PSU Green Building Research Lab lands $1M federal appropriation
Author: David Santen, Office of University Communications
Posted: October 5, 2009

(Portland, Ore.) October 5, 2009—The federal government’s 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill includes a $1 million appropriation for the Green Building Research Laboratory at Portland State University.

The House of Representatives has passed a final version of the legislation reflecting House-Senate agreement on the projects to be funded; the Senate is also expected to pass the bill and send it to the President for signature as early as this week.

ecoroof researchPSU’s Green Building Research Lab supports fundamental and applied research relevant to the green building industry, and serves as a teaching resource for students studying building science. The lab is directed by David Sailor, professor of mechanical and materials engineering in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science at PSU.

Current lab capacity enables performance analysis of building envelopes; modeling and monitoring whole building energy efficiency; testing and monitoring indoor environmental quality; and measuring building interactions with the outdoor environment.

In the United States, buildings account for nearly 40 percent of both energy consumption and of carbon dioxide emissions. Through university research, public policy and industry innovation, Oregon is leading the nation in developing the high-performance, net-zero energy buildings needed to reduce negative impacts of the built environment worldwide.

The $1 million federal appropriation:
•    Establishes a graduate student internship program at the Green Building Research Lab that will attract high quality students to PSU, engaging them in both applied research partnerships with industry collaborators, and in solving problems of fundamental importance to the green building industry;
•    Facilitates the Green Building Research Lab’s role in supporting a research vision for the planned Oregon Sustainability Center, a mixed-use 200,000 square-foot high rise built to the “Living Building Standard,” and serving as a regional hub for sustainability activities;
•    Supports new and ongoing education and research initiatives of the laboratory's faculty.

“This new federal appropriation enables us to move forward with some of the key elements of the Green Building Research Lab’s mission and expands our fundamental capabilities,” said PSU’s David Sailor. “We owe a huge thanks to Rep. David Wu, Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley for sponsoring this appropriation, to Oregon BEST and PSU’s Center for Sustainable Processes and Practices for the lab’s initial funding, and to the numerous industry partners who have already supported development of this lab.”

The Green Building Research Lab was established in 2009 with seed funding that included:
•    $351,000 from PSU’s Center for Sustainable Processes and Practices, via support from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, as part of the University’s investment in research, teaching and partnerships related to creating sustainable urban communities;
•    $300,000 from the Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST), an independent, nonprofit organization established by the Oregon Legislature in 2007.

Oregon BEST supports research, innovation and economic development in green building products and services and renewable energy generation at Oregon universities. The Green Building Research Lab is a shared-user signature research facility of Oregon BEST, which includes faculty from PSU, Oregon State University, the Oregon Institute of Technology and the University of Oregon.

“Oregon BEST is pleased to see this exciting result of our strategy to leverage federal funding to Oregon by investing in university research facilities,” said David Kenney, president and executive director of Oregon BEST. “This appropriation expands a critical resource for Oregon’s green building industry, and advances the ability of PSU and the Oregon University System to be national leaders in building science and technology innovation.”

Since its founding earlier this year, Portland State University’s Green Building Research Lab has provided resources for students and researchers in a number of disciplines at Portland State that incorporate building science: mechanical and materials engineering, civil and environmental engineering, urban studies and planning, architecture and others. A few of the projects currently supported include:
•    Contributing to a National Science Foundation-funded study of integrated green roofs and solar panels at PSU;
•    Testing phase-change materials;
•    Studying the impact of operable windows on building environment in PSU’s Broadway, a 383-unit mixed-use residence hall.

Sustainability at Portland State University
Portland State University faculty engage in leading-edge research and teaching on issues critical to the Pacific Northwest and beyond, including sustainable urban communities, climate change, ecosystem services and renewable energy. PSU’s 49-acre campus creates a vibrant and urban living laboratory for best practices in green building and conservation, right in the heart of the nation’s most sustainable city. In 2008, PSU received a ten-year, $25 million challenge grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, in support of research, teaching and partnerships in sustainability. The grant is administered by PSU's Center for Sustainable Processes and Practices.

Additional resources
PSU Green Building Research Lab:
Sustainability at PSU:
Oregon BEST:

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News Release
For Immediate Release (#09-040)

David Santen, Office of University Communications, Portland State University | 503-725-8765

David Sailor, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, Portland State University | 503-725-4265