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Sustainability at Work

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Boora Architects



Boora Architects is a Portland-based architectural design firm critically recognized for sustainability, innovation, and social impact. When they faced the end of their lease in the Morgan Building, they weighed the options of moving to a new space, building their own space, or renewing their current lease. In the end, the most sustainable choice was to stay in their current location, which offered excellent natural lighting and ventilation and ideal access to public transportation. Their efforts to redesign and remodel their space with a goal of increased sustainability paid off with a 27% reduction in their carbon footprint.


Gold Certification

  • BEST Award winner, 2009 – Green Building
  • BEST Award winner, 2002 – Transportation Options

Energy/greenhouse gas reduction:

  • The new Boora office design provides enough daylight to save most of the annual electric lighting energy needed for ambient lighting during daylight hours –as much as 90%. The number of existing lighting fixtures was therefore reduced, and new fixtures have integral daylight sensors which dim or turn off lights when adequate natural light is available.
  • To increase natural ventilation, windows that had been painted and nailed shut for years were scraped, cleaned, and restored to operability. To ensure the operable window capability is used, exterior temperature sensors were installed and connected to “Open Window” signs throughout the space to alert employees when outdoor temperatures are ideal for natural ventilation.

Sustainable Materials:

  • Boora worked with Bo Hagood of Made Studio to design a new reception desk using wood from a white oak tree salvaged from a Beaverton home.

Waste reduction:

  • The Rebuilding Center surveyed reusable materials and, for two days prior to full demolition, completed a focused disassembly and removal during which they recovered furniture, casework, lighting, and cherry and maple paneling for resale. Thirty percent of the furniture from the old office was reused in our new space. Of the remaining construction waste, 90% was recycled or salvaged.

Project innovation and transferability:

  • Delivering a project of this sort efficiently, beautifully, and sustainably can motivate clients – and help us to motivate our clients – to pursue sustainable design strategies that they otherwise might not. Additionally, an urban renaissance is underway in the United States. As we repopulate our cities, reoccupy historic buildings, and revitalize urban neighborhoods, designers need knowledge that will enable them to meet the demand for greening our historic building stock and investors and the public at large need stories that will educate them on how to do so.


720 SW Washington St #800 Portland, OR 97205
(503) 226-1575