Steele promotes greener building

Steele Associates was behind the high school in Sisters which received recognition as a high-performance school.

Steele Associates was behind the high school in Sisters which received recognition as a high-performance school. (Photo courtesy of Steele Associates)

Green building wasn’t nearly as trendy as it is now when Bend, Ore.-based architectural design firm Steele Associates Architects opened shop in 1996.

The U.S. Green building Council and its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards had been around only a few years, but Steele Associates owner, Scott Steele, jumped on the opportunity to bring many sustainable building ‘firsts’ to the Central Oregon area, including Bend’s first LEED Gold Building.

However, being first to practice sustainable building will only go so far if you don’t also pave the way for other businesses to follow.

“(Steele) also supports staff in their own efforts for sustainable living,” said Steele Associates Manager Chanda Villano in her nomination form.

Many of the firm’s 17 staff members use alternative means of transportation and the company makes use of digitally controlled printing to reduce waste.

In addition, the firm’ headquarters is LEED Gold certified and all the electricity for the building is supplied through Pacific Power’s Blue Sky renewable energy program. It’s also open for public tours and host for meetings about “all things green,” said Villano.

In his free time, Steele, a certified Climate Change Presenter and LEED Accredited Professional, gives free lectures on sustainability and climate change at local schools and community events.

The firm also co-founded the first LEED training workshop, paying for the fees and materials so employees, clients, contractors and local civic leaders could learn about sustainable building practices, and sponsors the Central Oregon Green Building Council Summit along with other Oregon green businesses.

For Steele Associates green building isn’t just a business plan — it’s a way of life.


@GretchHolzgang | gholzgang@bizjournals.com | 503-219-3439

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