Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building Modernization Portland Oregon

Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building

How did we modernize a 1970s office building into an award-winning high performance green building?

How did we modernize a 1970s office building into an award-winning high performance green building?

Portland, OR
United States General Services Administration
Year Completed
LEED Platinum
Market Type
Corporate Office, Green Building

Platinum, High-Performing Gem Sets a New Benchmark for Green Buildings

The Edith Green Wendell Wyatt (EGWW) federal building with its striking exterior and cutting-edge energy efficient technologies is a model of seamless compatibility between effective innovative project delivery, sustainable design, and beautiful aesthetics.

Owned by the General Services Administration (GSA), EGWW is home to more than 16 federal agencies and 1,200 federal employees. Built in 1974, the 525,000-square-foot, 18-story tower called for extensive renovations after falling short of federal energy usage requirements. Upgrades and replacements to every building system including mechanical, electrical, plumbing, data, fire, and life safety systems allowed EGWW’s renovations to go above and beyond requirements, reemerging as one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the nation.

EGWW’s success was made possible through adhering to a number of principles of the innovative delivery system, Integrated Project Delivery. As the team met all financial, schedule, and performance goals, the competency of the delivery system was proven. As an integral part of the collaborative system, the team co-located regularly with design professionals, subcontractor estimators and detailers, and the owner in large room settings to optimize collaborative delivery of the project. The continual collaboration of the three key entities – contractor, designer, and owner – was paramount throughout the duration of the project. As a result, this successful delivery process included $3 million dollars of savings that was recycled back into the project for scope enhancement and priority add-backs.
Construction on EGWW concluded in 2013 with a LEED Platinum certification and a state-of-the-art space suited perfectly to its occupants’ needs. EGWW is now a gem within GSA’s green building portfolio, establishing itself at the forefront of contemporary federal buildings.

Sustainable Technologies

EGWW is a masterful before and after piece of amazing proportions; the once precast-concrete exterior now turns heads in downtown Portland with its glass curtain wall and distinctive aluminum sunshade “reeds” which scale the west façade of the tower. As a testament to GSA’s commitment to sustainability, the reeds double as supports for a tapestry of climbing vines, complementing the surrounding landscape and ground plane. These sustainability features, among others, are as efficient as they are captivating to the eye – the renovated building generates over $300,000 in annual savings and consumes 60-65% less energy than a standard office building.

Energy Saving and Production

  • The new EGWW building features a reduced energy consumption by 55% through the implementation of a hydronic cooling and heating system delivering fresh outside air supply via radiant ceiling panels, allowing for improved thermal control, lower energy use, and increased rentable space by one half floor.

  • Lighting energy usage was decreased by 50% through optically-enhanced light systems which adjust automatically based on available sunlight.

  • Exterior sunshade “reeds” reduce solar heat gain by 50% while still affording occupants a clear view through the tower’s glass curtain walls.

  • Shading fins and vertical screens on south, west, and east sides of the building designed uniquely on each orientation and elevation to respond to sun conditions decreases heat gain during summer months.

  • A window-to-wall ratio of 43% optimizes daylighting and thermal efficiency.

  • Light reflectors on the south and east façades provide additional reflected sunlight into the daylight zone.

  • A 13,000 square foot, 180kW photovoltaic array atop the tower produces 200,000 kWh of energy annually, offsetting up to 6% of building energy consumption.

  • Six passenger elevators generate electricity as they descend, contributing energy to EGWW’s power grid.

Water Efficiency

  • The new renovations reduce potable water consumption by 60-65% through low-flow fixtures and fittings.

  • EGWW’s high levels of water reuse produces water savings of 55% for restrooms, irrigation, and mechanical cooling.

  • 16% of the tower’s water is being used for the building’s mechanical cooling tower, which will be reduced to 9% using a non-potable water reuse approach.

  • An existing firing range was transformed into a 170,000-gallon rainwater collection tank, recycling collected water and saving over 740,000 gallons of potable water annually.

  • A 25,000 square foot roof canopy directly below the solar roof lies a collects additional rainwater.

Local Impact

The EGWW renovation generated significant positive impact within the local economy, employing more than 1,500 residents at the peak of construction and awarding over $50 million to small, minority, and women-owned businesses in the area. The project’s craft diversity consisted of 20% apprenticeship participation, 7.6% female craft workers, and 17% ethnically diverse craft workers. The project’s sustainable building techniques and materials diverted 89% or 7,300 tons of its waste from landfills, the weight of the Eiffel Tower. The iconic renovation provided opportunities for community engagement through multiple open houses, drawing in the local community to support design and construction objectives. The project spurred two trade fairs, educating young adults on possibilities for a career in construction. Our team also mentored three schools with students interested in architecture, construction, and engineering, coaching them through eleven project-related activities.

Despite being situated in a city where sustainable building design is a recognized standard, EGWW remains a cut above the rest, setting the bar for effective construction, performance, and energy efficiency for years to come.