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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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Waste Equity Workplan earns leadership award for BPS team

Workplan aims to increase equity and diversity in Portland’s garbage, recycling, and composting collection system.

Equity and diversity are priorities for the City of Portland. At the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), that extends to our longtime role in managing contracts between the City and the companies that provide garbage, recycling and composting collection service. In December, the Oregon Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) presented BPS with the Agency Leadership Award for BPS’ work to advance equity and diversity in Portland’s waste collection system. 

(l-r) Andre Bealer, Program Manager, NAMC-Oregon; Bruce Walker, BPS; Nate McCoy, Executive Director, NAMC-Oregon; Arianne Sperry, BPS

“NAMC Oregon’s mission and mandate is Building Bridges – Crossing Barriers. We accomplish this by working with value-driven organizations who focus on minority business concerns and show a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI),” said Nate McCoy, NAMC executive director. “BPS was honored for the Agency Leadership Award because of their Equity Guiding Principles, leadership on stakeholder engagement and new policy and programming efforts underway. These policy and programs are vital tools to address the need to increase participation of workforce diversity and minority-owned business inclusion, more importantly, the need to create a conduit for diverse firms to have access to substantial and consistent opportunities to create generational wealth and legacies in their communities.”

BPS recently developed a Waste Equity Workplan to record the commitments that grew out of a recent residential garbage and recycling franchise review stakeholder process. The franchise review looked at ways to increase franchisee workforce diversity and reduce barriers to economic opportunities for minority-owned and woman-owned companies. 

During the year-long conversation, the scope expanded as participants realized that the collection system governed by the franchise agreement represents just 20 percent of the waste generated by Portland residents and businesses and to make real change, action needs to occur across all sectors of the waste system. 

The Waste Equity Workplan identifies the growing multifamily sector as a high priority for increasing access and opportunity for minority-owned and woman-owned companies.  In 2019 BPS will launch a process to engage stakeholders in considering options and selecting a path forward. 

The City’s own waste collection contracts represent another important opportunity, especially as BPS is poised to expand public trash collection across Portland.  The Waste Equity Workplan directs BPS to make changes to the procurement approach for waste collection from public trash cans and City offices and facilities to increase access for minority-owned and woman-owned companies. 

In December, BPS took a big step in that direction when City Council authorized an exemption from procurement rules for waste collection from public trash cans and City offices and facilities.  The exemption allows the City to direct procurements for public waste collection into a new Waste Collection Access and Opportunity Program that will be available to underrepresented contractors. 

BPS will use this new process during the procurement for waste collection from the new public trash cans that will be installed in East Portland this coming spring.  Over the next few months BPS will also convene a Waste Equity Advisory Group to provide feedback during implementation of the Waste Equity Workplan and to evaluate progress annually.

Questions?  Email wasteinfo@portlandoregon.gov or call 503-823-7202.    

Portland Home Energy Score Celebrates Successful First Year

Homebuyers searching for a home in Portland in 2018 had better access to transparent energy efficiency information.

More than 8,700 homes received a Home Energy Score through the end of 2018 based on a new requirement within the city of Portland. Homes listed for sale must now include a Home Energy Report and the Score (on a scale from 1 to 10), which is generated through an in-home assessment. Homebuyers can use this information to better understand the full costs of home ownership and compare their choices. The report recommends the most cost-effective improvements to save energy – and money – on their utility bills.

Data from the first year of the Home Energy Score program shows that Portland homes have plenty of opportunities for improvement. The average Home Energy Score in Portland to-date is 4.6. If these homeowners implemented all the cost-effective improvements recommended in the Home Energy Report, they’d save an average of nearly 20 percent annually on utility bills. An energy efficiency improvement is considered cost-effective if it has a simple payback of 10 years or less.

Homeowners with the lowest Home Energy Scores – a score of 1, 2 or 3 – could save nearly 30 percent on their annual utility bills by implementing the recommended energy efficiency improvements. These lowest scoring homes represent nearly 40 percent of all homes that were scored in Portland.

The most cost-effective ways to save energy and increase comfort vary from home to home, but the most helpful measures help keep heat in during the winter and heat out in the summer. This includes attic and wall insulation and air and duct sealing. Mechanical upgrades for heating, cooling and water heating can also be cost-effective if replaced with more efficient models when the equipment reaches end-of-life.

Northeast Portland homeowner Marcia Norrgard received an initial Home Energy Assessment for her mid-century house and it scored a 1, even though it had a new high-efficiency furnace and new windows. However, the house had little attic or wall insulation and an inefficient water heater.

“I noticed that during the summer, my living room was getting hotter and hotter,” said Norrgard. She prefers a cool living space in the summer and knew there could be value in saving energy in the winter. Norrgard worked with local contractor Kris Grube of Good Energy Retrofit to increase her insulation levels and replace her water heater. These upgrades cost her less than $10,000 and her house now has a Home Energy Score of 7.

Besides benefiting homeowners’ bank accounts, reducing energy use in homes also helps reduce carbon pollution in the atmosphere, a benefit for the entire community.