A newspaper ad for TERA One

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    "Introducing TERA One",
    June 3rd, 1977.

    Part of a large Pacific Power ad announcing TERA One, their groovy prototype energy-efficient house of the future. The house was located in the parking lot between the Oregon Zoo and the old OMSI building, and was open for public tours for a few hours each weekend.

    I toured it once as a kid and I remember thinking it was really cool; apparently my parents weren’t as impressed, since I repeatedly suggested we visit again and we never did.

    It’s not entirely clear what the real goal of the house was. Was it a genuine research lab? A serious model home? A PR effort to show utility regulators they cared about energy efficiency?

    Whatever the original motivation, by 1983 Pacific Power decided they didn’t need the place anymore and donated it to OMSI, which tried to use it as an energy education facility.

    Unfortunately TERA One turned out to be something of a white elephant in that role. It could only accommodate small groups of visitors at a time, the roof leaked like a sieve, and it turned out to be rather expensive to maintain the place, aside from the relatively low energy costs.

    If I recall correctly, when I worked at OMSI in 1989 the house was no longer open to the public; it may have already been demolished at that point, but I’m not entirely sure.

    Still, practical concerns aside, it’s a shame it’s not around anymore. It was just so freakin’ groovy."

    Text from the PDX Tales blog: pdxtales.tumblr.com/tagged/energy
    Image from the Oregonian (Friday, June 3rd, 1977)

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