Karl Miller Center on track for highest green building ranking
Author: Campus Sustainability Office
Posted: August 31, 2017

PSU’s new Karl Miller Center will officially open its doors this month and is on target to receive LEED Platinum (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification through the U.S. Green Building Council for its innovative, resource-efficient features. The newly renovated business school building was designed to cut energy use by more than half while increasing the square footage of the building by 42 percent.

Since 2004, Portland State University has committed to achieving LEED certification for all new construction. Karl Miller Center will be PSU’s 10th LEED certified building and the third building to receive a Platinum certification, joining Lincoln Hall and the Collaborative Life Sciences Building in LEED’s highest ranking.

“Achieving the highest degree of sustainability was a shared goal for PSU and all of the members of the design team,” said Mark Fuji, senior project manager for Capital Projects and Construction. “Our work paid off, as Karl Miller Center is the first campus project to achieve all 19 energy performance points on the LEED scorecard.”

Highlights of Karl Miller Center’s sustainable construction features include:

Energy Conservation:

Passive Cooling System

The new classroom pavilion and atrium are passively-cooled, meaning there is no mechanical air conditioning used in this portion of the building. Instead, these areas use 100 percent natural ventilation, absorbing heat from surrounding spaces and releasing it through automated windows and ceiling fans at the top of the atrium.


Daylight controlled electric light fixtures turn off automatically when natural light conditions are sufficient.

Occupancy Sensors

Occupancy sensors throughout the building turn off lights when there is no activity in those areas, reducing electricity use.

Water Conservation:

Efficient fixtures

Sensor-controlled low-flow faucets, waterless urinals, and a highly efficient irrigation system are projected to reduce water use by over 43 percent or 201,000 gallons of water per year.


Five ecoroofs totaling 7,000 square feet provide stormwater management and mitigate urban heat for the downtown area.

Materials and Resources:

Construction Waste, Reuse, and Regionally-Sourced Materials

Over 95 percent of construction waste was diverted for recycling. In the renovation portion of the project, 80 percent of the existing walls, floor, and roof structures were reused, and over 10 percent of the new materials used in the project were regionally manufactured and sourced.

Indoor Air Quality

The renovated building will have improved indoor air quality through features that reduce dust and debris and use low-VOC materials.


The design and construction team achieved ambitious social equity goals, with 20 percent of the sub-consultants, subcontractors, and suppliers identifying as Minority-Owned, Women-Owned, or Emerging Small Businesses (MWESB).

Certified Wood

The Alaskan Yellow Cedar used on the new classroom pavilion was regionally sourced and has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, a nonprofit that promotes responsible forest management.

See these sustainability features for yourself at the School of Business’ grand opening celebration on Thursday, September 19 at 1:00 p.m.