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COVID-19 Risk Level for Multnomah County: Extreme Risk

Energy efficiency

2030 Objective: Reduce energy use in City operations by two percent annually.

Status: holding steady

Decades of smart design and consistent investment in energy efficiency upgrades have helped the City to reduce overall energy use 28 percent since FY 06-07. The City has made great strides increasing efficiency in street lighting, buildings and water pumping operations. Yet we also face a few significant challenges towards achieving our energy efficiency goal.

City operations are expanding in many areas in response to Portland’s population growth. This can make gains in energy efficiency difficult to achieve.

The City continues to identify ways to:

  • Reduce the energy use intensity of buildings (EUI is defined as energy use per square foot),
  • Increase the efficiency of the water distribution and wastewater management systems,
  • Adopt new, efficient technologies where appropriate.

Reduction in energy use compared to goal

In the most recent reporting year (FY 18-19), reductions in City Operations’ energy usage have resulted in a 28 percent decrease relative to a FY 06-07 baseline. Weather-dependent energy usage continues to play a role in year-to-year changes; water pumping and irrigation play a significant role in annual progress towards the goal. With this in mind, and with streetlighting upgrades completed, the City is will turn to energy reduction strategies in its buildings to make further progress towards this goal.

Total energy use by sector: Fiscal Year 2018-19

Supporting projects

The Portland Building reconstruction was completed at the end of 2019, with employees moving back into the building in the first months of 2020.  The building received close to $500,000 from the Energy Trust of Oregon for the various efficiency strategies that were implemented in the project.  The resulting energy use intensity is approximately 36 percent below Oregon energy efficiency code, and a 50 percent reduction from the original building design.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation completed the conversion of 45,000 street lights to Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. This project is the single largest energy efficiency project at the City to date; the LED conversion saves 20 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and $1.5 million annually, while drastically reducing maintenance requirements.  

The Portland Building is pursuing Path to Net Zero energy use in its upcoming renovation, due to be completed by 2020. Path to Net Zero aligns with the Architecture 2030 Challenge energy reduction standard and is attained by achieving approximately 40 percent savings over Oregon energy code.