Multi-agency Built Environment Efficiency Working Group Supports Climate Actions


The Oregon Department of Energy is convening a multi-agency working group to tackle directives that will help Oregon fight climate change. In November 2017, Governor Kate Brown signed two Executive Orders with specific directives to state agencies to improve energy efficiency, boost electric vehicle adoption, and support actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

The Governor’s Executive Order No. 17-20 focuses on the built environment – specifically, residential, commercial, and public buildings across the state. Emissions data show that residential and commercial buildings – especially their electricity and other energy consumption – are a large greenhouse gas contributor. Reducing energy use and increasing efficiency will help lower emissions from the built environment.

Through a new ODOE-led working group, state agencies are already weighing how to meet the EO’s requirements, which include:

  • Solar-ready buildings. New residential buildings are ready for installation of solar panels and related technologies by October 2020, and by October 2022 for commercial buildings.
  • EV-ready parking lots. Associated parking structures are able to support electric vehicle charging by October 2022.
  • Zero-energy homes. For new residential construction, structures will need to achieve at least equivalent performance levels with the U.S. Department of Energy “Zero Energy Ready Standard” by October 2023.
  • High performance buildings. For new commercial construction, buildings will exceed national model energy codes and meet energy efficiency levels of high-performance standards by October 2022.
  • High efficiency H20. For new construction, commercial code will require high-efficiency water fixtures by January 2020, and the ability to capture and safely reuse water for irrigation or other uses by October 2025.
  • State resources. State agencies will work with high energy-use industries to help them reduce their carbon footprint through code amendments.
  • State leadership. State agencies will continue our commitment to lead by example by ensuring existing state-owned buildings operate efficiently, and by constructing new buildings that operate as carbon-neutral by 2022.

All of these changes are exciting – but will require a lot of work to make it happen. That’s why the Oregon Department of Energy, Department of Administrative Services, Building Codes Division, Public Utility Commission, and Oregon Housing & Community Services have formed a Built Environment Efficiency Working Group to tackle the needed cost analyses, barriers to implementation, and more. The group will also seek input from stakeholders across the state.

The “BEEWG” met for the first time earlier this month, and plans to check in monthly to talk about progress and identify pathways to achieve the Executive Order’s directives.

Check back on our blog for future updates about the BEEWG and its progress. You can also sign up to receive email updates about ODOE-led directives, including future opportunities to weigh in.

And read the full executive order for a full list of its directives and to learn more!