The business case for the Oregon Sustainability Center
By Colin Sears
Portland Development Commission
The Oregon Sustainability Center seeks to become the highest-performing commercial high-rise building in the world, meeting 100 percent of its energy and water needs from only the sunshine and water that fall on its own small footprint. But the OSC is as much about business as it is about high performance in sustainability.
The OSC represents a collaboration, begun more than a year ago, among city and state government, higher education, nonprofit organizations, and the business community, coming together in a public-private partnership. That partnership has set a lofty goal: to create true competitive economic advantage for businesses in the Portland region by building a world-class center of excellence in sustainability that will translate the region’s values and strengths in climate change, land use planning and green building into economic growth. The OSC has incredible potential — but the entire regional business community must be fully engaged for it to achieve its promise.
As an initial prototype of what may become the building of the future, the OSC also presents business development opportunities for those engaged early in its development.
The OSC offers several paths for individual businesses to get involved:
Lease space: Constructing a leading-edge building like the OSC costs more than a traditional office building; accordingly, its rents will be slightly higher than standard office buildings. But the small bump in cost will be balanced by the benefits a business can expect from its presence in the OSC — a boost to its profile among its peers; daily interactions with fellow innovative tenants and visitors who will frequent the building from around the globe.
Colin Sears is the clean tech industry manager for the Portland Development Commission.
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