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Portland City Council approves energy performance reporting for commercial buildings

Commercial buildings are responsible for nearly a quarter of Portland's carbon emissions and spend more than $335 million on energy every year.

On Earth Day, Portland City Council voted unanimously to approve a new policy that will require owners of commercial buildings over 20,000 square feet to track energy use and report it on an annual basis. The policy will cover nearly 80 percent of the commercial square footage and affect approximately 1,000 buildings.

“Portland has set a goal to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. To reach that goal, we all have a role to play — public and private, at work and at home,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “Reducing energy use in buildings is a critical part of that picture. Tracking energy use and investing in energy efficiency saves money for the building owners. And for the city as a whole. Last year alone, the city saved $6 million on its own energy bills.”

The policy will cover offices, retail spaces, grocery stores, hotels, health care and higher education buildings. It does not include residential properties, nursing homes, and places of worship, parking structures, K-12 schools, industrial facilities or warehouses.

“Today, my clients, tenant customers and staff expect energy efficiency,” said David Genrich, general manager, JLL, a professional services and investment management company specializing in real estate. “Tracking energy use has become a core responsibility of good building managers, and this policy ensures consistency across the board.”

The new Energy Performance Reporting Policy will require commercial buildings to track performance with a free online tool called ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and report energy use information to the City of Portland on an annual basis. There are approximately 5,000 commercial buildings in Portland. Currently fewer than 100 buildings claim ENERGY STAR certification.

“The fact that the policy requires the use of the Energy Star Portfolio Manager in reporting makes a lot of sense. It’s widely used, it is well recognized, it has a lot of credibility, and the EPA makes a lot of training available for people to get familiar with the program,” said Renee Loveland, sustainability manager at Gerding Edlen, one of the nation’s leading real estate investment and development firms. “We’ve been using it over the past several years. All of the other markets we’re currently doing business in have mandatory reporting in place, and Portfolio Manager has been working well for our properties.”

Why are cities like Portland adopting energy performance reporting for commercial buildings?

  • The energy used to power buildings is the largest source of carbon pollution in Portland.
  • Similar to a MPG rating for a car, the energy performance policy allows potential tenants and owners to have access to important information about building energy performance.
  • Commercial energy reporting policies in 12 other U.S. cities have proven to motivate investment in efficiency improvements that save money and reduce carbon emissions.


“This has been a great collaboration among City bureaus and community members, including dozens of building owners and managers,” said Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson. “This isn't new. It's tried and true — and already has been adopted in 12 other U.S. cities."

Visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/energyreporting to learn more and track program updates.


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Portland City Council approves new goals for Sustainable City Government operations

City bureaus model sustainable principles and practices and save long-term operating costs

Portland City Council approved a new set of Sustainable City Government Principles and an update to the Green Building Policy for City Facilities. Together, these resolutions will guide city bureaus to implement long-term operational efficiencies with a focus on sustainable approaches.

“City bureaus have a long track record of sustainability, but it’s important that we periodically revisit our policies and goals, and push ourselves to continue to look for innovative solutions,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

Council passed a resolution to update the City’s green building requirements for facilities that the City owns and manages. Building green reflects the City’s commitment to saving natural resources, while creating healthy spaces for workers and visitors. It also helps the City save money on energy, water, waste and stormwater management.

“From solar installations to recycling to energy efficiency lighting — all City of Portland bureaus are making government operations more cost and resource efficient,” said BPS Director Susan Anderson. “Cities from around the world look to Portland as a leader. Local residents and businesses have invested in resource efficiency, and it's essential that City bureaus walk the talk, too."

The City owns and operates hundreds of buildings, tens of thousands of streetlights and traffic signals and several large-scale industrial plants. Like businesses and other organizations, it must examine every facet of operations for possible energy, resource and cost saving opportunities. Portland adopted the first set of sustainability principles in 1994, a year after Portland released the first-in-the-nation local Climate Action Plan. Through implementation of the first set of principles, the City has saved more than $50 million over 20 years.

"Incorporating sustainability into our operations and our culture helps us improve our operations and service to the public," said Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat. "We are making differences large and small, in everyday projects and all our operations. By converting street lights to energy-saving LEDs, we are saving dollars and energy in virtually all neighborhoods in the city. We also have turned the leaves collected last fall as part of Leaf Day service into compost that is now available for sale to the public. These principles will help us achieve even more. We support these principles because they're the right thing to do and because they make sense operationally."

