Oregon is fast becoming the North American green tech hub. SolarWorld already operates the continent’s largest solar manufacturing plant just west of Portland, Nano solar cell maker Solexant recently announced plans for a manufacturing plant east of the city, and now Vestas, one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers, has chosen the heart of Portland for its own North American headquarters.
The 172,000-square-foot HQ project will entail a LEED-Platinum renovation of an historic warehouse downtown. Set for completion in 2012, plans by local LEED-certified designer Gerdling Edlen will include a 22,000-square-foot addition housing an eco roof terrace and gardens. It will also play host to the largest roof-mounted solar energy system in Portland’s central business district, reports Reuters.
The building will host a number of other eco-friendly attributes as well, including a rainwater catchment system for reuse inside the building, raised-access flooring with under-floor mechanical ventilation, insulated exterior walls, thermally insulated operable windows and a central, multi-story atrium to provide natural lighting, and thus reduce energy consumption.
“I am so pleased that Vestas is making a long-term commitment to grow their business here in Portland,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams in a press release. “Today’s announcement shows the success of working strategically to grow quality jobs by building on our competitive advantage as a leader in clean technology and sustainable industries. Moreover, our joint efforts mean that local architects, construction workers and engineers will get to work now converting a Portland landmark into one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the United States.”
Vestas already employs nearly 400 people in Portland, and its new headquarters will have the capacity for 600 employees, including the consolidation of existing operations in the city. The second floor — presently designed for parking — could be remade into office space if necessary, enough to house another 250 employees.
The $66 million necessary to build Vestas’ new headquarters comes through a public-private partnership, which, according to Mayor Adams, helped the city retain 400 living wage jobs, put 450 construction workers back to work, as well as create up to 200 new jobs over the next five years.
The LEED-Platinum building will be the sixteenth in the city of Portland, which already has minimum regulations stating that all buildings constructed with government money must achieve LEED certification.