Sustainability at the Oregon Convention Center
The Oregon Convention Center has long held a leadership role in green building and other environmentally responsible business practices. In 2004, we were the first convention center to earn the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) for Existing Buildings certification. In 2008, the facility was recertified at the Silver level. In 2014, we reached our biggest milestone yet by earning LEED® Platinum, the highest level of certification.
We are also the only convention center in the United States to have earned a level 4 APEX/ASTM certification, the first standards created specifically for green meetings and events. This program, verified by the Events Industry Council, gives us a roadmap for planning sustainable events, helping vendors and guests practice green habits, and working with our community to support the environment.
To achieve these accomplishments, we have focused on innovation in the following areas:
- Enacting energy reduction projects. We are always looking out for the next opportunity to improve our energy performance. There’s no project too small to be worth our while, or too big to be undertaken. If it results in energy savings for our building, OCC wants to hear more about it! If you’d like to read more about it, you can here.
- Diverting materials away from the landfill. We have a long term goal of reaching at least an 70% waste diversion rate, which can only be achieved if we ensure that the material brought into the building can be recycled, donated, or taken back by the company that produced it. We’ve done this by creating an extensive waste recycling, composting, and food and reusable material donation programs, working in partnership with many local nonprofit and community assistance organizations. Our streamlined procedure for separating out material streams results in more efficient recycling. Find out more about our Waste Diversion Policy here.
- Prioritizing watershed stewardship. A mix of stormwater management and water conservation helps to protect Oregon’s rivers and streams. These are actions taken in the day-to-day choices that we make in our venue as well as in the decisions we make when maintaining and updating our building. Whether it is our famous rain garden filtering particulates out of the rainwater falling on 5.5 acres of our roof before it gets to the Willamette River, or the gentle nudge of a guest toward one of our 19 water bottle filling stations, we are committed to treating one of the globe’s most important resources with care. Read more about our work here.
- Maintaining excellent indoor air quality. Our environmentally-friendly cleaning policy complements the integrated pest management and the no-idling policy on the loading docks. We know that this is just as important for our guests as it is for our employees, so we keep our spaces conditioned to prioritize our IAQ.
- Expanding community engagement. We are always looking for more ways to donate time and resources to Oregonians in need. And to help our clients do the same. Partnerships are key to our success, and we will continue to work with our clients and community on developing the most beneficial and innovative programs. Find out more about what being part of the community means to us here.
- Committing to sustainable purchasing. We know that the largest portion of our carbon footprint comes from our supply chain. And as part of a regional government working to make life better for residents both today and in the future, we are opting for small and local when it comes to purchasing.
- Minimizing food waste and waste generation. We know that recycling and composting is only part of the story. Most of the environmental impacts of food and materials (pollution, habitat degradation, and climate impacts) come from their production and transportation, rather than their disposal. We are working on upstream efforts to reduce food waste and single-use disposable items at our venue.
- PATH Water Bottles. Our PATH water bottle program is driven by our commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. We recognized the urgent need to reduce plastic waste and chose PATH water bottles as a solution that aligns with our values. These bottles are distinct in that they eliminate the use of single-use plastic bottles, offering a refillable, BPA-free, and heavy-gauge aluminum alternative. We now proudly offer two uniquely designed custom PATH water bottles for purchase in our restaurants, cafes, and catering program. Guests attending events at our center can conveniently refill and reuse these bottles at any of our 19 strategically placed bottle refill stations throughout the venue. It's a small change with a significant impact, reflecting our dedication to a greener and more sustainable future.
- Bold Reuse. The Bold Reuse program at the OCC operates seamlessly to reduce waste and promote sustainability. When customers order food, they receive their items in reusable Bold Reuse containers. After enjoying their meals, customers simply return these containers to receptacles conveniently located near our restaurants. Once a week, the Bold Reuse team collects the returned containers from the drop site and ensures they are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. These containers are then returned to our facilities, ready to be used for the next round of delicious meals. This closed-loop system not only minimizes waste but also ensures a continuous supply of clean and reusable containers, contributing to our commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability.
- Encouraging sustainable transportation. How our attendees get to our venue matters, and here in the Pacific Northwest we are proud to provide easy ways to get to our facility smoothly and sustainably. Being right by Trimet’s MAX and bus line, as well as the streetcar provides easy ways to travel to the Convention Center. We also have ample bike parking and electric vehicle charging stations available for attendees and guests.
It is dedication like this that has resulted in the Oregon Convention Center gaining the reputation of being a leader in the sustainable events movement.
USGBC and its related logo, LEED® and its related logo, and the LEED® Certification trademarks are owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and are used with permission.
Metro sustainability goals
As a regional government committed to promoting sustainable communities, Metro is working to reduce its own ecological footprint. Learn about efforts to reduce the environmental impact of Metro's public venues, parks, buildings, and solid waste facilities.