Kenton Living Building

The Kenton Living Building was a pioneering green investment for Portland originally commissioned the day the Living Building Challenge was announced at GreenBuild in 2006. This 5,300 sf mixed-use project includes four housing units and a childcare center, and recently received a GIF grant from the City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development for its extraordinary measures to achieve net-zero energy, water, storm water, and waste water usage. The tremendous innovation of the Kenton Living Building is embodied in its attempt at the complete fulfillment of The Living Building Challenge. In doing so, the Kenton Living Building will accelerate the advancement of Portland’s green building movement towards full sustainability.

Net-zero energy will be achieved by concentrating on efficient use, storage and reuse of energy. The remaining energy will be produced by a 20kw solar photovoltaic array. The goal is for the building envelope to outperform Oregon Energy Code by 70-80%.

Net-zero water design measures include careful collection and reuse of rain and gray water. This project served as the initial catalyst for the Achieving Water Independence in Buildings Study after realizing it needed to submit more than 10 code appeals to meet the Net Zero water imperative. Black waste water will be eliminated via evaporating composting toilets, with the resulting night soil benefiting an FCS forest partnered with the project. These water innovations integrate multiple strategies that have been used in isolation in Portland, but never before in aggregate, to achieve net-zero water.

Because of its small site and modest project scale, the Kenton Living Building was intended to be completed quickly and to help stimulate other significant green developments, both in the local area and regionally.



  • Living Building Challenge On the Boards: Demonstrated Leadership