Jul 14, 2017
We provide bus service within Salem and Keizer, as well as express service between cities in Marion, Polk, Linn, and Clackamas counties. Our Keizer Transit Center will celebrate its fifth anniversary this year. At first glance, you’ll find a busy transit center: a waiting area, public restrooms, a meeting room, and an on-site park and ride. But you’ll also find something more: a transit center that reflects the best in clean energy and energy efficient design.
"You are going to be the bellwether by which other transit projects will be measured," Representative Kurt Schrader told us when we opened, and I really think we are. When we set out to design our new facility, we let ourselves dream. What would we do to create a state of the art transit center if we could do anything? Starting with our dream list, we worked with a design firm to determine what would be feasible and cost effective. The result of our planning was not a transit center with some sustainable features tacked on, but a public space with sustainable features integrated throughout. For example, we have a living, green roof and solar panels. Half of our roof is full of plants that need only minimal watering. The roof absorbs rainwater, decreasing the amount of excess rainwater that would otherwise run off into storm drains. The green roof helps filter out water impurities, reducing stress on local streams.
The other half of our roof is made up entirely of solar panels. We’ve also incorporated solar tube lighting in our restrooms and buildings. During daylight hours, these tubes illuminate the areas as though they were lit with electricity. These areas are so well lit, in fact, that people often don’t realize it’s just sunlight and just assume they’re cool light fixtures. In addition, we have electric vehicle charging stations, energy efficient heating and cooling, and rain gardens. These offerings are functional and even beautiful, but most of all they are part of our commitment to the community. These features reflect our values: our commitment to decrease congestion, increase air quality, and enhance the quality of life for area residents.
Solar panels also adorn our passenger shelters and awnings. These aren’t your typical solar panels. Bifacial solar panels generate power both from the sunlight that shines downward, as well as capturing reflective light from the pavement below. This set-up allows us to utilize the maximum power from solar, and is helpful in the winter when surface portion of panels may be covered in snow. Any extra electricity we generate but don’t use is sold back to the grid, creating an additional source of revenue.
We have equipped our building with LED lighting and a “smart lighting system.” The smart lighting system controls the lights, sensing motion and only illuminating when a space is being used. Our smart heating system follows this same basic concept. We have ground source heat pumps that sustainably heat our passenger waiting area and restrooms.
Our commitment to sustainability can also be seen in our vehicles. Our entire fleet utilizes clean fuels, from CNG to biodiesel, with plans to replace some of our older buses with electric powered buses. We’re proud to be a Clean Fuels Standard credit generator, benefitting directly from Oregon’s signature clean air law.
In our passenger lobby we have screens showing times of departing busses, but these screens also show passengers just how much power is being generated by on-site clean energy in that given moment. In fact, we have signs throughout the station that explain our sustainable features. In this way, we’re not just using clean energy but also educating the community about what is is and how it works.
Our entire project was funded through a combination of state funds and federal earmarks, ensuring that our community members could feel the benefits of energy efficient design without absorbing the up front costs. But there’s more we want to do. We want to put LED and smart lighting systems in our bus shelters. We want to install battery packs to store the clean energy we generate to light and heat our facility when it’s dark, or when we have the occasional power outage.
Our focus on sustainability is a big part of who we are, and Clean Energy Jobs would provide the steady influx of reinvestment dollars needed to help businesses like ours, and others across the state, to pursue clean energy upgrades that lower costs, maximize efficiency, and create jobs. Our upgrades have enabled us to save costs, keep our rates low, and expand our routes -- offerings that are especially important to those who depend on public transportation as their primary way to get around, such as the elderly. Energy efficiency represents an important way we can serve the community and keep costs low, and Clean Energy Jobs would allow us to serve more people in the community -- which is our primary goal.