Latest Posts

2 Jun 2016 | Posted By John Jennings

Energy modeling, performance modeling, energy performance simulation – whatever you call it, it is becoming an increasingly important and increasingly easy and affordable process for early stage design. This article in Architect… explores reasons it isn’t being used widely and the successes where it has been used.
Posted on: May

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25 Apr 2016 | Posted By John Jennings

It’s been a big week for AIA COTE and their recognition of good sustainable design, and a good week for Northwest design firms and architecture students too. Beginning with an article in ARCHITECT about the top design firms with the most wins over the past 20 years of the COTE…

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14 Mar 2016 | Posted By John Jennings

The people who brought the Living Building Challenge into the world have a series of useful education events coming up. If you are curious about Net Zero buildings or already deeply involved in the topic, or want a deeper dive into the world of Living Buildings and a Living Future,…

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7 Jan 2016 | Posted By John Jennings

Washington State will have one of the nation’s most efficient energy codes with the recent approval in November by the state Building Code Council of a package of amendments. These amendments go into effect in July 1, 2016.
The major amendments for commercial building requirements include the following:
Commercial efficiency …

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6 Nov 2015 | Posted By John Jennings
American Institute of Architects 2015 Portland Architecture Awards

At the annual, newly retitled, Portland Architecture Awards on October 30 the national jury including Sierra Bainbridge of MASS Design Group, Betsy Williamson of Williamson Chong and Kevin Daly, of Kevin Daly Architects announced the winner of an award newly integrated into the more traditional AIA awards for architecture. They…

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27 Oct 2015 | Posted By Natalie

Facilities Expo consists of five regional broad based facilities events with an emphasis on green buildings. Each facilities event offers products that will save you money immediately, information on current industry trends, and answers to your toughest challenges in the workplace. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about cutting edge

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27 Oct 2015 | Posted By

The International Living Future Institute invites you to learn about Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) and ILFI’s certification program without leaving your office. Learn how to design and create Net Zero Energy Buildings in the new 5-part Energy Petal Webinar Series.

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22 Oct 2015 | Posted By Natalie

On December 15, AIA Seattle is hosting the, “…2015 Building Envelope Forum: Integration Drives Evolution”
This full-day forum will focus on the current state of building envelope design, where the field is headed, and the consequences of existing regulations, codes, policies, and practices in building design. The program will

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29 Sep 2015 | Posted By Alex Harry
How to Green an Existing Lease

Restructuring existing leases for better energy efficiency can be a tough job. Here are some possible ways to make it easier. Executing a green lease, also known as an energy-aligned lease, is a proven strategy to increase energy efficiency and lower operating costs in commercial buildings. In fact, IMT …

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9 Sep 2015 | Posted By Natalie
Recommended Courses from AIA University’s Online Collection


AIA+2030 Online Series…
This new education series will inspire architects to meet the 2030 Challenge through design strategies, efficient technologies and systems, and applying renewable energy resources. Top performance no longer means more resources. The new AIA+2030 Online Series shows you how next generation design practices can achieve net zero

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27 Aug 2015 | Posted By John Jennings
Coming soon – AIA Seattle’s Getting to Zero: Four-Part Series 2015

BetterBricks is a proud sponsor of AIA Seattle’s upcoming event, “Getting to Zero: Preparing for Net Zero”. The event is the first session of a four-part comprehensive educational series, that delves into the next target of the 2030 Challenge—70% reduction—and beyond. Participants will explore both the technical skills and cross-disciplinary…

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30 Jul 2015 | Posted By Natalie
Commercial Buildings Save Money Through Green Leasing

The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) are currently working together… in the City of Cleveland to help commercial buildings save money and energy by connecting landlords and tenants around energy efficiency—particularly when it comes to the lease. As part

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27 Jul 2015 | Posted By John Jennings
Coming soon – AIA Portland’s Getting to Zero: Four-Part Series 2015

Getting to Zero is a comprehensive, cutting-edge four-part series that will lead participants to the next target of the 2030 challenge – 70% reduction – and beyond!
Participants will explore both the technical skills and cross-disciplinary approaches essential for the design, construction and operation net zero energy buildings.
Session 1…

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3 Jun 2015 | Posted By John Jennings
New Construction Guide endorsed by Architecture 2030 to meet the 2030 Challenge

New Buildings Institute (NBI) and Architecture 2030 are excited to announce that Architecture 2030 has endorsed a prescriptive path to meet the current 2030 Challenge goal based on NBI’s Advanced Buildings® New Construction Guide. With this path, design teams now have another tool when seeking to meet the 2030 …

