UO in pursuit for sustainable buildings

Since 2006, the University of Oregon has adopted the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and their requirements as the standard for all large projects, according to the Campus Planning and Design website.

LEED has several classifications depending on how sustainable the building is Terri Jones, the LEED representative for the university said.

“The way the LEED process works is under different categories such as energy efficiency. For example, If you are 25 percent better than code then you get two points,” Jones said. LEED also gives out points for different features surrounding the area like the closeness of bike racks to a building.

Based on how well these projects adhere to LEED standards, the building is awarded certain points. Those points are then classified into a status of silver, gold or platinum.

Since UO’s initiative to establish more sustainable buildings, it has received all different classified statuses, said Martina Oxoby, an owners representative of Campus Planning and Construction.

“We are now following the Oregon Model for Sustainable Development which is a new policy that basically states that every new building projector renovation is required to be LEED gold certified and have an energy efficiency of 35 percent more efficient than Oregon codes,” Oxoby said.

The newest completed LEED project is the EMU. The newly opened addition to the building is currently tracking LEED platinum — the highest standard.

Oxoby oversaw the project and the decisions that went into making the new addition to the EMU sustainable.

“One of the goals of the students and users of the EMU was to be as sustainable as possible because it is a student focused building,” Oxoby said. “A lot of people come here as visitors so we really wanted to highlight what the University of Oregon is all about and the the practices we try to display in our curriculum.”

Although the cost may seem high with environmentally friendly buildings like the new EMU , Oxoby said that it evens out over the course of a few years.

“I know when we first started to doing LEED in the early 2000s it was much more expensive because it was totally new for all the teams and architects. Now it has pretty much become standard practice,” Oxoby said.

Following LEED protocol also means saving money on lighting, heating and cooling which is where the energy efficiency plays a part.

“The payback is so great that economically it makes sense to do that,” Oxoby said.

For older buildings that were built without the intent of tracking a LEED status, they can become EBOM (engineering bill of materials) certified Jones said.

“We have one building so far that has been an EBOM building,” Jones said, referring to the Knight Law Building.

Jones does not know of any plans to re certify other older buildings.

As far as the present and future, Christine Thompson, a Campus Planning and Space Manager, said that she was excited about the recent projects UO has undertook in its efforts for sustainability.

For more information on UO’s past and current LEED projects, or the Oregon Model for Sustainable Development, visit the CPDC’s website Thompson said in an email to the Emerald.

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Taylor Perse

Taylor Perse