Environment | Sustainability | Ecotrope

Video: Tour The New Super Green High-Rise In Downtown Portland

Ecotrope | May 30, 2013 6:14 a.m. | Updated: May 31, 2013 9:22 a.m.

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The Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Building in downtown Portland is being rededicated today after a $141 million renovation that should cut energy and water use in half.

In the video above, project manager Pat Brunner walks through the new green building features.

With solar panels on the roof, ultra-efficient heating and cooling, and shading reeds outside the south-facing windows, the building is expected to use 55 percent less energy than it did before the renovation – with energy cost savings of $300,000 to $400,000 a year.

I toured the building earlier this year and explained its many green features in detail.

A 170,000-gallon rainwater collection cistern will reuse rainwater for irrigating the garden and toilet-flushing. That should reduce potable water consumption in the building by about 60 percent.

The elevators generate energy when they brake, and waste heat from computer servers in the basement will be captured and reused elsewhere in the building. New design features maximize natural light and there’s high-efficiency lighting throughout the building.

The General Services Administration got funding from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to upgrade the aging high-rise, which was “basically worn out,” according to Brunner. But there were some strings attached to the money that required the GSA to make major reductions in energy and water consumption.

The green renovations are designed to qualify for LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, and they weren’t cheap. The project made this list of 100 wasteful stimulus projects, compiled by Republican senators John McCain and Tom Coburn.

And many people commented on my last blog post that they think the new design is ugly and overpriced.

More than 1,200 federal employees who work in the building will start moving back into their offices in August. Then, the GSA will be able to see just how much energy and water savings the new design achieves.

Following the rededication ceremony today, the GSA is hosting an open house at the building, 1220 SE 3rd Ave., from 1-4 pm. 

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