Large-scale Conservation Projects

State Energy Projects (SEPs)

For energy conservation and renewable energy projects the Oregon Department of Energy offers tax credits to help businesses (and institutions like OSU) pay for costs. Fortunately, these types of projects pay for themselves over time as a result of the energy savings they generate. 

With financial assistance from the State we have been able to implement some exciting upgrades. In Peavy Hall, 1207 T12 fluorescent fixtures were retrofitted to T8 resulting in over $13,000 in annual savings. Kerr experienced the same retrofit of almost 1500 fixtures resulting in over $20,000 in annual savings.Alumni Center

Recently, Glumac Engineering performed an ASHRAE Level II Energy Audit on the CH2M Hill Alumni Center. The audit found over $31,000 of annual savings in energy conservation measures that were then implemented. This including installing occupancy sensors, CO2 sensors, and nighttime temperature setback controls.

Energy Center construction

While the Energy Center is a green building, the state-of-the-art equipment it houses will provide significant energy and water savings. Coming online in 2008 and 2009, the Energy Center will replace the existing heat plant on the west side of campus.

Small-scale Conservation Projects

Heat Pump Hot Water Heater

Air-source heat pump hot water heaters are beginning to replace our old electric resistance hot water heaters on campus. Many hot water heaters are located in mechanical rooms which contain HVAC equipment and steam pipes. The heat created by these systems makes the rooms ideal for air-source heat pump hot water heaters, because they are able to transfer the heat in the room to water which used throughout the building. Currently our office is in the process of installing a heat pump water heater in Gilmore. 

Incandescent lamp replacement

Do you have an incandescent lamp in an overhead fixture or desk lamp in your office? Like the light but hate the inefficiency? Then the Sustainability Office has an offer for you: we will provide a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) free of charge if it replaces an incandescent lamp and stays on campus. Not only do CFLs use just 25% of the energy, they also last ten times as long as incandescents, meaning fewer annoying bulb change-outs. Many of the old problems of flicker, hum, 'cold' white light and slow start times have been fixed. There are a variety of wattages to chose from, so contact us today and make your lighting more efficient!

Lightbulb Conversion

OSU is also actively changing out incandescent lamps with CFLs in common spaces such as hallways, stairwells and restrooms. The savings can be significant: by changing all the incandescent lamps in the hallways and stairwells of Milam Hall to CFLs, total energy savings are near $2,000 annually.

As well, many exit signs in buildings have been upgraded to use LEDs (light emitting diodes). LEDs use 1/25th of the energy of incandescents and are rated to last 130,000 hours, compared with 10,000 for CFLs and 1,000 for incandescents.

Your help is invaluable in locating incandescent lamps. If you see an incandescent lamp you think should be replaced, please let us know.

Outdoor lighting fine-tuning

One of the most visible signs of energy inefficiency is outdoor lighting that is on during dawn, daylight or dusk. A covered or dirty photo sensor or incorrectly set timer will keep these lights on during times they shouldn't be. We are always looking for outside lights improperly controlled.

Tell us about incorrect timing of outdoor lighting, including if a light fails at night which could create a safety issue.

2010 Standings

Home  |  2010 Homepage  | 2010 Standings/Energy Use  |  How to Save

Energy Use:

Building: Actual Energy Use To Date: Baseline Energy To Date: % Change vs. Baseline:
Agricultural Life Sciences (ALS)  454,500 kWh 498,049 kWh  +9.6%
Bexell Hall 23,577 kWh  27,296 kWh  -13.6%
Milam Hall 34,752 kWh  36,096 kWh  -3.7%
Moreland Hall  7,794 kWh 11,544 kWh  -32.5%
Wilkinson Hall  68,776 kWh 71,300 kWh  -3.5%
Women's Building  12,792 kWh  17,968 kWh  -28.8%

Updated 3/1/10

Overall Standings:

Week: Winner:

% Actual vs.Baseline:

1  Moreland Hall  -28.1%
2  Moreland Hall  -34.3%
3  Moreland Hall  -36.8%
4  Moreland Hall  -30.6%

Agricultural Life Sciences: 

Weekday Baseline: 16,619 kWh               Weekend Baseline: 15,265 kWh

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday  Thursday Friday Saturady Sunday Week Baseline Estimate (kWh) Week Actual Usage (kWh) % Change vs. Basline
1  18,237  17,947  18,005  17,984  17,989  16,739  16,739  113,625 123,640 +8.8%
2  18,267  18,212 18,122  18,116  18,021 16,943 16,962  113,625  124,644  +9.7%
3  18,145  18,373  18,218  18,210  17,896  16,751  16,973  113,625  124,566  +9.6%
4  18,246 18,223 18,414 18,364 18,204 16,945 16,800 113,625  125,196  +10.2%

ALS Daily Energy Consumption

ALS Cumulative Energy Consumption

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Bexell Hall:

