Green Energy Technology in Public Buildings

Program Green Energy Technology in Public Buildings
Category Regulatory Policy
Implementing sector State
Last Update
State Oregon
Technologies Solar - Passive, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Daylighting, Solar Pool Heating

Enacted in June 2007, HB 2620 introduced a unique requirement for installing solar energy systems on public buildings. In 2012, S.B. 1533 amended the requirement to allow the use of any green energy technology (including geothermal electric, geothermal direct use, solar electric, solar thermal, and passive solar) to meet the requirement. The law requires public agencies to spend at least 1.5% of the total contract price of an eligible public building on green energy technologies. SB 3169 of 2013 allows green energy technologies located away from the site of a public building to satisfy the requirement if certain qualifications are met. Eligible buildings include any permanent structure owned, partially owned, or controlled by a public if any of the following is true:

  • The building is used by the public;
  • The building allows employees use or occupy the building on a regular basis for a significant part of their work.

Only public buildings where the total contract price is $1,000,000 or more for a single building or a group of buildings on the same site, or contracts for major renovations that exceed $1,000,000 and 50% of the insured value of the building are included in the requirement. Geothermal systems, passive solar thermal systems, or daylighting systems must reduce the building's baseline energy use by 20% or more in order to be eligible for the standard. Solar electric, solar water heating, solar pool heating, and active solar space heating systems must be installed in locations that have a total solar resource fraction of 75% or more. Geothermal and solar electric systems must be metered separately to record electricity production.

Before entering into a public improvement contract, a contracting agency must prepare a written determination of whether a green energy technology system is appropriate for the building. The State Department of Energy developed a standard form for contracting agencies to use in developing their determination. If the contracting agency determines that green energy technology is inappropriate for a particular project, they can refrain from installing such systems, but must spend 1.5% of the project cost to install green energy technology on a future building project. With the passage of 2015's HB 2987, these funds do not need to be set aside in a reserve account, but the agency must report the amount to the State Department of Energy.

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