Sustainability Articles 2016
Stay Warm This Winter
As the weather gets chillier, the city wants you to know about all of the resources available to you to help you stay cozy this winter.
Did you know that Washington County provides weatherization assistance to income-qualified residents at no cost? Weatherization improvements may include windows, ventilation, insulation, air/duct dealing and heating systems. Such services are available to both renters and homeowners in multi-family, single-family, manufactured or mobile homes.
Qualified residents receive a comprehensive energy audit, education on health and safety, water conservation and energy savings techniques for the home. Once the necessary improvements are identified, contractors licensed by Washington County perform the weatherization improvements.
For more information, please visit http://caowash.org/what_we_do/energy_conservation/, call 503-906-6550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications are available in both English and Spanish.
Act fast while funds last!
Join us for an Energy Saving Lighting Fair this Wednesday, November 9!
Not sure what bulbs to purchase? Use Energy Trust of Oregon's "Take a Spin" tool to find the right energy efficient bulb for your fixtures.
SolSmart Recognition Program
The City of Beaverton is proud to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy's SolSmart recognition program. Currently, the city is in the process of developing its first community-wide climate action plan, which will outline key solar goals and actions for the community. Participating in the SolSmart Program builds on past solar efforts in Beaverton and provides the technical assistance and local government best practices for supporting and growing solar in our community.
Beaverton is committed to tracking and reporting on its solar metrics as a participant of the SolSmart program and as a city that is an advocate for solar. We have both the staff and the resources available to dedicate to increase the number of solar installations in Beaverton and increase the percentage of renewable power sourced by our residents.
The city leads by example by producing its own solar. In 2012, the city installed a 17.6kW solar array on the roof of the Beaverton City Library. The array saves the city roughly $7,000 annually from the power it produces. Additionally, the city performed a series of retrofits to the building, such as switching lights to LED's, putting lights on timers and other energy efficiency measures, which helped the Library to reduce its carbon footprint and decrease its energy costs.
In 2015, the city installed its largest solar array yet, a 433 kW array on the city's Sexton Mountain Water Storage Reservoir. The reservoir is a public asset, storing 15 million gallons of drinking water for nearly 80% of the city's residents. The city's water pumping station adjacent to the reservoir is the largest electrical power user in the city's water system. The array offsets the cost and carbon emissions associated with pumping drinking water to the city's residents. The installation is expected to save an estimated $834,000 for the thirty-five year life of the project.
From 2010 to 2012, the city's Sustainability Program executed its largest residential solar campaign. The project began as a pilot project called, Solar Beaverton. The 2010 pilot was a huge success, resulting in the program continuing through 2012. The program surpassed its goal of 250 residential solar installations and garnered national recognition. Mayor Denny Doyle received the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Climate Protection Award and the Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) Smart City award for energy innovation for the Solar Beaverton campaign.
The city is committed to making it easier than ever for its community members to go solar. The city is thrilled to participate in the SolSmart Program and looks forward to expanding its renewables portfolio.
Participate in the Wood Stove Exchange Program While Funds Last!
Do you have an old wood stove that you want to replace, but don’t have the cash to do so? You’re in luck! Washington County recently launched a Wood Stove Exchange Program. Old woodstoves and inserts are inefficient, they pollute both indoors and outdoors, and they are harmful to human health.
The exchange program includes, electric ductless heat pump, gas stove or insert, gas furnace, pellet stove or insert and EPA-certified wood stove or insert.
The funds are limited, so apply now!
There are only four easy steps required for the program:
- Complete an application - The application pre-qualifies you for the program and determines whether you qualify for a rebate or a free replacement.
- Get inspected and approved - A staff member will visit your home to confirm your eligibility to participate in the program and will discuss replacement options with you.
- Choose your vendor - Once you receive your approval letter, you can select a vendor from Washington County's approved vendor list.
- Washington County pays vendor - Once your replacement project is permitted and complete, staff will directly pay your vendor the amount of your rebate.
For more information, visit the program's website: http://www.co.washington.or.us/CommunityDevelopment/WoodStoveExchange
Or, attend an information workshop. All workshops are from 7 - 8 p.m.:
- Wednesday, September 21, Beaverton Library main branch, 12375 SW 5th St.
- Tuesday, September 27, Aloha High School, 18550 SW Kinnaman Rd.