In recent years, bureaus have partnered to achieve impressive savings projects, including:

  • Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) sustainability-related projects are saving dollars through lower electricity bills and reduced maintenance costs. PBOT is currently converting 45,000 street lights to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting. This conversion will result in a savings of 20 million kilowatt-hours of electricity – cutting energy use in half and saving $1.5 million annually. The new LEDs are expected to last up to 20 years without changing bulbs or major maintenance. 
  • Portland’s fire bureau has been making stations more efficient and healthier for over a decade, including two LEED buildings.
  • Portland Parks and Recreation is the first and only park system in the country certified for salmon-friendly parks management. The bureau makes energy efficiency improvements a priority as a routine part of the ongoing work for the Parks Replacement Bond.
  • The Office of Management and Finance’s sustainable procurement program is 13 years old and has received national and international attention. OMF also manages the City Fleet, which will be 20 percent electric by 2030.
  • Today, approximately 44 percent of City-controlled impervious surfaces are managed via sustainable stormwater strategies like green street projects. The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services has overseen the construction of over 2,000 green street facilities since 2006. BES staff at Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant have reduced electricity consumption by 40 percent. In 1991, power use was at 30 million kilowatt-hours; in 2015, the number was roughly 18 million kWh. One of the more exciting future initiatives at the plant is to use surplus biogas and make it suitable for use as a transportation fuel. This kind of innovation brings cost savings and significant carbon and emission reductions for the community.
  • “We talk about ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland,’ which means building, maintaining, and operating our parks and recreation system in order to promote ecological health,” said Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “Portland Parks & Recreation enthusiastically supports the new Sustainable City Government Principles, and looks forward to participating in the City’s national green leadership.”

These resolutions renew and refresh Portland’s longstanding commitment to walk its talk when it comes to sustainability.

www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/scg

Project contact

Pam Neild, Sustainable City Government Partnership Program Coordinator
pam.neild@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-0231
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Spring brings cleanup events to your neighborhood

Over 40 neighborhood cleanup events are scheduled around Portland in April and May 2015

Man sitting on a bike at a neighborhood cleanup

Is spring cleaning on your task list at home? There are over 40 neighborhood cleanup events scheduled around Portland in April and May 2015 to give residents a chance to remove unwanted clutter from their homes, basements and garages.

Neighborhood cleanups prioritize and promote both recycling and reuse over throwing away items in the garbage. The materials accepted at cleanup events vary, from bulky items like furniture, mattresses and appliances to items for recycling and reuse like scrap metal, building materials and household goods.

Volunteers from neighborhood associations coordinate these events and have been offering more options for reuse every year. In fact, there are about 30 events that will include onsite reuse options, allowing neighbors to take, swap or buy items immediately. 

The seven Neighborhood Coalitions are the best source of information about the scheduled cleanup events by neighborhood association.

Central Northeast Neighbors (CNN)
East Portland Neighborhood Office (EPNO)
Neighbors West/Northwest (NW/NW)
North Portland Neighborhood Services (NPNS)
Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN)
Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition (SEUL)
Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. (SWNI)

Need to find contact information for your neighborhood association?
Contact the Office of Neighborhood Involvement or call 503-823-4519

Have bulky items other times of the year?
Your garbage and recycling company can remove large items that are not reusable or recyclable for an extra charge. Call your company a week in advance and they will give you a cost estimate. For a reasonable charge, they will pick up appliances, furniture, large branches, stumps, and other big items. For curbside pickup, set bulky items at your curb on the day your garbage and recycling company has agreed to pick them up.

Need help remembering garbage day?
Sign up for free email reminders at www.garbagedayreminders.com.

PSC News: April 28, 2015 Meeting Recap and Documents

Multnomah County Health Building; RICAP 7; RICAP 8 Work Plan; Economic Opportunities Analysis

Agenda

  • Multnomah County Health Building — hearing / recommendation 
  • RICAP 7 — hearing / recommendation 
  • RICAP 8 Work Plan — hearing / recommendation 
  • Economic Opportunities Analysis — hearing / recommendation

Meeting files

An archive of meeting minutes and documents of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/webdrawer.dll/webdrawer/search/rec?sm_class=uri_7223&count&rows=50.  

