Columbia Square in Portland, Ore., is first existing building in U.S. to earn 4 Green Globes

July 06, 2009 |

PORTLAND, Ore. – Columbia Square, a 313,000-sf office building and flagship property in the Melvin Mark Companies real estate portfolio, has been awarded 4 Globes by the Green Building Initiative (GBI) for achievements in green design and sustainable operations. The building was rated under the Green Globes environmental design and assessment tool and the 4 Globes designation is the highest possible rating.

An award ceremony was held at Columbia Square on Thursday, July 2 featuring Oregon Congressman Greg Walden (R-02) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-03). Ward Hubbell, president, GBI, presented a plaque to Melvin Mark Companies CEO Jim Mark to recognize the building’s impressive environmental achievements.

“I am proud to be here today to recognize two Oregon-based organizations who are leading the way in green building,” said Congressman Walden. “The GBI and Melvin Mark further reinforce Oregon’s position as a leader in sustainability and green technology and their mutual commitment to improving our built environment should be commended."

Columbia Square is the first existing building in the nation to be awarded the Green Globes prestigious 4 Globes rating and is the first existing building in Oregon to achieve a Green Globes certification at any level. Other notable buildings to receive a Green Globes rating are the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the Whole Foods Market in Centennial, CO.

The Green Building Initiative, who own and operate Green Globes in the U.S., is a national not-for-profit organization headquartered in Portland seeking to promote practical green building approaches. Green Globes is the leading environmental assessment tool for existing buildings in North America and is preferred by building owners because it offers an affordable and user-friendly approach to green building certification.

“The greening of our building stock is one of the biggest challenges we face in our efforts to curb global climate change, but it is also an area where we can make a significant impact,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “This building, and the work done by these two Oregon-based organizations, proves that our state is on the cutting edge in the areas of sustainability, energy efficiency, waste reduction and water conservation.”

“Investments in sustainable practices are good for the environment and a sound

business strategy for building owners,” said Mark. “They allow us to create high performance work environments for tenants and help us manage our energy costs, which keeps our buildings profitable and competitive. Our building management teams look at every property in our portfolio for ways to improve energy efficiency, enhance indoor air quality and reduce waste. I am proud that our deep commitment to environmentally-friendly practices is recognized by the

Green Building Initiative.”

To earn the 4 Globes rating, Columbia Square received an overall score of 88%. The building was evaluated in six categories: energy, water, resources, emissions, indoor environment and environmental management systems. Among the company’s most notable achievements at Columbia Square: projected increased energy savings of up to 40% and a reduction in ozone-depleting refrigerants through the replacement of an existing chiller with a high-efficiency

chiller. The building has also earned ENERGY STAR® certification, which means it is 31% more efficient than buildings of a similar size. And a strong recycling program to reduce building waste allows tenants to recycle paper, metal, glass, food waste, e-waste and construction waste.

“Melvin Mark’s Columbia Square building is an example of where we need to head as a building community,” said Hubbell. “Sustainable design for new construction is important, but we have to focus on actual building performance if we are going to reach our environmental goals. Using Green Globes they are able to easily benchmark and monitor a building’s environmental performance, ensuring that their goals of energy efficiency, water conservation and an improved indoor environment were realized.”

Green Globes is an innovative green building guidance and assessment program that was adapted from a system that is widely used in Canada. The Green Globes tool has been officially recognized by legislation or executive order in 19 states as well as by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education and the Department of the Interior. It is a user-friendly alternative to the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and

Environmental Design (LEED) program, and can be implemented at a significantly lower cost on the part of the building owner.

To achieve a Green Globes rating, Melvin Mark Companies used Green Globes’ online and interactive format to monitor the environmentally-friendly building upgrades. A GBI-authorized third-party building science expert was engaged to review the building documents, conduct an on-site inspection and assess an official Green Globes rating.

Columbia Square joins more than 70 buildings nationwide in achieving a Green Globes rating. Others organizations that use Green Globes include: Newell Rubbermaid, Whole Foods, Bristol-Myers Squibb, JPMorgan Chase, Arizona State University, University of Arkansas, Poudre County School district, Summit County Colorado, the General Services Administration, Department of State, and Department of Veterans Affairs.

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