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Commerce Building

  • Address:  148 12th Street, NE  Salem, OR  97301
  • Square footage: 33,354 
  • Tenant(s):  Department of Justice 
  • Year constructed: 1928
    Commerce Building 

Building History
The purchase of this 80 by 150 foot concrete building for $84,000 was authorized by the 1931 Legislative Assembly. It was originally used as the Agriculture Building. After the completion of a new Agriculture Building in 1966, this building became the Commerce Building.
Sources: http://myweb.msoe.edu/~westr/salem3

Green Team
 In 2009, the new Attorney General, John Kroger, launched a department-wide sustainability program for their internal operations. He wanted the Department of Justice to become the most sustainable law office in Oregon.
In response to the ambitious program, the Commerce Building launched their Green Team, called the Sustainability Committee, over the summer of 2009.
Sustainability Measures (exerpt from AG Kroger's letter to all staff, dated October 7, 2009):
1. Recycling. 
  • All DOJ buildings will have a comprehensive recycling program. Facilities staff, in cooperation with the Sustainability Committee, will be implementing comprehensive recycling (paper, glass, aluminum, plastic and batteries) at all DOJ facilities. New collection bins will be located in each office cluster or on each floor.
  • DOJ policy is to recycle things which can be recycled. Whenever possible, DOJ employees shall recycle items that can be recycled.
2. Paper use reduction. 
  • Double-sided printing policy. DOJ employees will print double-sided pages whenever printers have automatic duplexing capabilities, unless there is a specific reason for single-sided printing. We recognize some court and other filings require single-sided printing and such printing will of course continue. 
  • Double-sided printing set as default. DOJ Information Services staff will be resetting all DOJ printers that have automatic duplexing capabilities to a default double-sided setting in the coming weeks. However, a simple print selection will continue to allow single-sided printing when needed.
  • Future purchase requirement for duplex-ready printers. DOJ purchasing policy will be to purchase only printers capable of automatic duplex printing. This will result in the gradual replacement of DOJ’s current single-sided only printers as replacements are needed. 
  • Electronic forms and document management. DOJ staff will work to use electronic forms and electronic document management whenever feasible to reduce the Department’s use of paper.
3. Energy and greenhouse-gas use reduction. 
  • DOJ use of high-efficiency vehicles. DOJ agency policy will lease or buy only high-efficiency vehicles that are EPA rated at 45 mpg fuel economy or greater, unless there is a clear justification and need for a lower efficiency vehicle. 
  • Require future purchase of energy-efficient office equipment. All new DOJ leased or purchased office equipment should be Energy Star rated or better, unless unavailable or significant justification exists. 
  • Energy-efficiency building audits. Facilities staff and the Front Office will seek free energy efficiency audits from Oregon Energy Trust and other entities on buildings leased from DAS, within the next six months. The goal will be to identify ways to decrease energy use and reduce energy costs. Following these initial audits, DOJ Facilities staff will work with property owners of other DOJ-leased buildings to schedule similar energy audits over the next year. Audits will provide a list of energy-saving measures that DOJ will consider for implementation as part of continued sustainability efforts. 
  • Energy-use self audits. DOJ employees interested in monitoring energy use in their own office may borrow a new energy-use evaluation meter and monitoring kit from Facilities staff. The kit includes a digital energy-use meter that can track how much energy office equipment uses over the course of a day. The meter can register the surprising amount of energy that printers or computers use when off and track total energy use over the course of a day. The kit also includes suggested strategies for reducing the amount of energy your office uses. 
  • DAS "dark building" policy. As of July 1, DOJ will be cooperating with DAS on the implementation of its "dark building" policy, under which all buildings DOJ leases from DAS will have a default lights-out policy from 7 pm to 7 am. If employees need lights, they will be able to turn them on. DOJ will be reviewing how the DAS "dark building" policy is implemented and will consider a similar policy for all DOJ buildings as a part of our Phase II sustainability planning, now underway. 
  • Supporting carpooling and alternative transportation. DOJ will agree to provide a ride home (by taxi or otherwise) for any employee that carpools, vanpools or takes other alternative transportation to work and has a family or personal emergency while at work that requires use of a vehicle. The DOJ Sustainability group identified this as an important hurdle to carpooling. DOJ will conduct a review and report to the Front Office within two months on whether all DOJ offices have functional bike racks. Bike racks will be added if they do not exist, as funding is available. 
  • Encouraging and facilitating use of video conferencing to replace travel. DOJ staff who travel regularly are encouraged to use video conferencing where possible to reduce energy impacts and costs of vehicle travel. DOJ will, through a DOJ-wide email and other communications, direct employees who travel regularly to receive training on use of video conferencing equipment and provide a "How to Teleconference" sheet to all DOJ employees to create increased overall awareness of videoconferencing as an alternative to travel.
4. Providing clean and free drinking water to employees, reducing carbon impacts and reducing plastic waste. Many DOJ employees currently bring bottled water to work or pool funds to pay for drinking water dispensers and monthly bottled water delivery. The transport, delivery and packaging of bottled water results in a substantial greenhouse gas footprint and a significant amount of plastic waste. As an alternative, DOJ offices may request that a free high-quality drinking water filter be installed in a common kitchen or break area. DOJ will provide the water filters and replacement filter cartridges. Installing drinking water filters in kitchen or break rooms will enable us to provide good drinking water free of chlorine and other toxics present in some drinking water, while avoiding the energy and waste costs.
5. Decreasing toxics in the workplace through use of green cleaning supplies. Establish DOJ policy that only "green-certified" cleaning supplies should be used at DOJ facilities, including facilities we rent from private entities. Over the next four months, DOJ will work to identify exactly what that certified standard should be. This would be incorporated as a part of any lease or maintenance requirement into future leases and amended, as possible, into current leases. DAS and DHS already have green cleaning supplies standards and those standards, as well as other options, will be reviewed in considering an appropriate standard for DOJ.
6. Sustainable purchasing. The Front Office will work with the Sustainability Committee and Facilities to draft a sustainable purchasing policy for DOJ within three to six months. The goal is to consider sustainability considerations, such as energy and water use, recycled content, locality of production, waste generation, and related factors in purchasing decisions.
7. General promotion, employee training and visibility efforts for energy and resource conservation. DOJ will work with the Sustainability Committee to provide visible encouragements for sustainability goals such as stickers on light-switch plate covers and printers encouraging energy and paper use conservation. DOJ will include information about sustainability goals and measures to new employees as a part of new-employee training.
8. Resource use tracking. DOJ Facilities will provide monthly tracking information on DOJ use of paper, gas, electricity, and vehicle fuels. This information will be available on line at the Sustainability Committee’s webpage and will be used to track progress in achieving DOJ’s sustainability goals.   Learn more about Green Teams.

