Portland's Casey is the nation's first LEED platinum high-rise condominiums

April 29, 2008 |

The Casey condominiums have been certified LEED platinum, making the building the first high-rise condominium residence in the country to reach the highest standard of green building designated by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Casey combines a full slate of leading-edge green features with outstanding architecture and luxury design to create an exceptional living experience.

“The Casey sacrifices nothing in terms of either sustainability or lifestyle,” says Kelly Saito, managing principal of project developer Gerding Edlen Development. “We are extremely proud of this accomplishment, and ultimately we hope that this level of green building will be the norm. We’re trying to find ways to push beyond platinum in an effort to create net zero buildings that generate more energy than they consume and that consume more waste than they produce.”


This is Gerding Edlen’s third LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum project. Its others, both in Portland, are the Gerding Theater, the nation’s first platinum historic renovation and performing arts center, and Oregon Health Science University’s Center for Health & Healing, the nation’s first and largest platinum medical office building. Gerding Edlen has 38 LEED projects in its portfolio, more than any other developer in the country.

The Casey: America’s Greenest Condominium

Gerding Edlen achieved all of the 55 LEED credits it applied for on the Casey, exceeding the 52 required for platinum. The building incorporates a comprehensive array of sustainable design principles, including reduced usage of fossil fuels; sustainable, regional, renewable and low-VOC materials; water-efficient fixtures and appliances; glazing to reduce glare and heat gain; an eco-roof for storm water management and to reduce the heat island effect; efficient mechanical equipment; a solar PV system to provide renewable energy to the building; and ERVs (Energy Recovery Ventilators) in each unit that recover exhausted (waste) heat and use it to preheat incoming fresh air. These features significantly reduce the building’s environmental impact and are expected to achieve a 52 percent energy savings over a code-compliant building.

The Casey is a model project for next-phase energy performance rating systems, as one of three high-rises across the country participating in a pilot Energy Star for High Rise Multifamily Building rating system.  Multifamily high-rise structures are a unique hybrid of residential and commercial, and currently have no clear methodology for establishing high performance under the Energy Star labeling program. The Energy Trust of Oregon, which is coordinating the pilot rating system on behalf of the EPA, is using the Casey to inform the development of this new standard.

The Casey is also an example of outstanding architecture and public art. It stands 16 stories tall, but covers just one-quarter block in area, creating an elegant, thin profile. The architecture, by GBD Architects, capitalizes on this small floor plate to create a jewelbox effect, including a unique façade on each side and an exterior textured patterned glass spire, designed by Dustin White, GBD Architects, that extends from the second floor to above the green roof. The building also includes three more art glass installations by two noted glass artists. Martha Pfanschmidt designed the main lobby art glass, theme "Northern Lights," as well as all of the residential elevator lobbies, theme "The Four Seasons." And, Catharine Newell designed the exterior Casey Jones Portrait. All of these glass works of art throughout the interior and exterior of the building were produced and fabricated in collaboration with internationally renowned Bullseye Glass, including owner Dan Schwoerer and project designer Ted Sawyer.

Casey residents live in the heart of Portland’s Pearl District, steps from art galleries, restaurants and boutiques. Homes range from 1,000 to 3,600 square feet, with an average size of 2,200 square feet. The building is already approximately 75 percent sold with a few units remaining.

Construction on the $54 million project began in January 2006, and the first residents took occupancy in December 2008.

The project team includes:

Developer: Gerding Edlen Development. Kelly Saito, principal in charge; Jill Sherman, project manager; Joe Nydahl, construction manager; Renee Worme and Kellee Jackson, sustainability leads.Architect: GBD Architects. Phil Beyl principal in charge; Catherine Navarro-Silva, project architect; Stephen Domreis, project designer; Dustin White, architectural designer; Suzy Olsen, interior designer.LEED and Sustainability Advisors: Brightworks.Construction: Hoffman Construction Company; Stephanie Coyle, project manager.MEP Design Engineering: Glumac International.MEP Design/Build Subcontractor, Hunter-Davisson.

Gerding Edlen is a national leader in innovative green building development. Based in Portland, Ore., with projects stretching from L.A. to Bellevue, Wash., Gerding Edlen is well-known for its broad-based expertise in mixed-use projects, its strict attention to environmental considerations, and its success in undertaking challenging, complex developments.

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