- Wednesday, October 12, Cornelius City Council Chambers, 1310 N Adair St.
- Thursday, October 13, Lincoln Elementary School, 801 NE Lincoln St. Hillsboro
- Thursday, October 20. St. Anthony's Catholic Church, Frances Hall lobby, 12520 SW Grant St. Tigard.
Residents learn about the Basics of Solar
The city is making it easy for residents to learn about renewable energy options. Beaverton residents were invited to attend the Basics of Solar workshop held August 2 at the Beaverton City Library Main.
“It was an excellent forum for anyone starting their research into solar,” said workshop attendee Dennis Isaacson. The workshop focused on residential solar applications, and featured information on solar technologies, available utility incentives and tax credits, contractor selection, and the installation process.
“We are now seeing the price for solar and other renewable energy options drop to all-time lows and we will only continue to see those prices drop in the coming years,” said Program Coordinator Rachel Bigby. “The Sustainability Program is committed to expanding its own renewable energy portfolio and providing resources and opportunities for our residents to do the same. We have so many exciting projects currently in the works – stay tuned!”
Sustainability workshops, fairs and events are offered throughout the year. For updates, visit www.BeavertonOregon.gov/sustainability.
Prevent Food Waste at Home
Food accounts for nearly 30 percent of all household garbage going into the landfill. About 40 percent of the food grown in the United States goes uneaten, yet one in seven Americans lacks a secure supply of food.
By making small shifts in how we shop, prepare and store food, we can waste less, save money and conserve the valuable resources associated with food production.
Reduce your food waste at home by taking the Eat Smart, Waste Less Challenge. Pledge to practice Smart Storage and keep your fruits and vegetables fresh. Or pledge to Get Smart and measure your family’s food waste over four weeks and find out just how low you can go. Make it fun and challenge your neighbor, friend or family member to reduce their food waste too.
To learn more or sign up visit our website www.EatSmartWasteLess.com.
Sustainability Tips for Summer
Lower your impact this summer by taking advantage of these green tips and tricks:
Grilling – use propane instead of wood or charcoal – it can burn up to 50% cleaner!
Air conditioning – turn up your thermostat a few degrees so that you are still cool, but you can save some cash and lower your carbon footprint (see below for definition)!
Farmer’s markets – Buy local and take advantage of the farmer’s markets in your area! Beaverton has a farmer’s market every Saturday from May-September from 8a.m. – 1:30p.m. at SW Hall Blvd. between 3rd and 5th streets.
Gardening tips to keep the mosquitos away – use garlic, rosemary, rose geranium, citronella grass, catmint, basil, lemon balm, marigolds or lavender to ward off mosquitos and other critters from your garden!
Timed showers – there are many devices out there to help you monitor your showering time. Five minutes in the shower uses the same amount of water needed to grow one pound of tomatoes! Try cutting your shower down to save resources and money.
Assess your carbon footprint – what is a carbon footprint? A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted due to the consumption of fossils fuels by a particular person or group. In other words, it measures your environmental impact based on the purchasing choices you make, such as whether you travel by bike or by car, how much electricity you use or if you properly sort your garbage and recycling.
Calculate your carbon footprint by using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s free carbon footprint calculator: www3. epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is energy generated from sources that naturally replenish themselves. Such sources include solar, wind, rain, tides, geothermal heat and some forms of biomass. Nonrenewable energy or fossil fuel energy, is energy created from sources that cannot be renewed or created again. Once they are gone, scientists say that fossil fuels can take millions of years to create.
Due to the time it takes for fossil fuels to regenerate, renewable energy is an increasingly popular clean form of energy that Beaverton residents and businesses have readily available to them. For example, in just one day, the sunlight that shines on the surface of the Earth contains more than twice the energy the entire nation consumes in one year. Not only is the sun a renewable energy that is clean-burning, meaning it does not emit pollutants in the atmosphere such as greenhouse gases, it is also a reliable source of energy.
Since research on renewable energy has increased tremendously in the past few decades, prices for renewable energy have declined significantly. Did you know that the City of Beaverton has sourced one hundred percent renewable energy for its city operations since 2014?
If you're interested in switching to renewables at your home or office, reach out to your local utility to ask about the costs and benefits of switching to renewable energy!