Energy Conservation
The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) has designated its buildings as resource conservation zones. This means DAS works hard to save energy and water in its buildings, as well as ensure employees and tenants recycle to the best of their ability. The goal is to save taxpayer money and care for the environment to the greatest extent possible.
Energy Savings Report
  DAS compares all bills to the calendar year 2000 as a baseline.  The goal and OAR require a 20 percent reduction in electricity and natural gas usage by 2015. DAS does not adjust the buildings without baseline adjustments for weather or any other factors. The savings column represents the combined electric and gas savings in Btu’s compared to the year 2000 usage. The Energy Cost column includes the totals for electric and gas – not all utilities.    

Electrical Usage (kWh)
Gas Usage (therms)
Energy Cost
Savings over the year 2000
*Note: a major renovation of the building took place in 2004, which caused the increased energy savings.
Electricity Scorecards
The quarterly scorecard provides a quick report on electricity reductions, compliance with the 20 percent reduction target, recent night audit results, and tips for conservation. Here are the scorecards for the building.

October 2009
January 2010
May 2010
Night Audits
 As part of the effort to conserve resources, DAS conducts quarterly night audits of the buildings. They walk through the spaces to ensure that lights, appliances, and equipment remains off during unoccupied times. Here are the results of the audits for the building.

November 2009
Nighttime energy use increased for the second audit.
February 2010
Nighttime use decreased for this audit. It was the first zero use building! Nice work!!


 The manner in which we travel to and from the building impacts sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions. The following summarizes the sustainable transportation options around the building.
Bike Routes

Certifications or Awards
The following summarizes the recognition received for the building:

  • EarthWISE certification from Marion County. This is a designation for organizations who commit to observe environmentally-friendly practices in their facilities.
EarthWISE logo 

Renovations and Major Projects
The following summarizes the capital projects in the building:

Type of Project
Project Description
Incentives Received*
Resource Savings Expected
Complete overhaul of heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, lighting and interior remodelETO and BETC30% energy improvements
Actual = 45%
ETO = Energy Trust of Oregon incentives for energy efficiency measures
BETC = Business Energy Tax Credit pass-through incentives for energy efficiency measures