Weekday Baseline: 998 kWh               Weekend Baseline: 917 kWh

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday  Thursday Friday Saturady Sunday Week Baseline Estimate (kWh) Week Actual Usage (kWh) % Change vs. Basline
1  857  1,002  1,005  1,016  1,003  750  750 6,824 6,384 -6.5%
2  907  1,011 1,015 1,037  836 521 521  6,824  5,848  -14.3%
3  773 918  897  888 756  585  585  6,824  6,158  -9.7%
4  912  912 855 1,120 850  649  649  6,824  5,946  -12.9%

Bexell Daily Energy Consumption

Bexell Cumulative Energy Consumption

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Milam Hall:

Weekday Baseline: 1,320 kWh               Weekend Baseline: 1,212 kWh

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday  Thursday Friday Saturady Sunday Week Baseline Estimate (kWh) Week Actual Usage (kWh) % Change vs. Basline
1  1,338  1,313 1,325 1,284  1,183  1,130  1,130 9,024 8,703 -3.6%
2  1,186  1,208 1,291 1,365  1,116  1,106  1,106 9,024  8,377  -7.2%
3   1,223  1,319 1,376 1,304  1,078  1,161  1,161 9,024  8,622  -4.4%
4  1,298  1,298  1,203  1,453  1,370 1,215 1,215  9,024  9,051  +0.3%

Milam Daily Energy Consumption

Milam Cumulative Energy Consumption

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Moreland Hall:

Weekday Baseline: 422 kWh               Weekend Baseline: 388 kWh

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday  Thursday Friday Saturady Sunday Week Baseline Estimate (kWh) Week Actual Usage (kWh) % Change vs. Basline
1 360 417 381 312 264 168 168 2,886 2,076 -28.1%
2 300  300 348 396  276  138  138  2,886  1,896  -34.3%
3  288  300  300  276  264  198  198  2,866  1,824  -36.3%
4  324  324  300  336 300 210 210  2,886  2,004  -30.6%

Moreland Daily Energy Consumption

Moreland Cumulative Energy Consumption


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Wilkinson Hall:

Weekday Baseline: 2,607 kWh               Weekend Baseline: 2,395 kWh

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday  Thursday Friday Saturady Sunday Week Baseline Estimate (kWh) Week Actual Usage (kWh) % Change vs. Basline
1 2,800 2,550 2,471 2,475 2,400 2,320 2,320 17,825 17,440 -2.2%
2 2,320  2,280 2,480 2,880  2,200 2,340 2,340  17,825 16,840  -5.5%
3  2,240  2,600  2,480  2,760  2,080 2,280 2,280  17,825  16,737  -6.1%
4  2,520 2,520 2,320 2,840 2,600 2,540 2,540 17,825  17,880  +0.3%

Wilkinson Daily Energy Consumption

Wilkinson Cumulative Energy Consumption


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Women's Building:

Weekday Baseline: 1,314 kWh               Weekend Baseline: 1,207 kWh

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday  Thursday Friday Saturady Sunday Week Baseline Estimate (kWh) Week Actual Usage (kWh) % Change vs. Basline
1 960 1,051 1,037 1,008 912 845 845 8,984 6,610 -26.4%
2 830  840  984 1056  1,152 636 636  8,984 6,134  -31.7%
3  936 1008  912  960 792 864 864  8,984  6,336  -29.4%
4  1,020  1,020  792  1,056 912 960 960  8,984  6,720  -25.2%

Women's Building Daily Energy Consumption

Women's Building Cumulative Energy Consumption


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Building Energy Challenge

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Welcome to the Homepage for the OSU Building Energy Challenge!

The 3rd annual Building Energy Challenge will begin on February 6th! This year the challenge is kicking off at the same time as the Campus Conservation Nationals, which is the first college and university national energy and water reduction competition. Good luck to Residence Halls which will be participating in this competition. For all participating buildings the challenge will end on February 27th.   

The Building Energy Challenge aims to reduce energy consumption through the combined effects of individual action by occupants of participating buildings.  By using no-to-low cost actions such as turning off computers and lights, unplugging non-essential equipment, and replacing incandescent lamps with compact fluorescents (CFLs), we can significantly reduce our energy consumption. And we can have fun doing it!

Join us for our kick-off event at the MU Journey Room at Noon on February 6th. Games and snacks provided!

We encourage all buildings to try to save more energy than last year!

The total electricity savings from the 2011 OSU Building Energy Challenge: 14,627 kWh (approx. $780)

Think we can do it?

Bexell Hall

If you would like to participate in the Building Energy Challenge, or for more information on how to save evergy, please contact Bo Bestvina




About & Rules

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About the Challenge

The OSU Building Energy Challenge strives to reduce energy consumption in participating buildings through the combined actions of building occupants.  Using only no-to-low cost measures, we believe that energy consumption in our buildings can be significantly reduced by

  • Making occupants aware of their energy consumption and the associated environmental impacts
  • Informing occupants of ways to reduce their energy consumption
  • Providing weekly energy consumption information to occupants

We will provide the information, but you must provide the action.  A small amount of effort by many occupants will result in significant energy savings, without significantly burdening any one individual.

Participant Responsibilities:

Event Coordinator: Mikkel VandeBergh (Student Sustainability Initiative)

Ensure proper coordination and communication between all participants of the Challenge.  Provide marketing materials and consultation where requested.  Coordinate events and prizes. Contact Mikkel for questions directly related to Residence Halls.

