Campus Sustainability Tour

See how sustainability comes to life on campus

At Portland State, we strive to have everything we build teach us, and everything we learn help us create a better world. Our 50-acre urban campus is a vibrant, living laboratory for practicing sustainability - our goal is to continue innovating and be a model of sustainability not only for a university campus, but also for the surrounding neighborhood, city, region, and even the globe.

PSU lies at the south end of downtown Portland, where campus buildings are seamlessly integrated with businesses, apartment buildings, public parks, bike lanes, and food carts. Come explore many of the innovative, sustainable features of our campus.

Schedule an in-person tour

Would you like to take a guided sustainability tour of Portland State’s campus? We'd love to show you around! Schedule a guided campus sustainability tour by filling out this Google request form. We prefer that you request your tour through the Google form, but if needed, you can also ask about the tour or request one by emailing us at When you submit your request, we'd like to know about your group, your preferred dates, if you have any special interests, and other key details to help us fulfill your request.

Self-guided or online

If you'd like to learn about sustainability features on the PSU campus on your own or remotely, you can download our self-guided Campus Sustainability Tour Map or simply explore this page. We have printed copies of the tour map available in the Campus Sustainability Office in the Richard & Maurine Neuberger Center Suite 122.

Cultural Sustainability Tour

The Student Sustainability Center's Cultural Sustainability Task Force partners with resource centers across campus to bring you the Cultural Sustainability Tour Map. Download the tour map or pick up a copy in the Campus Sustainability Office (RMNC suite 122) or The Hub for Service in Sustainability (SMSU M103). Una versión en español. Watch a video about the Cultural Sustainability Tour map.

The remainder of this page currently provides tour information through text only. We will be adding visuals and other elements to enhance this page soon.

Natural Structures

PSU's relationship with natural building began in the summer of 2005 with the construction of a Cob Dialogue Dome and Cob Oven. Cob is a natural building material similar to adobe made with a mixture of sand, clay, and straw. The Dialogue Dome and Oven projects were originally initiated by PSUrth, a PSU student group, in collaboration with PSU Facilities & Planning, the PSU Sustainability Group, City of Portland's Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, and City Repair Project, a local non-profit community development organization. The large, tiered cob bench located beneath the Millar Library awning serves as a community gathering and study space. The project was completed in collaboration with Freshman Inquiry and Senior Capstone classes, the Sustainability Group, and City Repair Project.

  • 2005 Cob Construction
  • Community engagement focus
  • Dialogue Dome & Cob Oven
  • Cob Bench

Key strategies include: natural building materials which are minimally processed, plentiful, or renewable; ecoroof to mitigate stormwater and protect structure from rain exposure, which can cause deterioration over time.

The Bike Hub

A bicycle repair shop for the PSU community, the Bike Hub provides tools, resources, and instruction to promote and support bike commuting to campus. In 2015, PSU received a Bike Friendly University rating of Platinum from the League of American Bicyclists, which reflects the University's continued commitment to make bike transportation a viable form of travel for the campus community. With several secured indoor bike garages, a program that refurbishes abandoned bikes to provide a fleet of rental bikes, self-service fixit repair stands across campus, and an annual bike challenge the Bike Hub is providing fun, convenient and affordable ways to bike to and from campus. PSU has also teamed up with the City of Portland’s new bike share program, BIKETOWN, hosting four bike share stations and rolling out a special pricing structure for students, staff and faculty.

Community Field

It may look like an ordinary turf field, but the Stott Community Field is made of 20,000 recycled tires, which helps  conserve natural resources and reduce Portland State’s carbon footprint. This turf removes tires from the landfill,  conserves water resources, eliminates the use of  chemical fertilizers, and reduces our carbon footprint by eliminating  fuel-powered mowing, aerating, and re-seeding. Additionally, the turf is 100 percent recyclable, which means that once it reaches the end of its long life, the materials can be turned into new turf, as well as other products.

Community Orchard & Apiary

Stroll through 30+ species of fruit trees, visit the beehives, or study at the cob bench in the Community Orchard. This space utilizes permaculture principles to mimic the processes of natural systems and is also home to PSU's campus apiary. The apiary is the result of a student led project in partnership with PSU faculty and staff that brought honeybee hives and mason bee nest boxes to the community orchard. In the spring of 2016 PSU was certified a Bee Campus, USA and become a more pollinator friendly environment while promoting hands-on learning opportunities for the campus community.  

