Sustainability LEED

Straub Hall achieves LEED Gold certification

Straub Hall Renovation and Classroom Addition recently received LEED Gold certification. In collaboration with Opsis Architecture, Rowell Brokaw Architects performed an extensive renovation, replacing the infrastructure and transforming the interior into a cutting-edge facility. Straub Hall now features a daylit large lecture auditorium.

As part of the Oregon Model for Sustainable Development at the University of Oregon, all building projects after July 2011 must be 35% more efficient than required by state code and achieve LEED Gold certification. The efficiency of the retrofit to Straub Hall helps the UO achieve its overall goal of creating a net-zero campus.

LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in key areas of human environmental health, including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. 

Highlights of the LEED Gold achievement include the following:

• Access to public transportation
• Parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles
• Bicycle racks
• Stormwater control through stormwater planters
• 80% of total suspended solids (TSS) removed from stormwater
• Reduction of heat island effect through open-grid paving, light-colored paving, and a reflective white membrane roof ("cool roof")

Water Efficiency
• 67% reduction in total water usage achieved

Energy and Atmosphere
• Optimal energy performance at 35% energy use beyond state code
• Enhanced commissioning
• High-efficiency heating and cooling systems
• HVAC system that uses heat recovery
• Daylit lecture halls decrease need for electric lighting
• Occupancy sensors and automatic dimming in daylit spaces
• Optimal window/skylight sizes and locations achieved through daylight models

Materials and Resources
• 50% of interior non-structural elements reused
• 75% of construction waste was recycled
• 20% of total cost of materials was local/regional (located within 500 miles of site)

Indoor Environmental Quality
• Low and no VOC paints, adhesives, sealants, coatings and carpet
• Workstations and multi-occupant spaces with controls/operable windows
• POE survey verifying thermal comfort (based on ASHRAE 55-2004)

Innovation in Design
• Green products for cleaning and pest management
• Extensive mock-ups of window retrofit and exterior wall assemblies to quantify energy performance

Northwest Community Credit Union celebrates LEED Gold certification

Northwest Community Credit Union CEO John Iglesias pictured in front of the LEED plaque along with the Support Center's design/build team.
(photo credit: Northwest Community Credit Union)

Northwest Community Credit Union celebrates its new Support Center building’s recent LEED® Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USBC). This accomplishment was officially marked by a plaque unveiling and ceremony. 

Eugene city staff, including Mayor Piercy and City Manager Jon Ruiz were in attendance along with the project's partners—Andersen Construction, Rowell Brokaw; and owner's representative, Mark Miksis.

2015 Sustainable Cities Initiative Expert-in-Residence lunch + discussion at RBA

Shelley Poticha Photo Hi-Res_1.jpg
  2015 SCI Expert in Residence, Shelley Poticha

2015 SCI Expert in Residence, Shelley Poticha


In late March, Rowell Brokaw Architects hosted a small group of designers, planners, and developers who share a mutual interest in the work of the UO Sustainable Cities Initiative (SCI) and its relevance to topical developments in the Eugene-Springfield area for an intimate discussion with the 2015 SCI Expert-in-Residence, Shelley Poticha, director of the Urban Solutions Program for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Washington, DC. 

Shelley is a longtime partner of NRDC in multiple initiatives including transportation policy reform, LEED-ND, and the creation of Smart Growth America. Prior to joining NRDC, Shelley was a senior advisor and director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Before joining HUD, she served as President and CEO of Reconnecting America, where she became a national leader for the reform of land use and transportation planning and policy with the goal of creating more sustainable and equitable development, particularly around transit stations. .

Urban Solutions brings the place-based work of NRDC together into a coordinated strategy and includes promoting transportation choices through mobility options, scaling up building energy efficiency, model green and equitable neighborhoods, sustainable food systems, green infrastructure and climate preparedness. Urban Solutions is the culmination of NRDC’s thinking and work for sustainable communities since the organization adopted the area as an institutional priority.

SCI is a hub of research related to sustainable cities based at the University of Oregon, and annually hosts the SCI Expert-in-Residence programSCI's work addresses sustainability issues across multiple scales, from the region down to the building, and its cross-discipline engagement approach is a key strategy for solving community sustainability issues. 

These national experts are invited by SCI each year to share their expertise in sustainability ideas for three-day sessions on the Eugene and Portland campuses. During their visit they conduct design charrettes, provide specialized workshops for both private and public organizations in Oregon, and deliver large public lectures on topical sustainable city issues or ideas. 

Past SCI Expert-in-Residence (EIR) include:

Clear Lake Head Start Playground Groundbreaking!

 Members from the Clear Lake Head Start Playground design team celebrates groundbreaking.

Members from the Clear Lake Head Start Playground design team celebrates groundbreaking.

The Clear Lake Head Start Playground project broke ground earlier this month! This playground project is essential to accommodate the Clear Lake Head Start children who need play equipment that is appropriate for this younger age group. The playground components will include a sandbox, tricycle path and a covered play area as well as natural play items such as a used boat that will be sunken into the ground next to small, dry stream bed and planting areas for the children to grow vegetables and flowers. These additional items create a fun, imaginative outdoor play area.

A unique aspect of this project is a collaborative partnership between Bethel School District and Lane County Head Start which enables the Head Start program to occupy a classroom when it is not being used by the Bethel School District. The use of this classroom is a win, win for everyone as the Head Start program is able to provide rich and educational programming while keeping the costs minimal and have crossover conversations with the District staff to provide a rich and collaborative teaching and learning environment for both entities . 

Design Team:
Lane County Head Start - Owner
McKenzie Commercial - General Contractor
Rowell Brokaw Architects - Architect