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Brown Bag Forum on Portland Eco-Districts
Friday, January 22, 2010 - 1:00pm to Friday, January 22, 2010 - 3:00pm

WHAT: Brown Bag Forum on Portland, Oregon Eco-Dictricts. Presenters include:
Vihn Mason, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Vivek Shandas, Professor - Portland State University (Measures and Metrics)
Ethan Seltzer, Professor - Portland State University (Governance of Eco-Districts)

WHEN: Friday, Jan 22, 1 p.m.
WHERE: 204 Urban Center

From Builder 2009 by Jenny Sullivan
"There are few buildings and homes being built in Portland, Ore., today that aren't green in some way. But for the city's planners, the goal isn't merely reaching a certain number of sustainably built structures--it's about creating a green city, as shown by the recent designation of a handful of urban areas as "eco-districts."

In the eco-district concept, buildings, streetscapes, landscaping, and infrastructure work together to cut greenhouse gases, reduce waste, and improve energy and water efficiency--much like HVAC, framing, insulation, windows, and appliances combine to achieve energy efficiency at the house level.

"Fundamentally, it's the next generation of green building strategy," explained Rob Bennett, executive director of the Portland + Oregon Sustainability Institute, a nonprofit entity created this year to engage government officials, academics, developers, and builders in the formation of a series of eco-district pilots. "We are taking what we've learned from green building and applying it at a neighborhood scale."

The approach connects with Portland's Climate Action Plan, which seeks to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Within that framework, the eco-district initiative will test concepts of passive building design, equipment efficiency, citizen behavior (car and bike sharing, recycling, and habitat conservation), district-scale renewable energy production, and water conservation and reuse.

One such strategy will involve centralized heating and cooling systems that promote "energy balancing" across multiple buildings, explains architect and urban planner Eric Ridenour. Ridenor's firm SERA Architects is under contract to develop a pilot plan for Portland State University and its surrounding neighborhoods."