COP21: A Recap of the Climate Conference in Paris
Updated February 2016
Over the past few months there has been a great deal of media coverage on the COP21 conference which concluded with the creation of a new international climate agreement. COP21 is a United Nations conference on climate change that stands for Conference of the Parties (COP). The number signifies the 21st year of the annual conferences. The purpose of the conference was to come up with a response to the warming of the planet, which will increase the incidence of extreme climate events and impact living conditions around the globe. Scientists have now unanimously agreed that the earth’s atmosphere is warming due to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions generated from human activity – emissions primarily from agriculture and industry post industrial revolution.
The outcome of the COP21 conference is an agreement with 186 countries to limit the world’s temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” according to the final agreement
Why 2 degrees Celsius?
Climate scientists have agreed that a rise in temperature greater than 2 degrees is very dangerous to human and environmental health. If countries take no action and continue “business as usual,” the average warming is projected to rise to 4.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2100.
Average warming (C°) projected by 2100
If no climate action is taken: 4.5°
Following current policies: 3.6°
Based on Paris pledges: 2.7°
Although the agreement is not perfect, it is a step in the right direction towards taking responsibility for our actions and our emissions and coming to a global agreement to act. Want to take action in your own community? Contact the city’s Sustainability Program at 503-526-2430 or via email at green@BeavertonOregon.gov.
Join the new Sustainability Advisory Board
Updated January 2016
Do you care about the health and welfare of your city? Do you want to lend your voice to ensure our choices reflect our values? Do you want to have a direct line to sharing your ideas with the Mayor and other city leaders? Then, you may want to consider applying for the city’s new Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB).
The Beaverton Community Vision encouraged broader city-wide efforts for sustainability, including the creation of a Sustainability Advisory Board and a sustainability plan. The city seeks to create a community that balances a healthy en¬vironment, social equity and economic growth to create a more resilient and sustainable place for all residents. To do so, we need the direct involvement of people who are willing to volunteer their time and expertise to help craft a community-wide sustainability plan.
The new sustainability plan will use baseline data to inform new goals and actions for the community to ensure our city is livable now and for generations to come. Help us shape the future of sustainability in Beaverton!
The SAB is seeking sustainability enthusiasts from a variety of backgrounds. Members are appointed by the city to serve one, two or three-year terms. Terms will begin in 2016 (exact date to be determined). Don’t miss out on this opportunity to help make Beaverton a more livable community!
Apply today at www.BeavertonOregon.gov/boards
Questions? Call Rachel Bigby at 503-526-2430.
Meeting date and time to be determined. City residents preferred.
Solar Incentives Can Cover the Majority of Solar Electric Installation Costs for Your Home or Business!
July 2015 (Updated January 2016)
Have you considered solar for your Beaverton-area home or business? The City of Beaverton has learned that there are many incentives available at the local, state and federal level that can help you install solar for a fraction of the cost. Solar Oregon, a local solar advocacy organization, estimates that with all of the incentives, homeowners can get roughly 80-90 percent of the costs covered! If you’re a Portland General Electric customer, the following incentives apply to you:
- Energy Trust Incentives: $.70/watt (up to $7,000)
- State Tax Credit: $1.70/watt (up to $6,000) Starting January 1st, 2016 the State Tax Credit will reduce to $1.50/watt (up to $6,000)
- Federal Tax Credit: 30% of amount owed to contractor (only available until December of 2016!)
There are two options for solar installation—leasing or buying. Leasing is a great option if you don’t want to pay any upfront costs. In order to pay off the lease, the property owner of the solar electric array sells the electricity back to the solar energy provider to pay off the system.
If you’re interested in more information about how to install solar on your home or business, visit Solar Oregon’s website at www.solaroregon.org or attend one of the upcoming “Basics of Going Solar” workshops in the Southwest Portland/Beaverton area. See full information below.
Basics of Residential Solar Workshop (January)
Date: Saturday, January 23, 2016
Time: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Where: Portland's January Fix-It-Fair; Ron Russel Middle School, 3955 SE 112th Ave, Portland, OR 97266
Basics of Residential Solar Workshop (February)
Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Time: 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Where: Tigard Public Library, 13500 SW Hall Blvd, Tigard, OR 97223
Basics of Residential Solar Workshop (February)
Date: Saturday, February 20, 2016
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Where: George Middle School, 10000 N Burr Ave, Portland, OR 97203
Sustainability Articles 2013 - 2015
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