Oregon Tech's campuses reflect a strong commitment to sustainability. Through the use of on-site geothermal resources, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) construction. conservation measures, waste reduction and recycling programs, sustainable purchasing, and alternative transportation options, Oregon Tech will reach its goal of being climate neutral by 2050. Oregon Tech is a leader in Sustainable Technology education and its campuses are teaching laboratories where students have direct experience with both emerging and well-tested technologies.
Oregon Tech's campus design prioritizes the use of on-site geothermal resources. The campus is entirely heated by circulating 192 F degree water, saving approximately $1,000,000 in heating and domestic hot water costs and 10,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Campus sidewalks are also geothermally heated which saves personnel costs and gasoline required to clear snow from foot paths.
A new low-temperature power plant was installed in April 2009 and provides 10% of the campus' electricity. A new geothermal well, dug in January 2009, has the potential to provide additional electricity generation with low-temperature power plants.
Aggressive conservation measures are being implemented campus-wide. Two energy conservation programs on the Klamath Falls campus in 2000 and 2002 addressed inefficient lighting systems. Light fixtures were replaced or rennovated with high efficiency electronic ballasts and t-5 and t-8 fluorescent tubes. Occupancy sensors were installed in offices, classrooms, and restrooms. Electricity consumption was reduced by 25% through these programs. Fixtures are continually upgraded as resources become available. Recent conservation measures on Oregon Tech's Wilsonville West campus resulted in saving 3,779 Kwh-an overall power reduction of 14.3%.
All new buildings at Oregon Tech are LEED silver equivalent and must also meet the State Energy and Efficiency Design program requirements. The new Center for Health Professions has CO2 monitors for HVAC control, reflective roof surfaces, and innovative surface water detention features that capture and treat 90% of water runoff. In addition, the new residence hall, the Village for Sustainable Living, includes low flow fixtures, the use of renewable building materials, and bicycle storage units.
Waste management on Oregon Tech's campuses is heavily monitored and a priority is placed on recycling. In an on-campus survey conducted in 2008, 94% of respondents commented that they think it is important to recycle or reuse. Recycling bins are distributed on campus and allow convenient disposal of cans, mixed paper, bottles, and glass. Grass clippings and leaves are collected, composted, and blended with compost from the Klamath Falls Sanitation department and then re-distributed on the campus grounds as fertilizer. Electronic waste gets donated to Monitors & More, a not-for-profit organization that refurbishes computers and other equipment. Working equipment is donated to local schools and high dollar equipment is sold on the DAS Surplus E-Bay site. Asphalt and concrete removed during renovation or construction projects is hauled away, processed, and reused. Administrative offices are increasingly switching to paperless correspondence and filing, including jobs postings, applications, and paycheck stubs.
Oregon Tech participates in the annual Recylemania contest. In 2008, Oregon Tech placed 18th in the nation and first in Oregon for per-capita cumulative recycled pounds per person!
Oregon Tech students can ride the bus in Klamath Falls for a reduced price, per academic year. A carpooling pilot program in Spring of 2009 offered a refund for parking passes to groups who carpooled at least 50% of all school days during the term. Many students and faculty commute by bicycle year-round (even in the snow) and there are two electric bicycles in use on campus.
Oregon Tech's President's Council recently approved an Energy Star Appliance Purchasing Policy, requiring all departments and facilities services to purchase products that use 10-50% less energy and water than standard models. Oregon Tech purchases EPEAT silver or higher rated computers and Green Seal cleaning products for use in custodial services. Additionally, contracts with minority owned, women owned, emerging, veteran-owned, and local businesses are preferred.