PAE Living Building

Vision

The PAE Living Building embodies our vision to help solve the planet’s energy and water challenges. As the world’s first developer-driven Living Building, the five-story, mixed-use building demonstrates replicable and cost-effective solutions for sustainable design and removes barriers to entry for highly sustainable projects all while enhancing the neighborhood and acting as a regenerative ecosystem.

We want to share our building with the community and all of its unique features, inside and out. Our goal is to have Living Buildings around the world and we hope to inspire many more engineers, architects, designers, and the next generation of builders. For more information click here and visit Luma Lighting Design, to learn about the lighting and lighting control and how it plays a key role in occupant health, comfort, and the overall energy efficiency of the building.

"The PAE Living Building: Developer-Led, Nature-Inspired" book is a valuable resource for building professionals, students, or anyone interested in regenerative built environments that can be economically and ecologically sustainable. Coming soon: Buy your copy here.

  • MATERIALS

    2,737 items vetted to be redlist-free

  • Materials diverted from the landfill

    1,198 tons

  • Energy Produced by PV Array

    368,000 kWh hours a year

  • Embodied Carbon

    2,000 tons

  • Water Use Per Year

    180,000 gallons

  • Productivity Increase

    2-5%

Stories

The World's First Developer-Led Living Building | Oregon

Developer-Led

Our Living Building is the first to use a Developer-led model. In this project, investors, some of which are tenants, joined with the expectation of a return on their investment. Throughout the project financials were constantly balanced between cost and returns on investment, along with finding a path to a Living Building. This created a uniquely replicable project that mitigates the question of affordability for future investors, paving the way for even more Living Buildings in the future.

Built to last 500 Years | Portland Oregon's Living Building

500 Years

This building is meant to last 500 years: longer than the city of Portland has been around! We hope to surpass a normal office building’s lifespan of 50-100 years, for a number of reasons: durable materials like local timber, an open floorplan that allows flexibility for future occupants or types of use, and a strong seismic core meant to survive a large earthquake. The seismic resilience of the building is rated to Class IV, which is the same as essential buildings like fire stations and hospitals. Let’s not forget, we also hope people will love our building as part of the fabric of our culture and help preserve it for years – centuries – to come.

Reaching Equity with the PAE Living Building

Equity

In adding enough solar panels, designers ran into an issue: there was not enough space on the roof in the Historical District block to install panels to reach 100% of the energy needs of the building. Through the local community and an idea from the contractor, Walsh Construction Co., a clever solution presented itself: PAE donated 60% of the PV panels to a local affordable housing development. Through this plan, the PAE Living Building retains the Renewable Energy Credits, while the housing development gets a boost of on-site energy at no cost.

Achieving the 7 Petals of ILFI certification | The PAE Living Building

Learn how we are aiming to achieve Living Building certification

The Living Building Challenge is a visionary path for a regenerative future. Using a flower as a symbol for the ideal built environment, the certification is organized into seven performance Petals for the team to achieve in design, construction, and post-occupancy.

The Seven Petals

The Living Building Challenge is organized into seven areas.

Achieving the Place Petal for the ILFI Living Building Certification | Place

Place

Restoring a healthy interrelationship with nature.

Solutions

  • Revitalize the neighborhood by bringing hundreds of workers to the area.
  • Increase land value of the area and uniqueness of the building to draw interest of select parties.
  • 23 bus routes and six bus lines within 1⁄2 mile of building.
  • 99 of 100 Walk Score

500 Years

Place Petal | Building features | 500 Years

Transportation and Historic District

Place Petal | Building features | Transportation and Historic District
Achieving the Place Petal for the ILFI Living Building Certification | Water

Water

Creating developments that operate within the water balance of a given place and climate.

Solutions

  • 100% of the building’s water demand is collected and treated onsite.
  • All water used in the building is supplied by captured rainwater or reused greywater for non-potable needs.
  • The building only uses municipal water for the fire protection systems and sewer pipes where the rainwater tank greywater overflows to the existing infrastructure.

Rainwater capture

Water Petal | Rainwater capture

Greywater storage

Water Petal | Greywater

Composting

Water Petal | Composting

Cistern

Water Petal | Cistern
Achieving the Place Petal for the ILFI Living Building Certification | Energy

Energy

Relying on current solar energy.

Solutions

  • Onsite and dedicated offsite solar, and onsite battery storage enables net positive energy production and connection to the city grid.
  • All energy consumed by the building is produced by onsite and offsite photovoltaics.
  • Battery storage allows the building to run off of battery, and also net meter in the downtown Portland network, a first in the nation.

PV solar panels

Energy Petal | PV solar panels

Technology

Energy Petal | Technology

Radiant floors

Energy Petal | Radiant Floors

Battery

Energy Petal | Battery
Achieving the Health and Happiness Petal for the ILFI Living Building Certification

Health and Happiness

Creating environments that optimize physical and psychological health and well-being.

