Essentials of Green Office Space

What exactly is high-performance office space?

Is it green?  Financial?  Will it make us more productive and comfortable?  There is a lot of terminology and high expectations our there – everything from LEED to Green Leases, Living Buildings to Class “A.”  For a tenant, it can be a lot to digest and understand.  For us, we’re starting simple, with some rough criteria that we feel is important, no matter what level of certification or how nice the building may be.

Here’s some things we’ll be looking for:

Will seek to understand current and/or projected property energy performance (ENERGY STAR rating, energy models, targets, etc.)
We may end up in a 100-year old property, a glass office tower, or a brand new development.  No matter what kind of home we find, we’ll want to learn how efficient the building is, plans to improve efficiency, and how ownership plans to track and report progress over time.

The property may actually be quite inefficient on the day we move-in, but if it can make significant improvements by year 2 or 3 of the lease — and prove it to us — even better.

Engaged, responsive, and creative ownership

A high-performance office space is a partnership between the ownership and tenants.  Both may have to try new things, but both can reap financial and environmental rewards of improved energy efficiency.  We want some creative ideas on how to set-up the lease, building rules, and daily operations to foster this kind of partnership throughout our time in the building.

Talented building management and operations team

Energy efficiency is not always about the age of the building or the technology inside it.  It takes a trained, motivated and appreciated team to keep performance levels high.  We’ll want to understand who is taking care of the building

Carbon-friendly location, with diverse transit options

A sustainable Northwest is more than energy efficiency.  NEEA is managing our carbon emissions, and staff commuting is a large factor in that analysis.  To reduce our impact, our new office should be located to both minimize staff commute distances and provide multiple ways to travel those distances.

Bicycle friendly

See the previous point.  Plus, we have a passionate group of bicycle commuters on our staff, and would probably have more if our office enabled it.  Safe and convenient storage and lockers at a minimum and showers would be ideal!

Abundant natural light and access to nature a plus

Mainly, natural light is inherently more energy efficient.  Plus, the science clearly shows that more access to natural light, good task lighting, and natural elements reduce stress, sick days, and increase productivity.  Hard to argue with that.

Member of BOMA Portland (ownership or management staff) is a bonus

BOMA Portland acts as an advocate for the commercial building community, and has spent considerable time and resources training its members on energy efficiency and sustainability.

We may not always agree with BOMA’s positions, nor they with ours.  But they are engaged in the greater sustainability dialogue and the community at large, and we think that inherently implies a better building.

Creative proposals, donations, furnishing swaps, technology applications, and ideas that embody our mission favorably considered

Why not?  Who knows what resources or innovations are out there undiscovered?  Maybe some nice used furniture needs a home, or a start-up company with a killer energy management system needs a test-bed, or a developer with a great new concept in occupant comfort is looking to find a willing tenant to try things out.  It doesn’t hurt to ask…


7 responses to “Essentials of Green Office Space

  1. Consider US Bancorp Tower, aka Big Pink. Leed-EB certified and Energy Star award due to talented building management and creative ownership. Located on Transit Mall, plus on-site bicycle parking. Views floors offer natural light from every direction. BOMA member. Currently have several used workstations, could be donated on first come first served basis. Might be the best solution to your needs.

  2. Pacific Real Estate Partners invites you to consider a partnership with Brewery Block 2. The Brewery Blocks, a five block mixed use urban re-development project, was originally developed by Gerding Edlen Development Company with sustainibility as the founding principle. Brewery Block 2 was promptly awarded a LEED Gold certification from the USGBC.

    Brewery Block 2 is owned by Kennedy Associates Real Estate Counsel, a charter member of the Responsible Property Investing (RPI) Center and the recipient of the 2009 Energy Star Partner of the Year award.

    Brewery Block 2 offers numerous transportation alternatives, including bike storage and shower facilities, and parking price reductions for car poolers. The project is conveniently located on the streetcar line and within a short walk of MAX.

    Please consider Brewery Block 2 as the new home for the NEEA!

  3. Please consider a new and innovative proposed LEED Platinum building coming to the Pearl District, Meier and Frank Depot Building. This property which is located at 1417 NW Everett St occupies a full city block and provides for the best freeway access anywhere in the Pearl.

    The Depot Building represents and embodies genuine leadership in environmental stewardship and a culture of creativity and innovation. Exterior improvements will include replacing windows and awnings, adding a new retail storefront and repainting the concrete façade. Improvements surrounding the building will include new and wider sidewalks, new twinhead ornamental street lights, storm water swales and street trees.

    The building is being redeveloped by Gerding Edlen Development, the premier green developer in the nation, and the ownership has retained GBD Architects as the lead designer for the project. With the addition of the Penthouse level of approximately 22,000 square feet this would make a perfect home for NEEA.

    We look forward to further discussions about your requirement and working with you in order to merge these two environmentally-conscious projects together.

  4. NAI Norris Beggs, & Simpson is pleased to present this wonderful opportunity at 400 SW Sixth. We have the entire 10th floor to offer up to NEEA which provides for amazing natural light and gorgeous views.

    400 SW Sixth offers the following:

    • Easy and efficient access to public transportation. The building is on the Transit Mall offering bus and MAX service outside the front doors.
    • Bike storage, day use lockers and shower facilities to promote bicycle commuting
    • 2010 energy upgrades to the building are budgeted.
    • Finalizing an ETO audit of the building, and expect to have results back in December, along with recommendations.
    • Pursuing Energy Star rating.
    • The building promotes a strong recycling program and is one of the few office buildings in downtown Portland to offer composting to tenants.
    • Active, responsive and engaged ownership and property management (BOMA –Portland members).

    We are excited about your requirement and the chance to mirror our two environmentally mindful projects together.

  5. I didn’t see any dates mentioned, so if you’ve got a couple of years, you should definitely speak to Earth Advantage about their work at the Oregon Sustainability Center ( NEEA would certainly be the perfect complement to the other prospective tenants there, and there will be no better building that meets and exceeds your Essentials.

  6. I feel a ground up office space would be exciting, one has more control of design. Southeast and Northeast may have more infill possibilties that are more modest in price.

  7. Do you have to stay in PDX? If you serve projects from Bellingham to Boise how much time are you on the road or in the air? Would a more centralized home base better serve all your efforts? Would it decrease your carbon footprint?

    Seattle & Portland are already on the right track – we need help here!

    How about moving to the fifth-largest metro area in WA? Kennewick Richland Pasco WA, at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia. Tons of sun & wind – you could design a living building. Your employees would have a much lower cost of living. And the Battelle Pacific NW National Lab is in Richland. Good schools, no traffic jams…

    We’re growing by leaps and bounds with little thought to sustainability. It would be great to have you site here, set a new tone and shake it up!!

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