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ECO PIONEERS PORTLAND’S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN PROGRESS REPORT I


n April 2012, the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Multnomah County Offi ce of Sustainabil- ity released a two-year progress report for Portland and Multnomah County’s 2009 Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Plan is a three-year plan to put Portland on a path to achieve a 40 per cent reduc- tion in carbon emissions by 2030, and an 80 percent reduction by 2050. “We’re making solid progress on our am- bitious Climate Action Plan goals, in part because we’re creating a more connected city,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “Portlanders now have more low-carbon options to get to school and to work, more


effi cient ways to heat and power their homes and new ways to deal with household waste.” According to the progress report, by the end of 2010 carbon emissions were 6 per cent below 1990 levels, while in comparison, national carbon emissions were up almost 12 per cent over the same period.


Other highlights from the report: ◆ Portland homes use 10 per cent less energy per person compared to 1990, and a larger percentage of the energy that is used now comes from sustainable energy sources. ◆ More than 1,400 homes and businesses have installed solar panels since 1990 across the county.


◆ While the population of Multnomah County has increased 26 per cent since 1990, fewer gallons of gasoline were sold in the county in 2010 than in 1990. ◆ Since 2009, the number of cyclists has increased by 14 per cent. ◆ Portland is home to 150 certifi ed green buildings, and has more LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Plati- num buildings than any other US city. ◆ Over 500 organisations and individuals have signed on to support the Multnomah Food Action Plan.


Source: City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


The company was established in 2007 by Adam Boesel, who wanted to see if the idea of creating electricity by exercising could be used in a mainstream gym setting. “I wanted to provide a legitimately green alternative to fi tness facilities, which are traditionally not eco-friendly,” says Boesel. “I also thought it would be a fun career and an interesting challenge.” In 2010, according to the company website, the Green Microgym generated 36 per cent of its own electricity by combining human and solar power, and saved 37,000 Kilowatt hours or 85 per cent (compared to traditional gyms per square foot). Typical gym users generate between 50 – 150 watts of power during their workout. Boesel admits that the energy produced by the exercise machines accounts for just a small percentage of the building’s total energy needs, but says “the equipment is one part of a comprehensive system


140 LEISURE HANDBOOK 2014


of doing everything as green as possible, understanding that ‘green’ is an aspiration as well as a destination.” While, others have pointed out that the payback period on this type of equipment can be up to two or three times the lifespan of the average machine, Boesel is not worried. “This isn’t solar panels on the top of your house where you have to look at return on investment that way,” he says. “This is altering exercise equipment to be more ecologically friendly. I would have had to buy it anyway for my gym, so for about the same price as new, I can purchase remanufactured equipment, and retrofi t it with PlugOut technology and make the world a better place. It’s an easy choice to make if you have the right perspective.” Members also earn points by working out under the gym’s incentive scheme, which they can use to get money off products when shopping at local stores.


The gym uses PlugOut spin bikes, PlugOut Ellipticals and PlugOut Recumbant Bikes, all developed by Seattle-based company PlugOut Fitness, manufacturers and suppliers of electricity-producing cardio equipment (co-founded by Boesel).


SUSTAINABLE HOTELS In February, The Courtyard by Marriott in Portland’s city centre became the fi rst Gold LEED-certifi ed hotel in the Pacifi c Northwest, and one of just 15 in the whole of the US. All of the hotel’s electricity comes from renewable sources, 77 per cent of waste is composted or recycled and the hotel is reducing its carbon footprint by using 28 per cent less energy than is normally used in a building of its size. The Aloft Portland Airport hotel has also won awards for its green efforts, which include its Bike and Fly programme – the hotel stores guests’ bikes for up to 14


www.leisurehandbook.com


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