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Net Zero Convenience Store

Bob Barman rebuilt the Highland Chevron gas station and Extra Mile convenience store in Beaverton, Oregon.



His goal being “net zero”, he has done a commendable job. He has installed more than 180 solar panels on top the pump station canopy and store roof, tapping sunlight to meet about a third of a typical gas station’s electricity needs.

Then installed a geothermal well that plunges 426 feet below ground, exchanging heat through groundwater. Naturally cool water helps run the Extra Mile’s bank of refrigerators. Water pipes gather heat that cooling units extract and store it far underground as hot water.

He used high-efficiency LED fixtures in almost every light fixture in the building, from the outdoor price signs to the depths of the “Beer Cave.”

By turning on all of these systems before the opening, the stationĀ  built up a credit with Portland General Electric for pumping surplus electricity into the grid.

Pamplin Media Group

Pamplin Media Group

He installed a free electric-vehicle charging station outside and had the pump station canopy (the portion not covered by solar panels) covered in water-absorbing sedum plants to reduce polluted runoff to streams.

Chevron also gave Barman extra flexibility, including allowing him to sell biodiesel blends that the big oil company doesn’t make. Oh heart be still!

Barman figures he will cut down his $2000/month electric bill with all of the improvements.

Since most stations/convenience stores have not even attempted to go forward with efforts to get off of the grid such as Barman, they should start taking a look at it. I mean many of them had to re-do the tanks due to corrosion and/or law changes. So why not take the next step, at least go the solar and/or LED fixtures to help out their local communities?

Of course, Barman does not have a “net zero” station yet. Why? Well, of course, he is still selling gas/diesel. But for him, he is as close as he can get. Give this guy a standing ovation for one heck of a start in the right direction. He is a winner in my eye for looking towards the future with the right attitude.

What do you think? Is he at net zero?

Net Zero … as the green future unfolds.

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No Responses to “Net Zero Convenience Store”

  1. Andy Banks Says:

    WOW thats the most eco friendly petrol station i have ever seen!lol. but, it would have been nicer if he had just got rid of the gas station and invested all that effort in a more sustainable business. the sales of gas are still adding to his carbon footprint thus making his efforts for green living futile. Also, hes using green energy to make more money from gas, which obviously is not eco friendly. Isnt that a bit wrong? Making eco changes shouldnt be about money, its about the future of our planet.
    Thanks for the interesting post : )

  2. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Linda,

    My hat goes off to him. From the sounds of it, he does want to make a difference, plus he’s from Oregon (my State). WooHoo!

  3. Lynda from Home Energy Services Says:

    That’s really cool to see a gas station with solar panels on the roof! Hopefully we’ll see more things like this soon.

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