Oregon State University created the Requirements for Sustainable Development (RSD) to help accelerate progress toward OSU's ambitious carbon emissions reduction goals and provide flexibility that respects the context of infrastructure needs at OSU. The RSD is a points-based system similar to other green building rating systems, where more sustainability related features result in more points awarded to the project. While exceptions may be made in some limited cases, following the RSD is mandatory for all OSU major and minor capital projects as of March 2019. The RSD also requires all projects meet a minimum 50% point threshold, achieving at least half of the points applicable to that project. Projects are encouraged to reach 60% or higher, when possible, and emphasize measures that reduce energy consumption and long term costs.

Background

In 2018 and 2019, the Sustainability Office and others within Capital Planning and Development worked with design consultants and contractors to evaluate options that provide flexibility and acknowledge the OSU development context. Options evaluated include:

  1. Developing a unique standard for OSU
  2. Adapting a standard based on an external green building rating system (like LEED, Living Building Challenge or Green Globes)
  3. Applying an external rating system without adapting it. 

After an in-depth peer benchmarking process, OSU elected to require option 2 for all projects, but also encourage projects go one step further with option 3: full certification from an external rating system. 

Resources

The RSD team created an Excel template to give design teams a starting point for what specific types of measures work and don’t work for the Corvallis Campus. By communicating in advance what sustainability measures will definitely be pursued, what might be pursued and what will not be pursued, consultant and OSU employee time is saved by reducing debate over green features. For example, features that advance OSU’s strategic goal to reduce carbon emissions will be emphasized through the Requirements.

Download the RSD template

Assessment and Reporting

Certification from an external green building rating system provides a valuable third-party verification of the construction process. For this reason, an external rating system is preferred in some cases. Where certification is not sought, the Sustainability Office will act as an internal auditor, collaborating with design teams, collecting information needed to ensure the Requirements for Sustainable Development are achieved and posting short narratives online to provide transparency and promote student and stakeholder engagement.