PCC / News / March 1, 2010

Green For GO

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With the opening of the Willow Creek Center in Hillsboro, Portland Community College just might have the most environmentally friendly educational structure in the state of Oregon.

“We’re really proud of the green features,” said Jackie Sandquist, director of Workforce Development at the college’s newest building. “We can’t wait to show it to everybody.”

So how “green” is it?

Very, according to Ralph DiNola, a principal partner at Green Building Services – Willow Creek’s sustainability consultant. DiNola ticks off the sustainability talking points.

Energy and Atmosphere

Roof-mounted solar panels will generate more than 100,000 kilowatt-hours per year. That will add up to 37 percent energy cost savings.

Water efficiency

Willow Creek features landscaping and irrigation systems designed to reduce potable water consumption by 56 percent. What’s that save? More than 30,000 gallons annually, DiNola said.

The center also has a mechanism to “harvest” rainwater. Plus, inside the building, efficient water features will produce a 75 percent water savings, reducing the annual water consumption by an estimated 240,000 gallons.

Materials and resources

The building was constructed with about 28 percent recycled material. Beyond that, almost 13 percent of the building materials were created within a 500 mile radius and, during construction, 94 percent of waste was diverted from landfills.

Location

By building right on the MAX light rail line and a bus park-and-ride, using mass transit to get to Willow Creek couldn’t be easier. The facility also includes bike parking and changing rooms. In 2007, College President Preston Pulliams became a signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. “We meant it when we said it,” he said. “We’re truly committed to sustainability. Willow Creek is proof of that and we will be seeking LEED Platinum certification for that center.”

LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building was designed and built with an eye on energy savings, water efficiency, reduction of CO2 emissions, improved indoor environmental quality and more. It was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Willow Creek Partners:

  • TriMet
  • Oregon Department of Employment
  • Worksystems Inc.
  • Portland State University

PCC’s own CLIMB Center for Advancement will offer select health care and computer training classes at the center.

Grand Opening!

Join us for the Willow Creek Grand Opening event coming this April! Explore the new center and enjoy free activities and entertainment. All ages welcome! Located at 241 S.W. Edgeway Drive in Hillsboro.

About The Author: Dana Haynes

Dana Haynes, joined PCC in 2007 as the manager of the Office of Public Affairs, directing the college's media and government relations. Haynes spent the previous 20 years as a reporter, columnist and editor for Oregon newspapers, including ... more »