Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Proving less is more, Rock Creek Campus gets with the energy efficiency plan

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IMG_4478Heating ventilation and air conditioning systems typically draw attention only when they’re broken, but when those same systems were upgraded in Buildings 2, 7 and 9 at the Rock Creek Campus, PCC was awarded a check for $19,800 from Energy Trust of Oregon. According to all involved, it was a great finish to the first year of the Strategic Energy Management (SEM) Program and it set the bar for future endeavors.

“This successful initiative at Rock Creek was made possible through the commitment and leadership of President Sandra Fowler Hill,” said Tony Ichsan, director of Facilities Management Services. “ Not only have these projects met PCC’s Strategic Plan toward a sustainable environment, but the projects have also set precedence of what can be accomplished working collaboratively.”

He added, “Even though FMS can provide the technical leadership in engineering and sustainability, it is Sandra’s groundbreaking support that has now been taken-up by Sylvania’s President Lisa Avery. We can now mimic our Rock Creek success at the Sylvania Campus until the entire college can embrace these successes and students can benefit from a PCC cultural of sustainability.”

The $56,000 in avoided utility costs at Rock Creek, measured against weather-corrected baseline data, were recorded between September 2014 and September 2015 and focused on mechanical fine tuning.

Phase II will focus on savings reaped from September 2015 through September 2016. Rock Creek is competing with a cohort of 10 organizations including Mt. Hood Community College, the Port of Portland, Tuality Health Care, Clackamas County and Metro.

So far the greatest commitment in Phase II has been captured by Building 9 where 35 people out of the 49 who occupy the building pledged to power down. They turned off the lights, shut down their computers, monitors and printers and unplugged personal appliances including space heaters and coffee makers.

“Rock Creek is a great example of a regional educational institution making the connection between improving energy management practices and serving students,” said Susan Jowaiszas, senior marketing manager at Energy Trust. “We’ve been impressed with the motivation of their energy team and strong leadership support for their work, all of which has helped the college meet or exceed its energy efficiency goals.”

In order to participate in the program, Rock Creek was required to identify both an executive sponsor and an energy champion to lead the effort and to commit an estimated quarter time FTE spread across various staff as needed. The winning team includes Rock Creek President Sandra Fowler-Hill, College Energy Manager Laura Ward, Interim Sustainability Manager Briar Schoon, Sustainability Coordinator Elaine Cole, Rock Creek Associate Maintenance Manager Mitch Kilgore, and Maintenance Technician Doug Jay.

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