DOE commits expertise to Oregon Sustainability Center
By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
Artist rendering of the Oregon Sustainability Center
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced this week that the Oregon Sustainability Center was selected among 24 building projects nationwide that will receive between $200,000 and $1.2 million in technical assistance from the nation's top energy labs and consultants.
The award was issued to the Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center, also known as Oregon BEST. The funding is part of a $21 million commitment aimed at improving the efficiency performance of commercial buildings, first announced by Chu in an online chat.
Oregon BEST is leading the research agenda that's attached to the Oregon Sustainability Center, a controversial project to build a high-rise super-efficient building in downtown Portland. The OSC is angling for Living Building designation and would carry a price tag of as much as $75 million.
Cindy Regnier, a project manager with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will oversee the DOE's involvement with the project.
"We will have active engagement on the design project," Regnier said. "This program only picked projects that have very aggressive energy efficiency goals."
Regnier said the DOE's involvement will bring technology and strategy to the table, but also help analyze the project once it's built, producing technical and business case studies to share the knowledge gained in constructing and operating the building.
Regnier said it is too soon to say how much the value of the DOE's work will amount to. She will attend a first meeting with the OSC team next week.
The DOE's involvement, part of the agency's Commercial Building Initiative, is another step forward for the project which kicks off a 12-week process of schematic design next week. Following the first stage of planning, funded by $1 million from the City of Portland and the Oregon University System, the project will need to be approved before any additional public money is allocated.
Earlier this week, Skanska was named as the general contractor for the project.
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