GreenWorks Solves Tough Problems: Climate Change

GreenWorks Solves Tough Problems: Climate Change

Not long ago, during the sharing portion of our Monday morning meeting, several of our staff brought up the recent (and somewhat alarming) Climate Change report released by the United Nations. They posed the question: what can landscape architects do to address problems of this magnitude with our work?

To answer the question, our team is meeting every other week during lunch to discuss topics like:

  • Climate Change

  • Equity/Inclusion

  • Houselessness

  • Resilience

  • Novel Ecosystems

  • Design for Health

  • Universally Accessible and Culturally-Sensitive Design

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Awards Granted to Hood River Middle School Music and Science Building!

The Hood River Middle School Music and Science Building is a LEED certified project designed as a hands-on learning laboratory, where students interact with the site's resource systems. The building additions were completed in September 2010.

  • Last week the U.S. Green Building Council certified the Hood River Middle School additions as LEED Platinum, the highest possible LEED rating.
  • The project was also recently named one of the American Institute of Architects Top Ten Green Projects for 2012.

GreenWorks worked closely with school faculty and the design team to create a site that meets school needs while utilizing a small ecological footprint. Resource system information, such as onsite rainwater harvesting, wastewater treatment and solar power generation, is tracked and fed to a central dashboard where students monitor the buildings' resource flows. In the native plant arboretum, each student is responsible for a plant that they care for, water, measure and observe throughout the seasons. The learning garden is an ever-changing canvas, which provides harvests enjoyed by students and the community. Students harvest and sell the produce at the local farmers market and learn permaculture principles in the multisensory, food forest where they grow and harvest plants for food, fiber, dye and other uses. GreenWorks' services included schematic design, construction documents, specifications, LEED documentation, bidding assistance and construction administration.

Read more about the project on the AIA website here.

Riverdale Grade School Final Walk Through Complete

Last week GreenWorks made their final walk through at the new Riverdale School campus, the new development of a 45,000 square foot state-of-the-art, two-story education facility for grades K-8, including approximately 24 classrooms. The project incorporates sustainable site practices and LEED design. In addition to a new education facility, the project provides improved child safety, bus routing, parking and parent drop-off areas as well as a central courtyard for outdoor play and environmental learning areas.

Regenerative Design in Urban Land


The August 2009 issue of Urban Land (the publication of the Urban Land Institute - ULI) featured an article on 'Regenerative Design' authored by GreenWorks Senior Associate Jason King, along with Ankrom Moisan Principal Scott Thayer.  The article discussed our transition from sustainability to regeneration of communities, and included projects such as Independence Station, Tanner Springs Park, and the Headwaters at Tryon Creek.


Images copyright (ULI) - Click here to read the entire issue online (and jump to pg. 48 for the specific article).

King Appointed to USGBC Group

(via the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce) posted Friday, August 7, 2009 USGBC_logo

Senior associate Jason A. King of GreenWorks PC has been appointed by the U.S. Green Building Council to serve on the Sustainable Sites Technical Advisory Group (SS TAG). The group provides technical advice in regard to products, tools and services related to sustainable sites within the LEED rating system.

King will advise on credit interpretation requests and credit ruling appeals, as well as monitor consistency in the methods of assessment and standards across the LEED product range as it relates to credits for sustainable sites. He was selected from a pool of 124 applicants for eight open TAG positions. King is experienced in green roof design, storm water design, habitat restoration, reduction of the urban heat island effect, and other sustainable design strategies.

Also, read this interview with Jason King about the appointment, recently featured on World Landscape Architect by Damian Holmes.

DaVinci School in NY Times

A recent blog post from the NY Times showed "A prototype green classroom addition under construction at the Da Vinci Arts Middle School in Portland, Ore. includes natural daylighting, passive heating and cooling systems, solar roof tiles and other green features that yield a 70 percent efficiency improvement over Oregon building code requirements."


:: image via NY Times Blog

The project by SRG Partnership and the University of Oregon’s Energy Studies in Buildings Lab was aided by pro-bono services from GreenWorks for site improvements and land use issues. Read the full NYT post about this innovative project here, as well as some additional local coverage in the DJC here.

First and Main building tops off

DJC Oregon - Monday, March 2, 2009  (By Tyler Graf) djcone20main201

"A year before the First and Main building – located at the western base of the Hawthorne Bridge – is scheduled to open its doors, its developers at San Francisco-based Shorenstein Company still don’t have an anchor tenant for their 365,000-square-foot building.  But with the shell of the building constructed, and 13 of the 16 floors safe for prospective tenants to look at, project managers such as Matt Cole are taking strides to boost marketing efforts.  “We’re hopeful to announce anchor tenants soon,” said Cole, a senior vice president of Shorenstein. “It’s so hard to predict what will happen with the economy though.”

That’s a common refrain among brokers, said Ryan Pennington, a Colliers International broker unassociated with the project.  “I wouldn’t be surprised if they had something signed really soon,” Pennington said. The building had its “topping off” ceremony late last week and marked the occasion with a mass tour for brokers. There’s no “common denominator” used in attempting to attract an anchor tenant, Cole said; however, Shorenstein and its brokers continue to sell the building as the “first new office building in the Central Business District since the Fox Tower.”   Construction of Fox Tower completed in 2000.

