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This content was published: September 24, 2018. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Japanese Energy Leaders Tour PCC Rock Creek

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Japanese Energy Leaders at PCC Rock Creek

Japanese Energy Leaders on a tour of the solar array at PCC Rock Creek

Portland Community College’s Rock Creek Campus recently found itself chosen as one of three high priority sites on the itinerate of an impressive group of energy leaders from across Japan. This Japanese Energy Research Group toured a site in Philadelphia, Silicon Valley, and sites in Oregon. Elaine Cole, Rock Creek’s  Sustainability Coordinator lead the tour and our district-wide Sustainability Manager, Briar Schoon, facilitated a presentation on our Strategic Energy Management (SEM) efforts with Dusty Farrell and Mikki Lee, consultants who serve as PCC’s Energy Coaches for SEM. They made their way through the impressive Rock Creek Learning Garden though the 500kw solar array was indeed the star of the show.

Elaine Cole Ph.D, PCC Rock Creek's Wonder Woman (official title Sustainability Manager though not nearly as fun...)

Elaine Cole Ph.D, PCC Rock Creek’s Wonder Woman (official title Sustainability Coordinator, though not nearly as fun…)

Briar Schoon having a good time with the Japanese Energy Leaders

Sustainability Manager, Briar Schoon having a good time sharing and learning new things with the Japanese Energy Leaders

PCC's Strategic Energy Management presentation

PCC’s Strategic Energy Management presentation w/ aerial view of PCC Rock Creek Campus

It’s rather humbling to consider that Japan’s Energy Leaders selected Portland Community College on this tour as one of its few destinations to learn more about electrical, natural gas and alternative energy uses. While we have a ways to go to reach net zero energy goals, it is wonderful to be appreciated for the work PCC has done in promoting renewable energy and driving energy conservation with best practices in mechanical, operational and behavioral programming. These efforts have resulted in more than 50% energy use reduction per square foot below 2006 levels.

The list of attendees was essentially the ‘who’s who’ of energy leadership for the country of Japan. You can get an idea of who was in attendance from this picture of the guest list:

Japan's Energy Business USA Tour guest list

In all, the day turned out to be lovely weather wise and it seems like there was value both given and received by both parties involved. This was an example of how collaboration across borders and cultures can be mutually beneficial and we at PCC are pleased to help participate in this sharing culture.

And just so you have a bit more of an idea on what Elaine and Briar presented on, here’s a peek at their presentation with a list of key areas they focused on…

PCC Objectives from PCC Energy Plan

PCC Energy Plan

This was a presentation of many rather technical aspects of the energy field that only a small portion of humans can even begin to comprehend (I myself fall just outside this line a good deal of the time). Though, from what I gathered, and what Elaine and Briar shared from their perspective of the day, it was a valuable and rewarding experience for all involved. So, that’s some good news!

Sincerely though, as we wind down these last few days of Summer and get ready to welcome the Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, it is good to both look inward at our own habits and practices. It is also valuable to embrace and take stock in the ways we are working together and collaborating across these invisible borders and across socially constructed divisions of our human family. We are all in this together. All of us. That goes for the whole cornucopia of our incredible ecological world. We are part of an intrinsically connected system and the more we embrace that, the more we recognize that it behooves us all to be supportive and collaborative rather than any other way, then the sooner and faster we move towards these changing paradigm shifts we desperately need to make on our human journey.

PCC Rock Creek solar array and the Japanese Energy Leaders Tour