but is it ‘green’?

At the request of some friends, we’ve put together a list of reasons why people might call this ‘green’… It’s a funny thing to talk about nowadays, now that the concept has gained so much currency in the popular culture while the understanding has lagged far, far behind. But away from the boardrooms, closer to the ground, and certainly in a place like Portland, there is a truly vital conversation going on about what ‘green’ really is. It’s our sincere hope that the cultivation of the Leftbank will contribute to that conversation– both as real world case study and as a gathering place for people who care.


OUR STATEMENT (view the pdf here)

Pursuit of Sustainability has shaped the vision and development of the Leftbank Project since its inception.  While this pursuit is self-evident in the project’s efforts to heal a blighted area, advocate for multimodal transportation, and cultivate a new space to support the movement, it is also inherent in the specific way we’ve chosen to build. Leftbank has been developed through a sensitive and site specific design/build process, guided by a handful of simple principles.  At the center of these was the determination to preserve a complicated and spirited building.  We’ve accomplished this by reusing and restoring every element available, and infusing new systems and elements in a thoughtful, yet limited manner.

material sensitive aesthetic.
design efficiencies.
advocating sustainable practices.
sustainability consulting by Autopoiesis, LLC (portland).


the buiding.
deconstruction by Lovett Deconstruction (portland).
extensive use of reclaimed wood.
restoration of existing industrial lighting.

new systems and materials.

super efficient heat pump system.
LED lighting.
locally sourced FSC wood.
ecologically sensitive finishes.

local sustainable industry.
tenant lighting :: eleek, inc. (portland)
recycled glass tile :: stardust glass (portland).




a guiding principle in the design phase was to celebrate the inherent imperfections and history of the building. In contrast to the more conventional sheetrock and suspended ceiling approach, we’ve spared a tremendous amount of material by simply ‘letting things be what they are’.
design efficiencies.
the redesign of the building allows for ample common spaces and meeting rooms, so that tenants can lease less personal space, and utilize common resources. This not only promotes our mission of collaboration but reduces collective resource waste through economies of use.
advocating sustainable practices. much of the new design is geared specifically to encourage more sustainable practices, as is the case with our extensive indoor and outdoor bike parking, showers and locker rooms for bike commuters, and compost and recycling programs.
sustainability consulting. Portland’s Autopoiesis, LLC worked with us through the design phase, with a primary focus on sustainable material choices.


the building.
every prospective buyer of the property intended to raze the building. Our decision to bring it into use spares countless tons of both waste and new material.
deconstruction. we hired Portland’s Lovett Deconstruction to dismantle elements within the building that needed removal or replacement. This more sensitive alternative to demolition allowed the highest yield possible of reusable materials.
reclaimed wood. we’ve gone to great lengths to repurpose as much of the existing wood in the building as possible.   This includes milling old water-damaged beams into new stair treads, crafting new floors from old floor boards, and utilizing the rest for certain new structural elements and finishes.   We’ve also reclaimed wood we didn’t have here from other places around town, such as Portland’s B&O Building.
we’ve refurbished nearly all recoverable light fixtures from the building’s industrial history and installed them for common area lighting. The freshly polished and rewired fixtures are outfitted with LED lights for energy efficiency.

new systems and materials.

efficient heating and cooling.
for heating and cooling, we’ve installed a state of the art, Daiken super high efficiency energy recovery zoned heat pump system. This allows for conditioning even very small spaces with only minimal energy consumption.
LED lighting. we’ve outfitted as much as 90% of the building with ultra-efficient LED lights. this includes the vast majority of common area lighting, and general lighting in tenant spaces.
locally sourced FSC wood. in the necessary replacement of one of the building’s roofs, we sourced FSC certified lumber from the Warm Springs Reservation, less than 100 miles from Portland.
finishes. In every instance possible, we’ve favored low VOC paints and environmentally sensitive floor finishes throughout the building.

local sustainable industry.

tenant lighting. we’ve teamed up with our neighbors, Eleek, Inc. to develop new fixtures for general lighting in tenant spaces. These custom designed LED fixtures are made of recycled aluminum.
glass tile. while the aesthetic philosophy behind our work has led us to largely “leave things as they are”, we’ve introduced limited dashes of color and polish in the form of walls of recycled glass tile from Portland’s Stardust Glass.


One Response to this post

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