PCC Sylvania Working Towards Net-Zero Campus

Aug 02, 2009

Portland Community College seeks funding to retrofit its Sylvania campus for carbon-free future

“Imagine a small, self-sustaining city of little more than 100 acres. All the energy is generated there, all the storm water and sewage is processed there and even some of the food is grown there.” Shasta Kearns Moore of The Southwest Communication Connection writes that this is the direction Portland Community College officials are going for the Sylvania campus once funding is secured.

“The campus’ many concrete buildings would have facade work to repair cracks and other air leaks that let out heat. Combined with energy- and water-efficient windows, lights and plumbing fixtures, Gerding Edlen...expects a 40 percent reduction in energy use.

The other 60 percent would come from energy generators such as roof-mounted solar panels, a geothermal system and possibly a small natural gas plant.

In fact, says Gerding Edlen Sustainable Solutions Project Manager Renee Loveland, if all the upgrades are made in concert: ‘The campus could theoretically become an energy producer.’

On the water side, Loveland's team envisions a rainwater aquifer and a ‘living machine’ that would process wastewater—both of which would be designed to be visible learning opportunities for students as well as visitors.

In all, Gerding Edlen officials say the campus would operate like a mini-city, which would likely hold lessons for planners and developers trying to create so-called 10-by-10-block eco-districts in real cities.”

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