The name Earth Advantage originated in 2002 as part of a change in ownership at Portland General Electric, who originally named their green building program Earth Smart. Earth Smart goes back to 1994 when PGE began developing a residential, and later, a commercial certification division of the utility. In 2005, given PGE’s participation in the Energy Trust of Oregon, they decided to break off Earth Advantage as its own nonprofit organization. The identity went with the newly formed entity.
Initially, Earth Advantage provided a broad range of programs and services from residential certification to certifying entire communities. In 2008 we added Institute to our name to expand into research and educational offerings. With these broad offerings and our close relationship with PGE and Energy Trust of Oregon, much of the public and even many of our constituents were unclear about who we were and what we had to offer. With the full participation of our staff and key external advisors, we decided to create an entirely new identity and return to our original name, Earth Advantage.
The new brand is centered on collaboration and people as much as the buildings themselves. In this age of big data and mass information where rapid change is the norm, we recognized the need to reinforce our interactions with like-minded organizations in order to improve the way buildings are made now, as well as in the future. The old identity reinforced a much broader mission that was directly linked to environmental action. It also utilized classic designs and color sets from the ‘green’ industry, making recognition through differentiation very difficult. Although at our core, Earth Advantage has an environmental focus (bringing the built environment in harmony with nature), our mission is more pragmatic. We see ourselves as a catalyst for influencing change by providing tools and services that will have an impact on the market and the environment.
As we look to the future, our new identity, website, and reinvigorated brand will support our mission to accelerate the creation of better buildings. The Institute is now reserved for the branch of our organization that delivers education, research and consulting. Our residential department offers a range of high performance certifications for homeowners in both the new and existing homes market. Our newly launched commercial certification is aimed at filling the niche of underserved small commercial buildings—mainly under 50,000 square feet--and our incubator is an internal innovation lab that fosters ground-breaking new ideas that have real market applications and will help to sustain us financially over the long term.
We think our new brand clarifies our purpose and will create greater recognition by homeowners and other stakeholders in the built environment. Better buildings means healthier, safer, longer-lasting structures that hold greater value, and make a much smaller impact on the environment. We’d love to hear your thoughts on our new identity, mission, and website. Like us on Facebook and share your thoughts there, and as the old Bartles & Jaymes commercial used to say, “we thank you for your support.”
If you have any questions about using the new identity or need to replace your old Earth Advantage logos, please email us.