The Climate Action Plan calls for several studies to help the UO community and decision-makers understand our options to increase energy efficiency, reduce emissions, and absorb the associated costs. All studies listed below are expected to be complete no later than 2024. We will share the results of these studies and plans to implement their findings on this webpage as they become available.
- HB2020 study – During the 2019 session the Oregon Legislature proposed a carbon emissions reduction policy commonly known as HB2020. Its goal was to reduce emissions from a 1990 baseline by 45% by 2035 and 80% by 2050. The bill proposed a declining state-wide carbon emissions cap that would require large emitters to reduce emissions. The bill passed the house but died in the Senate when Republicans walked out and denied the Senate the quorum needed to proceed. Following the walkout, the Governor charged the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to develop and manage a program with similar goals. In December 2021, the state of Oregon launched the Climate Protection Program. It aims to cut emissions from fossil fuels in half by 2030 and by 90% by 2050. Click below to download DEQ’s summary of the Climate Protection Program.
- Long-term transition plan away from natural gas to heat campus – University of Oregon currently relies on a district heating system fueled by natural gas. While natural gas is considered one of the cleanest fossil fuels, the heat derived from burning natural gas in our power plant was responsible for over 20,000 MTCDe in 2018. The Utilities and Energy department will lead a review of options to reduce or transition away from fossil fuels to heat campus. The study will also consider the timing of any transition in order to get expected value out of our existing infrastructure investments.
- District heating and cooling efficiency improvements – This collection of studies evaluates a range of ideas to improve campus heating and cooling capacity and efficiency. The work will be led by the Utilities and Energy department.
- Internal carbon pricing – This study assessed the campus community’s willingness-to-pay for on-site emissions reductions and preferences regarding how to collect and allocate revenues. The study was led by Dr. Trudy Cameron and PhD candidate Ryan Walch from the University of Oregon’s Economics Department.
- Sustainable commute options – Commuting by faculty, students, and staff currently accounts for 20% of the University of Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing single-passenger car trips would have a large impact on the university’s carbon footprint. Transportation Services (formerly Department of Parking and Transportation) released its strategic plan to address programs and customer service over the next five years. This is the first formal strategic plan for Transportation Services, which became a stand-alone department in 2013. The plan provides a department-wide mission and a transportation and parking vision for the university. An evaluation of current services and extensive stakeholder engagement helped shape the development of goals and annual performance measures. The strategic plan will guide decision making and serve as a reference for long-range transportation planning activities.
- Campus-wide LED retrofit – This study will assess cost and appropriate phasing to transition to light-emitting diode (LED) lighting. LEDs require significantly less electricity to operate than other lighting technologies. Our electricity is largely sourced from hydropower and, as such, produces few carbon emissions. Therefore this project (and others focused on reducing electricity consumption) will have a relatively small impact on our overall carbon emissions. The study will be led by staff from Campus Planning and Facilities Management.
- Winter Break turn-down – This study will evaluate opportunities to close some buildings or reduce hours of operation during Winter Break. The study will be led by staff from Campus Planning and Facilities Management.
- Temperature set point policy – This review will be led by Facilities Services. The purpose is to determine whether University of Oregon can establish and appropriately manage rules governing minimum and maximum room temperatures in campus buildings. A temperature set-point program can reduce the amount of energy needed to control building temperature but must be balanced with occupant comfort.