Moda Center Achieves LEED Gold Recertification

The first existing LEED Gold-certified sports venue in the world (LEED-EB: O&M v2009), the home of the Portland Trail Blazers, Portland Winterhawks and Portland Thunder reflects an ongoing commitment to sustainability and the environment
by Kris Koivisto

Rip City Management scored a significant win with the recertification of their iconic home court, Portland’s renowned Moda Center, as LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EB: O&M) Gold. The award was bestowed last week by the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), creators of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system.

In 2010, the Moda Center became the first existing sports venue in the world to achieve LEED Gold certification (LEED-EB: O&M v2009). A multipurpose arena used for indoor sports, concerts and other events, the 765,000-square-foot Moda Center opened in 1995. It hosts 1.3 million visitors annually and employs nearly 2,000 full and part-time employees.

“This is a great achievement for the entire organization,” stated Rick Fedrizzi, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC. “In 2010, the Moda Center became one of the first national sports venues in the world to achieve LEED certification, sending a powerful message throughout the professional sports world. Maintaining that certification and recertifying five years later was no easy task. It indicates unflagging commitment and heightened focus on sustainability and environmental issues, a watchdog attitude in maintaining optimal building performance, and positively affecting not only the hundreds of thousands of people who use the building each year, but the community at large as well. They are true Trail Blazers by leading the sports and entertainment industry through their early involvement with sustainability.”

In 2007, Green Building Services (GBS), a Portland-based sustainability consulting firm, was engaged to provide strategic visioning and a Level II Carbon Impacts Assessment in an effort to reduce the organization’s overall carbon footprint. The facilities and management team continued to work closely with GBS, addressing water efficiency, waste management, and energy efficiency strategies over a period of eight years. In addition to guiding the project through initial LEED certification and recertification, GBS provided training, facilitation, energy auditing, and incentive coordination.

“I would like to thank our staff and partners for championing our sustainability efforts,” said Chris McGowan, President & CEO of the Trail Blazers and Rose Quarter. “Our commitment to be a sound environmental steward of the Moda Center and Rose Quarter is an ongoing part of our business strategy. We also thank the U. S. Green Building Council for this recognition.”

Sustainability efforts focused on reducing energy loads during peak and off-season times throughout the year. Whole building metering was incorporated, lighting was upgraded by converting to LED’s throughout, and a retro-commissioning plan was implemented. Management purchased 100% renewable energy offsets and voluntarily reports carbon reductions. The facility now tracks at an ENERGY STAR score of 80, indicating a high-performing, energy efficient building. An estimated 741,000 gallons of water is saved annually with efficient plumbing fixtures, and over 88% of the waste stream is diverted from landfill. In addition, through active fan engagement and education programs, over 43% of fans and visitors use alternative transportation to attend Moda Center events, and participate in recycling.

With ongoing assistance from GBS, the Moda Center and Portland Trail Blazers continue to up their sustainability game through new initiatives, internal policies, and creating meaningful fan and vendor engagement. Management has renewed their commitment to accountability for environmental stewardship, and helping Portland become the greenest city in the nation.

For more information, visit:

Portland Trail Blazers Website

Rose Quarter Website

USGBC Website

Green Building Services Website