Typically known for waving the green flag of environmentalism, Portland, Ore., recently added a new hue to its conservation color palette. Four years after instituting its green building policy, the environmentally friendly city has further cemented Oregon's reputation as one of the greenest states in the country by increasing its LEED standards for new city buildings from Certified to Gold.

Portland City Council Commissioner Dan Saltzman recommended the stronger policy, which also extends to three other types of construction, and he says it's part of the city's two-pronged approach to going green. “Obviously, we think it's important for our environment, but we're also building demand for green products and services,” Saltzman says. With 28 LEED-certified buildings under or nearing construction per one million people in Oregon, experts in energy-efficient design could soon be a valuable commodity in the Pacific Northwest.