Outreach and Marketing Coordinator: Bo Bestvina (OSU Sustainability Office)

Provide marketing materials, contact building representatives, and offer consultation when requested. Contact Bo for non-residence buildings.

Data Reporter: Nick Somnitz  (OSU Sustainability Office)

Do weekly meter reads and provide energy data analysis. Contact Nick for energy updates.

Building Reps:

Act as building contact for coordinators and data reporter, mainly involved with distribution of materials and communications to own unit/department and to volunteers.


Distribute materials and communications to unit/department.

"Above and beyond" actions: Promote event within unit and beyond.  Take responsibility for typically overlooked spaces (e.g. turn off bathroom lights at night).  Request compact fluorescent lamps and power strips.  Request information on making building equipment and processes more efficient.  Network within building to further promote event.


Duration of the Challenge:

The 2012 Building Energy Challenge runs from February 6th to the 27th. Normally the challenge runs for the entire month of February

Calculation of the Baseline:

The energy baseline for each building is the line by which success will be measured.  Calculated using electricity consumption for the past three Februaries, the baseline allows for comparison between buildings while negating the significant differences between buildings (square footage, building use type, age, HVAC systems, etc.).  While this Challenge is billed as a competition between buildings, buildings are essentially competing against their historical consumption

Weekly baselines are created for each building. 

General Rules:

While the Challenge is between buildings, buildings are essentially competing against themselves.  For each building, an energy baseline, based on past February energy data, will be created.  Buildings that use the least amount of energy when compared to the baseline each week and for the duration of the Challenge win prizes.

The Challenge is focused on no-to-low cost actions performed by individuals or unit/departmental groups.  Examples of these actions may include:

  • Turning off lights in unoccupied areas
  • Putting computers into standby during long periods of downtime (>30 minutes) and at night
  • Using a power strip or unplugging electrical devices at night
  • Setting thermostat at appropriate levels

Please see our Tips page for more example actions.

While significant savings can obviously be made through building improvements (lighting upgrades, HVAC recommissioning, building envelope improvements, etc.) the goal of the Challenge is to inspire energy efficiency through behavioral change, not through capital improvements.

However, some low-cost equipment is available to all participants of the Challenge.  These include:

  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
  • Power strips

Please contact Bo for more information about receiving this equipment.


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Important Dates:

February 1st (week 1): Challenge begins!

February 8th (week 2): Time to focus on plug loads.

February 15th (week 3): HVAC

February 22nd (week 4): The final countdown

March 1st: Overall winner announced.

Contact Information

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Participating Building Category Primary Building Rep(s) Supporting Building Rep(s)
Adams Hall Heat Only Dan VanVliet, Kegan Sims, Hank Kemper  
Bexell Hall Heat Only Kim Calder  
Cascades Hall Shop/Maintenance Cheryl Lyons, Jacque Allen Jack Rogers
Facilities Services Shops Shop/Maintenance JayLene Seeley  
Kelley Engineering Office & Data Center Gale Sumida  Todd Shechter
Kerr Administration Office & Data Center Chris Crabtree, Joy Jorgensen  
Moreland Hall Heat Only Ann Leen, Shirley Dodsworth  
Motor Pool Shop/Maintenance Justin Fleming  
Property Services Shop/Maintenance Rae Delay Andrea Norris
Withycombe Hall Some HVAC Helen Chesbrough Nora Ross, Angie Weeks - Theatre

Contacts & Links

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Contact Information:

Event Coordinator:

Greg Smith, Sustainability Program Assistant, Sustainability Office, Facilities Services

Student Interns:

Annie Jacobs, Sophomore, Biology

Jonathan Truong, Junior, Biology

Lindsey Almarode, Freshman, Environmental Science

Luke Gregson, Sophomore, Biology

Quinn Collins, Senior, Environmental Science

Shannon Bradley, Sophomore, Environmental Science

Wesley Campbell, Junior, Natural Resources

Building Reps:

Ag. Life Sciences: Caprice Rosato

Bexell: Kimberli Calder

Milam Hall: Debi Rothermund

Moreland Hall: Ann Leen, Shirley Dodsworth

Wilkinson Hall: Steve Cook

Women's Building: Adam Nicholson


Building Energy Challenges at other colleges and universities

People Power

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Featured Participants

Steve Schofiel, along with fellow employees at the Property Services building, constantly promotes awareness by making a conscious effort to turn off electrical devices not being used at the time.

David Kerr, from Moreland Hall, is very mindful of the little everyday energy savers and has also suggested ways to increase the efficiency of the temperature control for the water dispensers in the offices.

Jennifer Busick, from the Kerr Administration building, is conscious of her printing habits and always turns off the lights on her way out the door, as she heads for the stairwell.


 Aurora Sherman, from Moreland Hall, has trained herself to turn off both her computer monitor and hard-drive in a single two step process, consciously making it a part of her daily routine.


