Going ‘Green’ at Portland State University
Since 2002 Oregon’s Portland State University (PSU) has focused on designing new buildings as well as on retrofitting and renovating older campus structures with sustainability in mind. PSU’s new Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science Building is the University’s latest facility to go “green”; it’s also a model for energy and resource efficiency. Certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold by the U.S. Green Build ing Council, the complex features natural lighting and ventilation, a rainwater harvesting system plus geothermal heating and cooling from underground springs.
Siemens Building Technologies supported PSU’s sustainability goals by contributing a number of energy efficient strategies backed by innovative building systems and technology integration. To this end, Siemens provided sophisticated heating, cooling and laboratory environmental controls via its APOGEE® Building Automation System (BAS).
These high tech solutions regulate the geothermal water flow that is pumped from two separate aquifers and used for heating and cooling. A portion of the rainwater collected from the engineering building’s roof is diverted through PSU’s rainwater harvesting system to flush toilets and urinals on the first floor. In addition, students in the hydrology lab use the rainwater harvesting system to study water usage rates, rainwater quality, filtration methods and other aspects of environmental engineering to advance this technology.
From the storage tank a water sample is continuously pumped through a flow cell that is regulated by a Siemens Water Technologies Strantrol® 890 system. PSU’s rainwater harvest system also uses two ultraviolet (UV) systems to disinfect the water. In a single pass operation, water is treated as it is pumped to point of use while the second UV system continuously treats rainwater in the storage tank. These new automation systems also command the motorized operable windows plus provide indoor air quality measurement and adjustment via CO2 sensors.
A Green Bottom Line
With the help of these energy and water efficient technologies, PSU uses 45 percent less energy than Oregon Code and nearly 40 percent less water than in prior years. PSU previously had three green buildings on campus: the Native American Student and Community Center, the Broadway Housing Building and the Stephen E. Epler Hall. With the latter two being certified LEED Silver, Siemens Building Technologies provided control solutions for all three. For the Broadway Housing Building, students from the University’s engineering college monitor the green roof soil temperatures, water runoff and energy use. This synergy proves that not only do green buildings provide sustainable solutions that put green on the bottom line, but they also create state of the art 21st century educational solutions.