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Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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Operations and Maintenance

Heating & Cooling
HVAC low-flow night flushing control sequences restore the thermal storage capacity of the building’s mass with naturally cooler nighttime air, which delays the start-up of mechanical systems the following day. Wider temperature setpoints relax the environmental criteria in common spaces and sub-metering of chilled water, natural gas, and electricity encourages energy efficient tenant practices.

Measurement & Verification
Block 4 is participating in the Oregon Climate Trust’s carbon retirement program. Under the program, the developer signs over its "carbon credits" to the Trust in exchange for extensive measurement and verification of the building’s actual energy performance. Credits are calculated based on modeled energy savings beyond Oregon Energy Code and the associated reduction in CO2 emissions from the power source. The data will be helpful in determining the effectiveness and cost impacts of the energy efficient features by comparing how actual energy use compares with expected performance. It will also assist building owners in making necessary system adjustments to promote optimum building performance.

Property Management
The property management firm hired by the developer designed a comprehensive operations and maintenance program that will substantially reduce the ecological impact of the building throughout its useful life. The firm commissioned a consultant and worked with local NGO Zero Waste Alliance to research the most economical, effective and environmentally-friendly cleaning products and ended up contracting with a local supplier. In addition to increased indoor environmental quality, this substantially reduced transportation costs, related-pollution, and supports the local economy. Cleaning products used inside and outside the building are all readily biodegradable and contain no or low VOCs.

In an effort to implement a janitorial service that balances both economics and environmental quality, the firm issued a points-based RFP that weighted equally sustainability efforts and costs. Respondents were required to understand the firm’s philosophy concerning sustainability and explain a janitorial program that would perform in line with these objectives while remaining cost-effective. The proposals resulted in some creative programs that included strategies ranging from composting to tenant education. In the end, a firm was selected whose program includes a contractual agreement to do ten hours of recycling consulting with each tenant, among other elements. This effort involves educating the tenant about what materials can be recycled and developing a user-friendly program to encourage occupant participation.

Other measures taken by the firm to encourage the tenant to take advantage of the sustainable capabilities of the building are a building newsletter, frequent visits concerning new opportunities (such as recycling organic waste), and commingled recycling.

The property manager notes that all tenants have responded positively when approached with the opportunity to expand their recycling program. Such active participation not only diverts waste from a landfill but also saves money because of varying fee structures for solid waste, recycling, and yard (organic) waste.
Use of proper cleaning products alleviates liabilities such as sick building syndrome and absenteeism while bolstering worker health and productivity. In the end, the property manger indicates, "The justification for a cost-effective, environmentally sound operations and maintenance program is there."

Keys to Success - Operation:
  • Flush the building with cooler nighttime air to restore the building’s thermal storage capacity and delay the start of mechanical systems
  • Relax environmental criteria in common spaces
  • Sub-meter tenant utilities
  • Develop a tenant manual to promote sustainable tenant improvements that take full advantage of efficient core and shell systems
  • Retire carbon credits in exchange for measurement and verification of energy conservation measures
  • Communicate sustainability objectives and specific requirements to property management firm up front
  • As a property management firm, integrate sustainability objectives into RFP language