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7 May 2015 | Posted By John Jennings

On Earth Day, April 22nd, the Portland City Council passed a new ordinance that requires owners of commercial buildings over 20,000 square feet to track energy use and report it on an annual basis. Portland becomes the 13th… city in the US to do so. It is estimated that

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30 Apr 2015 | Posted By John Jennings
Three NW Projects Make COTE Top 10+1 List

Three NW Projects Make COTE Top 10+1 List…
The Northwest does it again. This time two buildings made it into the AIA Committee on the Environment Top 10 Green Projects and one was selected the Top Ten Plus winner, now in its third year, that recognizes a past AIA COTE

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17 Feb 2015 | Posted By Natalie
Inaugural Reynolds Sustainability Symposium set for May 16 and 17, 2015 at the University of Oregon

This May, the University of Oregon School of Architecture, considered one of the top programs for sustainable design, will host a major forum on the topic. Internationally renowned practitioners and thought leaders will deliver a series of lectures and panel discussions on topics at the leading edge of sustainable design,

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18 Nov 2014 | Posted By Natalie
Fifth Annual Portland 2030 Challenge Design Award Winners Announced

By Joshua Hatch of Brightworks Sustainability, AIA COTE 2030 Awards Chair
Architecture 2030, in collaboration with AIA Portland and their Committee on the Environment (COTE) and the BetterBricks program… of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, recently presented the annual 2030 Challenge Design Awards in recognition of design excellence towards

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9 Oct 2014 | Posted By
The Living Building Challenge Energy Petal Workshop


**Register by October 31st to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount. Type in the special discount code, “betterbricks” and receive an additional $50 off registration!
AIA Portland and the International Living Future Institute present The Living Building Challenge Energy Petal Workshop
Sponsored by BetterBricks
Wednesday, December 3rd (1pm-5pm)
AIA …

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4 Sep 2014 | Posted By
Save the Date: Getting to Zero starts in November! Registration opens ThursdaySeptember 4th Getting to Zero, a comprehensive, cutting-edge curriculum, builds on the success of the AIA+2030 series and responds to the expressed needs of Seattle AIA members who wish to move to the next level of delivering high performance buildings.
This innovative four-part series sponsored by

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31 Jul 2014 | Posted By
Research Partnership Empowers a Firm’s Transformation

Over the past 15 years, SRG Partnership has collaborated with the University of Oregon Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory (ESBL) on numerous commercial and institutional buildings. What has emerged is a demonstrated continuous improvement in the areas of energy performance, cost effectiveness, and design innovation. Their integrated design process facilitates…

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4 Jun 2014 | Posted By Jeff Cole
Enhance Your Design Capabilities with In-House Energy Simulation Tools

Kjell Anderson, an architect in the Seattle office of LMN Architects, has written a must-have book for architects interested in enhancing their analytical capabilities to improve the energy performance of projects. Design Energy Simulation for Architects… focuses on early design, when the geometry and orientation of a building is being

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12 May 2014 | Posted By Jeff Cole
Two Northwest Projects Among 2014 AIA COTE Top 10

Once again, Pacific Northwest buildings are among the top 10 green projects, nationally, that have been recognized by the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE) as premier examples of architectural solutions that protect and enhance the environment. AIA COTE selection criteria include design and innovation, integration…

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6 May 2014 | Posted By
Puget Sound Integrated Design Lab Recieves the AIA Seattle Allied Organization Award

IMPACT RECOGNIZED
Congratulations to the Puget Sound Integrated Design Lab for receiving the AIA Seattle Allied Organization award, and to Joel Loveland, Lab Founder and Director for receiving the AIA Seattle Community Service award this month.
The Community Service award recognizes an individual or group for the achievement of the

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6 Jan 2014 | Posted By
Green Building Heroes Steve Loken and Ann Edminster Join EMERGE Faculty for Portland Workshop

For the January 24-25, 2014 EMERGE workshop, Steve and Ann will be joining workshop leader and Cascadia Fellow Kathleen O’Brien, who notes the faculty will be “intent on skill-honing, problem-solving, and community building, for the sole purpose of developing and expanding the participants’ leadership capabilities in the sustainable building arena.”

