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Bond measure: Not touting the 'green' aspect enough

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So I got a letter from student Kim Dukes of the Rock Creek Campus, taking us to task for not explaining well enough that the November bond measure would, if successful, lead to environmentally friendly or “green” buildings.

Kim, when you’re right, you’re right. We spoke to staff and faculty at all four major campuses yesterday, regarding the bond. I spoke at two campuses and I failed both times to talk up the green aspect of the bond measure.

I is an kommunicator for a living. Sheesh.

Here’s the deal: Old buildings are less environmentally friendly than new ones. The bond plan calls for constructing new buildings and to meet silver LEED standards.

LEED stands for the Leadership in energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System. It’s a third-party certification program and is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance “green” buildings.

Steve Sivage, PCC director of physical plant and all-around good egg, and his folks are shooting for Gold LEED standard at the new Willow Creek facility. Not only would the building be green, but by constructing it on the Max transit line, students can take a bus or light-rail train to the facility, get the training they need to enter the workforce, then step next door to our partner, the Oregon Employment Department, to look for a job. Now, that’s green.

When it comes to building environmentally friendly sites, Steve and his folks didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. After the 2000 bond, PCC facilities grew by 20 percent while our energy consumption increased by only 12 percent.

This new bond measure would let us build new buildings to LEED standards and upgrade existing buildings to be greener.

We handed out little “fast-facts” cards at In-Service and Kim rightly points out that the cards dramatically underplay the greenness of the bond. “I understand that the facts are condensed for space and quickness, but don’t you think we should tell everyone how great we are doing? So many companies are ‘green washing’ to get attention. We have actual plans and sustainable things that happen all the time at each campus yet no one knows about them.”

Point well made. Our bad.

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About Dana Haynes

Dana Haynes, joined PCC in 2007 as the manager of the Office of Public Affairs, directing the college's media and government relations. Haynes spent the previous 20 years as a reporter, columnist and editor for Oregon newspapers, including ... more »