The community orchard is just one of several campus gardens. PSU’s collection of student-focused gardens offer opportunities to learn about plant care, habitat restoration, community building, food production, cultural diversity and much more.

Bike Garage with Living Roof

One of 10 secure bike parking facilities on campus, the Montgomery Bike Garage was created through a partnership between Metro, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, and Portland State. The garage stores up to 75 bikes on two-tiered bike parking racks and also features a green roof.

South Park Blocks

The grassy, tree-lined area that bisects the western portion of campus has been a defining feature of Portland’s downtown since the mid-nineteenth century. Hundreds of elm, oak, and maple trees line the park, providing shade, absorbing carbon dioxide, and reducing pollutants and approximately 200 energy efficient street lamps also line these blocks. Every Saturday, year-round, Portland's largest Farmers Market is held in the South Park Blocks.

PSU Reuse Room

The PSU Reuse Room is PSU’s on-campus resource for donating and acquiring used office, school, and home supplies. Located in Cramer Hall 180, the door is always open, so students and employees can find free binders, notebooks, coffee mugs, and other supplies anytime—helping to reduce waste while saving money. Join the movement: Give. Take. Share.

Broadway Cycle Track

Opened in 2009 as part of a faculty research project, the Broadway “cycle track” provides bicyclists separation from car track by locating the bike lane between parked cars and the sidewalk. The green “bike boxes” give cyclists a visible and safe location to wait at intersections.

Geothermal & District Energy Loop

Portland State University’s “Campus Loop” is a district energy system that provides heating and cooling to multiple buildings in the core of campus. Centralized locations generate steam and chilled water which are distributed through a network of pipes to connected buildings. As a result, each building does not require individual boilers and chillers.  The campus energy loop benefits the University is several ways: 

  • Increased energy efficiency and lower utility costs
  • Reduced carbon emissions and pollution footprint for the University, due to lower quantities of natural gas and refrigerant gasses needed
  • Minimized outages due to system inter-connectivity
  • Lower lifecycle costs through reduction of materials used, maintenance, and building capital costs
  • Increased flexibility to convert to a more efficient fuel source if one becomes available
  • Ease of operation and maintenance due to central location

Four underground geothermal heat pumps improve energy efficiency on campus by using the natural heat of the earth to warm or cool buildings. These pumps connect to PSU's Campus Loop, a district energy system that generates steam and chilled water from centralized plants and distributes it underground to 15 buildings. As a result, these buildings don’t need their own boilers or air conditioners and the University benefits from greater reliability, efficiency, and lower utility costs.


Academic and Student Recreation Center (ASRC)

ASRC is a LEED Gold certified building located in the heart of campus, providing students and the greater campus community inclusive recreation programs and facilities. ASRC was completed as new construction in 2009. Some key green building achievements include:

  • Efficiency measures resulting in $114,373 annual energy savings
  • Toilets flush with rainwater collected from the roof
  • All of wood in the building is FSC certified, 
  • Running track and climbing wall are made from recycled materials

Key strategies include: high performance exterior envelope with exterior sunshades and increased wall insulation; solar electricity generation; highly efficient mechanical and electrical equipment; eco-roof planters on the fifth level terrace (open to the public!) retain and treat stormwater; and reuse of existing well water drawn from and re-injected to the aquifer which eliminates the need for a cooling plant.

Biology Research Greenhouses

The LEED Silver Biology Research Greenhouses provide a plant-focused research facility for the Biology Department. Plants represent important model organisms for a variety of teaching and research activities that are integral to a wide range of programs on campus.

  • 2008 New Construction
  • 38% better than energy code
  • 44% reduction in water use
  • 100% plywood cabinetry is FSC certified
  • More than 90% of work areas access outside views

Key strategies include: polycarbonate panels insulate and allow for light transmission; open-grid permeable pavers and flow-through planters filter stormwater runoff; daylighting and occupancy controls ensure lighting is used only when needed; and low-flow potting sinks, showers and dual-flush toilets reduce potable water demand.