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31 Dec 2013 | Posted By
EMERGE: Leadership Training Tuned to the Needs of Green Building Professionals and Advocates

The Northwest based non-profit EMERGE Leadership Project is partnering with Earth Advantage Institute to offer intensive leadership training tuned to the needs of green building professionals and advocates.  The EMERGE Leadership Workshop, scheduled for Friday/Saturday January 24-25, 2014 features long time green building leaders Kathleen O’Brien, Steve Loken, Ann Edminster,

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16 Nov 2013 | Posted By
Energy Petal Workshops in PDX, Seattle

The Living Building Challenge Energy Petal is intended to signal a new age of design, wherein the built environment relies solely on renewable forms of energy and operates year round in a pollution-free manner. In this 4-hour in-depth review of the Energy Petal, participants will gain an understanding of how

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6 Nov 2013 | Posted By
AIA Portland Presents the 4th Annual  Portland 2030 Challenge Design Awards

The fourth annual 2030 Challenge Design Awards have been announced.  At the October 18, 2013 AIA Portland Honor Awards Ceremony,  AIA Portland and their Committee on the Environment (COTE), in collaboration with Architecture 2030 and BetterBricks, presented three awards in recognition of design excellence towards meeting the 2030 Challenge reduction

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4 Nov 2013 | Posted By
AIA Seattle’s Data-Driven Design Forum

The performance expectations of our built environment are exponentially increasing, creating a new demand for the rigorous collection, dissemination and deployment of hard research in the practice of architecture.
Firms at all scales are finding that the integrated utilization of research in design is critical to achieving public outcomes such

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21 Aug 2013 | Posted By

The 2013 BetterBricks Awards held today honored Oregon/Southwest Washington green building professionals whose efforts in promoting and implementing high performance design and operating solutions result in tremendous energy savings for the Northwest.
“This year’s BetterBricks Award winners demonstrate extraordinary leadership in sustainability with ideas and results that are replicated nationwide,”…

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25 Jul 2013 | Posted By
The World’s Greenest Buildings: Promise vs. Performance

i-SUSTAIN brings Dr. Ulf Meyer to Seattle to Speak on High Performance Buildings and Promise vs. Performance in Sustainable Design.…

The World’s Greenest Buildings: Promise vs. Performance in Sustainable Design provides the very first large-scale study comparing building performance data worldwide from the highest-rated large green buildings of the past

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11 Jul 2013 | Posted By Jeff Cole
2030 Palette Released: Take a Tour

The 2030 Palette… is the latest resource, crafted by Architecture 2030, to support those who have stepped up to the 2030 Challenge. BetterBricks gave it a look. Currently accessible in beta version only, the free online tool and interactive platform is meant to provide architects, planners, and designers with information

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11 Jul 2013 | Posted By
SERA Celebrates Sustainability Successes: 2030 Commitment Progress Reported

Portland’s SERA Architects has a well-deserved reputation and well-earned respect for their rich, long-standing focus upon sustainability and the manner in which that passion has been realized in the design of high performance, green buildings. Among firm sustainability milestones, SERA: adopted the Natural Step in 1997; created a Director of

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2 Apr 2013 | Posted By
The ENERGY STAR Challenge: Architects

Architects Submit Your Design Projects and Join the Race!
The Race is a friendly competition among organizations and architects across the country to see who submits the most projects that achieve Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR. The project’s region will be determined by zip code for one of three

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28 Aug 2012 | Posted By Erin McConahey

Many design practitioners believe that a collaborative design and construction team processes will lead to better decision-making, but improved relations alone do not necessarily mean increased energy efficiency. Along with the pursuit of deeper energy savings, Integrated Project Delivery (“IPD”) is one of the most intriguing current innovations in the…

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14 Jun 2012 | Posted By Jeff Cole
Portland Architects Batting .300 at COTE Top 10 Awards

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) 2012 selection of the nation’s top ten green projects sees Portland firms batting .300, with three out of the ten projects designed by local firms. This reflects well on the maturity of high performance sustainable design in

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16 May 2012 | Posted By Jeff Cole
What Makes it Green(er)?

