updated 10/28/2010 4:45:20 AM ET 2010-10-28T08:45:20

PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 27, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Since Earth Advantage Institute launched its Earth Advantage Commercial green building standard in December 2009, the pilot program for small commercial structures has exceeded expectations and is on its way to becoming an established part of Oregon's green building landscape.

The nonprofit certification organization's commercial team is close to fully subscribing its pilot project program ahead of schedule. The projects currently enrolled are also making solid headway towards certification. Notably, the Camelot Theatre, located in Talent, Ore., celebrated its ground breaking on August 11, 2010. This project is the second pilot site to break ground. The first pilot project, the Rivermark Credit Union, in Portland, Ore., recently opened and is completing the final steps of certification.

 In addition to the program's pilot projects, two cities, Eugene and Portland, have acknowledged the value of the small commercial green certification program and are taking steps to incorporate the program into their green building guidelines.

 The Portland Development Commission (PDC) recognized the need for an alternative to its LEED certification requirements, and the Earth Advantage certification program fulfilled this need. "EAI is thrilled that the PDC recognized the significance of a green building program for the small commercial market," said Brian Lynch, Commercial Program Manager, Earth Advantage Institute (EAI). "EAI looks forward to working closely with future projects via PDC's Green Building pathway." In parallel, Earth Advantage New Homes, EAI's residential green building program, has been recognized by the residential green building standard under the PDC's Green Building Policy for a number of years.

 The city of Eugene's green building incentive program, guide2green, has also begun taking steps to implement the Earth Advantage Commercial program. "EAI's Small Commercial Program addresses a key segment of the market," said Jenna Garmon, Green Building Analyst for the city of Eugene.  "We look forward to the full program rollout and including it in the city of Eugene's Green Building Incentive Program."

Developed specifically to provide an alternative and cost-effective path to small commercial certification, the recognition of EAI's commercial program by Oregon's two largest cities is a positive step for the future of the program. "EAI is very pleased with the progress of the small commercial pilot program," said Sean Penrith, Earth Advantage Institute's executive director. "We look forward to working closely with both the city of Portland and Eugene to ensure that the commercial program fulfills their expectations as well as EAI's."

About the PDC Green Building program

The PDC Green Building Program requires that projects receiving financial assistance or direct funding from the Commission must integrate green building practices into their design, construction, and operation. Project developers may elect to meet either U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or Earth Advantage (EA) rating system standards.

About guide2green

The guide2green program is a voluntary program operated by the City of Eugene's Planning and Development Department. The program provides a streamlined permitting path that is clear and easy-to-use, and leverages established certification programs to ensure accountability and consistency. It recognizes and distinguishes green building practitioners in the community, and facilitates a dialogue between project teams and permit review staff in the early stages of a project.  Guide2green also helps applicants take advantage of available incentives to reduce development and operational costs.

About Earth Advantage Commercial

While buildings under 50,000 square feet make up more than 95% of commercial buildings in the United States (according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2003), they tend to show lower acceptance of third-party certified green building rating systems, often due to steep administrative costs and financial challenges created by long payback periods for high performance building systems and design. Earth Advantage Commercial aims to fill this void by providing a flexible and cost-effective green certification for commercial buildings between 10,000 and 70,000 sq. ft. During the pilot phase of the program, project teams receive reduced certification fees and bonus incentives.

Tom Breunig

Director of Marketing

Earth Advantage Institute

(503) 968-7160


About Earth Advantage

Earth Advantage Institute is a nonprofit organization that works with the building industry to help implement sustainable building practices. Its mission is to create an immediate, practical and cost-effective path to sustainability and reduction of carbon in the built environment. The organization achieves its objectives through an innovative range of programs for industry professionals, including certification of high performance homes, remodels, sustainable communities and commercial spaces. These programs are supported by a top-rated education department, offering basic and advanced classes on building, marketing, and valuing green homes; and by a technical services team that provides a variety of onsite tests and energy audits. Earth Advantage Institute's Carbon Advantage program offers consulting on carbon reduction strategies within the built environment.  More information is available at its website.

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