Located at SW First and Pine in the heart of the city’s historic Skidmore/Old Town District, the mixed-use PAE Living Building is the first fully certified Living Building in Portland and the largest commercial Living Building in the world. The PAE Living Building tells the story of Portland: aspirational, progressive, and yet deeply rooted in Pacific Northwest history.

Designed to last for 500 years, the approach marries the look and feel of a historic neighborhood with the highest possible energy performance and sustainability standards. Inside, healthy materials meet ILFI’s Red List requirements, ample daylight, views, operable windows, and other biophilic strategies support to occupant health, comfort, and productivity. The building is set to help achieve Portland’s 2050 renewable energy target of 100 percent renewable energy 30 years ahead of schedule. Notably, all of the building’s water and energy needs will be produced via rainwater capture, and onsite and offsite solar arrays.

The project was privately developed and funded as a speculative office building through the same real estate development model as most other commercial office buildings. This made the PAE Living Building the world’s first developer-led Living Building and now serves as a replicable model for future market-rate urban Living Buildings. The project’s success demonstrates that Living Buildings are not only technically possible on a dense urban site, but also financially viable.

Categories: Recent, Commercial

Sustainability Notes

Target Certifications:

  • Full Living Building Challenge Certified
  •  Net Positive Energy
  • Net Positive Water

Design Features:

  • Projected energy EUI (Energy Use Index) of 18.6 kBtu/SF/YR vs. typical Portland office building built to code of 40.8 kBtu/SF/YR
  • 71,000-gallon cistern
  • 133 kW of PV array onsite with 250 kWh battery; 195 kW off-site PV array
  • 100% of building’s water needs are collected and treated onsite
  • 70% of building perimeter spaces can be ventilated with operable windows
  • 80% energy savings over a typical existing office building before solar harvesting
  • 54% energy savings over building code before solar harvesting
  • 73% water savings over building code before rainwater harvesting
  • 105% of the energy use provided by onsite and offsite renewable energy
  • Designed to achieve the Red List imperative under the Living Building Certification
  • Built to Category IV structural seismic standards, same as hospitals and fire stations
  • Carbon Negative Lifecycle
  • 45% fewer embodied greenhouse gas emissions predicted than a typical commercial office building of the same size
  • Building’s embodied carbon is offset through carbon offset purchases
  • Overall, net energy production results in an overall carbon negative operation