Home Back Issues January 2010 Portland works toward efficient lighting

Portland works toward efficient lighting

| Print |  Email
Articles - January 2010
Thursday, December 17, 2009
IMG_7693
PHOTO BY OREGON BUSINESS

City agreements with power companies and an inability to adequately measure components of its lighting infrastructure may be blocking a way for Portland to reduce energy and save money.

Joe Herbst, president of Portland-based Virticus, says he can help the city reduce resources spent on streetlights, but regulations stand in the way. He and his team have been meeting with city officials and Portland General Electric about how to initiate a system he says can reduce power and maintenance costs for the city.

Portland’s 2009-2010 budget calls for $7.6 million for street lighting operations. Rather than metering the lights separately, the city pays a flat tariff for different types of lights each year to PGE and Pacific Power. Herbst says his lighting control system would save the city 30% to 50% of its energy and maintenance costs for street lighting.

But in order for Portland to enter into an agreement with Virticus, it would have to change the rules that govern the city’s relationship with the utilities. “It would be a major decision and very costly,” says Dave Tooze, senior energy specialist for the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

Tooze says currently the city’s 55,000 street lights aren’t metered individually, so there is no way to verify the energy savings. Virticus would need to prove its system can save the city energy, he says. The difficulty is that the city has no data. “One thing we need to do is break the model with PGE,” says Herbst. “You’ve got to support variable usage.”

Skip Newberry, economic development policy adviser for the mayor, says conversations will continue with Virticus regarding verification, maintenance costs and deals with the utilities. And there appears to be no protest from the utilities. Deane Funk, PGE’s manager of local government affairs, says his company is always interested in helping the city use energy more efficiently. “We certainly are not going to get in the way of something that will save them money.” He acknowledged the program would require a change of rules, but says the process is still in its early stages.

“Our technology pulls together power line modem chips and wireless communication. We integrated the software around those and enabled solutions of scale,” says Herbst. He says the system adapts to daylight savings and can be used with any lighting infrastructure, giving the city total control over the system and instant identification of which lights need maintenance. 

WILLIAM E. CRAWFORD
 

More Articles

Private liberal arts education: superior outcomes, competitive price

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
0826 thumb collegemoneyBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Why has six years become an acceptable investment in public undergraduate education that over-promises and underperforms?


Read more...

Risks & rewards of owning triple net investments

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 24, 2014
NNNinvestmentBY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.


Read more...

Molecular Movies

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Dr. Chong Fang isn’t God. But the assistant professor of chemistry at Oregon State University is getting closer to figuring out how he put everything together. 


Read more...

Powerlist: Colleges and Universities

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation about higher education with the presidents of the University of Oregon and Clackamas Community College, followed by September's powerlist.


Read more...

Community colleges and sustainability

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 31, 2014
sustainabilityBY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.


Read more...

Portland rises

News
Monday, August 18, 2014

IMG 2551Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.


Read more...

Is this employee right?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
081314 thumb employeefeelingsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS