August 19, 2014
This year, Malarkey Roofing Products® and the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services are celebrating a 30-year partnership of sustainable energy. The relationship began when Past President Michael Malarkey noticed methane gas being flared off at the wastewater treatment plant while on the daily commute to his roofing manufacturing facility. He saw an opportunity to utilize the sustainable energy and approached the treatment facility about forming a partnership. The initial investment for Malarkey was sizable but aligned with the core sustainable values of both facilities. In 1983, Malarkey began construction on a pipeline to transport methane gas from the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant, along the Columbia Slough, and finally to the Malarkey Roofing Products manufacturing facility one mile down the road. The completion of the pipeline in 1984 began a unique public-private partnership that continues to this day.
The Columbia Boulevard plant is Oregon’s largest wastewater treatment facility, cleaning about 30 billion gallons of water a year. The process generates about 1.5-million cubic feet of methane gas every day. Today, the treatment plant uses its own biogas to fuel boilers for process and building heat, and to supply fuel for two engine generators that produce heat and electricity for treatment plant operations. The two engines can generate up to 1.7-megawatts of electricity per day and they produce more than 40% of the plant’s electricity. Malarkey Roofing Products is able to utilize up to 25% of the biogas fuel produced at the wastewater facility, which powers a historical average of 67% of the roofing manufacturing facility. “Most large wastewater treatment plants re-use methane but very few have an opportunity to work directly with private industry to put methane to good use,” said Environmental Services Director Dean Marriott. “For the last three decades, this arrangement has benefitted both the city and Malarkey Roofing.”
The partnership has proven to be both an environmentally and economically sustainable venture. Malarkey purchases the methane from Environmental Services to use as fuel in heating its manufacturing process, thus saving money over traditional fuels and providing additional income to the city. “Our industry requires a large amount of heat in the process of manufacturing asphalt shingles,” states Malarkey Roofing Products President James Fagan. “We take pride in the fact that we can promote sustainability through this partnership.” All of the methane consumed by Malarkey is used for the facility’s product manufacturing – from curing fiberglass mat to providing the process heat source for shingles and other asphalt roofing products.
Both parties are working on developments to increase efficiencies and utilize more of the sustainable methane gas. Malarkey is currently working with NW Natural on a delivery solution to increase methane usage, with the goal of powering 90% of the manufacturing facility with methane. Environmental Services is also looking to increase its use of the resource. The bureau recently began studying the possibility of turning the plant’s remaining methane into fuel for natural gas vehicles. “Thirty years ago this kind of a partnership was unheard of,” explained Fagan. “It has been an asset to both parties and we’re looking forward to seeing where these sustainable solutions can lead us in the future.”
About Malarkey Roofing Products
Malarkey Roofing Products is a Portland, Oregon based company that provides technology driven residential, commercial, and sustainable roofing solutions for contractors, architects and homeowners seeking dependable roofing products.
Since 1956, Malarkey Roofing Products has consistently valued innovation and is motivated to manufacture products that improve people's lives while balancing environmental and economic interests.
About Environmental Services
The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.