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Sustainability at Work

Providing free tools and expertise to achieve your goals

Phone: 503-823-7037


What about LEDs?

Learn more about LED lighting for your office or shop

Exit sign

Wondering if you should switch from fluorescents or halogens to LED lighting? Although they provide highly efficient lighting, LEDs aren’t the best choice for every application. They are a definite consideration for EXIT signs, display cases, and some spot and outdoor lighting, among others. LED manufacturers continue to better mimic the soft light of incandescent bulbs, and their cost continues to drop. Energy Trust of Oregon also has new LED incentives available.

If you want to learn more about the best application for LEDs, check out these two PGE seminars being held September 24 and 25 in Portland: LED Indoor & Outdoor Lighting and Human Centric Lighting. If you are a Pacific Power customer thinking about upgrades, give them a call and learn what’s best for your project.

Save water with faucet aerators

Reduce water consumption by installing free low-flow faucet aerators

Low flow aerator

Guest post written by Ari Ronai-Durning, a summer intern with the Sustainability at Work program.

Decreasing water use at your business often seems like a large task to tackle. Here is one simple step you can take that doesn’t involve a major investment of time, money, or energy.

Installing low-flow aerators to the faucet heads in bathrooms and kitchens decreases water use without replacing any faucets or fixtures. Inexpensive faucet aerators can be found for most faucet sizes. In fact, if the faucets at your business are standard rather than custom fixtures, Sustainability at Work will send you aerators for free! This simple measure can limit the flow rate on bathroom and kitchen faucets to 0.5 gallons per minute and 1.5 gallons per minute respectively – about half of what standard faucets use. Faucet aerators can often be installed in minutes. If you have any questions about checking your faucet flow rate or about aerators in general, let us know, or you can go ahead and order free aerators from us. 

It’s Bike Commute Challenge time!

Compete with other organizations for most bike commute trips in September

BTA Logo

Every September, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance organizes the Bike Commute Challenge to encourage more people to try commuting by bike. The Challenge pits workplace against workplace – with bragging rights for the highest percentage of bicycle commutes during the month. 

Last year the challenge attracted 11,745 riders from 1,395 organizations. Combined, they covered more than 1.3 million miles in September. Go to BTA’s website to register. If the fun you’ll have isn’t quite enough to convince you, here are some practical reasons to take two wheels to work instead of four: 8 reasons your business should promote bicycling.

Upgrade your fluorescent lighting

Save money now through incentives and then every month on your energy bill

Ready to cut lighting energy use in half, while maintaining or improving lighting quality? If you still have older linear fluorescent lighting (T12s or pre-2000 T8s), it’s time to transition to more efficient bulbs. You’ll save month after month, with payback time generally estimated at 18 months or less. 

Light tubesLinear fluorescents come in three sizes:

T12s (least efficient),

Older or newer T8s (newer is noticeably better);

or T5s (highly efficient).

The 12, 8 and 5 numbers refer to the diameter of the bulb – T12s are 1-½” (12/8”) round, T8s are 1” (8/8”) round, and T5s are 5/8” round. The label on the bulb also commonly provides the diameter.

Another good reason to upgrade to more efficient T8 or T5 lighting: The Department of Energy mandated a July 2012 phase-out of most T12 bulbs. Now is the time to take advantage of Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) incentives – available for upgrades away from T12s and older, less efficient T8s. ETO has also produced a very helpful guide, which you can find here: Guide to new, energy-efficient lighting technologies for your business.


If you’re still in the early stages of deciding between numerous energy actions or improvements, contact us. A sustainability advisor will help you identify a variety of best practices and possible equipment upgrades. We can also connect you with your energy provider for additional resources. Get in touch with us at or 503-823-7037.

If you know what you need and you are ready to upgrade, get in touch with ETO!