The 2012 What Makes it Green Award Winners were announced April 18th, at Seattle City Hall. Established over a decade ago, by the AIA Seattle Committee on the Environment… (COTE), these awards recognize outstanding regional sustainable design, through a process designed to help other design professionals and interested parties to

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24 Apr 2012 | Posted By
The BetterBricks Awards Usher in New Crop of Energy Efficiency Champions

The BetterBricks Awards recently completed the annual tour around the Northwest, finishing up in Helena, Montana last month.  A total of 19 people throughout Oregon, Washington and Montana were recognized for their achievements in commercial building energy efficiency.  Since 2002, nearly 200 people have been honored with a BetterBricks Award…

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16 Apr 2012 | Posted By John Jennings
The Future is Now – Two Buildings Certified as “Net Zero”

Earlier this year, we covered the launch of the International Living Future Institute’s Net Zero Energy Certification.  The certification, which is the first program that provides third party certification of net zero energy performance, builds upon the Living Building Challenge framework made up imperatives focusing on performance criteria.  Read …

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12 Apr 2012 | Posted By Jeff Cole
The AIA 2030 Commitment Series 3 of 3: An Interview with ZGF

The following review of ZGF’s experience with the 2030 Commitment is the third part of our consideration of the 2030 Commitment and its impact upon Pacific Northwest architecture firms. Part 1, summarizing national results and the experience of Mithun Architects can be read here. Part 2 discussed NBBJ’s experience…

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21 Mar 2012 | Posted By Jeff Cole
The AIA 2030 Commitment Series 2 of 3: An Interview with NBBJ

Our coverage of NBBJ’s experience with the 2030 Commitment is the second part of our mini-series about the 2030 Commitment and its impact upon Pacific Northwest architecture firms. Part 1, summarizing national results and the experience of Mithun Architects can be read here ….
NBBJ is one of the

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8 Mar 2012 | Posted By Jeff Cole
The AIA 2030 Commitment: The Experience of Some Pacific Northwest Firms

This is the first installment of a three-part series focusing on the work of Northwest firms as it relates to the 2030 Commitment.
The AIA (American Institute of Architects) 2030 Commitment… program is a call to action for firms to voluntarily track and report on the performance of their designs

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27 Feb 2012 | Posted By Jeff Cole
Hennebery Eddy Architects – Firm Profile

Hennebery Eddy Architects are on a roll. This past fall, their net zero energy PCC Newberg Academic Center won the 2011 Portland AIA Sustainable Design Award. A year before, the firm’s Willamette University Ford Hall project won a 2010 Portland 2030 Challenge Design Award…, As Built category and

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14 Feb 2012 | Posted By Sarah Lazzaro
One of the Best Performing Buildings in the Northwest

This post originally appeared in New Buildings Institute’s ZNE Newsletter.

Rice Fergus Miller Zero-Energy Capable Building | Bremerton, WA…
With an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) in the low 20′s, the Rice Fergus Miller Office and Studio is one of the best performing buildings in the Northwest. Certified as LEED Platinum,

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7 Feb 2012 | Posted By Jeff Cole
What Makes It Green?

How well do your projects stack up against the green competition? Are you sure? Have it confirmed by a jury of your peers, by entering the AIA Seattle Committee on the Environment What Makes It Green?… (“WMIG?”) 2012 awards program. Separate categories are open to projects completed as of December

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7 Feb 2012 | Posted By
Integrative Design Workshop

ULI is offering a high impact workshop on the fundamentals and benefits of the Integrative Design Process to achieve enhanced asset performance and value. Two of the nation’s most respected authorities on Integrative Design will demonstrate how the Integrative Process may help mitigate both project and market risk by providing

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7 Feb 2012 | Posted By John Jennings
New Study on Environmental Value of Building Reuse

In late January, Preservation Green Lab released a new study, The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Value of Building Reuse.  This research finds that reusing existing buildings typically offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction—even if that new construction is energy-efficient.
The report looked at six very different building

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18 Jan 2012 | Posted By Jeff Cole
Net Zero Energy Certification Launched

The International Living Future Institute, responding to market demand, has launched the Net Zero Energy Building Certification…, the first program that provides third party certification of net zero energy performance. Building upon the success of the Institute’s Living Building Challenge (“LBC”) the new initiative is designed to address

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17 Jan 2012 | Posted By John Jennings
DOE Announces Guide for More Energy Efficient Retail Buildings

The following post appeared in Environmental Design and Construction on January 10.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the release of the third installment in a series of four 50% Advanced Energy Design Guides (AEDGs)…. This latest guide will help architects, engineers, and contractors design and build highly

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5 Jan 2012 | Posted By John Jennings
Pushing Energy Efficient Retro Fits Closer to the Tipping Point

Rocky Mountain Institute’s Michael Bendewald recently penned an article for TriplePundit.com about the $4 billion President Obama… committed to building retrofits.  In the article, Bendewald provides a number examples demonstrating how deep energy retrofits are bolstering the economy through job creation and inching closer to the tipping point for the

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