Unlike many parts of the U.S., Oregon is enjoying unusual summer-like weather the past few weeks. As a result, you will see many cherry trees, daffodils and other flowers blooming throughout the state.

Just as Oregon’s growing season gets an early start, so does the building season here and in other parts of the country. If you or developers you know are planning new construction this year, you should consider adding an electric vehicle charging station to the project.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, projects can earn LEED certification points by adding EV charging stations.

If you forgot or didn’t know, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which was developed by the USGBC. It is a point-based rating system used to measure a new or existing building’s environmental “greenness.” Obtaining an LEED certification can help a building save on ongoing operating costs. A LEED certification also is seen by many companies and consumers as a table-stakes minimum they require for deciding to locate in a building, or in doing business with a business.

Adding EV charging stations also enables tenants to offer workplace charging, which is quickly becoming the norm in America’s workplaces.  

“Workplace charging enables both large and small organizations to attract and retain talented employees, reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions, and demonstrate innovation, leadership, and environmental stewardship,” according to a blog post from the folks at the Workplace Charging Challenge, being coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

According to the Workplace Charging Challenge, more than 600,000 employees at more than 300 worksites across the country are being given access to workplace charging for their EVs (OpConnect is part of the Workplace Charging Challenge).

According to a survey by the Workplace Charging Challenge folks, charging stations at partner locations and in operation by June 2014 provided an estimated annual kWh usage of 6.7 million kWh. This usage would be saving 800,000 gallons of gasoline and 5.5 million pounds of GHG annually – the equivalent of removing nearly 1,500 average cars from U.S. roads.

Many communities are considering new rules and laws that would require developers to at least add the infrastructure conduit during new construction projects so that property owners and others at a later time can more affordably install EVSE charging stations.

Oregon’s Rep. Phil Barnhart, D-Eugene and an EV driver, has introduced several bills in the 2015 legislative session that address better access to EV charging. Among those is HB-2577, which would require new parking facilities to include “electrical supply capacity and conduit system capable of supporting electric vehicle charging stations.”

OpConnect estimates that would save a property owner about $4,000 on the installation of charging infrastructure.

Barnhart’s bill had a public hearing on Monday, March 2, in the House Committee on Business and Labor.

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