New Shading System, Solar Roof Will Help Transform Green/Wyatt Federal Building in Downtown Portland

November 30, 2010

The U.S. General Services Administration’s commitment to sustainable federal workplaces was evident as the agency kicked off the modernization of the Edith Green/Wendell Wyatt Federal Building into a landmark high-performance green building.

On hand to commemorate the start of construction were U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer, Portland Mayor Sam Adams, and GSA Northwest/Arctic Regional Administrator George Northcroft. This building is one of 600 that GSA, the government’s landlord, owns or operates in the Pacific Northwest.

Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the modernization of the 35-year-old facility is designed to achieve platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for its use of cutting-edge sustainable design and technology. A new shading system consisting of a series of aluminum rods will replace previously proposed vegetation on the building exterior. In addition, a new solar array on the roof will offset up to 6 percent of the building’s energy consumption, with solar power produced on-site.

To speed up construction, GSA emptied the building of all 1,240 federal employees. Real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle was hired to procure leases in four Portland buildings, totaling 323,000 square feet of space. These leases absorbed a major portion of available space in downtown Portland and with the accompanying build-out will provide significant secondary job and financial benefits to the local real estate and construction markets.

“The state-of-the-art technologies we’ve incorporated into the design for this project will allow GSA to be a green proving ground for others seeking to develop sustainable and energy-efficient buildings,” said Northcroft. “At the same time, we’re creating much-needed construction jobs. At our peak construction phase, more than 250 construction workers will be employed on this project.”

Other modernization green features include:

  • A 40 percent reduction in lighting energy usage through advanced, optically enhanced light systems that automatically adjust to the amount of daylight available;
  • A 65 percent reduction in potable water consumption through the use of low-flow fixtures and reuse of rainwater for toilets, urinals, and irrigation; and
  • Modernized elevators that regenerate power when they descend.

As the construction manager on the project, Howard S. Wright Cos. of Portland has worked with SERA Architects, also of Portland, and Cutler Anderson Architects for all aspects of design and construction. The design and construction team has done more than 215 LEED-certified projects and has more than 225 LEED-accredited professionals.

SERA was recently presented the first Portland 2030 Challenge Design Award in the as-designed category by the Portland Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and Architecture 2030, in recognition of design excellence toward meeting the 2030 Challenge reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions.

Cover image: Artist's rendering of the Edith Green/Wendell Wyatt Federal Building.

Last Reviewed: 2020-09-24