Energy & Buildings
PSU's approach to building design, construction, and maintenance recognizes the interdependence of the natural and built environments. Since 2004, PSU has implemented a green building standard to minimize the use of energy, water, and other natural resources while providing a healthy, productive indoor environment. Because buildings drive energy use on campus and energy use accounts for a significant portion of PSU's greenhouse gas emissions, it is critical that we design and operate our buildings with efficiency and conservation in mind.
What we are committed to
Among sustainability guidelines integrated into PSU’s Technical Design Standards, PSU is committed to meeting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification for all new buildings and major renovations. In addition, PSU is committed to identifying opportunities to improve the condition of existing buildings through operational and preventative maintenance process improvements and by pursuing LEED for Existing Buildings Operations + Maintenance (LEED O+M) certification, where relevant. To date, these commitments to LEED standards has led to 15 buildings being LEED certified on campus, four of which are under the LEED O+M program.
As the sustainable building field evolves, so do PSU's priorities. Accessibility, public health, and safety will continue to emerge as priorities in PSU's construction and maintenance programs.
PSU prioritize strategies that conserve energy and promote energy efficient buildings and mechanical systems. The PSU Energy Conservation Guidelines lay out target temperature settings for heating and cooling and other strategies for conserving energy in our office buildings, use of technology, and purchasing practices. Through collaboration across departments, staff are encouraged to find innovative energy-saving solutions. This has led to changes such as consolidating the number of buildings where night courses are scheduled from 21 buildings to five; isolating spaces requiring special heating or cooling needs so that the campus energy loop can be shut down in summer months; and more.
Energy & Buildings - what we are doing
Taking action on renewable energy
Once completed, a 162-megawatt solar facility in Oregon's Gilliam County will provide renewable energy to PSU and other participants in the Portland General Electric Green Future Impact program. PSU will receive almost one-quarter of campus electricity needs from this solar facility.
How we are doing
Tracking our progress on energy reduction and more
The Sustainability Dashboard provides a snapshot of how PSU is doing on key metrics related to energy and buildings - and more! Visit the Dashboard on the Programs & Performance page.
Green Revolving Fund
15 projects & $250,000 annual utility savings
The Green Revolving Fund has grown from an initial seed to a fund of $1.5 million for energy and water savings projects on campus.
Following through on green building standards
15 LEED certified buildings and counting
See PSU's green buildings for yourself by taking a self-guided or in-person Campus Sustainability Tour. Check out our online tour or request an in-person tour on the Tour page.
In 2017, the Karl Miller Center (KMC) opened after a major renovation and partial new build. With passive ventilation (no mechanical air conditioning) in the pavilion portion of the building, KMC is the most energy efficient building on campus.
Lincoln Hall was built in 1911 as a high school. Bringing together historic preservation and sustainable design, Lincoln was renovated in 2011 to LEED Platinum standards. The building features custom fabricated high performance windows, spaces for public art, and a rooftop solar array.
The Robertson Life Sciences Building (RLSB) is shared by OHSU, PSU, and OSU. An existing brownfield was transformed to host this building, which features multiple ecoroofs, low ventilation fume hoods in classrooms, repurposed oil drilling pipes for foundation piles.
Among the sustainable design strategies at the Academic & Student Recreation Center, you might be surprised to learn that toilets are flushed using rainwater! Many materials and maintenance practices promote the use of healthy materials, materials reuse and waste reduction.
The Engineering Building integrates opportunities for academic learning and research through real-time building system monitoring. Geothermal heating and cooling eliminate the need for a cooling tower, greatly reducing overall energy use.
Fariborz Maseeh Hall features a beautiful lightwell, bringing natural light into interior spaces and the ground floor. Durable and low emitting materials were used in the building, such as stone, ceramic tiles, carpet, paints, adhesives, and sealants.
The Vanport Building is pending LEED certification. Sustainable design highlights include an ecoroof covering almost two-thirds of the roof and design strategies to make daylight the primary lighting source inside the building.
Mechanical systems in the Science Research & Teaching Center (SRTC) were designed to capitalize on heat exchange and recovery opportunities. After updates in 2011 and 2016, SRTC uses approximately 50% less conditioned air than previously.
Shattuck Hall is an example of a renovation merging sustainable design and historic preservation. Shattuck houses an integrated radiant heating and cooling ceiling panel system to reduce energy use. Interior design and materials selection help improve acoustic performance.
Healthy and sustainable materials were a priority throughout the renovation of Viking Pavilion & Peter W. Stott Center. 98% of the new wood used in the project is FSC certified. A partnership with Miller Paint won a Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Business Case Award.
Polycarbonate panels in the Biology Research Greenhouses allow for light transmission while insulating the space. Stormwater planters and permeable pavers filter runoff, improving water quality on site, while low-flow water fixtures inside reduce potable water use.
At the time of construction in 2004, the Broadway Residence Hall housed the largest ecoroof in Portland, leading to a 2005 BEST Award for Stormwater Management. During construction, 92% of construction waste was diverted from landfill.
In 2005, Epler Hall became Portland’s first mixed-use building to achieve LEED Silver. Over 90% of original building was reused or recycled during its renovation. A rainwater harvesting system is used to flush toilets in the building, reducing potable water use.
LEED for Operations + Maintenance (LEED O+M)
Why LEED O+M?
A cost-effective way to create healthy and efficient spaces
Improving our existing buildings is necessary since we can't afford and won't always grow our footprint. With a focus on occupant comfort, LEED O+M provides a framework to improve existing buildings.
Blumel Residence Hall
LEED O+M Gold
Building occupants are critical to sustainable operations. In Blume, student residents contribute to ongoing energy and water conservation, and waste reduction through their every day actions.
Richard & Maurine Neuberger Center
LEED O+M Gold
For certification, an inventory of purchasing practices by building occupants found an 85% sustainable purchasing rate for electronics, 100% for furniture, and 83% for cleaning products and materials.
Urban Center Building
LEED O+M Silver
The Urban Center's design allows daylight to reach interior spaces and corridors. As a transit-friendly location, the building is a hub for both the PSU and surrounding community.
University Services Building
LEED O+M Silver
Many building improvements were identified for the University Services Building through the LEED O+M certification process, such as improved air circulation in office and workshop spaces.