 Abby Metzger, from Bexell Hall, makes sure to bundle up in her naturally sunlit room, and is conscious of using her space heater only when absolutely necessary.

No picture available

Rae Delay, operations manager for the Property Services building, adjusted the thermostat to accommodate for the comfort of everyone, while only heating and cooling the work space when necessary.

No picture available

Charlotte Rooks, from the Kerr Administration building, is consistently conscious of everyday energy saving behavior and also makes sure to utilize the new composting system that the building has recently implemented.


Participant Pledges

I pledge to reduce energy consumption by:

  • Putting my computer in standby mode and turning off monitors @ night - CR, Kerr
  • Turning off lights when leaving office/restrooms & turning off PC at night all while encouraging others to do so as well - RF, Kerr
  • Turning off unneeded lighting, standby computer @ night - BM, Kerr
  • Not use elevator, use stairs! Walk to work all week.  Lights off, restroom.  Limit paper towels, 2 sided copies @ copier, etc. - PM, Kerr
  • Turn off lights when not needed; shut off computer at night; unplug parasitic loads - DC, Kerr
  • Recycle paper; turn off lighghts in bathroom and office in the PM; walk to/from work - GB, Kerr
  • Turning off lights, noly using one bank of lights, putting computer to sleep - KC, Kerr
  • Using strip cords & turn off nightly - KS, Kerr
  • Turning off lights when not in my office, turning my computer off at night, riding bike to work, using reusable containers, etc. - JB, Kerr
  • Turning off lights & computer more - KM, Kerr
  • Turning off everything in my work station before going home - KL, Kerr
  • Turn off lights, recycle paper & batteries; get rechargable batteries for remote access - NH, Kerr
  • 25% - LB, Kerr
  • Keeping artificial lights off except when too dark to work - CF, Kerr
  • Turning off computers & lights when not in use; turning off TV when not in use and at end of the night - KW, Bexell
  • Turning my computer on standby when working a project; turning TV on later & off earlier in waiting room - EB, Bexell
  • Turn my desk light off when at lunch or when at a meeting - NN, Kerr
  • Turning off PC and monitor at night; making sure to turn off printers & copiers at night - KL, Bexell
  • Power down equipment during weekend - GT, Bexell
  • Turning off my monitor; turning lights off when I leave the room - SB, Bexell
  • Turn off computer, screen, speakers at end of day - WA, Kerr
  • Unplugging random stuff & disconnecting 1/2 the fluorescent tubes in each fixture - Anonymous





Other Actions


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How to Save Energy in Your Building

[2010 Challenge Tip of the Day Archive]    [How & Why Action Grid]

Got good ideas on how to save energy on campus?  Tell us about them! 

  • Turn off lights where they aren't needed
  • Use natural light and task lighting instead of overhead lighting
  • Use only as much light as you need
  • Replace traditional incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) (Request a CFL from your Building Rep!)

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use 75% less electricity than an equivalent incandescent lamp, which makes them great for energy savings.  However, they do have a few requirements to keep in mind to ensure a successful application:

  • Placement & Use: The life of a CFL is reduced by moisture, excessive heat, and frequent on/off cycling.  Avoid installing recessed lighting fixtures (can lights for example) where heat cannot be dissapated.  Most CFLs are not compatible with dimmer switches.

  • Light Color: A common complaint about CFL's is that they are "too cold" or "too white".  A lamp's rated color temperature indicates the lamp's "warmth"; for light similar to a traditional incandescent, look for a color temperature of 2700K or lamps labeled "warm white".

  • Safety: CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury (~5 mg) which is released if the lamp is broken.  See the EPA's recommendation on how to deal with a broken CFL.

  • Disposal: Because of the mercury contained by the lamp, CFLs must be disposed of as hazardous waste.  For on-campus disposal, please fill out the Hazardous Waste Pickup Request form.  For personal use CFLs, Home Depot accepts burnt out CFLs for proper disposal at no charge, as does Allied Waste at their recycling center. 

Seattle Power and Light has a great site dedicated to CFLs.

Electronics and Plug Loads:
  • Set your computer to enter standby after 30 minutes and to turn off the monitor after 15 minutes. Use standby or turn off computers at night.
  • Turn off printers and other electrical equipment at night.  To further conserve electricity, unplug, or use power strips, to disconnect equipment and eliminate phantom loads.
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR® or EPEAT™-certified electronics and appliances.
Heating and Cooling
  • In winter, keep thermostats at or below 68 degrees. Use radiant heaters like Cozy Toes instead of inefficient forced air electric heaters, which also present a fire hazard.
  • Use a fan instead of air conditioning (AC). If you have AC, set it at for cooling at 76 degrees or higher.
  • Make sure windows are closed if you’re using either heat or AC.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather. In summer, wear light, breathable clothing; in winter, layer clothing.
  • Consider installing window films if you experience high temperatures from direct sunlight.  Blinds and shades help too.
  • In the summer, close blinds during the day and open them at night to minimize heat gain.  In the winter, do the opposite (closed at night, open during day).
  • Reduce hours of use of non-essentail exhaust fans.  Not only are they needlessly using electricity, exhuast fans vent conditioned air, which requires significant energy use to replace.
  • In the lab, turn off equipment when not in use (or use timers to do it for you)
  • Keep fume hood sashes at the indicated height when in use and closed when not in use.
Tips from other organizations:

US Dept. of Energy:

Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy:

Michael Bluejay:

Conservation Concepts

We know you have good ideas on how to save energy on campus, so let us know what they are and you could win a $50 gift certificate to the OSU Bookstore!

