Breathe Easy: The Intersection of BuildingLens and Portland’s Climate and Health Standards    

A family presenting as mixed race (Black and African American Father and an Asian Mother) lounge on the couch. Two children play on the carpet of a modern apartment. Everyone is smiling. The Father is holding a computer and one of the children is looking up at the couch they're on.

As the climate crisis gets worse, cities are pushing to lower their carbon footprints, improve living conditions, and enhance indoor air quality. For instance, Portland has proposed a policy to address climate and health standards for existing buildings. The policy intends to support tenants, especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).    

The City of Portland wants to reduce its carbon emissions to 50% below 1990 levels by 2030. Zero emissions by 2050 is the final goal to maintain. Older buildings often provide substandard living conditions This leads to health issues and high costs for heating and cooling. We are excited that the city’s policies recognize indoor air quality as a key aspect of health and well-being.    

Working with impacted community members, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability policy describes what they call “HEART standards” for rental apartments and for large, commercial and multi-family buildings. HEART stands for Healthy housing, Equitable energy, Anti-displacement, Resilience, and Temperature. All these standards will work to reduce carbon emissions and improve indoor air quality. For instance, the policy suggests requiring natural gas stove ventilation to improve indoor air quality. We couldn’t agree more. Natural gas is affordable for people living on low-income and needs to be an energy option for a just transition.

Another aspect of the policy will improve energy efficiency or increase the renewable energy supply to limit carbon emissions. The policy also makes clear that buildings need to be more resilient to wildfire smoke. This is an issue that directly affects indoor air quality.

Portland Housing Bureau is also taking action in this area. The PHB Green Building Policy update in April of 2022 requires balancing ventilation with control of indoor sources of pollution for affordable housing projects under their purview. They are currently reviewing their indoor air quality standards from 2017. The process will hinge somewhat on Portland Clean Energy Fund, who they are collaborating with.

BuildingLens is a software platform that optimizes energy-efficient buildings and the health and comfort of building occupants. It aligns very well with the vision of this policy. BuildingLens provides building owners and tenants with clean, safe, and energy-efficient indoor spaces. Its product, AirLens, is a solution for remote control of buildings to monitor air quality and address threats like wildfire smoke in real time. It integrates with existing web-based control systems. This offers a robust, low-cost, and easy-to-use solution to building owners and operators.    

By monitoring and mitigating threats to indoor air quality, BuildingLens can significantly contribute to the implementation of the city’s policy. When the air quality indoors deteriorates due to factors such as wildfire smoke or inadequate ventilation, AirLens can identify the issue, alert the building operators, and initiate appropriate mitigation strategies.

Also, as the policy hopes to limit carbon emissions by improving energy efficiency, BuildingLens’ EnergyLens solution offers a data-driven approach to enhance energy savings further. By analyzing data from multiple sources, EnergyLens provides building-specific energy savings recommendations.    

BuildingLens puts people first, builds trust by ensuring clean indoor air quality during external threat events, and offers progressively deeper, building-specific energy savings. It is effective tool to implement Portland’s new policy and offers hope for a future where indoor air quality is no longer compromised in our fight against climate change. BuildingLens is on track to contribute significantly to Portland’s journey towards a more safe, healthy, and efficient living experience for the people it serves.

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