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Sustainable Building Features


The 200,000 square foot Academic and Student Rec Center (ASRC) is a LEED Gold Certified building (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and features many innovative and sustainable features throughout the building. This certification makes it only one of a handful of its type in the country and mirrors Portland State's commitment to sustainability.

Sustainability Features

Location / Construction


The ASRC was built in January 2010 on a Brownfield site, a pre-existing under-used location, to minimize environmental impact and preserve natural spaces. The central downtown location capitalizes on existing utility infrastructure and public transportation. Site selection and full utilization of this important downtown block completes the University’s 1992 Master Plan. A vibrant transportation hub, streetcar, light rail and bus transportation are all directly adjacent to and fully integrated with pedestrian and vehicle modes. 8.8% of the material used in construction was regionally sourced.


Construction debris was carefully handled. 95% of the demolition and construction waste was diverted from landfill. All materials were evaluated with sustainable criteria. Over 10% (post consumer + ó pre-consumer) of the total value of material in the project has recycled content. Over 10% of the value of material used has been extracted, processed and manufactured regionally (within 500 miles of the site).


Counters within the facility are wheelchair accessible and there is a power wheelchair charging station located on the second floor near Member Services.

Water Conservation

Water-efficient Strategies

Water usage is reduced by over 85% with water efficient strategies. Reclaimed water and dual flush fixtures for toilets, infrared sensor control faucets and low flow heads, and highly efficient irrigation contribute to the projected 300,000 gallons per year savings.

Storm Water Usage

Storm water management strategies include storage, treatment and reclamation. Rainwater from the roof is captured, stored and reused on-site to flush toilets and, in the case of emergency, serves as fire suppression water. Eco-roof planters on the fifth level terrace retain and treat storm water reducing overflow from the fire water-tank during winter months.  Site storm water is also treated with a water quality filtration system.

Water Bottle Refilling Stations

Patrons are encouraged to use re-usable water bottles in lieu of disposable plastic bottles and can re-fill their water at the refilling stations on the third and fourth floors. Additionally, all drinking fountains and refilling stations offer filtered water.

Energy Conservation


Daylighting (use of natural light on the interior) and connection between interior spaces and interior to exterior spaces was a design priority. The North side of the building has very large windows, while the South side has smaller windows. This optimizes the heating/cooling systems by not having to turn on the air conditioning in the afternoons. Daylight controlled electric light fixtures turn off when daylight conditions are sufficient for the task or space use, provide better lighting and reducing the electricity demand and the building cooling load. This building uses 29% less energy than a comparable code compliant building.

Occupancy Sensors

There are occupancy sensors throughout the facility that turn off the lights when there is no activity in those areas to reduce the electricity used.

Air Quality Control

Indoor air quality improvements due to control of construction dust and debris and use of low-emitting adhesives, paint, carpets and formaldehyde free casework contribute to user comfort and increased worked productivity.

Energy-efficient Strategies

Highly efficient mechanical and electrical equipment; effective daylighting; high performance exterior envelop with exterior sun screens, insulated dual pane glazing and highly insulated wall; flexible ventilation system; reuse of existing well water drawn from and re-injected to the aquifer to eliminate cooling plant; all incorporated to reduce energy consumption by 29%.

Gym Ventilation

The Gymnasium features a flexible system of manually operable windows, relief vents and paddle fans that allow building operators to take advantage of the natural air currents thus minimize the need to use mechanical heating and cooling equipment. The fans used in the gym and weight room are Powerfoil X paddle fans manufactured by Big Ass Fans.

Cooling System

Water from a pre-existing well is circulated through the building for cooling and then re-injected into the aquifer.

Materials / Appliances  

Pool Benches

The benches in the natatorium are made out of Ipe wood from South and Central America. Botanical name: Tabebuiaw ipe. This wood is made from rapidly growing, sustainably harvested, and fairly traded. It is also durable and resistant to rot.

