EcoDistricts' four energy challenges
By Steve Clem
Steve Clem is vice president of preconstruction in the Beaverton office of Skanska USA Building and specializes in sustainable building. He can be reached at 503-207-2594 or Steve.Clem@skanska.com
The other key timing issue is the early presence of a large anchor load, such as the Rose Garden arena or Oregon Health Sciences University, to catalyze interest in the area. And when it comes to investments, big energy plant operators and equipment suppliers want to start with large projects that will yield immediate returns before investing in more complicated, risky or small projects.
Regulation needs to be conducive to the district energy concept, which could include credits for increasing density, floor-area ratio bonuses or reduced development fees. Also, when enough groundwork has been laid to prepare the public and businesses, a policy mandate should be implemented similar to any other building code adoption. As legislation moves toward public review, it is critical that the utilities are strong supporters and present a unified message.
None of the above guarantees success and the solutions for each district will be diverse. The challenges of low utility rates, developers looking for short term exit strategies, and private ownership of land and utilities will continue to make it hard to pencil out. If the knot can be untangled here in Portland, it can be untangled most anywhere. The result will be convenience, price stability, community benefit and reduction in emissions that will benefit the residents of the district and beyond.
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.