Green Energy Technology in Public Buildings

July 27, 2023


Green Energy Technology

Enacted in June 2007, HB 2620 introduced a unique requirement for installing solar systems for public buildings. In 2012, SB 1533 amended the requirement to allow the use of any Green Energy Technology (GET). As of January 1, 2020, GET has been defined as energy systems that employ:

  • Geothermal electric
  • Geothermal direct use
  • Solar electric
  • Solar thermal
  • Passive solar
  • Battery storage equipment paired with the above

Eligble Alternative technologies include:

  • Woody Biomass*
  • Energy Use Efficiency**

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. HB 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.

The GET requirement of 1.5% of the total contract price of a public improvement contract for new construction applies to projects costing $5 million or greater. The GET requirement of 1.5% applies to major renovation projects costing $5 million or greater AND greater than 50% of the building’s insured value.

If a public entity determines GET or an alternative is inappropriate for a project, or wants to install the technology off-site, it must submit a description to the Technical Review Panel​ and explain their decision. The Technical Review Panel will provide its recommendation within 60 days. Funds not spent on the current project must be spent on the next building project that the public entity undertakes, unless no state funds are included in the project cost.

Reporting Requirements

Public entities subject to the 1.5% requirement must report their projects through the Oregon Department of Energy's Reporting Database​. Projects must be reported whether GET or an alternative is determined to be appropriate or inappropriate

* A space or water heating system or a combined heat and power system that uses fuel material from trees and woody plants that are a by-product of forest management, agriculture, ecosystem restoration, or fire prevention or related activities​. The system boiler must have a lower heating value combustion efficiency of at least 80 percent. Wood pieces that have been treated with certain chemicals, municipal solid waste, construction and demolition waste, or other industrial wood waste cannot be used as fuel​.

**Certain on-site energy efficiency improvements that reduce or offset energy consumption by a required percent beyond baseline code (20 percent for public buildings; 30 percent for state buildings). This alternative is only available where Total Solar Resource Fraction available onsite is 75 percent or less.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: Oregon
Incentive Type: Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar - Passive
  • Solar Water Heat
  • Solar Space Heat
  • Geothermal Electric
  • Solar Photovoltaics
  • Biomass
  • Combined Heat & Power
  • Daylighting
  • Solar Pool Heating
  • Geothermal Direct-Use
Renewable Energy Requirement: Public agencies must spend 1.5% of project costs on green energy technology.


Name: ORS § 279C.527 (Inclusion of amount for green energy technology or woody biomass energy technology in public improvement contract)
Date Enacted: 06/13/2007
Effective Date: 01/01/2008
Effective Date: 1/1/2008
Name: Oregon Laws 2015, Chapter 424
Date Enacted: 06/16/2015
Effective Date: 06/16/2015
Name: Oregon Laws 2015, Chapter 262
Date Enacted: 06/04/2015
Effective Date: 10/05/2015
Name: ORS § 279C.528 (State Department of Energy requirements and specifications)
Name: 2021 GET Report to the Legislature


Name: Technical Review Committee
Organization: Oregon Department of Energy
Phone: (503) 302-7027
Name: Public Buildings Program Manager
Organization: Oregon Department of Energy
Phone: (503) 580-2598

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.