The Oregon Convention Center has been recertified as a LEED Platinum building by the U.S. Green Building Council – the highest of the USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards and an internationally recognized benchmark for sustainable building practices. The Oregon Convention Center is one of only two convention centers in the United States to hold that distinction and continues a Portland tradition of achieving the highest levels of sustainable practice.
“Sustainability is deeply woven into the fabric of our entire operation and culture, and it has become a key factor for why many groups choose the Oregon Convention Center," said center executive director Craig Stroud. "Achieving LEED Platinum recertification not only validates years of dedication and commitment by our staff, but that we’ve clearly succeeded in our mission to be one of the most sustainable event venues in the world."
For greater Portland, the award represents the latest green building milestone in a region that has earned a reputation as one of the most sustainable places in the country. Indeed, Portland boasts some notable LEED certified buildings – but rare is one with platinum status that has more than one million square feet of space and operates 24 hours a day.
“Achieving a recertification at the Platinum level is a testament to the employees that champion this work every day,” said center sustainability manager Ryan Harvey. “Because the OCC was not designed as a green building, achieving LEED Platinum is the result of the priorities, actions and values that drive our decisions. The commitment of our staff to sustainable practices and facility management are the reason that this is possible.”
Owned and operated by Metro, the regional government that works to advance sustainable and environmental stewardship across the Portland metropolitan area, the Oregon Convention Center is the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. It was constructed in 1990, well before green building and “LEED” became commonly used terms. From the perspective of green design, the center pre-dates this current era where newly built convention centers are expected to achieve LEED status upon completion.
LEED Platinum recertification thus represents decades of focused dedication by the Convention Center and Metro to not simply keep pace with industry standards but to become leaders of them.
“Our focus has been on continuous improvement over the years,” says Matthew Uchtman, the center’s director of facilities and operations. “This achievement did not happen overnight.”
In 2003, 13 years after opening, the convention center expanded its campus by doubling its square footage. During the expansion, the facility also incorporated a number of green features and practices. In 2004, the convention center became the first convention center in the world to be designated LEED Certified. Four years later, after expanding internal programs and strengthening community partnerships, the convention center reached another pinnacle when it was awarded LEED Silver Certification for Existing Buildings.