Mr. Sun goes to China: Part 1
By John Patterson, Mr. Sun Solar
John Patterson is the president of Mr. Sun Solar.
In 2011, I was asked to speak at the 2011 Low Carbon Earth Summit in Dalian China. Dalian is a beautiful, modern northeast coast city bigger than Chicago but unheard of by most Americans.
I easily clocked 100 hours of preparation in my effort to give an audience of world-class energy leaders a perspective that would be appreciated from the high altitude at which they fly.
It was humbling to be among such a distinguished group of renowned experts. Most of them had PhDs after their names and held significant positions in business, industry and science. As a solar contractor from Portland, I felt like a sapling in the middle of a Redwood forest. Still my presentation, “Super Energy Efficient Buildings,” was well received even by the architects from Europe and Asia who were part of the Green Buildings Forum I was participating in.
I highlighted three projects in Portland: The LEED Platinum OHSU Riverfront building, the Mr. Sun Solar building — a retrofit 10,000 square foot zero-net energy commercial-industrial facility near the Portland Airport — and the newly designed Sun Townhomes project of zero-net energy row houses to be built in John’s Landing.
I'm proud of what we’re doing in Oregon, especially compared to sunnier places, demonstrating that with good design that puts energy first we can achieve remarkable results. With an audience who knew well that more than half of the energy used in the world is used in buildings, certainly my topic was on point.
Although many were surprised that in Portland we could do commercial, industrial and residential buildings where 100 percent of the annual energy used is renewable and is generated on site, several came up to me afterwards saying they had heard good things about Oregon and were happy to see some real examples.
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