Pasadena, Calif.-based Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. recently announced that the 6.5MW cogeneration facility it designed and built for Oregon State University (OSU) has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. This rating is the highest achievable level of LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, making the OSU Energy Center the nation's first LEED Platinum power plant, as well as the first on-campus LEED Platinum building.

Jacobs served as engineer-of-record for the new Energy Center and provided pre-design and consulting, schematic design, design development, construction documents, bid support, and construction administration for the project.

OSU's old heat plant, which was built in 1923, had long outlived the useful life of its boilers and was seismically unsound. The new energy facility generates about 50% of the university's electricity demand on site, provides an annual cost savings of $600,000 to OSU, and reduces carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions by an estimated 38% over the old plant.

As a LEED Platinum building, the Energy Center's green features include rainwater harvesting for makeup water, hot water generated by using heat recovery from the steam system, a white reflective roof, water-efficient landscaping, recycled building materials, natural ventilation, and natural lighting. Reduced water consumption has been achieved through rainwater capture, and natural ventilation and lighting contribute to the building's electrical efficiency, which is 52% better than the Oregon Building Code maximum. The net result of cogeneration is increased efficiency in the facility's energy production on site.

In making the announcement, Jacobs Group VP Tom McDuffie states, "We are very pleased that Oregon State's Energy Center has achieved LEED Platinum certification, making it a first for a power plant and another first for an on-campus building. This is a testament to OSU's commitment to sustainability and moving its campus toward efficiency in energy production. We are proud to have played a key role in this milestone project."