Submit your great ideas to Greg by midnight on February 18th for a chance to win.  The winner will be announced on February 28th, the last day of the Challenge.

Conservation concepts will be judged on originality, overall impact, replicability, ease of implementation, and visibility.

2010 Tip of the Day Archive:

February 2nd:  Leaving the room for more than 10 minutes?  Turn those fluorescent lights off! The energy consumed during the ‘power surge’ at start-up is equal to 5 seconds of normal light operation.  Then why wait 10 minutes?  Frequently cycling fluorescent lights on & off reduces lamp life.

February 3rd: Fluorescent bulbs still use energy even when they’re burnt out! Contact Custodial if a lamp has been out for more than 2 weeks.  Space well-lit without that bulb? Contact us to discuss delamping options.

Energy Assessment

There are several ways OSU energy and water use is analyzed. Historically, outside consultants had been the primary mechanism by which analysis was accomplished. With the creation of the OSU Sustainability Office, and the increased campus focus of the OSU Energy|Efficiency Center, responsibilities and work process have changed somewhat.

Assessment Provider Systems Analyzed Available To Cost
OSU Sustainability Office Occupant-controlled systems: lighting, computers, lab equipment, etc. All, general funded buildings first priority None
OSU Energy|Efficiency Center Building systems (lighting, HVAC) and industrial equipment All Minimal
Professional Consultants Building systems (lighting, HVAC, etc)
All Varies
Energy Trust or Oregon Dept. of Energy Building systems (lighting, HVAC) when part of construction
Construction projects only  


Campus Night Audits

The Sustainability Office has begun looking more closely at off hours energy use in campus buildings.  Joined by students from various courses, the Office performs unannounced night audits several times each term.  During a night audit, buildings are thoroughly examined during predominantly unoccupied times for instances of potential energy waste. 

These audits measure losses from unnecessarily active electrical equipment like lighting, computers and peripherals, copiers, printers, and chargers, as well as thermal losses like open windows.  Losses are totaled and potential savings are estimated and will be made available to the public.  Data gathered during the audits can be used to assess the impact of conservation efforts, justify additional conservation projects, as well as report potentially unsafe conditions (low light levels, fire hazards, etc.).  A summary of night audit results is presented in the table below.


Term Surveyed Buildings Surveyed

Est. Annual Waste

Lighting Computers & peripherals Copiers & Printers Other Elec. equipment
Winter 2010 Bexell, Milam, Women's Building, Wilkinson, Moreland $4,000 $11,600 $1,500 $400
Spring 2010 Bexell, Gilkey, Strand Ag, Ballard Extension, Wilkinson, Burt, Gilmore  TBD   TBD   TBD   TBD

Energy Efficiency Center Assessments

The Oregon State University Energy|Efficiency Center (EEC) focuses on offering small and medium-sized manufacturers a comprehensive on-site assessment. Student teams led by engineering faculty visit Northwest manufacturers and seek ways to increase profits by increasing productivity and reducing energy use and waste. Within 60 days, the EEC sends a report to the client with analysis and specific recommendations to improve efficiency.

Recently, EEC has performed assessments of OSU campus facilities and issued reports of their findings.  Those reports are found here. 

Assessment  Report Date
OSU-Cascades Campus Oct. 2009
Pilot Project Report: OSU Agricultural Assessments Jan. 2009
Memorial Union Dec. 2008
OSU Greenhouse (Ag Assessment) Sep. 2008
OSU Hyslop Farms (Ag Assessment) Aug. 2008
OSU Research Dairy (Ag Assessment) Aug. 2008
OSU Vegetable Farm (Ag Assessment) Aug. 2008
Dixon Recreation Center Nov. 2007

Professional and Contracted Energy Assessments

OSU relies in some cases on outside professional consulting firms to assist or manage energy audits of campus buildings.  The list below includes recent audits.  As older audits with relevance are made electronic, they will be posted here. 


Building Consultant Date
Peavy and Richardson Halls PAE Consulting Engineers April 2012
Kerr Administration Interface Engineering March 2012
CH2MHill Alumni Center Audit and Implementation Review Glumac August 2011

Sustainability Audits

Would you like to reduce the environmental impact of your workspace? Interested in knowing how much energy you're consuming while working on campus? A free service provided by the Sustainability Office, sustainability audits equip building occupants with information and recommendations on how they can make their space more sustainable.  While the main focus is on occupant-controlled systems (lighting, computers & other electrical equipment, water and waste) any topic of interest can be evaluated.  Sustainability audits have also lead to cost-sharing opportunities, the reporting and rectification of maintenance issues, and the strengthening of ties between departments and Facilities Services.  Ask for one today!