Broadway Residence Hall

Built in 2004, Broadway is a LEED Silver mixed-use building containing housing, classrooms and offices, a computer laboratory, as well as ground floor retail space. At the time of construction, Broadway's 18,000 square foot eco-roof was one of the largest in the City of Portland. Environmentally friendly features include: low-flow water fixtures, high performance window glass, increased insulation and heat recovery, low toxicity room finishes, and stormwater management.

  • 2004 New Construction
  • Largest eco-roof in city of Portland
  • 20% less potable water demand over code
  • 92% of construction waste diverted from landfill
  • 2005 BEST Award for Stormwater Management

Key strategies include: increased wall insulation throughout the building; heat recovery; construction and waste management practices; pre-demolition salvage; stormwater management and water-conserving fixtures to reduce potable water use.

Engineering Building

PSU’s LEED Gold Engineering Building offers students - many of them future engineers - not only exceptional facilities in which to learn, but a chance to learn from the building itself. From rainwater harvesting filters in the hydrology lab to computer screens showing systems parameters and energy use in real-time, the building showcases how natural systems can be used directly for both research and building operation. Learning is facilitated by the building’s healthy, comfortable environment as well. The natural light and fresh air that streams through well-positioned, operable windows and the lab exhaust system that removes indoor pollutants are just a few examples.

  • 2004 New Construction
  • 45% reduction in energy use
  • 44% less potable water demand over code
  • 95% of construction waste diverted from landfill
  • Geothermal heating and cooling system

Key strategies include: geothermal heating and cooling system saves energy and eliminates the need for a cooling tower; rainwater harvesting system collects stormwater for reuse in toilet flushing and in hydraulics lab; dual-flush toilets and waterless urinals reduce water consumption; and non-toxic sealants, adhesives, paints and coatings have little or no VOC (volatile organic compounds), which means cleaner air for building occupants.

Fariborz Maseeh Hall

Fariborz Maseeh Hall (FMH) houses important student services, as well as several academic departments and the new Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. FMH is anticipated to receive LEED Gold certification. A new lightwell is one of many sustainable design strategies used during the building’s renovation, providing daylight to interior spaces and improving circulation. The FMH renovation also included updating mechanical, energy, and water systems, improvements to the site’s stormwater management infrastructure, access to the South Park Blocks, and new public spaces for studying, breaks, and meetings.

Sustainable design highlights: 

  • Better pedestrian access to the South Park Blocks and SW Broadway through improved building entrances;
  • Light colored and reflective roofing and pavement materials to minimize contribution to urban heat island;
  • Native and adaptive plant species combined with a highly-efficient irrigation system reduces irrigation needs by 78%;
  • 42% reduction in potable water use with low-flow and faucets, low-flow kitchen sinks, low-flush water closets and waterless urinals;
  • With efficient mechanical and lighting systems and improvements to the building envelope, windows, skylights, and roof, FMH is expected to be 21.5 % more energy efficient compared to code baseline;
  • Durable and low emitting materials were used in the building, such as stone, ceramic tiles, carpet, paints, adhesives, and sealants. Materials with recycled content and items sourced regionally were selected where feasible.

Key strategies: low-flow fixtures, light colored and reflective roofing, efficient mechanical and lighting systems, durable and low emitting materials, addition of a light well, native and adaptive landscaping.

Fourth & Montgomery Building

The Fourth & Montgomery Building (FMB) is expected to be certified LEED Gold following the building’s completion in fall 2020. Home to PSU’s College of Education and departments from the City of Portland, Portland Community College, and Oregon Health & Science University, design and construction of FMB was a collaborative process throughout. There are several sustainable design highlights at FMB, including an eco roof covering almost two-thirds of the roof; design strategies to make daylight the primary lighting source inside the building; and a variety of energy and water-saving systems and fixtures. Additional highlights include:

  • FMB is the first new construction permitted under the recent Portland Central City 2035 Plan (CC2035 Plan), which includes the exemplary eco-roof mandate to achieve a minimum of 60% vegetated cover. 
  • Improved thermal comfort and indoor air quality for users achieved through using a dedicated outside air system (DOAS) with an air source heat recovery chiller and fan-powered terminal units for heating and cooling, as well as a robust building envelope.
  • Improved indoor air quality through the selection of interior finishes that are made of low emitting materials
  • Improved environment for occupant health and wellness through the use of materials that have health and sustainability-related certifications or disclosures such as Health Product Declarations (HPDs), Cradle to Cradle Certification, Declare Labels, and/or Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).
  • Improved air quality through the use of no smoking signage, following the City of Portland policy for no smoking within a 50’ radius of the building.
  • Reduced indoor water use by 36% through the use of low-flow fixtures in the restrooms.
  • Manage some stormwater on-site through the use of stormwater planters that are integrated into the landscape design of the public outdoor courtyard.
  • Optimize energy performance by using LED lights, advanced energy metering, and educating building occupants on energy-conscious behaviors during operations.
  • Offset approximately 1% of the building’s electricity needs through rooftop solar panels.
  • Reduced glare by controlling daylight through an automatic system in open offices.
  • Increased overall construction efficiencies through LEAN strategies, including optimizations such as pre-fabricating the façade and some interior assemblies, and donating mock-ups to charity.
  • Reduced construction waste to date by 82%.
  • Reduced need for individual vehicle trips through easy access to many transit options and on-site bike parking. 
  • Increased occupant connection to the natural world through the use of biophilic features such as nature-based views, access to daylight, biophilic carpet and paint colors in building natural analogs of biomorphic forms, and patterns, plants, and areas for human interaction.
  • Celebrates the vibrant place, culture, and spirit of its local community.

Helen Gordon Child Development Center

The Helen Gordon Child Development Center, built in 1928, was originally the Portland Fruit and Flower Mission. It became a full-time child development facility with the help of Helen Gordon, an advocate for young children and their right to quality child care and pre-school. The renovation and new addition, completed in 2004, involved a number of energy conservation measures as well as controls and abatement for lead-based paint and asbestos.

  • 2004 Historic Renovation
  • Walk Score® ranking of 94 - Walkers' Paradise
  • Unique reuse of Carriage House as covered playground for children

Key strategies include: high-efficiency lighting system; clear glass in doorways to maximize daylight and allow natural light to filter through hallways; natural ventilation design wherein space between original building and addition forms a chimney effect, heat drawn through vents in ceiling of "piazza" keeps space cool; distinctive building details preserved; exposed utilities and heated floors reduce need for resources otherwise used for ceiling tiles; and planters reduce stormwater volume and filter out pollutants to improve water quality.

Karl Miller Center (KMC)

The LEED Platinum KMC houses PSU's School of Business Administration and Office of International Affairs, and while the 2017 addition increased the square footage of the building by 42%, it is projected to reduce energy use by more than 50%. Full of natural light, the building utilizes light fixtures with daylight sensors that turn off automatically when natural light conditions are sufficient. Additionally, 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. The Alaskan Yellow Cedar used on the classroom pavilion was regionally sourced and has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

  • 2017 major renovation and addition
  • Water conservation features projected to reduce water use by over 43% or 201,000 gallons of water per year
  • Five ecoroofs provide 7,000 square feet of stormwater management and urban heat mitigation
  • Over 95% of construction waste diverted for recycling.
  • 80% of the existing walls, floor, and roof structures were reused for the renovated section
  • Over 10% of new materials used in the project were regionally manufactured and sourced
  • 20% of the sub-consultants, subcontractors, and suppliers identified as Minority-Owned, Women-Owned, or Emerging Small Businesses (MWESB)

Key strategies: Sensor-controlled low-flow faucets, waterless urinals, and a highly efficient irrigation system reduce potable water use; features that reduce dust and debris and use of low-VOC materials result in better indoor air quality; light fixtures with daylight sensors, occupancy sensor throughout the building, and passive cooling reduce energy use.

Lincoln Hall

The historic Lincoln Hall, originally built in 1911 as Portland School District's Lincoln High School, is home today to PSU's thriving performing arts program. Restored and updated with environmental sustainability in mind, the historic building is the first on PSU’s campus to achieve LEED Platinum status. While the traditional brick and column façade looks much the same as it did when it was first built, step inside and you’ll notice dramatic changes.

