sbw19! Thanks to @SolarOregon for opening and closing SBW! Thanks to all the collaborators, sponsors, and most importantly- everyone who attended to #makeportlandgreen! #portland