Portland Calling

The city of Portland is premiering a new green building initiative — and it’s just one phone call away.

The green building hotline was designed to give businesses, developers and residents information about green materials, indoor air quality, energy efficiency and more, according to GreenBuildings.com.

The hotline also helps by offering information about financial incentives for residential and commercial buildings, new or pre-existing.

Why did Portland set up its green hotline? A month ago, a report about
green building’s economic pluses commissioned by several Portland
agencies was released. The report was made to kick-start conversation
in the Portland building industry about going green — no new concept
to the area, which has invested more than $1.5 million in sustainable
building since 2005.

What a simple, yet great idea. Part of green building’s biggest challenge is the fact the information is constantly evolving. LEED certification is expensive; standardized guidelines are under development in many cities, but having one informational center for a community should help to drive up green building tremendously.

Green building has gotten way more popular in recent years, but we’ve still got room to grow. Communities need to educate developers, investors and other industry players about the benefits of green building —  that it isn’t as expensive as you might think (a recent LEED study of 33 California buildings showed a green building can pay for itself in three years), and that benefits like improved indoor air quality have been proven to help kids be healthier, more productive and reduces absenteeism in green-designed schools, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

But you don’t have to tell that to Portland, who hopes to someday add a green library, mobile workshop and larger Web site to its green building info program. Makes you wonder: What’s my city doing to encourage green building?