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Oregon BEST announces new consortium to fund research

May 12th, 2011

Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 11:13am PDT – Last Modified: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 1:45pm PDT Oregon BEST announces new consortium to fund research

By Christina Williams

Sustianable Business Oregon

The Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center announced Tuesday that a new consortium bringing together businesses and green building researchers has pooled resources and cash to fund two initial projects.

The Sustainable Built Environment Research Constortium, as the 11-member group is called, met last month and selected two research projects, both with potential application in the planned Oregon Sustainability Center building.

The projects are:

• The use of sustainable cement-based products in building components, led by researchers Jason Ideker and David Trejo at Oregon State University.

• Monitoring water use in occupied buildings to inform conservation technology selection, led by Evan Thomas of Portland State University.

The total investment in the two projects by the consortium is $50,000, coming from a pot of money contributed by all consortium members. To join the consortium companies pay $12,000 to $50,000, depending on the type of organization and the level of support each group pays. The money is then used to support research that is beneficial to the collective group.

Johanna Brickman, who was hired last year as program manager for Oregon BEST, said the consortium grew out of conversations she was having with green building industry players that were hungry for new technology.

“They didn’t have the capacity to fund research on their own,” Brickman said. “But coming together provides financial efficiency, and from Oregon BEST’s perspective, it allows us to prioritize where we focus our work.”

The consortium will also provide a testbed for new green building technology by pairing together researchers with companies that are actually building cutting-edge green projects.

The Oregon Sustainability Center, for example, will strive to adhere to the very green requirements put forth by the Living Building Challenge, which will prompt the developers and builders involved to source locally and find new, eco-friendly components.

The consortium’s initial two research projects can be applied in the OSC building, Brickman said, but they will also provide value if the center doesn’t receive the financial backing it needs to move forward.

The group is still open to new members. Current consortium members include:

• Oregon University System, which would be part-owner, with the City of Portland, of the Oregon Sustainability Center.

• Intel Corp., which has been exploring the use of its technology in green buildings.

• CertainTeed/Saint-Gobain

• Skanska

• The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

• The Portland Sustainability Institute, drivers of eco-district and climate prosperity research, along with the Oregon Sustainability Center.

• Portland Development Commission

• Earth Advantage Institute

The Living Future Institute for Cascadia Green Building Council and the International Living Building Institute

• Green Building Services Inc.

• ZGF Architects

Brickman said the group was inspired in part by a similar consortium in France that Intel was participating in.

“I met with them and I really could see the value they found in the collaborative” Brickman said.

To read the article, including photos, click here.

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