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    Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)

    Knight Cancer Research Building

    Nike founder Phil Knight pledged $500 million to revolutionize cancer detection and treatment and build this new, 260,000-square-foot research building with wet labs, a vivarium, collaboration space, and spaces for conferencing, retail, and food service.

    On Monday, July 22, 2019, NASA Astronaut Steve Smith keynoted a sustainability celebration of the new Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Knight Cancer Building.

    Brightworks served as sustainability consultant for this ground-breaking LEED Platinum, Salmon-Safe, and Architecture 2030 building (among other distinctions) on the design team led by Tiffani Howard of OHSU and Laurie Canup of SRG Partnership Architects.

    We cannot think of a better special guest to celebrate a sustainability milestone with than astronaut Steve Smith, who has seen earth’s fragile beauty from space and can speak to that experience – and the overview effect it yields – like no one else can.  Not to mention bring many smiles to the many faces in attendance — children, adults, and families alike.

    Astronaut Steve Smith knows something about seeing the earth from space: when he ended his NASA spaceflight career, he ranked #3 among all astronauts ever for time spent on spacewalk.  Which means that only two other human beings had spent more time floating in space.  He is one of America’s most experienced astronauts, a veteran of four space flights covering 16 million miles and seven space walks, including five to fix the Hubble Space Telescope.  At the completion of his flight career, he served as the Deputy Chief Astronaut of the 135-member Astronaut Corps and as NASA’s chief diplomat in Europe leading negotiations with the European and Russian space agencies.

    Kimberly Lewis, senior vice president of the US Green Building Council, also joined the event from Washington, DC, to present OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Director Brian Druker with the building’s LEED Platinum plaque.

    The Knight Cancer Research Building ranks within the top 0.1% of laboratory buildings for energy performance, according to the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories.  This means that the building uses energy more efficiently (per unit of area) than 99.9% of lab buildings, which are among the most energy-hungry buildings in existence.

    In making such dramatic reductions in energy consumption, the building also fulfills the requirements of the Architecture 2030 program.  Architecture 2030 challenges buildings to use 70% less energy than benchmark laboratory buildings as part of an energy and carbon drawdown to achieve carbon neutrality in buildings by 2030.

    In selecting materials for the Knight Cancer Research Building, the design team responded to new research that has major implications for the design of the places where we spend our time. According to the National Human Activity Pattern Survey, Americans spend 87% of their time indoors.  This means that any material used in the interior of a building has the potential to expose human beings to toxins and even carcinogens.  As a cancer research institute, the Knight Cancer Institute targeted the worst carcinogenic compounds for exclusion from the building.  These included polychlorinated biphenyls, chromium compounds, formaldehydes, benzene, lead, styrene, and many others.

    In achieving Salmon-Safe certification, the Knight Cancer Building site, which sits on the Willamette River, was designed and today operates in a way that helps protect migrating salmon.

    Finally, the Knight building achieved LEED Platinum certification, ranking in the highest tier possible under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, known as LEED.

    To view a recording of the event, please visit (best in Google Chrome):

    To read more on this ground-breaking sustainable building, please see:

    Oregon Health & Science University Newsroom
    “Knight Cancer Research Building opens new era in cancer research”

    SRG Partnership
    “Knight Cancer Research Building”

    At a Glance

    • Portland, OR
    • LEED Platinum