Gym Floors

The gym features three courts. Two are Connor wood courts featuring Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified maple wood floors. Under the wood is a Conner Neoshok pad and a Regupol Sound Pad. The third gym is a Multi-athletic Court with dasher boards. This area features Connor Elastiplus flooring and arena board by Becker Arena Products. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, non-governmental, and not for profit organization that was created to change the dialogue about and the practice of sustainable forestry worldwide. The FSC standards represent the world's strongest system for guiding forest management toward sustainable outcomes.

Multi-Purpose Rooms

The multi-purpose rooms feature Forest Stewardship Council certified wood from Connor flooring. These rooms use Conner Neoshok and Red Neoshok pads. The multi-purpose rooms utilize natural lighting and operable windows to manage temperature. The yoga mats used in class are purchased from a local company to reduce carbon footprint.

Laundry Systems

Highly efficient washers and dryers were purchased to maximize washing capability with minimum energy use. The washers are soft-mount Speed Queen OPAL Soft Mount SX55 models. This model reaches a G-force of 418. According to Athletic Business, highly efficient washers can save up to 50% on energy costs and use 30% less water than a normal washer. One of the features specifically mentioned is the G-force capability. Gs in excess of 200 are responsible for low water usage and a reduction in drying time. The dryers are Speed Queen dryer OPAL Drying Tumbler models. Towel service is available for a small fee, which reflects the true cost of providing clean towels.


Furniture selected for the Rec Center includes pieces with 100% recycled cloth and the Mirra office chairs selected are 96% recyclable at the end of their useful life. Furniture for the lounge area was purchased from EcoPDX and Tropical Salvage, made exclusively of old, reclaimed tropical hardwoods. 

Weight Room Equipment

Weight room equipment was selected for purchase based on a sustainability rating matrix that was created to assess the recycled content, use of alternative energy, and recycled materials.


Carpeting is made of recycled materials, and all of the paint is low VOC to reduce toxic fumes.


Paper, glass, and plastic recycling containers are located on every floor.

Climbing Wall

The wall is a Nicros traversing, bouldering and climbing wall. The wall is 32’ high climbing portion with belay platform, as well as a 14’ high bouldering wall. The floor is a Surface America PlayBound surface, which is made of 100% post-consumer recycled rubber from tires.

Nicros is an environmentally conscious company that follows the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System which encourages global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. Nicros pre-fabricates components to keep scrap and extra shipping weight down, which conserves fuel and sources heavy materials locally instead of shipping.

Natatorium (Swimming Pool/Spa)

Air Flow Systems

Features a 25 yard, six-lane lap pool which has a depth of three feet, six inches to seven feet. There is also a ten-person spa in the natatorium. The airflow systems in the natatorium are linked to sensors to reduce fan-use when it is not needed. This area also uses a heat recovery system to pre-heat incoming water, and efficient condensing boiler.


The Rec Center keeps the pool at 82 degrees. This prevents excessive heating costs and reduces condensation.

UV Filtration System

The natatorium (simply means a building that contains a swimming pool) is unique because the pool and spa are connected to a UV filtration system; this is an alternate chemical procedure that cleans the water. When someone brings debris into the pool or spa, such as sweat or shampoo, the chlorine combines with the debris and the result is called “combined chlorine”. The UV process begins to work when the water is filtered through a machine where the UV light kills off the debris, thus the chlorine is useable again and gets recycled back into the pool. In traditional pools, the combined chlorine never leaves the pool and more chlorine has to be added continuously so that there is enough chlorine available to attach to the debris. Ultimately, the UV process used in the natatorium keeps the odor down and the pool cleaner.

Roof Features


Eco-roof planters on the fifth level terrace retain and treat storm water reducing overflow from the fire water-tank during winter months and preloading the fire suppression system.

Solar Panels

A rooftop solar array was installed, which is intended to create energy for the power wheelchair charging station on the second floor.

Reflective Roof

A reflective roof minimizes heat entering the building from the sun.