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Monday, December 4, 2023
Dec. 4, 2023

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Port of Camas-Washougal writes guidebook to help agencies shrink carbon footprint

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The Port of Camas-Washougal has partnered with New Buildings Institute to produce a decarbonization guide.
The Port of Camas-Washougal has partnered with New Buildings Institute to produce a decarbonization guide. (Contributed photos courtesy of Clark Public Utilities, Port of Camas-Washougal) Photo Gallery

Port of Camas-Washougal officials have been promoting renewable energy sources lately, working with a county agency to install solar panels at its industrial park and taking the lead on installing electric vehicle chargers in east Clark County.

Now, the port has literally written the book on how public agencies and businesses can improve their decarbonization efforts.

In 2022, the port partnered with the New Buildings Institute, a Portland nonprofit energy performance organization, to produce a guidebook for the port’s staff, tenants and partners.

The guidebook was supposed to provide basic information about how the port might decrease its carbon footprint — and help fight climate change — throughout its existing and future buildings.

The document addressed energy efficiency, building electrification, renewable energy and electric-vehicle charging. Representatives from several other Washington ports have contacted the Port of Camas-Washougal to request a copy of the guidebook, according to Port Chief Executive Officer David Ripp.

The port has already started to apply some of the lessons in the guidebook, according to Ripp.

“We’re trying to be more efficient,” he said. “(We’re installing) LED lights, and updating every single building we have to meet energy code for insulation — if you can (have) better insulation, you’re going to save money on electrical and heating costs. And then when an HVAC unit needs to be replaced, we switch it from a gas to electric.”

The guidebook is one of several recent projects that have resulted from the port’s recent emphasis on environmental sustainability.

Over the past year, the Port of Camas-Washougal has partnered with Clark Public Utilities to develop a 799-kilowatt community solar project at its industrial park; installed an electric vehicle charger at its administrative office; announced its intentions to offer unleaded fuel to Grove Field airport tenants; and initiated an effort to become a “green certified” business through Clark Public Utilities.

Ripp credited Port Commissioner Cassi Marshall for the port’s increased focus on protecting the environment.

“A lot of this is Cassi coming in and having that knowledge and directing us and guiding us,” Ripp said. “I can’t take credit for it. She brought us to the next level. It’s her passion, and she brought that passion here. I’ve learned a ton just in the last few years just from hanging around her.”

Marshall grew up in Clark County, earned an engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked as a structural dynamics engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., before moving to Camas, transitioning to the education field and working for 17 years for the Washougal School District.

“I think that maybe I have more familiarity in some of these areas, and I’ve been able to point out opportunities, and other people jump in and say, ‘Yeah, let’s look into that. Let’s work on that,’ ” Marshall said. “But it’s been a team effort. I do think it is our responsibility (to take these issues seriously), and I think our team feels that way, too. Every single segment of our operations is part of the (sustainability) consideration, and moving forward, I think it will remain that way.”

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