Case Study: Portland Food Co-op

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During the design of the Portland Food Co-op, the design committee, Warren Construction Group, and Spark Applied Efficiency worked together diligently to identify cost-effective energy-saving projects to advance the co-op’s sustainability mission.

By including efficiency experts from the beginning, with experience in everything from light bulbs to solar panels to electric vehicles, key decisions could be prioritized with operating costs and other important long-term impacts in mind.

As a result of this collaboration early in the process, the team was able to improve the building’s energy performance within an extremely tight budget. Significant savings were achieved through super-efficient LED lighting controlled by dimmers, timers and motion sensor to maximize the potential of this new technology.

Waste heat from refrigeration is captured to heat hot water, at the same time reducing both the energy needed for water heating and for air conditioning. High-efficiency compressors were installed in coolers and freezers, and all fan motors in those refrigeration systems use efficient ECM technology to reduce energy demand.

A further detail is controls on anti-sweat heaters in the cooler doors: turning these heaters off unless necessary to remove condensation not only saves the energy to run the heater, but also the energy needed to remove the heat from the cooler.

Careful planning during the design phase, along with meticulous attention to detail during construction, is creating a co-op space that not only performs at a high level, but will pay dividends in terms of a cleaner environment, a lower load on our energy infrastructure, a reduced exposure to energy price increases, and lower operating costs now and in the future.