Green Building

Our Council is composed of 21 different crafts that have been working with energy efficient building practices for more than 100 years. These traditions and techniques have been passed down through five generations of apprentices and journeymen and continue to be the cornerstone of our trades. Through out diverse expertise, from renewable energy to conservation to efficient use of water runoff, we all work to achieve the same goal—safe and sustainable building practices.

LEED Qualifications

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, commonly known as LEED®, has become the standard for green building ratings in the United States. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in 1998, there have been more than 14,000 LEED® projects throughout the United States and in over 30 countries. Each of these projects must go through a rigorous, seven-category certification process.

Click here to find out about the latest LEED® building.

In order to make these 14,000 LEED® projects a success and meet the necessary standards for certification, it takes skilled craftsmen. The Oregon Building & Construction Trades Council and our 21 member trades have worked with energy efficient building practices for more than 100 years, long before LEED® ratings were created.

Whether your goal is to reach LEED® Gold certification or simply to achieve increased energy efficiency, our skilled men and women have the training and experience to accomplish your goals. Here are some examples of how OBTC member unions work towards sustainable jobs.

Sustainable Sites

There are many ways to take advantage of features already available at a building site location. From using the grade of the land to your best advantage to making use of storm water to minimizing light pollution, an experienced contractor knows how to get the most from a given location, viewing each site as a dynamic opportunity rather than simply a place to erect a building. Our skilled craftsmen and women have over 100 years experience in utilizing the natural amenities of sites.

Cement Masons Local 555

Rather than using traditional concrete or asphalt, building sites now have the option to use pervious concrete to allow rain water to soak into the soil, rather than be wasted by running into storm drains.

Laborers Local 121, Local 296 and Local 320

In order to maintain the integrity of a site while making it effective for building, members from the Laborers union make innovative use retaining walls.

Water Efficiency

Though it may seem abundant, water is a diminishing natural resource. Rain water, is a resource that can easily be harnessed and recycled to avoid having to use treated drinking water for such things as landscaping, flushing toilets and running the washing machine. Our skilled craftsmen and women have installed numerous systems to channel water in an effort to reduce overall water use.

United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters (UA) Local 290

There are several methods to utilize rainwater for everyday tasks. Members of UA Local 290 have installed several different rainwater reclamation systems that use the water to flush toilets and run washing machines where regular treated water is not necessary. This practice reduces the dependence on water treatment facilities, saving energy and city resources.

Cement Masons Local 555

Rather than using traditional concrete or asphalt, building sites now have the option to use pervious concrete to allow rain water to soak into the soil, rather than be wasted by running into storm drains.

Energy and Atmosphere

Energy efficiency is one of the most noticeable ways of making your building sustainable. Whether a given project involves new construction or retrofitting an existing building, our member unions work with customers to increase energy efficiency in several ways. On a small scale, using low energy light bulbs that reduce the draw of electricity. On a bigger scale, a building can make a large impact by installing renewable energy technology such as wind turbines or solar panels, reducing dependence on the conventional energy grid.

Ironworkers Local 29 and Local 516

All components of a wind turbine are dependent upon one another. The skilled craftsmen of the Ironworkers take great care in building these parts, from the vertical uprights and turbines to the vast network internal components, ensuring the highest level of craftsmanship on every job.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48, Local 112, Local 280, Local 659, Local 932

Electricians from our five local member unions play an intricate role in many different renewable energy systems, including solar and wind.

New innovations and rapid development of wind technology requires our various locals to continually educate their electricians to maintain their leadership and skill in the field. When constructing a wind turbine, our electricians bring this vast knowledge and specialized training to each and every project, putting their signature of quality on wind farms across the Northwest.

On the solar front, IBEW Local 48 has been involved in several key projects to help expand the use of that technology. Two recent solar projects for Local 48 include the installation of solar panels for the Portland Habilitation Center (PHC) as well as solar technology at their own union hall. Additionally, Local 48 has installed numerous electric vehicle charging stations to help alternative energy vehicles maintain their charge throughout the day.

Materials and Resources

Every project is shaped by the type and variety of materials employed and the method in which they are used. Making sure different materials work well together and complement one another takes skill and experience. Our 21 member unions have the tried and tested experience necessary to make sure each project uses the proper materials that will not only prove durable and long lasting, but also environmentally friendly.

Our tradesmen and women demonstrate this same commitment to sustainability when dealing with the excess material and waste that is inevitable at any construction site. Rather than using one large container for all scrap material to be disposed of, as is standard practice on many sites, our workers separate like materials into containers for easy recycling in a manner similar to that done in a residential home.

Ironworkers Local 29 and Local 519

Making steel beams and other components does not require new raw materials for manufacturing. Members of our two Ironworkers unions use recycled steel material to produce new beams and other necessary parts for construction projects.

Plasterers Local 82 and Glass Workers Local 740

While often the selection of materials is not under the control of Local 82, their skilled craftsmen and women have had ample experience working with energy efficient designs, demonstrating their professionalism and commitment to quality on every job. Regardless of the application, Plasterers have the expertise to ensure your energy efficiency goal is reached.

Cement Masons Local 555

Rather than installing flooring over a concrete foundation floor, many buildings are sealing and polishing cement floors to serve as the final floor on the ground level of buildings. This practice not only reduces the need to produce flooring material but also eliminates the use of adhesive products to secure the flooring as well as the need for treatment products for vinyl or carpet, all of which produce harmful vapors for installers.

Indoor Environmental Quality

Ensuring the environmental quality inside of A building is as important as ensuring the environmental quality outside. While this might seem simple, it is important to make sure that in the final stages of construction, materials used will not compromise the internal environment. Our trained professionals understand how to use the best products available for the job while ensuring the environmental quality for the future residents.

Regional Priority

One of the primary ideals of LEED® Certification is the use of materials and labor with local or regional sources. Our 21 member unions are steeped in the long tradition of outstanding construction and building in the state of Oregon and have a strong presence within their communities. When looking for regional trades to complete any construction project, the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council is the only answer you need. Our 21 trades lead the industry in the depth and variety of their experience. Local leaders with unparalleled experience: that is a winning partnership.