A 6.5 MW cogeneration power plant at Oregon State University (OSU) in the US has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification awarded by the US Green Building Council.

Designed and built by Jacobs Engineering Group, the OSU Energy Center, which became fully operational in June 2010, replaced a nearly 90-year-old heat plant with failing boilers and serious seismic issues.

The new plant is a cogeneration facility that combines heating and electricity generation, allowing OSU to generate nearly half of its electrical needs on-site.

That approach is calculated to lower the university’s energy costs by around US$650,000 a year, and reduce its carbon-dioxide emissions by an estimated 38% over the old plant.

The Energy Center’s green features include rainwater harvesting for make-up 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.

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