Providing an affordable green alternative for modular classrooms

      • Enhanced natural daylight
      • Improved indoor air quality
      • Long-term energy reduction
      • Healthy materials


The project was started by faculty and students of Architecture and Engineering at Portland State University as a vehicle for exploring how they, as future professionals, could use their talents in service of the public good. The project´s importance was recognized by Governor John Kitzhaber who designated the project and official ‘Oregon Solution’ in 2011. The process generated a multi-partner entity including PSU’s Green Building Research Lab and the Institute for Sustainable Solutions along with the American Institute of Architects of Portland, State of Oregon Building Codes Division, Portland Public Schools, the Energy Trust of Oregon, and Oregon BEST.

About Us Content-03


The modular building industry in North America is a $5 billion industry with relocatable (or portable) modular classrooms accounting for over $2 billion. With 350,000 classrooms in use around the country a great number of our students are spending their growing years in these structures. The upsides of modular are cost, quick installation time and portability. The downsides are poor quality materials, inadequate natural daylight, noisy and inefficient heating, ventilation and cooling systems and a general impression that they represent low quality and unattractive additions to most neighborhoods. All of these factors are correlated to decreased student performance and an increase in absenteeism and health-related issues. By contrast, the new classroom features:

      • Improved HVAC systems based on energy recovery ventilation for healthier air, noise reduction and energy conservation
      • Abundant natural daylighting
      • All natural, low-or no-VOC containing materials
      • Steel floor structure for greater portability and reduced infrastructure