Green Buildings at Portland State

Green building is an integrated framework of design, construction, and operations practices that encompasses the environmental, economic, and social impacts of buildings. Green building practices recognize the interdependence of the natural and built environments and seek to minimize the use of energy, water, and other natural resources and provide a healthy, productive indoor environment.


PSU has worked to integrate numerous sustainability guidelines into our Technical Design Standards. Since 2004, PSU has implemented a green building standard requiring all new construction and major renovations to meet the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification through the U.S. Green Building Council, and now commits to achieving at least LEED Gold. 

What is a green building?

  • Considers the true costs of building and site impacts on the local, regional, and global environment through life-cycle costing and assessment.
  • Uses natural resources efficiently, maximizes the use of local materials, and eliminates waste.
  • Reduces building ecological footprints allowing ecosystems to function more naturally.
  • Optimizes climatic conditions through site orientation and design.
  • Uses energy-efficiency systems and materials.
  • Integrates natural daylight and ventilation and improves indoor air quality.
  • Plans for future flexibility, expansion, and building demolition.
  • Reduces, reuses, and recycles materials in all phases of construction and deconstruction.
  • Minimizes the use of mined rare metals and persistent synthetic compounds.
  • Conserves and reuses water and treats stormwater runoff on-site.
  • Encourages a transit, bicycle and pedestrian oriented project.
  • Includes advanced telecommunications technology allowing greater electronic access and reducing the need to travel.
  • Improves acoustics and reduces noise levels.

Why is it important?

  • Buildings consume 40% of all material and energy flows.
  • Buildings represent 72% of U.S. electricity consumption.
  • Buildings account for 38% of the CO2 emissions in the U.S. Green building practices provide the framework and tools to build in an efficient, healthy, and ecologically responsible manner.