Driving home big water savings at PDX

by Lisa Timmerman 11/17/2014 2:09 PM

Ever wonder what happens after you drop off your rental car? If the vehicle was returned to Portland International Airport, there’s a good chance that it involved a visit to the Quick Turnaround Facility, also known as the QTA. Over the last two years, this behind-the-scenes facility has been undergoing some significant changes to reduce its environmental footprint.

 

After you part ways with your rental car, it gets whisked off to the QTA to get cleaned up for the next customer. Any garbage or recycling is removed, the interior is vacuumed and the car gets run through a car wash.

 

During the busy season, thousands of rental cars could go through the car wash each day, so it’s not surprising that Port of Portland staff identified the QTA as the largest consumer of water at PDX. In one year alone, the QTA could use as much as 16.2 million gallons of water. Over the last two years, the Port and on-airport rental car companies at PDX have been working together to make modifications to the QTA to improve water conservation.

 

In its first phase, the Port worked with the rental car agencies to complete facility performance and maintenance improvements, saving nearly 5.6 million gallons of water per year. The success of the first phase sparked interest in exploring the feasibility of water reuse.

 

“In the spring of 2013 we installed a water reclaim unit at our Alamo location and saw immediate water use reduction of 50 – 70 percent,” explains Ava Joubert, Group Operations Manager for EAN Holdings LLC, which operates the Enterprise, Alamo and National Brands at PDX. “We knew that if all five car rental companies doing business on-site at PDX installed individual water reclaim units on their bays the water and cost savings could be really impactful.”

 

In a recently completed second phase, all the rental car agencies installed water reclamation units that reuse rinse water in the wash cycle, cutting water use in half. The potential water savings each year will be around another 5 million gallons, equal to about 7.5 Olympic-size swimming pools!

 

In addition to the obvious environmental benefits of conserving water, the changes also pencil out for the rental car agencies. Using less water means lower water and sewer fees, cutting operating costs in a highly competitive industry. It also helps bring new possibilities to light. “We've learned about rebate programs with the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Portland Water Bureau for efficiency projects. We have made great strides, but there is still a lot to learn. The opportunities for more water and energy savings are infinite, which is really exciting!” says Joubert.

Supreme Committee visits Port HQ

by Lisa Timmerman 3/1/2013 9:57 AM

The Port of Portland received a visit last week from the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee during their U.S. trade mission to the West Coast. The committee is responsible for planning infrastructure improvements for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and plans to renovate three stadiums and build nine new stadiums, open a new international airport, expand its container port facility and expand its light rail and highway systems ahead of the event.

The delegation was led by U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, Susan L. Ziadeh and Qatar Secretary General, Hassan Al-Thawadi. The group also visited Los Angeles and Seattle. Other stops during their stay in Portland included Nike and Jeld-Wen Field.

While at Port headquarters, the group toured our LEED Platinum building to learn more about its energy and water saving features, like our Living Machine®. Executive Director Bill Wyatt described Port operations in general and discussed the Port's sustainability efforts including parking guidance and QuickPay parking payment system that help reduce emissions from idling vehicles. The group, which had many questions even at the end of a long day touring Portland, was particularly interested in what drives the culture around sustainability in Portland. 

 

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee (some sporting their Portland Timbers scarves) with Port Executive Director Bill Wyatt and Jennifer Woods, U.S. Department of Commerce

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Port headquarters building goes for gold

by Lisa Timmerman 1/22/2013 9:26 AM

The Port of Portland LEED Platinum headquarters building has another metal to add to its list of honors - gold. The Port's headquarters building recently received a gold certification through the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s Sustainability at Work program. The gold certification is the highest level that can be achieved through the program which recognizes local businesses and organizations for their leadership in helping make Portland one of the cleanest, most sustainable cities in the country. The certification criteria include numerous actions related to energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, transportation, procurement and employee education. The actions were verified during an onsite visit with a Sustainability at Work advisor.  

“The Port’s achievements are impressive both in the design and construction of an incredibly energy and water efficient headquarters building and ongoing waste minimization efforts that have diverted 84 percent of the building’s waste stream from the landfill,” said Sustainability at Work advisor, Paul deBlock.

The Port received the BEST Award for projects in 2004, 2006 and 2011, under a similar City program and the headquarters building has received numerous honors including the Oregon Sustainability Award. However, this certification recognizes both the thoughtful considerations the Port incorporated into the building itself and the ongoing, day-to-day operations within the building.