Emissions Reductions Actions


Photo of machinery room inside UO power plant

Campus Planning and Facilities Management (CPFM) will focus on direct efforts to reduce University of Oregon’s scope 1 and 2 emissions. These emissions result from heating, cooling, lighting, and electric loads in campus buildings. Other relevant offices in the Vice President for Finance and Administration (VPFA) portfolio will offer programs to help the campus community reduce their emissions from commuting, travel, purchasing, and other areas (scope 3 emissions).

The updated Climate Action Plan (CAP) identifies the following actions to be completed no later than 2024. (Some have been completed and others are underway.) Some of these actions produce direct emissions reductions, while others build capacity to manage and reduce emissions. Progress updates and reports will be posted here.


Steam tunnel re-insulation project - The steam distribution system, maintained by Utilities and Energy, includes more than eight miles of pipes. During the summers of 2017 and 2018 staff accelerated a project to replace hazardous asbestos insulation with high efficiency insulation. This $750,000 project reduced heat loss in campus tunnel system, resulting in:

  • Reduced natural gas consumption at the Central Power Station steam plant.
  • Annual reduction in GHG emissions of approximately 200 Metric Tons. 
  • Annual utility cost avoidance of approximately $150,000.
  • Steam tunnels now tend to be cooler and safer for maintenance workers.

Establish and fill energy manager position - Boz Van Houten was hired in Fall 2018 as University of Oregon’s energy manager. Prior to this position, he spent four years as Oregon Health Sciences University’s energy manager. Other relevant experience includes 15 years working for SOLARC, a local energy engineering firm.

Establish enterprise Energy Management Program - The primary goal of the Energy Management Program is to drive down costs and risks associated with the production, delivery and use of steam, chilled water, electricity, and other utilities. The program also supports university leadership in decision-making and planning by providing information from utility-related data products. The program will be guided by a strategic energy management plan. Key program elements will include procurement, metering, data management, performance monitoring, budgeting, opportunity analysis, and energy efficiency project support. The energy manager is responsible for the design, development and effective implementation of the Energy Management Program.    

Re-launch energy revolving fund - In 2011, UO created a revolving loan fund with a $50,000 per year commitment. Its purpose was to support campus energy efficiency work. However, it was under-utilized. In 2018, the program was renamed and relaunched with clear processes needed to make funding decisions. A webpage with energy revolving fund program details will be published soon.

Building Optimization Program – This collaboration between CPFM and the Energy Studies in Buildings Lab will optimize heating and cooling in campus buildings. This program will reduce energy, emissions, cost, and complaints associated with automated delivery of heating and cooling services, and improve comfort in offices and classrooms. A critical component of the program is re-calibrating sensors, which will further efforts to improve building scheduling, monitor building performance against energy benchmarks, and identify maintenance needs. This action will improve data collection and accuracy. A pilot-level project was completed in the HEDCO building in 2018. Optimization processes are being refined and new buildings are being identified and prioritized for this program. A progress report will be available soon.


climate action plan