Before the Oregon Department of Transportation, ODOT, constructed a regional office building in Bend, the agency leased 10,000 square feet of space in three buildings. The leased space was expensive and wasted energy, both factors that provided opportunities to save taxpayer money.
With guidance from the Oregon Department of Energy, plus Energy Trust resources and incentives, ODOT designed and built an energy-efficient, 21,000 square-foot-building with a 9.2-kilowatt solar electric system. Working with BBT Architects, the team designed the building to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® Silver equivalent and meet Oregon’s energy-efficiency requirements for state buildings.
“Energy was one of the driving factors for the new building,” said Jeff Labhart, Region 4 business and operations manager, ODOT. “We estimated we could save 25-30 percent on our utility costs, including electricity, natural gas and water.”
A big part of the energy savings comes from a high-efficiency variable refrigerant flow heating, cooling and ventilation system. The cutting-edge technology and heat recovery system supports zoned heating and cooling, which helps save energy as the building occupancy changes.
Energy-efficient lighting contributes additional savings, and the solar electric system is expected to generate about 12,500 kWh of power each year. ODOT, a Pacific Power and Cascade Natural Gas customer, received $16,800 in Energy Trust incentives for the energy-efficiency improvements and $6,900 for the solar electric system.
The new building, which includes office and meeting space for 85 employees, is performing well with the building systems dialed in to work most efficiently.
“We have twice as much space now, but we’re saving $7,000 a year on our electricity costs,” Labhart said. “Electricity costs have gone from $30,000 a year to $23,000 a year. Plus our natural gas bill averages just $25 to $35 a month.”