  • 2011 Historic Renovation
  • $41,341 in annual energy savings
  • 75% of construction waste diverted from landfill
  • Walk Score® ranking of 98 - Walkers' Paradise
  • LEED 2009 GHG Index of 49

Key strategies include: high performance windows to maximize interior daylighting and heat transfer; a roof-top solar photovoltaic array which helps power building systems,  and water conserving fixtures that reduce potable water demand.

Native American Student & Community Center

NASCC serves as a learning resource and gathering place where students can share cultural experiences, find academic and social support, and build connections with students, faculty, staff and community members. Completed in 2003, the NASCC is revered for the collaborative efforts of many who participated in the design process.

  • Original artwork by Native American artists
  • Rooftop garden with medicinal and ceremonial plants used for smudge ceremonies, tea, healing salves, and interactive education for Indigenous Nations Studies classes
  • 94 - Walkers' Paradise
  • FSC certified wood products and local stone and brick

Key strategies include: building orientation that maximizes solar energy and integrates natural daylight; natural ventilation with mechanical assist rather than air-conditioning to keep the building cool; sensors signal occupants when to open or close windows to maximize natural cooling; and a roof garden reduces stormwater runoff, keeps the space cool in summer and warm in winter, and adds beauty to the building.

Peter W. Stott Center & Viking Pavilion

After two years of construction, a $52 million renovation of the Peter Stott Center was completed in April 2018. The renovation modernized the building throughout, earning LEED Gold certification, and expanded its existing gym into the Viking Pavilion, a 3,000 seat multi-purpose arena.

  • 25% reduction in annual energy cost due to efficient mechanical and lighting systems
  • 46% water use reduction with water-efficient flush and flow fixtures
  • Compliant with the LEEDv4 credit for Material Ingredients Disclosure, with over 20 products installed in the building that have Health Product Declaration reports
  • 98% of new wood on the project is FSC certified
  • Reduced the urban heat island effect by providing light colored and reflective roofing and pavement materials
  • Diverted 96.9% of on-site generated construction waste from landfill
  • Reducing refrigerant emissions has been identified as a leading tactic to combat global GHG emissions, and this project plays a role by minimizing the use of the worst refrigerants in the HVACR equipment, reducing contributions to ozone depletion and global warming, and meeting the LEED credit for Enhanced Refrigerant Management

Key strategies include: various water and energy efficient designs, extensive use of low-emitting, non-toxic building materials for occupant comfort; reclaimed and Forest Stewardship Council certified wood throughout; and improved food waste tracking and composting facilities.

 View the Peter W. Scott Center LEED scorecard. 

Science Research & Teaching Center

PSU’s hub for science education, this center was renovated in 2011 to LEED Gold status. The new design reduces energy use by 20–30 percent by means of 175 high-efficiency laboratory exhaust hoods, efficient lighting and windows, and heat recovery—a potential cost savings of $300,000 annually. A rooftop Photovoltaic Test Facility researches effects of combining solar panels with eco-roof technology. In 2016, three heat exchangers were installed to recapture heat from mechanical systems, which normally would be exhausted into the atmosphere, and use it to pre-heat two building systems. This reduces the demand on the mechanical equipment needed to heat domestic hot water and the water used to heat the building.  Energy Trust of Oregon estimated that the project will save approximately 51,000 therms of natural gas annually, approximately 30% of total building use.

  • 2011 Major Renovation
  • More than 20% reduction in energy use over code
  • Walk Score® ranking of 92 - Walkers' Paradise
  • Uses roughly 50% less conditioned air than before renovation
  • Roof-top Photovoltaic Test Facility researches effects of combining solar panels with eco-roof technology

Key strategies include: high-efficiency HVAC systems; highly efficient lighting system; new hazardous materials facility improves safety and enables better control over chemicals; and increased site vegetation with native and adaptive plant species to reduce stormwater runoff.

View the Science Research & Teaching Center LEED Scorecard

Robertson Life Sciences Building

The Robertson Life Sciences Building (RLSB) is a LEED Platinum interdisciplinary health, academic, and research building in partnership between OHSU, PSU, and OSU. The building features suspended walkways, copious natural light, and communal spaces with panoramic views. Sustainable features include green roofs, stormwater collection for non-potable water uses throughout the building, and energy-efficient lighting and climate control. The building is a quick bike, streetcar, or Max ride from PSU’s main campus and is home to biology and chemistry classrooms and labs.