Getting Started

Sustainability audits are performed by Sustainability Office students workers and can be scheduled at your request. Audits can involve a complete assessment of environmental impacts associated with your workspace, or can be focused just on areas that interest you. There is no charge for this service.

To request an audit, or for more information, email us. Please include a description of the area you would like examined. While whole buildings or floors are the preferred audit size, individual offices can be scheduled as time allows.

The Audit Process

Audits typically take between 1 and 3 hours for small offices or office suites, and up to 8 hours for entire buildings. The audits focus on occupant-controlled systems such as:

  • Lighting
  • Computers and peripherals (printers, speakers, UPSs, etc.)
  • Other electrical equipment
  • Waste and recycling
  • Purchasing and paper use
  • Water

Audits typically began with a 30 minute meeting of Sustainability Office staff and building contacts. The audit process is discussed, problem areas are identified and building contacts have time to ask questions, or express concerns. After this meeting, Sustainability Office staff walk through every space in the building and inventory equipment, note areas for potential improvement, and interact with occupants as needed. Building contacts are encouraged to join part or all of the walkthrough, though it is not required. At some point during the audit, personnel familiar with purchasing will briefly be asked about purchasing practices.

The Audit Report

After a site visit, a report recommending changes is issued to building contacts. Recommendations are not mandatory and can be implemented at any reasonable pace. Changes can be behavioral, equipment or infrastructure-related, and some will require approval and implementation from Facilities Services.

As of April 2012, if all audit recommendations were implemented, the total annual resource savings would total over $140,000. Emissions reductions of more than 5.2 millions lbs of CO2, 37,000 lbs of SOx and 19,000 lbs of NOx would be realized. View past audit reports here.

Follow-up and Implementation

While the audit report is purely recommendatory, it is the goal of the Sustainability Office to actually as many recommendations as possible. The following is a partial list of actions resulting from sustainability audits:

  • Restoration of the lighting control system at Dixon Recreation Center
  • Installation of T5 linear fluorescent lamps at La Sells Stewart Center's Austin Auditorium
  • Replacement of almost 60 incandescent lamps with compact fluorescents (CFLs)
  • Installation of window films in areas of high solar exposure
  • Yellow-jacket infestation controlled at Adams Hall

Many recommendations in audit reports have the opportunity for cost-share financing from Facilities Services. For more information on cost-sharing, please contact Brandon Trelstad.

In August 2009, an audit implementation event took place at Adams Hall. Each space was revisited with the goal of actually implementing audit recommendations. The results were encouraging:

  • 15 incandescent lamps were changed to CFLs
  • Over 25 computers had their power management settings changed to use less energy
  • 4 large printers had their power management settings changed to use less energy
  • Temperature set points in 4 offices were changed to recommended standards (cool at 78°F and heat at 68°F)
  • Work orders were placed to retune outdoor lighting photo sensors

Audit Reports and Schedule of Audits

The table below lists past and future audits. Building names in blue are links to the Audit Reports. Please contact the Sustainability Office with any questions or comments.


Audit Report Audit Date
Gill Coliseum July 2012

César Chávez Cultural Center

January 2012
Black Cultural Center January 2012
Asian Pacific Cultural Center January 2012
Moreland Hall May 2011
Wiegand Hall May 2011
Gilmore Hall April 2011
Career Services October 2010
5th floor Snell (CAPS) May 2010
Valley Library April 2010
Wilkinson Hall November 2009
Cascades Hall October 2009
Richardson Hall July 2009
OSU Foundation June 2009
Gilbert Hall June 2009
Cordley June 2009
Langton May 2009
CH2M Hill Alumni Center May 2009
Adams Hall April 2009
Plageman Student Health Center January 2009
Cascade Hall November 2008
Property Surplus Warehouse October 2008
LaSells Stewart Center September 2008
Motor Pool August 2008
Student Sustainabiity Center August 2008
Milam March 2008
Dixon Rec Center August 2007
Snell 4th Floor May 2007
Gladys Valley March 2007
Kerr Administration March 2007
Kerr 4th Floor February 2007
Bexell Hall February 2007
Ballard January 2007


Utility Metering

Utility metering at OSU is accomplished in several ways and includes a variety of technologies.  Over the past few years, and for at least the next few, efforts are being made to standardize data collection across all utilities and improve monitoring capabilities.  This is a large undertaking but is part of strategic efforts to improve data access and troubleshooting capacity, thereby reducing utility consumption.

These tools are under construction!

Monthly Electrical Data Collection

Nearly every OSU building has at least one electrical meter.  Some meters are owned, maintained and read by Pacific Power, while others are owned, maintained and read by OSU.  You can view monthly consumption data using the beta version of Facilities Services' online tool.

The tool provides several different reports:

Electricity Use Over Time

Electricity Use Property Comparison with Averages

Electricity Use per Square Feet

Renewable Energy

On-site Renewable Energy

Ground Mounted Photovoltaic Arrays

Solar graphIn 2012, two large ground-mounted solar electric (photovoltaic) arrays were installed on agricultural lands operated by Oregon State University as part of “Solar by Degrees,” a large-scale photovoltaic power program coordinated by the Oregon University System.  OSU was the first to install and have operational its solar arrays. 

