Think global, act local

Local energy guru reflects on over two decades of sustainable leadership


The World Energy Engineering Congress, presented by the Association of Energy Engineers, was held at the Charlotte Convention Center in North Carolina from October 17-19, 2018. Its purpose: “[to] recognize achievements in energy within AEE’s 15 regions around the world.”

Roger Ebbage // Illustration by Prenapa Techakumthon

During the conference, semi-retired Lane Community College adjunct faculty member, Roger Ebbage, was presented with the Energy Professional Development Award for Region V – competing against others from other Western states.

According to the group’s website, their focus is on “energy management, HVAC and smart building systems; renewables, alternative energy and onsite generation; lighting efficiency and integrated energy solutions;” and lastly, “plant and facilities energy efficiency and management.”

The Energy Professional Development Award is “presented to an individual for outstanding accomplishments in training and development of energy engineers and managers, and for superior service to the association.”

Ebbage has been the LCC Energy Management Program Coordinator since 1992. The LCC Institute for Sustainable Practices webpage notes that in 1998, “Roger created the Northwest Water and Energy Education Institute providing practitioner professional development opportunities nationally and internationally and has been honored by the Association of Professional Energy Managers, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and the Community College League for Innovation with achievement awards.”

He began teaching at McClymonds High School in the early-1980’s, a public high school, in the West Oakland neighborhood of Oakland, California. There, Ebbage said “[the school was] in a very impoverished neighborhood, [although] gentrified now and has really seen a resurgence.”

Ebbage claimed that “when [he] started teaching there, [he] had someone recommend a design where the building materials – the windows pointing the right way, south, with external shading so you don’t overheat the building – and with a thermal mass, typically concrete, the concrete will absorb the heat and when there is a temperature change between the inside air temperature and the concrete, the concrete will release heat into the space.” Using this recommended design, he taught a construction program where he and the students built full-size homes in the community using this energy efficient technology.

As a part of Center Building remodel on LCC’s main campus, the school has implemented the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, policy and strives to build to those standards. The LEED policy focuses on using as much of the existing space as possible while being cost-effective and ultimately, energy efficient.

For the remodel of what has recently been renamed the Dr. Dale P. Parnell Center for Learning and Student Success, but known as the Center Building to most, “over 90 percent of the existing structural building systems were reused, such as exterior walls, floor systems, and roof, saving millions of dollars in cost and tons of new material.”

There are four LEED-certified buildings at LCC as highlighted on the school’s website.

On the main campus: Building 11, known for housing the art department, features two rotating galleries, and is home to the Academic Learning Skills Division. Some of the “Green building aspects of this remodel include installation of new bike parking and two new bottle filling stations.” Also, “insulation was added to new exterior walls making those walls up to 60% more insulating than required by code.” Building 30, focused on health and wellness, got its LEED certification in 2012 and “includes solar thermal panels that provide heated water for the faucet and building heating.” With these improvements, it uses half the electricity and 30 percent less water than before.

At the Mary Spilde Downtown Center, the entire complex is LEED certified. The academic building – Building 61A – opened in January 2013 and received its Platinum Certification in 2014. Its green roof over the conference center is akin to a sponge and slowly filters out impurities. Additionally, the rain that falls elsewhere on top of the complex is collected and stored in two 10,000 gallon tanks located below the West Courtyard and supplies the water that is used to flush the toilets throughout the complex. The other building that makes up the Mary Spilde Downtown Center is the residential complex, otherwise known as Titan Court, which opened in the summer of 2012 and got its LEED Gold certification in 2014. It uses 32 percent less energy than a conventional building.

Roger Ebbage has also served as an advisor for LCC energy programs, water conservation programs, solar and renewable energy technicians and professional trainings and education offered through the Northwest Water and Energy Education Institute .

Ebbage retired on July 1. On September 28, a gathering of former students and fellow peers celebrated his 26 years at Lane and his “retirement” at the downtown campus. However, even though retired, he’s still with LCC and “credits their success with National Science Foundation grants for [the] Water Conservation program and [the] Energy Management program [for] sustaining [his] adjunct employment with the college.”

His vision for LCC’s future in sustainability: to see that every building operating at its optimal efficiency.

Interested parties can learn more about LCC’s Sustainability Program by visiting the sustainability page on the school’s website.