About one month ago, construction began on this ambitious light rail substation for the South Terminus of TriMet's Portland Mall Light Rail Line.  The station, designed by Hennebery Eddy Architects, combines style with salvaged materials and a unique solar and wind power scheme. 

Solar panels and 22 small wind turbines from Oregon Wind (a new company we'll write about soon) will provide 75-90 percent of the power needed to operate the substation and communications buildings on-site, although TriMet still needs to secure funding on the alternative energy technologies.

The vertical axis wind turbines from Oregon Wind are four feet tall and perch on top of the same steel poles that support the rail catenary wires.  According to The Oregonian, the cost of the turbines should come to about $250,000, or just over $11,000 per turbine. 

The 50 kW solar array is expected to cost about $750,000.  When installed, a "meter" bench in the public plaza will display how much energy is being generated on-site by the solar and wind technologies.

The rest of the substation, which is located at SW Jackson Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, is being funded by $1.2 million in federal stimulus funds. Construction is expected to be complete by mid-February. 

One of the most striking aspects of the design is a coil drapery manufactured by Cascade Coil Drapery that will eventually support the solar array. The drapery also conceals, to a certain extent, two prefabricated transit utility buildings. 

The design has already been awarded an unbuilt merit award from the local AIA chapter, but don't expect the praise and attention to stop there.  We'll follow up later when the station is done with all the geeky, green elements. 

Rendering credit: Ambient Light Inc./Hennebery Eddy Architects.