The two arrays cover about four acres combined. The larger site, with a capacity of 481 kilowatts, is located adjacent to Trysting Tree golf course just east of the Willamette River.  The second site size is 289 kilowatts and is located adjacent to the bike path just east of the Benton County Fairgrounds near 53rd Street.  Check real-time monitoring of both sites and see more information.

OSU Solar Trailer

The OSU Solar Trailer is a portable device that captures and stores solar energy. Its purpose is to educate about photovoltaic (solar electric) energy technologies and provide a renewable, portable power supply for events. It was designed by OSU students as a senior project in mechanical engineering and constructed in 2007.  The Student Sustainability Initiative provided about $30,000 in project funding in addition to over $20,000 received in product donations and discounts from RJH Enterprises, Outback Power, Smith Glass, MK Battery, Wattsun, Abundant Solar, and Freebird Body and Paint.

The device provides electricity to campus and community events such as Earth Week, the Beaver Community Fair, da Vinci Days, Fall Festival, Oregon State Fair and others.  Because of its on-board battery system, the Solar Trailer can also power electrical loads at night.  Power duration for large loads is extended during the day, and most small loads can be powered indefinitely.  The batteries are the limiting factor for long duration power draws, but large temporary loads up to the circuit ratings below are no problem.  The Trailer can also be available for emergency dispatch to wherever remote power requirements may exist.

In 2012, the Solar Trailer received a major battery technology upgrade.  In 2013, the Sustainability Office and Student Sustainability Initiative took the advancements even further by contracting with local company Shift Electric Vehicles to install an on board level 2 electric vehicle smart charger.  This charger greater utilizes the Trailer's improved battery capacity and innovatively promotes more sustainable transportation.

Solar Trailer specifications:

  • 1800 watt solar array - nine Sanyo 200 watt solar modules
  • Two 3.6 kilowatt Outback grid interactive inverters capable of 7.2 kW (60 Amps @ 120 Volt or 30 Amps @ 240 Volt)
  • About 25 kilowatt hours of battery storage in an advanced lithium-ion battery pack, with a custom battery management system installed by Shift Electric Vehicles in Albany, Oregon
  • One SAE-J1772 Electric Vehicle Safety Equipment (EVSE) charging system
  • Two 20 amp 120 volt circuits feeding 4 standard 120V household outlets
  • One 30 amp 240 volt circuit powering one dryer style outlet
  • Wattsun dual axis sun tracker
  • Expandable, fold out array
  • Mechanical lift moves array into sun tracking position

OSU Solar Trailer

In June 2009, the Solar Trailer was used to charge a campus visitor's Tesla Roadster, illustrating that transportation fuels can be renewable too.

Need visible, renewable, portable energy for your event?  Fill out the Solar Trailer request form (doc). Some fees may apply.

Kelley Engineering Center

A 2.4 kilowatt photovoltaic system was installed on the Kelley Engineering Center during its construction in 2004. While this relatively small system provides a fraction of the power this large commercial building needs, it demonstrates the feasibility and output of solar resources in the Willamette Valley.


Hatfield Marine Science Center

A 1.1 kilowatt array at HMSC in Newport demonstrates, renewable energy technology to visitors and reflects OSU's commitment to education in sustainable practices. HMSC has also implemented campus-wide energy conservation upgrades including the installation of an energy-efficient lighting and heating/ventilation system that resulted in a 15 percent decrease in electrical consumption.

Exercise Equipment

OSU is one of the first universities to harness human energy generated by workout routines and put it onto the electrical grid. Using a new technology developed by a company in St. Petersburg, Fla., called, LLC, OSU has retrofitted 22 elliptical exercise machines in its student funded Dixon Recreation Center. As of March 2009, this is the largest installation of its kind in the world.

The system uses two inverters to convert direct current (DC) generated in the elliptical exercise machines to alternating current (AC) used by the building's electrical system. Each machine can generate up to 400 watts with the user at a full sprint. More realistic output is expected to be 25-100 watts sustained.

The project was coordinated by the OSU Sustainability Office and the Recreational Sports Department, and funded from the OSU Student & Incidental Fees Committee, the Energy Trust of Oregon and Recreational Sports. Additional technical and logistical support was received from Pacific Power. Read more on Ecologue, the OSU sustainability blog.


Off-site Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy Certificate Purchase

For several years, OSU has purchased large amounts of renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset its electricity use.  A student fee of $8.50/student/term, approved April 27, 2007 during the general election, supplied funding for this purchase between 2007 and 2010, and in 2011 OSU administration made the purchase as students elected to spend their fee money for on-site systems.

Following a campaign led by ASOSU Environmental Affairs, the student population approved the fee with 70% of voting students voting in favor. The campaign consisted of a fall 2006 survey revealing that 68% of students supported a fee, followed by a winter term petition collecting signatures to include a renewable energy question on the spring general election ballot. Over 1,700 students signed the petition in just a few days.

