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Living Out The Triple Bottom Line

November 23rd, 2008 by Alison · No Comments · energy, sustainability

solar roofThis is a guest post by Thor Hinckley, manager of Portland General Electric’s renewable energy program. The project he’s describing below embodies sustainability’s triple bottom line of economy, environment and equity (social justice — in this case, jobs for all).

‘Beyond limitations’ is an apt description for John Murphy, President of the Portland Habilitation Center (PHC), which provides employment for hundreds of developmentally disabled adults.  It also happens to be PHC’s motto.

In an unusual crossover between human services and sustainability, PHC has just become the largest solar energy facility in the Northwest, with its solar panels providing 125% of its energy use. Due to Oregon’s net metering law, the surplus energy gets sold back into the grid.

The PV system will eventually save PHC nearly $75,000 in annual energy costs and reduce carbon emissions by about 18,000 tons over the life of the system. Last Friday I was honored to attend the dedication ceremony of this 858 kilowatt Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) roof-top system which . This solar project is HUGE! The roof of the new building hosting this PV system contains 4,830 panels covering roughly 72,000 square feet.

The photo shows John and one of the solar installation crew installing the final PV panel needed to complete the system. Even this shows only about one-tenth of the roof top PV system at this new building. Standing up on the roof with John and a small group of dignitaries looking out over a small sea of solar panels I felt deep appreciation for all the time and effort that John Murphy and the building’s architect Ernie Munch put into making this truly extraordinary project happen.

photo courtesy of Thor Hinckley

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