10 tips for a greener office from the Port’s sustainability experts

by appell 11/3/2015 1:59 PM

The City of Portland recently recognized the Port of Portland’s headquarters building for environmental excellence through the Sustainability at Work Certification program. It takes 45 actions to achieve “Gold” status and the Port achieved more than 60! The Port’s platinum LEED-certified building helps the organization exceed many requirements. Yet offices large and small can implement some of the Port’s sustainable workplace strategies. Here are some suggestions for your office:

  1. Use power strips with a personal occupancy sensor, so electronics shut-off when not in use (think  speakers, monitors or heaters)
  2. Use a small garbage can and a large recycling container
  3. Add aerators to faucets or upgrade to water-efficient fixtures
  4. Provide secure bike storage
  5. Offer preferred parking for high-efficiency vehicles and carpools
  6. Allow for telecommuting options or a compressed work week
  7. Serve lunch meetings “family-style,” so there is not individual packaging for sandwiches
  8. If you are a tenant in a building, work with the property manager and co-tenants to have a team approach
  9. Offer a reward system and publically recognize sustainable behavior 
  10. Provide separate containers for composting food waste

A living machine that treats wastewater, a fleet of hybrid and electric vehicles, and the PDX food donation program also make the Port’s program unique. The City made certification criteria more stringent in 2015 and requires renewal every three years. Each category of information and education, materials and waste, energy, and transportation now has required elements to make sure each certified organization applies the most important strategies. Learn more on the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at Work website.

Providing a small garbage can and large recycling container can help employees reduce waste.

The HQ Living Machine recycles 750,000 gallons of wastewater each year.

Port partners with Energy Trust of Oregon

by bielem 4/7/2015 11:30 AM


When it comes to saving money through energy efficiency, it pays to learn from the experts. That’s why the Port of Portland is participating in the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Strategic Energy Management program. The cohort-based, two year program has helped organizations such as Intel, the City of Portland and Nike identify energy use behavior changes that routinely lead to significant cost savings.

The Port’s goal: achieve energy savings of 3-5% in seven enrolled buildings within two years. If successful, the Port will receive incentives of $.02 for every kilowatt hour of electrical energy use reduction and $.20 for every therm of natural gas use reduction.

To learn how to meet that target, the Port’s cohort – which includes Metro, Clackamas County, Portland Community College, Mt. Hood Community College and the City of Gresham – participates in monthly conference calls and bi-monthly meetings to learn from the Energy Trust and each other.

To know what to change, the Port first has to more fully understand its current energy usage. A baseline is established by collecting data on the current energy use patterns of participating buildings. Once collected, the data is combed through to find potential opportunities for cost savings.

Part of the program’s business appeal is that its focus is on behavior change, rather than costly new infrastructure or equipment. Once potential energy use changes are identified, the program’s managers at the Port will turn their efforts to communicating the message and generating buy-in among employees. Baselining and data gathering will end in October 2015, from which point the Port will have one year to achieve the 3-5% energy reduction target.

The emphasis on energy efficiency isn’t new to the Port. The Port has been collecting energy use data since 2001 and began its Carbon Reduction Initiative in 2009, with the goal of reducing the Port’s carbon footprint 15% below 1990 levels by 2020. The Port’s LEED Platinum-certified headquarters building features such energy-efficient features as a closed-loop ground source heating and cooling system, and a system that optimizes the use of sunlight for interior lighting.

Franko Martinec, the Port’s liaison with the Energy Trust, is confident the program will be able to successfully build on the Port’s culture of conservation and responsibility, and spread positive environmental impact and financial cost savings throughout Port facilities.

“I have a lot of hope that this information will enlighten us about our energy use and that we’ll be able to use it to teach Port employees and, eventually, tenants and the airlines to more effectively conserve energy.”




Port headquarters building goes for gold

by timmel 1/22/2013 9:26 AM

The Port of Portland LEED Platinum headquarters building has another metal to add to its list of honors - gold. The Port's headquarters building recently received a gold certification through the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s Sustainability at Work program. The gold certification is the highest level that can be achieved through the program which recognizes local businesses and organizations for their leadership in helping make Portland one of the cleanest, most sustainable cities in the country. The certification criteria include numerous actions related to energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, transportation, procurement and employee education. The actions were verified during an onsite visit with a Sustainability at Work advisor.  

“The Port’s achievements are impressive both in the design and construction of an incredibly energy and water efficient headquarters building and ongoing waste minimization efforts that have diverted 84 percent of the building’s waste stream from the landfill,” said Sustainability at Work advisor, Paul deBlock.

The Port received the BEST Award for projects in 2004, 2006 and 2011, under a similar City program and the headquarters building has received numerous honors including the Oregon Sustainability Award. However, this certification recognizes both the thoughtful considerations the Port incorporated into the building itself and the ongoing, day-to-day operations within the building.  

Port participates in Airports Going Green

by timmel 11/30/2012 1:46 PM

The Port of Portland was honored to receive an award at the fifth annual Airports Going Green Conference in November. The conference is sponsored by the American Association of Airport Executives and the City of Chicago Department of Aviation. The Port competed against a field of airports across the world to receive accolades for our LEED Platinum Headquarters Building. In addition, Port project engineering lead, Dan Gilkison participated in a panel of presentations discussing the link between building design and human health. Airports Going Green encourages the aviation industry to use innovation to lead by example and face the challenge of protecting our environment for future generations.

Related Links:

Airports Going Green

Port of Portland Headquarters

Port HQ Goes LEED Platinum

by wrayr 6/14/2011 4:53 PM

It’s official: The Port’s new headquarters building at Portland International Airport has received LEED® Platinum certification. Established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute, LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.


For Port staff working in the building over the past year, the award reconfirms what we experience everyday: that green buildings are great places to work. Port executive director Bill Wyatt, who occupies an open workspace the same size as the employees he oversees, said, “The LEED platinum certification affirms the goal we set out at the beginning of the project: that the building reflect this region’s commitment to sustainability.”


The 205,000-square foot office building incorporates many state-of-the-art green technologies, but the one we are asked about the most is the Living Machine® system, an on-site ecological wastewater treatment alternative that treats 100 percent of the building’s wastewater for reuse in the building’s toilets and cooling tower. If you’ve ever visited the Port building, you’ve walked right by it: it’s the innocuous-looking planter in the first-floor lobby.


Underneath the building, more than 200 pipes provide ground source heating and cooling in a closed loop system, serving the passive radiant ceiling panel heating and cooling inside. This is the first coupling of these heating and cooling systems in the United States, and the result is a comfortable temperature year-round.


Other green features—daylighting, window glazing, exterior shading, water-efficient fixtures, and two green roofs—are detailed on the Port’s HQ website, where you can take a virtual tour!