The Office of Sustainability supported Campus Planning, Design, and Construction to establish the Oregon Model for Sustainable Development (OMSD). This first-of-its-kind policy, signed by then President Lariviere in July 2011, was revised in 2018 and is integrated into the overal Campus Plan. The updates, as outlined in Principle 10: Sustainable Development, require new capital projects to achieve at least LEED Gold certification and meet the Advanced Energy Threshold of being at least 25% more efficient than 2014 Oregon Energy Code requirements. The update also includes a commitment to fostering social equity in the design and construction of campus projects and guidelines for when the plan should be reevaluated.
The original version of the OMSD pledged to maintain energy use in campus buildings at 2011 levels. New development projects were required to achieve an energy use threshold 35% more efficient than required by state code as well as LEED Gold certification. Energy demanded by new buildings was offset through efficiency retrofits to older buildings, resulting in a netzero increase in campus energy use from new development.
To fund the OMSD, Campus Operations adopted a revolving loan fund. New construction projects will pay a share towards the costs of implementing energy savings measures in existing buildings via a Central Energy Fund (CEF). In doing so, new projects help offset the cost of achieving net-zero new energy use as the campus grows. Dollar savings from these energy savings projects are used to pay back the loan and and then re-invested to fund further improvements.
To encourage even more ambitious energy savings, new building projects can waive their responsibility to contribute to the Central Energy Fund if they achieve an additional 5% efficiency beyond the 35% OMSD goal. By aiming for such aggressive savings, eligible new construction projects can also apply for financial assistance from the CEF to offset the added up-front costs of cutting-edge energy design.