News Analysis

Portland to Introduce Green Building Feebates

January 29, 2009

Officials in Portland, Oregon, have proposed a far-reaching green building program that would be the first of its kind in the country.

For new commercial buildings 20,000 ft2 (1,900 m2) or larger, the proposal sets up a “feebate” program in which developers constructing buildings that merely meet the Oregon state building code will be assessed a fee by the City of up to $3.46/ft2 ($37.24/m2). That fee will be waived for buildings achieving LEED Silver certification. Developers constructing buildings that achieve LEED Gold or Platinum, or the Living Building Challenge, will receive rebates of $1.73–$17.30/ft2 ($18.61–$186.15/m2) depending on the level of certification. The policy also requires buildings to achieve specific LEED credits, emphasizing energy efficiency and water-use reduction, for example.

Multifamily residential properties 5,000 ft2 (460 m2) or larger would be subject to the same requirements and eligible for rebates of $0.51–$5.15/ft2 ($5.49–$55.41/m2). Larger multifamily projects 50,000 ft2 (4,600 m2) or over that receive funding from the City must meet at least LEED Silver and must avoid wood products with added urea formaldehyde as well as vinyl flooring. All existing commercial and multifamily residential buildings will have to publicly disclose energy performance by 2013 but will not have to make improvements.