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Northwest Family Services is committed toward stewardship not only of our financial resources, but also of the precious environment we all occupy.  This key principle has helped guide the nonprofit since 1983.

Here is a list of current practices that help NWFS reduce our operating and energy expenses as well as keeping our building “Green:”

Energy and Atmosphere

  • Building Insulation – Building is insulated to exceed minimum standards as required by the Oregon energy code for commercial buildings with R-19 wall insulation and R-38 attic insulation.
  • Interior lighting – Interior lighting standards utilize direct/indirect T-5 fluorescent fixtures and electronic ballasts.
    • Interior lighting utilizes motion sensors that turn off lights when rooms are vacant to minimize lights accidentally left on.
  • Laptops and desktop PCs use energy efficient shut-down measures.
    • Laptops and desktops used by staff are set to shut down at the end of the workday and turn on at the start of the workday automatically.
  • Natural Ventilation – this building has operable windows and is designed to utilize the stack effect to provide enhanced natural air flow throughout the office areas by including a clerestory ventilation system with operable louvers.  The offices has operable transom panels over the doors.
  • Tobacco – Smoking is not allowed in this building.

Site Measures

  • Alternative transportation: Accessible via Tri-Met
  • Parking capacity – project meets only the minimum requirement for parking based on Clackamas county requirements.
  • Storm water –Site is designed to detain storm water run-off and to provide filtration of run-off to reduce contaminates.
  • Light pollution reduction – site lighting provides house side cut-off luminaries to reduce sky glow and improve night sky access. 
  • Water efficiency – landscape plantings are native northwest specie that once established, will reduce the need for excessive watering.


  • Construction Waste management - Construction waste management was reduced to lower the impact on landfills and to promote construction waste recycling.
  • Recycled content - Recycled construction material was used when possible.
  • Rapidly renewable materials –Construction lumber was harvested from certified forests. 
  • Construction Indoor Air Quality – Reduced indoor air contamination through the use of temporary filters on HVAC equipment, dust control, and low VOC content paints, carpets, composite wood, and construction adhesives.

HVAC Design

  • Thermal comfort control – The HVAC systems for this building is zoned to allow individual control of the habitable areas.
  • Controls for unused rooms are set to “Unoccupied” to limit need for heating and cooling to times when rooms are occupied.

Day Lighting

  • Natural day lighting – this facility maximizes natural daylight through the use of glazed transom panels and clerestory windows.  The clerestory windows are minimized to reduce the potential for solar heat gain and the light from them is reflected off sloped ceiling surfaces to maximize their effectiveness.  Exterior windows are provided with generous overhangs to reduce heat gain and the windows are tall to provide more reflected light onto the ceiling surfaces. 


  • Northwest Family Services recycles all plastic, aluminum, paper, and cardboard products. 

Energy Efficiency

  • Northwest Family Services, beginning 2017, launched a solar project of 128 solar panels installed on the roof of our Community and Family Center in SE Portland.  The roof array reduces the building’s overall carbon footprint, and allows Northwest Family Services to invest the saved energy consumption dollars back into supporting the community. These solar panels provide 31,983 kilowatt hours of electricity annually (at least 55% of the building's annual energy consumption).  On an equivalent basis, this solar power system offsets the emissions from the consumption of 2,529 gallons of gasoline or 23,985 pounds of coal burned, amounting to a reduction of 22.5 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year!   

This Solar Array project was made possible with funding support from PGE’s Renewable Development Fund, which is comprised of contributions from customers purchasing renewable power via PGE’s renewable power products. LightSource Energy, LLC was the Developer, as well as the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) Contractor for this project.