  • Projected 60% savings in potable water use
  • Projected energy savings of $400,000 and 2,000,000 kWh annually
  • One of only two projects in the US greater than 500,000 SF to achieve LEED platinum status (LEED 2009)
  • 85% of project construction waste diverted from landfill
  • High performance windows, lighting, and daylighting 

Key strategies include: transformation of an existing brownfield, high access to public transit, stormwater management, eco-roofs to reduce stormwater runoff, non-potable water for toilet flushing, and multiple strategies to reduce the building’s energy use such as atrium heat recovery and low ventilation fume hoods. In addition, innovative material re-use includes salvaging oil drilling pipes for foundation piles and repurposing of existing site fencing.

View the Robertson Life Sciences Building LEED Scorecard

Richard & Maurine Neuberger Center

Constructed in 1968, the Richard & Maurine Neuberger Center (RMNC) was certified under the LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M) program in 2018. LEED O+M focuses on the operations of existing buildings. A number of audits were conducted as part of the certification process, including an Indoor Air Quality Education and Assessment Model (I-BEAM) audit, occupant comfort survey, and custodial audit. Data collected from these audits were used to address deficiencies and concerns. Some key highlights of RMNC include:

  • Score of 95 from building benchmarking in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®
  • 17% reduction in potable water usage over baseline
  • 89 % reduction in potable water use for landscape irrigation over baseline
  • The LEED O+M certification involved an inventory of sustainable purchasing practices, finding an 85% sustainable purchasing rate for electronics, 100% for furniture, and 83% for cleaning products and materials

Like other campus with LEED certifications, RMNC received credit for University-wide standards: building exterior & hardscape management plan; stormwater quality control; heat island reduction, sustainable procurement policy; solid waste management standard; environmental tobacco smoke control; green cleaning; and integrated pest management plan.

Shattuck Hall


Shattuck Hall, originally built in 1914 as Shattuck Elementary School, was transformed into a dynamic facility in 2010. Home to PSU’s Department of Architecture and Public Safety Office, the building encompasses a multi-level open floor plan, naturally lit studios, a roof top gallery, digital lab, and extensive materials lab for model-making, woodworking, metalworking, foundry and digital fabrication. From the architect and contractor to the mechanical and electrical engineers, the project team diligently pursued an integrated design process to make Shattuck Hall a model for green building renovation.

  • 2010 Historic Renovation
  • 19% better than national energy code
  • Largest installation on West Coast of radiant heating and cooling ceiling panels
  • Engineering Excellence 2010 Project of the Year by American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon

Key strategies include: refurbished operable windows that retain character and beauty while supplying abundant daylight and outside air; an integrated radiant heating and cooling ceiling panel system, acoustical absorption and reflection of indirect lighting; refurbished light wells that provide daylight to formerly dark interior spaces; and daylight and occupancy sensors ensure lighting is only used when needed.

View the Shattuck Hall LEED Scorecard

Shattuck Hall is certified LEED Gold and is home to PSU’s Architecture program. Originally built in 1914 as Shattuck Elementary School, this building has become a model for green building renovation. The design includes abundant day-lighting, and an efficient radiant heating and cooling ceiling panel system. Exposed pipes allow students and visitors to understand how the system works. More information about Shattuck Hall.

Stephen Epler Residence Hall

LEED-NC Silver

In 2005, Stephen Epler Hall became Portland’s first mixed-use building to achieve LEED Silver. Originally on the site was The Birmingham Building, built in the early 1990’s, which was deconstructed to make room for the new residence hall. The primary focus of Epler Hall’s design is to establish a high quality living and learning environment for students. Incorporating many sustainable design strategies, the student housing project integrates education and energy conservation, enhancing the students’ learning experience. These features and more create a building that fosters education and supports living, while being mindful of sustainable design.