GPLAThe US Environmental Protection Agency has recognized OSU multiple times for outstanding leadership in renewable energy use. In October 2008, Andrea Norris who, as a student, led the campaign for the renewable energy fee and now works in Campus Recycling, accepted on OSU's behalf a Green Power Leadership Award in Denver, Colorado.

In 2011, OSU purchased enough renewable energy to meet nearly 100% of its electricity needs and was the 5th largest college or university purchaser of renewable energy in the nation. It was also designated the PAC-12 Conference Champion in renewable energy purchases and a member of the Green Power Leadership Club.  The source of OSU's renewable energy is wind power.  All OSU RECs are Green-e certified. For 2012, due to fiscal constraints OSU made a smaller purchase offsetting about 10% of total electricity use.

Non-students can donate to help increase our purchase volume at a discounted price.  Students can also use this method if they wish to donate more than the $8.50 per term fee.

Additionally, OSU's renewable energy certificate provider, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, is making a special offer of discounted green tags for OSU students, faculty, staff, and affiliates.  A promotional code is required to get the 20% discount. Contact us to get your promo code, then purchase your green tags in your desired amount.

Ground Mounted Photovoltaic Arrays

Since 2013, five large grid-tied, ground-mounted solar electric (photovoltaic) arrays have been installed on agricultural lands operated by Oregon State University as part of “Solar by Degrees,” a large-scale photovoltaic power program coordinated by the Oregon University System.  OSU was the first to install and have operational solar arrays. See the OSU press release.

The five arrays cover more than twelve acres combined. Three are in Corvallis two are at OSU properties elsewhere in the state. The 35th Street site is the largest, at around six acres and 1,435 kilowatts. It can be found west of the Corvallis campus on the Campus Way bike path. The 53rd Street site is 289 kilowatts and is located adjacent to the bike path just east of the Benton County Fairgrounds. The Salmon Disease Lab site, with a capacity of 482 kilowatts, is located adjacent to Trysting Tree golf course just east of the Willamette River, off the main campus.

The two locations outside Corvallis are in Aurora, Oregon and Hermiston, Oregon. In Aurora is the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) farm across from Charbonneau Village on Miley Road. The Hermiston Agricultural Research & Extension Center houses OSU's only Eastern Oregon solar location to date. All five sites were developed in partnership with the College of Agricultural Sciences, to which the property is assigned.

OSU 35rd Street Solar Field Production Data

OSU's largest solar installation, the 1,435 kilowatt solar array on Campus Way west of the main campus, doubles as a field for sheep grazing. The array produces power for OSU's main campus. Click the link above for real-time solar production on SolarCity's SolarGuard site.



North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) Data

The 221 kilowatt solar array across from Charbonneau Village on Miley Road is tied electrically to the NWREC farm. The array will generate up to 80% of the farm's electrical needs and will save the 160-acre agricultural research center up to $15,000 in yearly energy cost. Click the link above for real-time solar production on SolarCity's SolarGuard site. Partners for this installation include the North Willamette Research and Extension Center.

Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center

This 430.95 kilowatt solar array is located at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Hermiston, Oregon. HAREC serves nearly 500,000 acres of irrigated agricultural in Oregon and Washington's Columbia Basin. The Center concentrates on discovery and implementation of agricultural and horticultural opportunities and provides solutions to production restraints. Click this link for real-time solar production on SolarCity's SolarGuard site.


herm sol panz


Salmon Disease Lab Solar Field Production Data

The 481.95 kilowatt solar array adjacent to the John L. Fryer Salmon Disease Lab is tied to that facility electrically.  The array produces enough power on an annual basis to supply that facility and several other OSU facilities in the area. Click the link above for real-time solar production on SolarCity's SolarGuard site.  Partners for this installation include the Department of Microbiology and Department of Horticulture.

Salmon Disease Lab solar array on a cloudy day

Salmon Disease Lab solar array

OSU 53rd Street Solar Field Production Data

The 289.17 kilowatt array is located adjacent to the bike path just east of the Benton County Fairgrounds on 53rd Street, west of the main campus. Click the link above for real-time solar production on SolarCity's SolarGuard site.  Partners for this installation include the Laboratory Animal Resources Center and the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences.


53rd St. Solar in the fog

OSU 53rd St solar site


The five arrays produce around 3,286,780 kilowatt hours annually, combined.  According to the US EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, that is equivalent to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from 255,025 gallons of gasoline, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from 477 passenger vehicles, or offsetting CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 312 homes for a year.

How It Works

Under a power purchase agreement, OSU is leasing land to SolarCity, which installs, owns, maintains and operates solar equipment tied to the electric grid “downstream” from OSU electric meters. OSU purchases renewable electricity generated by the solar equipment at a rate lower than from the local utility, Trelstad said, but still relies on the utility to provide whatever power is needed beyond what the solar system can produce.

SolarWorld, the largest United States solar manufacturer, supplied more than 3,000 high-performance solar panels for the installations. SolarWorld manufactures solar technology, from raw material silicon to finished solar panels, in Hillsboro, Ore., at its 97-acre U.S. manufacturing headquarters.