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Rethinking LEED with the Collaborative Life Sciences Building

a photo of the CLSB atrium with a LEED Platinum logo

When California-based CO Architects paired with SERA on the OUS/OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building and OHSU Skourtes Tower, they sought the sustainable design expertise and project management behind a growing portfolio of built LEED projects.

Fast forward to last October and the U.S. Green Building Council certifies CLSB as LEED-NC 2009 Platinum. As one of only two new constructions in the U.S. over 500,000 square feet to achieve the honor to date, the building executes resource efficiency at a scale to be marveled.

But SERA’s approach to meeting energy-savings goals isn’t just in pursuit of status and recognition.

Jessica Gracie-Griffin, SERA’s LEED manager, explains that the real value of the LEED certification process is as a quality assurance strategy. Using the USGBC as a third-party verification and review system ultimately boosts the quality of the design and construction of our buildings.

“It’s about using our economic and environmental resources wisely to create a healthy, inviting, and well-designed place for people,” Gracie-Griffin said.

A myriad of features contributed to CLSB’s rise to green leadership. See a few ways our project team integrated sustainability into this crowning achievement of design:

a photo and diagram of CLSB's atrium

Ventilation air is preheated using a passive solar design in CLSB’s sunny atrium. Energy conservation measures like this, along with energy efficient lighting, minimal envelope infiltration and reduced hot water usage, save 33 percent on the cost of energy for the building.

a photo of a green roof covered in succulents

Rooftop rainwater not captured by the green roofs is channeled to a 60,000-gallon underground tank where it’s used to flush toilets and maintain the native or adaptive landscape. This system saves more than 61 percent in water use annually — that’s more than 1 million gallons.

a photo of CLSB's steel-framed atrium during construction

More than 85,000 tons of steel form the bones of CLSB. A material with a high recycled content, the steel brought the building’s use of recycled building materials to an impressive 30 percent, based on cost. Building materials sourced regionally — within 500 miles of the site — accounted for 22 percent of the materials cost.

a night shot of CLSB under construction

Precise management of construction waste saved 3,079 tons — or 85 percent of the total construction waste — from entering landfills.

a photo of a long row of bike racks outside CLSB

CLSB features more than 400 bike racks that give employees, students and visitors a healthier way to commute. Showers, changing rooms and bike maintenance facilities are also provided for bike commuters.

an aerial shot of steel pilings in the ground

Project officials saved more than $3 million by repurposing unused oil rig pipes as steel pilings. The pipes had previously been rejected due to minor imperfections, and rescuing them eliminated the need for virgin material extraction and manufacturing.

Though this didn’t qualify for LEED credits, it’s an example of going the extra mile for sustainability.

Learn more about the CLSB.

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