SE Quadrant Virtual Open House – CLOSED

Materials from the recent SE Quadrant Plan virtual open house that ended on March 20th

Following the February 19th open house at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, all materials from the event were posted online along with a comment  form to provide feedback on staff proposals. This “virtual” open house is now closed, and the comment form removed, but you can still access the materials below. A written summary of the open house starts on page 2 of the packet for Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meeting #14. If you have comments or questions about the SE Quadrant Plan or planning process in general, please contact email Derek Dauphin or call 503-823-5869.

Picture of physical open house on February 19th

Now you can share the experience of the February 19 open house at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center.

Welcome to the SE Quadrant Virtual Open House! We’re glad you came.

Perhaps you’re a business owner in the Central Eastside Industrial District. Maybe you pass through the district on your way to and from downtown. Or just like to visit to enjoy the food, drink and creative energy of the area. Any way you experience it, there’s no denying this part of Portland is bustling with activity: new development and businesses; more bikes, cars and trucks; and increased attention and interest from near and far.

The SE Quadrant planning effort is harnessing all of that energy into a new long-range plan for the area. The plan will help ensure that this unique part of the city evolves the way Portlanders want it to.

So far we’ve heard that people want to preserve the character of the area with its historic warehouses and protect its unique role as an industrial sanctuary and business incubator. But they also recognize that as the area grows and changes, it creates pressure on the streets and transportation system to accommodate more trucks, cars and even bikes. And then there’s its relationship to the river, which provides opportunities for greater access to this beloved natural resource, recreation, and even arts and culture.

So get comfy and explore the proposals below. Then tell us what you think with the comment form.

As you look at the proposals that follow, keep in mind that most of the SE Quadrant is an industrial sanctuary and has long served as an incubator for small businesses. A key goal of the new plan is to maintain this sanctuary while allowing for new industrial businesses and increased employment density.

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Land for Jobs

The Central Eastside is experiencing a period of extensive growth and renewal. But without new regulatory tools, the Central City will not be able to keep up with the demand for employment land. Staff land use proposals tweak the existing zoning to allow for more dense employment in the Central Eastside, including the new station areas along the MAX Orange Line due to open in September 2015.

poster    poster

Staff are also preparing a new industrial disclosure statement that would inform people and businesses moving into the area about the characteristics (noise, fumes, trucks) common to the district. The disclosure would make it clear that the City of Portland would not enforce complaints against lawful activity within the district.


Historic Resources

Proposals also call for recognizing the historic character of much of the Central Eastside, particularly along historic main streets such as Morrison Street.

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Urban design

Potential conflicts between different kinds of businesses and uses — particularly residential, retail and industrial areas — are addressed through urban design. These proposals seek to clarify how areas with different zoning can co-exist.

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Transportation, parking, freight

Another area of concern is the already limited parking in the district. With more jobs and residents coming to the district, congestion on the streets will affect the ability of businesses to move freight. These proposals address concerns about traffic and congestion by applying a wide set of tools.

poster    poster

Other proposals would help reduce conflicts between trucks and other types of traveling to and through the district. By making some routes that are less important to freight more attractive for bicycles and pedestrians, trucks and bikes will be less likely to get in each other’s way.

poster


Green Loop

A concept for a bicycle and pedestrian loop is proposed for the Central City. This “Green Loop” would be a key north-south route in the Central Eastside, connecting to the South Waterfront and downtown via the new Tilikum Crossing bridge. The eastside leg would include an I-84 pedestrian/bicycle bridge. What factors should be considered in picking a route, considering some initial data showing how loading and intersections could impact design?

poster    poster


Open space

Staff responded to concerns about the lack of open space and green infrastructure such as trees. Due to the industrial nature of the district, areas for employees and residents to gather and relax will likely be near the most intense employment or residential development. The exception would be at the waterfront where there may be new park-like areas and enhanced habitat.

poster    poster    


The Willamette River and Riverfront

Staff presented a strategy for the Willamette River and riverfront which includes restoring and enhancing habitat, enlivening key locations with new activities and uses, and improving recreation options such as swimming and boating. This strategy is closely linked with all of the other concepts in the district; open space linkages, economic development and transportation alternatives are important components of the strategy along the riverfront.

poster


Next Steps

Input from the open house, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and other Central Eastside stakeholders will help shape the Public Review Draft of the SE Quadrant Plan to be released in late April. In late May/June, the Planning and Sustainability Commission will hold public hearings on the Proposed Draft, followed by City Council hearings on the plan in summer/early fall of 2015.

List of all posters

Introduction

Proposals