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Rockwood Boys & Girls Club earns award for teaching, practicing sustainability

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Erin Hubert, left, and Imani Muhammad accepted a sustainability award from the city of Gresham Wednesday morning, April 24, for their efforts at the Rockwood Boys & Girls Club. At the Rockwood Boys & Girls Club, sustainability is built in from the rooftops to the drains.

"We wanted to find out how we could be as green as possible from the very beginning," said Erin Hubert, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland.

Wednesday morning, April 24, those efforts were acknowledged by other sustainable-minded people within the community. The Rockwood Club, 454 S.E. 165th Ave., received an award from Gresham's Green Business Program while hosting a monthly coffee gathering.

"It's an honor to be here with all of you," Hubert said during the event. "The award means a lot — the kids are going to think it's so cool."

During the event, the Rockwood Club shared all the ways it supports the environment. When the space was first constructed two years ago, they used the frame of the former business that was on the site, reusing a warehouse and the skeleton of the building. That prevented a larger impact during building, despite the extra costs to the nonprofit organization. They also brought in reused office furniture.

The Rockwood Club strategically uses daylight and ample windows to reduce its need for lights, and those in place are LED, even in the parking lot. Many of the rooms have photo and motion sensors on the lights, so they only turn on when needed.

On the roof, there are a series of solar panels that were put in place thanks to a $350,000 grant, which lessens the carbon footprint and saves money on the monthly electric bills.

The building has low-flow toilets, motion-sensor faucets with low-flow aerators, and lots of on-site ways to deal with stormwater. Throughout the club there are recycling stations with signage, and the Rockwood Club uses green cleaners.

"This building has passed techniques on to the other clubs, so we are now being green more globally," said Mike Fisher, facilities manager for the clubs.

An important aspect of the club's drive toward sustainability is that it can pass that passion on to the kids who attend activities during the school year and summer. The club serves children ages 6-18, and many of them have become excited to do their part in being green.

The staff in Rockwood teach the kids about recycling, and have fun tasks like a lesson on how wind turbines work using Legos. They have showcased green jobs, and have started a green ambassador program.

The Gresham Green Business Program provides free outreach to help reduce waste, water and energy usage while certifying businesses throughout the community for their sustainable efforts.

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