Energy | Ecotrope

At OSU: The greenest power plant in the U.S.

Ecotrope | Jan. 7, 2011 5:49 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:42 p.m.

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Oregon State University's Energy Center is the first power plant in the country to receive a LEED platinum certification – the highest green building ranking in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. It's also the first LEED platinum building on OSU's campus in Corvallis.

Oregon State University's Energy Center is the first power plant in the country to receive a LEED platinum certification – the highest green building ranking in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. It's also the first LEED platinum building on OSU's campus in Corvallis.

Oregon State University’s new Energy Center in Corvallis just hit two green-building firsts: It’s is the first power plant in the nation and the first building on campus to receive a LEED platinum certification – the highest mark in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green-building rating system.

The university replaced a nearly 90-year-old heat plant with a new cogeneration facility that combines heating and natural gas-fired electricity generation. The result is a power plant that generates nearly half of the university’s electricity needs, and saves around $650,000 a year in energy costs while cutting carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 38 percent.

The Energy Center has a long list of green-building features that helped it earn the LEED platinum label, including a white reflective roof, water-efficient landscaping, recycled building materials and construction debris, a rainwater harvesting system for its boilers, natural lighting and ventilation.

Another key feature is a combination of a natural-gas-fired turbine and a heat-recovery steam generator that captures waste heat from the electrical generation process and uses it to produce heat for the rest of the campus.

The center will be a learning lab on energy production for OSU students, too. It runs on natural gas with a diesel backup, but it can also run on biodiesel and methane.

This news reminds me of the College Sustainability Score Card I reviewed to compare the environmental footprint of OSU to the University of Oregon. Energy efficiency is one reason OSU came out on top.

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