The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) has announced the winners of Portland’s 2009 Office Energy Showdown. Now in its third year, the Showdown recognizes Portland-area office buildings that have made significant achievements in energy efficiency.
Participation saw a nearly 30 percent increase in the number of participants from the previous year and added nearly four million square-feet of office space to the friendly competition.
Winners were chosen from among 32 properties, representing over 11 million square-feet of office real estate. Challenged to assess their buildings’ energy performance, all participants demonstrated market leadership in quantifying their energy use and establishing baseline data that can be used to track future gains in operating efficiency.
The Grand Prize winner, which receives the “Power Broker” trophy for a property, team, or company achieving an outstanding accomplishment in all-around energy performance was the Melvin Mark Companies, a commercial real estate broker. Melvin Mark's portfolio includes the Sunset Center at Tanasbourne as well as the Columbia Square (pictured above) and Crown Plaza buildings downtown.
Three projects were also singled out for demonstrating the highest energy performance ratings. 1st Place went to the 200 Market Building, managed by the Russell Development Company. 2nd Place was the Gus Solomon Courthouse, managed by the General Services Administration (which probably uses little energy by virtue of being largely empty), and 3rd Place went to the Kruse Woods V project, managed by Shorenstein.
Then there were awards for 'Greatest Improvement', for the properties demonstrating the most significant gains in energy performance rating over the year. 1st place went to the ODS Tower in downtown Portland managed by Ashforth Pacific (now if they could only do something about the hideous sculpture in the front of the building) and designed by ZGF. 2nd Place was Montgomery Park, the Northwest Portland landmark managed by Bill Naito Company. 3rd Place was a tie between the Liberty Centre (Ashforth Pacific) and 1915 Amberglen, managed by KG Investments Management.
If they'd needed to break the tie, I'd have disqualified Liberty Centre for spelling "Centre" like Canadians. That said, Liberty Centre is also noteworthy in that it was originally to be a design by internationally renowned architect Cesar Pelli, before ultimately being designed by Portland's GBD Architects.
Design afficionados (or "designistas", as developer Dennis Wilde has called them) may snicker that many of these buildings are visually unattractive or, in some cases, located in some far-off suburban office park surrounded by surface parking lots. I mean, you never hear someone say, "Have you seen that Kruse Woods V office building in Lake Oswego? What a gorgeous work of architecture! What is that, Koolhaas? Piano, Meier?" But energy efficiency is one of the biggest movements of our time, and part of a regional effort to reduce the need for coal-fired power plants by cutting our power addiction. What some of these projects lack in looks or location, they admirably atone for by being as efficient as they can be.