09-30-2023  1:42 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
Helen Silvis
Published: 18 May 2012

Green is the new Black – at least at The Skanner News. Our building is getting a new, energy efficient makeover that has reduced our energy use, and sends power back into the electricity grid.

I'll be honest with you. Our 1970s-era building, at 415 N. Killingsworth Street, has always been a great environment –for plants. Check out our stairwell, drenched in light from the overhead skylight, and feel the fear: those killer tomatoes are baaaack. As for human beings? That's another story. We have sweltered through summers and we've shivered through winters. Don't tell anyone, but our brainy news editor keeps furry slippers under her desk! And yes, they are purple.

The transformation started last September, when we applied a reflective tint to the windows. Next, a team of workers from Western Roofing risked their lives to climb onto our roof and lay down a dazzling, white reflective surface called –amazingly enough— White Roof. The building cooled off immediately. Then we brought in the real power brokers. Imagine energy installed an array of solar panels that captures rays of sunlight and turns them into electricity. Stop me if I'm getting too technical for you!

Right now, the building has 22 panels and plans are underway to install 19 more, for a total of 41 solar panels that will produce 10 KW of energy. Already, The Skanner's accountant reports that our power bills have gone way down.

The whole project will cost about $100,000, but who cares. The boss is paying. And we're helping to create green jobs. Actually we did get a little help from the Portland Development Commission through its Green Features program, designed to help businesses become more energy efficient. That's funded through the urban renewal plan for Killingsworth St.

Check out our plan to put the next batch of solar panels on the outside of our building. They will be installed on a new awning that will replace the current fabric awning. Let's hope they don't flap in the wind. Since Killingsworth Street is now designated a historic preservation area. That took a hearing and a special permit. And a lot of green backs—just kidding!

Business owners interested in taking part in the Green Features grant program can find out more from project coordinator Stephen Green at 503-823-3231 or email greens@pdc.us

Homeowners who missed the deadline for registering with the  Solarize program, which helps save money on solar through bulk buying, can still find lower cost solar through the Energy Trust of Oregon

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