Coos Bay, Aug 16 2016 – The Ford Building in Coos Bay is a hub of the downtown community. The building re-opened its doors in 2013 after a full renovation. Since purchasing the building, owners David and Molly Ford have put their heart and soul into shaping the building into a vibrant center that attracts locals and visitors alike. The building boasts tenants such as 7 Devils Brewery, Art of Life local art retailer, Oregon Health and Science University’s rural health offices, and soon Inner Sanctum Recording Studio. Coos Bay contracting firms Sol Coast Consulting and Design, LLC and Sol Coast Construction, LLC were hired by the Fords to renovate and design the building using the principles of sustainable development.
“It is just the right thing to do. Sustainable development of buildings is an investment in the future. This building was completely gutted and rebuilt to the most efficient standards possible, and we all benefit from it. Sol Coast, as well as 7 Devils Brewery owners Carmen and Annie, were a driving force in making this building as environmentally friendly as it could be.” – David Ford, owner.
The Ford Building was taken down to the bones and rebuilt using innovative design principles. The building features a rain garden, electric vehicle charging station, high-efficiency LED lighting, re-used materials, and the addition of south-facing windows to capture passive solar energy.
Not only does the Ford Building flaunt these stunning visual elements that anyone driving by can see, there is also a lot going on behind the surface.
One feature of the building that adds to its environmental sustainability is its huge 12 kW solar array on top. While you might not be able to see it from the street, this array of solar panels is generating solar electricity all year, producing power for all the businesses that call this building home. 7 Devils Brewing Co., a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, has an entire community room powered by the solar array. Art of Life, a retail store and art gallery owned by Molly Ford featuring locally-made art and clothing is also powered by part of the array. The Ford Building’s solar array also has a battery backup system that will provide power in the case of a grid outage.
For the portion of the building that includes the brewery’s community room, the building operations room, and some of the tenants in the building, David’s electricity bills were cut in half by his solar system. From August 2015 to July 2016, the solar array provided 57% of all the energy used in those portions of the Ford Building.
“I did not expect my bill to go down that much at all. I had to go down and do a double-take of the meters. I kept going back to my energy bill and saying, ‘Does this bill really cover all of those spaces?’” -David Ford.
David thinks that this building can serve as a model for other businesses in the Coos Bay area.
“I am excited that this investment will really pay off. While it will still be a while until the entire solar system is paid back, I know it was worth it. It’s just one example of how anyone can benefit from installing solar.” – David Ford.