Last Friday, the Bethlehem Inn celebrated the opening celebration of its newly constructed 18,000-square-foot mixed-use building. The ADA accessible facility – which features a large commercial kitchen, communal dining space, and shelter for 10 families – will serve the high-risk and displaced population of Central Oregon.
The project was developed with funding support from Pacific Power’s Blue Sky customers and the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Path Net Zero Program, which assists stakeholders in early design and collaboration efforts to implement ambitious energy efficiency and renewable energy goals. Ascent Architecture, Sunlight Solar Energy and other energy consultants participated in the over year-long planning process.
As a result of this integrated design process, the facility is expected to consume far less energy than a typical building that was constructed to minimum building code requirements. The energy-efficiency measures include a number of upgrades to building envelop and mechanical equipment, as well as installation of solar electric system that is expected to offset over 60% of the facility’s electricity usage.
The 91.6 kW solar photovoltaic system is comprised of 316 photovoltaic modules that cover the building’s two roofs. The system is expected to produce around 119,000 kWh annually, which is enough to offset an estimated 131,500 lbs. of CO2 emissions, or the equivalent of planting 10 acres of trees. The solar energy production will save the organization over $11,000 per year on electricity costs – funds that that will instead go directly towards supporting the organization’s essential programs.
The solar photovoltaic system was funded with a $100,000 grant from Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program customers, and a $65,789 grant from the Oregon Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Development (RED) Grant program. Sunlight Solar Energy provided pro bono development assistance to help secure the two grants.
Bethlehem Inn’s Executive Director Gwenn Wysling states, “We are grateful for the support of the Energy Trust of Oregon, Pacific Power’s Blue Sky customers, the Oregon Department of Energy, and Sunlight Solar. The cost savings created from the facility’s energy-efficient design and solar system will allow us to put our limited resources towards what’s important, which is providing the essential services that are important to our community.”
“Our Blue Sky customers put their dollars to work in their communities,” said Matt Chancellor, Pacific Power’s regional business manager for Central Oregon. “Not only will these facilities supply renewable energy, but they are helping increase the visibility and adoption of renewable technology. We are proud to be part of this important partnership with communities and our Blue Sky customers.”
The Bethlehem Inn project is part of the renewable energy funding process that Pacific Power Blue Sky customers have helped fund since 2006. Overall, $10 million has been invested in the installation of 101 community-based projects totaling 8.8 megawatts of renewable energy generation capacity, demonstrating the viability of renewable energy in their communities.