Its status as a “first” may be appealing, but First and Main could nonetheless find itself playing catch-up to Park Avenue West, the office tower scheduled to open immediately following First and Main. That building has already secured law firm Stoel Rives to anchor it.  “I don’t see that being a disadvantage, though,” Pennington said. “For most projects in this market, securing anchor tenants has been really difficult.”  In the next 12 to 36 months, he said, there will be a lot of bigger office tenants looking for space.

Todd Sklar, development director for Shorenstein, said he expects the building to become more attractive to tenants as it takes shape, one glass panel at a time.  “Our building may have more color than some,” Sklar said, adding that as the building adds new details, such as the expanse of glass that will cover the face of the building, brokers will have an easier time envisioning its final look.  “We have a big focus on natural light,” he added.

Construction on the building has stuck to its time schedule in spite of setbacks, according to Hoffman Construction supervisors. Work halted for two weeks in December, when Portland was pummeled by snow and ice. The setback to construction came as a surprise – a costly one – but Hoffman was “able to recover the lost time,” Cole said.

Though still gutted, with puddles of water pooling on the slab concrete ground, the building’s interior brings promises of sustainable features. The lobby will feature floors made of travertine, a type of sedimentary rock used in both ancient and modern architecture. Its walls will be lined with solid fir paneling to accentuate the floor-to-ceiling windows, said Krista Bailey, a development manager for Shorenstein. For looks and practicality, the lobby will also feature a gas fireplace, Bailey said, along with art displays and Venetian plaster – a finishing technique in which plaster is applied to walls with a trowel to create a three-dimensional texture.

The fourth floor will feature an eco-roof, which will be accessible to all building tenants. Currently, it’s just a concrete roof awaiting various plants, walkways and benches. Eventually, it will be a plush, garden-like environment, Bailey said.

It’ll grow, she said, like the building."

SSI works toward certification of landscape architecture

Sustainable Sites Initiative seeks to address issues not completely covered by LEED From the DJC Oregon - originally printed Tuesday, January 27, 2009


As a landscape architect with Greenworks, Jason King keeps pace with changes in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. King in 2003 was one of the first local landscape architects to become LEED accredited, and now a third of his office is accredited.

headwaters at tryon creek

But while it’s important for landscape architects to understand LEED, the system is mostly oriented toward the built environment and does not address, in depth, the complex systems used in landscape architecture. To remedy that, several groups are combining forces to develop the Sustainable Sites Initiative – an effort to define comprehensive guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable landscapes.

“This initiative gives us the opportunity to expand the (LEED) idea and provides a mechanism for certification of nonbuilding sites,” said King.

The new initiative would give landscape architects a ratings system for parks, plazas, streetscapes, golf courses and even cemeteries. Sites with buildings, such as retail and office parks, military complexes, airports and botanical gardens would also be part of the system.

Proponents of the initiative say that landscape designs can have an impact on the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the use of vegetation and soil, by controlling invasive plant species and by controlling water pollution through improved storm-water runoff control.

Landscape architect Jana McKenzie, a managing principal and vice president with EDAW’s Fort Collins, Colo., office, said she and a group of fellow landscape architects came up with the idea for a landscape architecture ratings system in 2001.

“LEED is advanced in addressing building performance, but it felt like the site components, including land use, needed to be addressed as well,” said McKenzie.

The idea expanded in the next couple of years to groups outside the American Society of Landscape Architects, and became an interdisciplinary effort that included Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden.

In addition to creating voluntary guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, the system will address construction and maintenance practices at the sites that are certified. McKenzie said the new system must be region specific, because of the importance of using indigenous plantings.

Input for the new system, which will likely be folded into the LEED system, has been sought from landscape architects, restoration ecologists, biologists, civil engineers, hydrologists and water quality specialists.

Tom Liptan, a sustainable design specialist with the city of Portland, said he has added input for developing criteria for the new system in the area of hydrology – specifically, storm-water management and rainwater harvesting.

“We’re trying to address issues that LEED doesn’t address comprehensively,” Liptan said. The new system can address issues such as preventing storm water by capturing water in vegetated areas or creating rain gardens, he said.

Liptan said developments, for example, could win extra points in the new system if they daylight a creek. Developers and designers, he said, would be rewarded for “trying to achieve a well-balanced ecosystem” on the property. Green streets could also have benchmarks in the new system.

The most recent draft of the Sustainable Sites Initiative Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks, from last year, is available on the Sustainable Sites Initiative Web site,

King expected that the new initiative would see its first pilot projects in 2011, and that a reference guide would be available the following year.

Independence Station - LEED Platinum

The popular green building blog Jetson Green published an end-of-the-year post '33 Stunning LEED Platinum Projects', which featured a post on GreenWorks project - Independence Station.  The mixed-use project, located in downtown Independence, Oregon is on track to become the highest rated LEED building in the world, currently projecting a final tally of 64 points (based on current estimates).  Working with inspirational developer Steven Ribeiro, from Aldeia Development,  along with a team from Ankrom-Moisan Associated ArchitectsJohnson Controls, Balzhiser & Hubbard Engineers, and Green Building Services, to name a few - the project is maximizing site regeneration through net zero water use, rainwater harvesting,  restoration of open spaces, rooftop ecoroofs with photovoltaics, rooftop terraces, green walls, and a range of other sustainable features throughout.

Read more about the project at Worlds Greenest Building.


images via Jetson Green