  • 2003 New Construction
  • Over 90% of original building reused or recycled
  • 31% reduction in energy use over code
  • 54% of building materials manufactured within 500 miles
  • Among 1st to pilot rainwater harvesting for reuse in toilets and irrigation

Key strategies include: sun shading devices on facade to limit heat gain; rainwater harvesting system to reduce need for potable water; large operable windows for natural ventilation act as "gills" to flush air through building; and safer, low-toxicity building materials and finishes prevent persistent gas emissions.

View the Stephen Epler Hall LEED Scorecard

Stephen Epler Residence Hall was Portland’s first mixed-use LEED Silver certified building, containing classrooms, offices, and student housing. It features passive heating and cooling systems and energy efficient lighting. Rainwater flows from the roof to river rock filled “splash boxes” in the plaza, then through channels between the brick pavers to planter boxes that filter the water into the ground rather than into overwhelmed storm drains. More information about Stephen Epler Residence Hall. 

Urban Center


Completed in 2000, the Urban Center was the first part of a substantial revitalization effort in downtown Portland’s transit corridor. Often described as the gateway between PSU and downtown Portland, the Urban Center and neighboring University Plaza is the only place where the Portland Streetcar, Green Line MAX Light Rail, and bus mall cross. With two major public transit lines at its front door, and home to the College of Urban & Public Affairs, the Urban Center is a hub for students and Portland residents alike. The Urban Center was certified LEED for Operations + Maintenance (LEED O+M) in 2018, becoming the first building on campus to be certified under the O+M designation.

  • 2000 New Construction
  • 2018 LEED O+M certification
  • Transit Score of 88 – Excellent Transit
  • Vending Misers on vending machines minimize energy use
  • Hydration Station makes refilling reusable containers easy, reducing number of throw-away plastic water bottles purchased
  • 2003 AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Citation Award Recipient

Key strategies include: high-efficiency HVAC systems; windows designed to maximize daylight and filter natural light throughout hallways; occupancy sensors to provide light only when needed; polished concrete flooring conserves resources otherwise used for carpeting; and walk-off mats at main entries help prevent dust pollution and contaminants from entering the building creating better indoor air quality.

View Urban Center LEED O+M scorecard.

Urban Plaza

The Urban Plaza is a center of activity at Portland State. With the streetcar passing diagonally through the plaza, numerous bus stops, and three MAX light rail lines, the Urban Plaza is one of the busiest transit hubs in Portland. More than 40 percent of all student and employee trips to campus are made by transit.

Smith Memorial Student Union

Smith is a hub of student activity and is also home to many sustainability innovations.

All Gender Restrooms

The fourth floor of Smith houses PSU's first multi-stall all gender restroom. Opening in the winter of 2013, just outside of the Queer Resource Center, the restroom was created to add accessible, inclusive, and safe restroom options for the campus community. In th esummer of 2015, PSU developed and implemented an all gender restroom policy creating more all gender restrooms options across campus including several multi-stall options. 

Hydration Stations

Help PSU “Take Back the Tap” by refilling your reusable water bottle at one of more than 20 filtered water stations on campus (look for one in the Smith lobby). Initiated by a student campaign, these refilling stations are helping to reduce plastic waste from disposable water bottles.

Composting Station – Viking Food Court

PSU’s commitment to diverting food waste from landfills is exemplified through this creative recycling and compost station. 

Seed Library

Located in the Student Sustainability Center on the first floor mezzanine level in M104, PSU's seed library includes over 350 different seed varieties and gardening books for students, staff and faculty to check out.  While harvesting and donating seeds back to the library is encouraged, it is optional.  Visit the seed library for more information. 

Building highlights

  LEED certification level Innovative HVAC system Innovative materials Principles of reuse Notable daylight design Ecoroof Rainwater capture Ground-level bioswale/ planters Solar PV installation
ASRC Gold         X X    
Engineering Building Gold X         X    
Epler Hall & splash boxes Silver           X X  
Fariborz Maseeh Hall Gold       X        
Fourth & Montgomery Building Gold (pending)       X X     X
Karl Miller Center Platinum X X X X X      
Lincoln Hall Platinum     X X       X
NASCC     X     X      
RLSB Platinum X     X X X    
Shattuck Hall Gold     X          
SRTC Gold X             X - for research
Viking Pavilion Gold   X         X