Solutions

  • A high-performance envelope, operable windows, and heating and cooling through radiant floors reducing cooling and heating needs to less than half of what typical building needs of this size would need.
  • 70% of the building perimeter spaces are ventilated or cooled with operable windows
  • At least 50% of the workspaces are daylit throughout the year.
  • 68% of the light fixtures have a 90+ CRI rating
  • 100% LED lighting with nighttime sweeps
  • In order to be certified, a Living Building must meet the ILFI Red List Standard, which restricts things like asbestos, lead, mercury, and many other common additives from being used in the building. Every material used was vetted and approved, with thousands of hours invested researching ingredients—our list had nearly 3,000 products used! This results in a much healthier building for each of us.
  • By increasing the amount of sunlight a space gets, we can decrease energy usage from electric lights as well as boost occupant happiness and productivity.
  • There are 14 classic patterns of Biophilic Design, like dynamic light, complexity and order, airflow, a visual connection with nature, and even the idea of mystery and risk. The building integrates biophilia into every aspect of design, most especially in the Deckony, which offers fresh air, views, and a direct connection to nature.
  • The windows are double-paned fiberglass windows with a very low u-value. We studied triple-paned windows and expected to use them, but in looking at the embodied carbon, and the operating carbon they would save, realized that we’d never make up the difference because the rest of our systems were so efficient. So we saved the money and the embodied carbon, and designed around the simpler double-paned windows.

Daylighting

Health and Happiness Petal | Daylighting

Deckony

Health and Happiness Petal | Deckony

Operable windows

Health and Happiness Petal | Operable Windows

Staircase colors

Health and Happiness Petal | Stairs

Bike room

Beauty Petal | ILFI Certification | Bike
Achieving the Materials Petal for the ILFI Living Building Certification | PAE Living Buildling

Materials

Endorsing products that are safe for all species through time.

Solutions

  • Sustainable and healthy building materials include Pacific Northwest cross-laminated timber from British Columbia certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
  • Building materials are from the closest location possible with over 50% sourced locally and regionally.
  • Cost-neutral seismic upgrades allow the structure to be designed to Category IV (the same as hospitals and fire stations).
  • 100% of the building avoids red list materials where a commercial alternative is available.

Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT)

Materials | CLT

Seismic resiliency

Materials | Seismic design

Third floor reception

Materials | Reception

Red List

Materials | Red-list compliance
Achieving the Equity Petal for the ILFI Living Building Certification | PAE Living Building

Equity

Supporting a just and equitable world.

Solutions

  • Together the onsite and offsite solar arrays provide enough electric energy for its own footprint as well as enough power for Renaissance Commons, an affordable housing community, a local non-profit.
  • Investment in community by single investors: First developer-led commercial Living Building proves the business case and creates pathway for others.
  • Murals by a local artist on three floors with a carving by a BIPOC artist in the lobby
  • Fifth floor communal space, or “deckony,” to serve as space for tenants as well as the community.

Solar panel partnership

Equity Petal | Reach
Achieving the Beauty Petal for the ILFI Living Building Certification

Beauty

Celebrating design that uplifts the human spirit.

Solutions

  • The exterior of the building design is guided by the Golden Ratio and inspired by Italian architecture roots while fitting into the local, historical surroundings.
  • The structure is made from beautiful mass timber and cross-laminated timber (CLT).
  • Urban farming on the fifth floor "deckony" with two large agriculture beds available for food production.

Architectural beauty

Beauty Petal | ILFI Certification | Living Building | Architectural Beauty

500 Years

Place Petal | Building features | 500 Years

Transportation and Historic District

Place Petal | Building features | Transportation and Historic District

Rainwater capture

Water Petal | Rainwater capture

Greywater storage

Water Petal | Greywater

Composting

Water Petal | Composting

Cistern

Water Petal | Cistern

PV solar panels

Energy Petal | PV solar panels

Technology

Energy Petal | Technology

Radiant floors

Energy Petal | Radiant Floors

Battery

Energy Petal | Battery

Daylighting

Health and Happiness Petal | Daylighting

Deckony

Health and Happiness Petal | Deckony

Operable windows

Health and Happiness Petal | Operable Windows

Staircase colors

Health and Happiness Petal | Stairs

Bike room

Beauty Petal | ILFI Certification | Bike

Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT)

Materials | CLT

Seismic resiliency

Materials | Seismic design

Third floor reception

Materials | Reception

Red List

Materials | Red-list compliance

Solar panel partnership

Equity Petal | Reach

Architectural beauty

Beauty Petal | ILFI Certification | Living Building | Architectural Beauty