As a leader in the global green building movement, Green Building Services Inc. (GBS) believes that expertise and dedication will produce buildings that give more than they take—buildings that contribute to the well-being of both the ecology and economy of the communities they serve.
Guided by this philosophy, GBS set out with a goal of earning LEED-CI Platinum certification for its new office space in Portland, Ore., and achieved its objective as planned with the help of local design and architecture firm Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects.
“GBS moved from a historic building that was not LEED certified into a historic building that we are assisting in getting LEED-EB O&M certified,” explains Elaine Aye, principal at GBS. “As a company, it was very important for us that we work with a landlord whose values and practices were aligned with ours. We also focused on a design for our space that represented our values as an organization. By focusing on an open office layout, demonstrating environmentally appropriate products, and creating a culture that is both fun and inspiring to our staff and clients, we achieved many of our goals.”
All GBS employees were involved in the selection process for their new home, and they eventually reached consensus on The Commonwealth Building, designed by architect Pietro Bellushi and built between 1944 and 1948. The Commonwealth Building is notable as one of the first glass box towers ever built, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
GBS set initial project goals to include a healthy indoor environment, reducing energy use, water conservation, reusing materials wherever possible, as well as specifying environmentally friendly building materials, finishes and furnishings. The team held an informal charrette to identify opportunities to reuse existing materials and took shared responsibility in the LEED documentation and certification process.
Outside of direct energy usage, daylight and views were also a high priority for the project team, and views are available to nearly every employee in this space. Daylight controls and occupant sensors also help increase energy efficiency.
Other sustainable strategies and efficiencies achieved include:
- A 40 percent water use reduction through the use of dual flush
toilets, waterless urinals and low-flow fixtures, saving an estimated
26,970 gallons per year
- Lighting systems which are 33 percent better than ASHRAE 90.1-
2007 guidelines, in part through the use of daylight responsive
- A 100 percent landfill diversion rate for construction and demolition
- The presence of post-consumer and
pre-consumer recycled content in a majority
of building materials
- The manufacturing of many building materials
within 500 miles
- Resuse of 60 percent of all furniture and
furnishings from the previous site
- Use of low-emitting materials, with low or
- Incorporation of NSF 140 Platinum carpeting
“We feel that two years later, we have accomplished what we aspired to do for our workplace, and we are very proud that we were able to achieve LEED Platinum on our tenant allowance budget,” says Aye.