Current work |
Additional work |
Prior Research | Additional
DEQ’s Green Building Program focuses on reducing the environmental
impacts of building material consumption over the lifecycle of
residential homes. This page summarizes DEQ’s current and recent
work in this field.
- Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) resources:
Space-Efficient Housing Workgroup – DEQ coordinates this diverse
workgroup of stakeholders aimed at increasing the supply and demand for
space-efficient single-family housing forms including accessory dwelling
units, cottage clusters and density-driven remodels.
- Researching the life cycle energy and material-related impacts of
accessory dwelling units (less than 800 square feet). This project is an
extension of DEQ’s building-related life cycle analysis listed below.
- Presentations on DEQ’s space-efficient housing efforts and its LCA-based
DEQ research shows that reducing house size is the most effective
way to reduce both material and energy-related impacts of
residential homes. The work below represents DEQ’s efforts toward
having the residential construction field recognize home size
reduction as an effective green building strategy.
- Build Small | Live Large: Portland, October 26, 2012
This one-day housing summit challenged architects, developers, builders, remodelers, urban designers, policy makers and real estate professionals to craft strategies for a growing demand in smaller housing. This conference demonstrated the leading edge of the housing movement– where design, cost, and care for the environment intersect with the needs of today’s families. All sessions were video recorded, so visit the linked site above to view the presentations.
Oregon REACH code
This statewide optional building code aims to keep the state’s
design and construction industry at the forefront of
high-performance building by providing both a preview of measures
likely to be considered in the next mandatory building code and also
a testing ground for innovative design and new technology. DEQ
worked with stakeholders to incorporate size-based tiers into the
residential REACH code. These tiers require larger homes to be more
energy efficient while encouraging construction of smaller homes.
Washington State’s mandatory residential energy code uses a similar
Earth Advantage Institute
As Oregon’s leading green building certification program, Earth
Advantage Institute, a non-profit organization, partnered with DEQ
on research and used the results to help inform revision of its
rating system for new homes. Most notable was the dramatic increase
in the number of points allotted to smaller homes. Previously, home
size reduction was not given credit commensurate with its
- Energy Trust of
This non-profit organization provides incentives for
energy-efficient new construction practices as well as retrofits on
existing homes. It recently recognized the energy saving benefits of
detached accessory dwelling units by allowing full-scale “new home”
incentives to be applied to units.
This California based nonprofit administers a labeling and
certification program for new and existing homes. Its program
already accounts for home size as a function of operational energy
consumption. The group is now using DEQ research to inform the
material-related impacts of different size homes based on embodied
energy and greenhouse gas emissions from material production.
As part of implementing its Waste Prevention Strategy, DEQ completed
a study evaluating environmental benefits of several residential
building and design practices that are intended to prevent solid waste
by either using less material or reusing materials over a home’s
lifespan. Besides solid waste prevention, DEQ evaluated other
environmental benefits of each practice, such as greenhouse gas
reductions through material savings and operational energy conservation,
toxic emission reductions, and a range of other human health and
ecosystem quality-related benefits.
The research identified which practices have the biggest
environmental benefit over the life of a residential home. The results
inform and support decisions by DEQ and others to form programs,
policies and actions to prevent waste generation from the residential
building sector in a way that maximizes overall environmental benefits.
A Life Cycle Approach to Prioritizing Methods of Preventing Waste
from the Residential Construction Sector in the State of Oregon
Final Report (Phase 2)
Phase 1 Report
DEQ‘s Green Building Program is focused on researching and increasing
the adoption of waste prevention practices in residential
construction. Since the program is not a comprehensive green building
program, DEQ offers the following links for those seeking more
information on green building:
Jordan Palmeri, Science and Policy Analyst
Green Building Program