Oregon Company Helping the Construction Industry to Go Green

Staff | September 28, 2010

Portland, OR -- The "green" movement is causing companies – particularly those in the construction and real estate industries – to look at new and creative processes to manage their carbon footprints. Birtcher Development & Investments has responded with the formation of a new company, EcoLogistics, which tackles sustainability and green building in a new way.

EcoLogistics through its proprietary sustainable practice called "The EcoMethod," will help public and private agencies and their construction contractors reduce carbon emissions during the construction process and take advantage of "real cost" information, while considering various cost savings and opportunities to pursue their community goals.

Some cities and state agencies are already mandating that developers utilize data to determine the carbon portion of the environmental impact before, during and after construction of publicly-financed structures, explained Jim Edwards, one of the founders of EcoLogistics and vice president of Birtcher Development.

"We’re getting a tremendous amount of interest from city, county and state leaders in Oregon who understand that it’s not ‘if’ there will be mandates by public and private entities regarding carbon emissions during the construction process, but ‘when’," he added.

Edwards described his business as a brand new focus on green building techniques that is timely, affordable and scales all the way to a global level in a short period of time.

"So far the focus has been on pushing the LEED certification process, which is more focused on the efficiency and carbon emissions of the eventual operating building," he explained. "No one is specifically quantifying impacts from the construction process itself. This business model could easily be a cornerstone of the green, knowledge-based economy."

Capitalizing on Birtcher’s development history, EcoLogistics has introduced a qualitative method that can transform any building or construction process into a "cleaner, leaner and greener" operation.

"Through reviewing best practices and revamping the efficiency of the building process, our clients can now measure and significantly reduce their carbon footprint and save money while securing a healthier environment in the long term," said Chris Humphries, another EcoLogistics founder.

"Utilizing the proprietary software tools of the EcoMethod process, EcoLogistics customers will be able to identify the real cost, which includes both the price charged by contractors or suppliers plus the cost of carbon emissions, infrastructure degradation, economic lost opportunities and other previously unexamined criteria," Humphries explained. "What we’re talking about here is the next step beyond LEED buildings; this method will take any building or construction process from business as usual to a "deep green" construction process.

One of the inspirations for EcoLogistics was a post-construction "carbon footprint" analysis of two recent Birtcher Development construction projects. Edwards and Humphries discovered that even though they had looked at a life-cycle analysis, built highly efficient buildings and met the criteria for LEED Gold certification on one of their projects, the construction process failed to consider its impact on many public facilities and environmental resources.

"That’s because all of the impacts weren’t required to be closely examined by the LEED process or the permitting jurisdictions before construction started," Edwards said. "Our culture of innovation, along with the State of Oregon’s ambitious goals to reverse the damage done by global warming, has spurred us on to create a solution, and take sustainability issues in the construction process to the next level."

Birtcher Development is based in Irvine, CA, and has had an office in Portland for more than 25 years. Birtcher is a developer of industrial, office, research and specialized retail construction. For examples of Birtcher projects and scope, visit the company’s website at www.birtcherdevelopment.com.