Statesman Journal reprint

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From September 23, 2008 Statesman Journal:

Businesses from construction to retail are working to GO GREEN

Pringle Creek is helping Salem-area builders gain environmental skills

Greening your business makes sense. What began as part of the environmental movement has become good business practice as the cost of energy soars and the demand for healthy products grows.

The emergence of green marketing during the past few years is nothing short of amazing. Small businesses and giant conglomerates are on the bandwagon. BP and Exxon promote renewable resources while the local dry cleaners advertise nontoxic methods.

Environmentally responsible products and services are everywhere. But consumers are quickly learning to judge shades of green and the level of commitment that companies offer.

Running a business has always been about ingenuity. Companies have always worked hard for efficiency — such effort goes on through decisions that are made all day every day. Greening a business will occur the same way, from a decision to purchase an organic detergent to putting in a new bike rack for employees.

Businesses promoting and advocating sustainability are looking for vendors and suppliers who can deliver the same level of commitment and contribute to their green marketing story. The green basics of businesses are the same as at your home: reduce, reuse, recycle. But businesses that keep these principles in mind can apply them to big decisions at the planning stage and, in doing so, can change the paradigm.

Architects and planners have been leading the effort toward smart growth for years. Developers in cities across America are finding that healthy buildings and mixed-use projects yield better returns as tenants and buyers benefit from energy savings and improved working and living environments. New buildings should all be energy-efficient; they should also be “in-fill” and close to transit, not part of the U.S. suburban sprawl pattern that is ruinously dependent on cheap oil.

Pringle Creek Community (I work for the project), the green development on part of the former Fairview Training Center property in South Salem, is making green choices: For instance, we’re reusing buildings. Some of the existing buildings on the property will be integral to our Village Center.

Pringle Creek has inspired, and been inspired by, a group of green entrepreneurs here in Salem.

DeSantis Landscaping is a leader in green landscapes and maintenance services and gained certification from the Pollution Prevention Outreach Team, made up of members of various municipalities and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Evolution Paving Resources has become a leader in pervious concrete applications.

O’Neil Pine Co. and Withers Lumber are partnering to ensure a steady flow of Forest Stewardship Council-certified lumber for new homes.

North Santiam Paving used biodiesel in some of its heavy equipment while creating one of the country’s largest residential applications of pervious asphalt. The company demonstrated ingenuity when it came up with the idea of reusing some concrete beams to build a small bridge over the creek.

Builders such as Blake and Larry Bilyeu and Spectra Construction have brought knowledge and passion for green building techniques to the homes at Pringle Creek.
One green project is contributing to many companies increasing their knowledge of green practices. The work is expanding the skill sets among subcontractors and suppliers.

Together, we are becoming better able to address a market that is moving from niche to mainstream.

Tony Nielsen of A.C. Nielsen Development Services has served as the master-plan coordinator for Sustainable Fairview Associates and for Pringle Creek Community.

Tony Nielsen (right) talks with workers at the greenhouses at the Pringle Creek Community. The greenhouses were preserved and are being restored for a community garden area to promote sustainability.