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Bonneville Power: Thinking, Working and Living Green

BPA's efforts to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of its business were recently recognized with a local certification. Overall, the agency demonstrated a 445,000 kWh energy savings at its headquarters building.

For 75 years, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has been committed to providing reliable, low-cost power to the Pacific Northwest, protecting fish and wildlife, encouraging the expansion of renewable energy and promoting energy efficiency. Now the agency is being recognized for another commitment — its sustainability program at its corporate headquarters in Portland, Ore.

Last month, BPA became the first federal agency to achieve the City of Portland’s Sustainability at Work Gold Certification for sustainability efforts at its headquarters building.

BPA has completed 60 out of a possible 74 actions related to education, transportation, materials and waste, and energy and water use. Notable accomplishments included a recycling and composting program that cut waste by 44 percent, purchasing hybrid electric fleet vehicles, integrating electric vehicle charging stations in its motor pool, and installing a five-tier green roof with 32,000-gallon storm water harvesting tanks. Overall, the agency demonstrated a 445,000 kWh energy savings.

The agency also launched a successful printing reduction campaign, saving BPA about $400,000 in printer-related costs compared with the previous year; and encouraged commuters to use public transportation or bike, earning them the title of Portland’s best employer for low-carbon commuters.

BPA started their sustainability efforts three years ago in order to create a clean energy economy, reduce their energy intensity and, overall, lead by example. Starting from an action plan in late 2009, sustainability efforts ramped up to include the energy and water conservation, and reductions in waste and petroleum use that contributed to the gold certification.

BPA’s next challenge is scaling up its sustainability program to reflect its footprint across the Northwest. For 2013 and the near-term, the agency will shift its focus from its corporate headquarters to reducing energy, water and waste at its other facilities.

For a list of BPA’s gold certified achievements, see the Sustainability at Work listing. To learn more about BPA’s program, read its 2012 sustainability report.

In a city known for its commitment to clean air and water, and promotion of a sustainable lifestyle, BPA is the first federal agency to be certified by Sustainability at Work at any level. The certification is valid for three years.

BPA, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2012, is a nonprofit federal agency that markets renewable hydropower from federal dams on the Columbia River and operates about 75 percent of the high-voltage transmission lines in the Northwest. BPA also funds one of the largest wildlife protection and restoration programs in the world and supports region-wide energy efficiency measures.