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Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center

The exterior of the building is shown in this photo with the penthouse roof addition visible on top.

Photo credit: Interface


  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Building type(s): Commercial office, Restaurant, Retail
  • Renovation of a historic 1895 building
  • 70,000 ft2 (6,500 m2)
  • Project scope: 3-story building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed September 2001
  • Rating: U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1--Level: Gold (41 points)

The first LEED Gold historic building in the nation, this 1895 warehouse is situated in a revitalizing urban district of Portland, Oregon. The brick and timber structure originally designed as a warehouse and transfer station. The first floor now features a range of businesses—including an outdoor clothing store, a pizzeria, a coffee shop, a health services center, and a bank—surrounding a public atrium. The second and third floors provide a public atrium and mezzanine space, a conference center for business and community events, and office space for businesses and nonprofit organizations as well as the City of Portland's Office of Sustainable Development.

Environmental Aspects

In addition to the inherent benefit of providing a new use for an old industrial building and its city-block-size site, this project features a range of green building strategies.

An abundance of environmentally responsible materials and furnishings were used throughout the project, including wood products certified according to Forest Stewardship Council standards; recycled-content carpet, flooring, countertops, office furniture, and upholstery; and some materials salvaged from the building itself. Certain building elements, such as wood flooring and timbers, were left in place, some with only a minimal level of finishing.

The building's extensive daylighting, a zone-controlled mechanical system, and operable workspace windows equipped with switches to interrupt the mechanical system reduce the building's energy use while improving the indoor environmental quality. A green roof diverts stormwater, which protects the health of the local watershed and salmon habitat. Another unique feature of the building is the exclusive affiliation of its owner agency and tenant community with various aspects of promoting a conservation-based economy.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by Ecotrust, Corporation, nonprofit
  • Typically occupied by 120 people


Integrated team, Design charrette, Green framework, Simulation, Green specifications, Contracting, Transportation benefits, Indigenous vegetation, Stormwater management, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Glazing, HVAC, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, Durability, Benign materials, Salvaged materials, Recycled materials, Local materials, Certified wood, C&D waste management, Occupant recycling, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Ventilation effectiveness, Thermal comfort, Low-emitting materials, Indoor air quality monitoring

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