New state construction must exceed the energy conservation provisions of the Oregon State building code by 20% or more. In addition, the 2007 Oregon Legislature passed HB2620, which requires that public entities spend 1.5% of the total contract price of a public improvement contract for new construction or major renovation of a public building on solar energy technology. Enacted in June 2007, House Bill 2620 introduced a unique requirement for installing solar energy systems on public buildings. The bill requires all public building projects for which the total contract price is $1,000,000 or more to include solar technologies. The investment in solar technology for a public building must amount to at least 1.5% of the total contract price. The solar energy system can either be solar electric or solar thermal systems, and can also include passive solar if it will achieve an energy consumption reduction of at least 20%. This policy also applies to major renovation projects if the cost of the renovation exceeds $1,000,000 and 50% of the total value of the building.
Changes to the energy conservation requirements are submitted on code change forms to the Oregon Building Codes Division (BCD). The Residential Structures Board reviews proposed changes that are applicable to residential code. The Building Codes Structures Board reviews changes that are applicable to the structures code. The BCD administrator, under delegated authority from the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, makes a final determination about acceptance of the proposal.
Once the administrator accepts a proposal, rulemaking begins.
The Oregon Revised Statutes (law) gives the BCD the authority to write rules that affect energy conservation in all regulated buildings. The BCD, through the rulemaking process, writes rules to implement statutes. These rules allow the BCD to adopt and amend model codes such as the International Building Code and the International Residential Code. Anyone can submit code changes, which basically change rules, to the BCD at any time. The Oregon Structural Specialty and One- and Two-Family Dwelling Codes are revised on a three-year cycle following the code change cycle of the relevant model code organization. Emergency rules are incorporated into these state codes as necessary.
The state energy code provisions are mandatory for all heated and/or cooled residential and commercial construction, including state-owned and -operated buildings that are constructed, altered, and repaired within the state. The energy conservation requirements are a mandatory statewide minimum that cannot be modified by local government without state approval.
Plans and specifications must be submitted unless exempted by the building official. If required by the building official, the plans must be stamped by registered design professionals. The codes establish minimum submittal requirements concerning R-values, equipment efficiencies, and lighting components. Field inspections are required prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy. For all buildings, the city, county, or designated enforcement agency may either enforce the code or have the BCD enforce the code. The BCD also provides plan review and inspections for all prefabricated structures located within the state and inspections of all manufactured housing. Interpretations are issued by the local jurisdiction enforcing the code. A jurisdiction can request an advisory ruling from the BCD. A request for an interpretive ruling can be made to the BCD, approved or disapproved by BCSB, then approved or disapproved by the BCD administrator. An interpretive ruling is mandatory throughout the state.
Plans and specifications showing all pertinent data in sufficient detail, including U- and R-values of materials, equipment sizes, and controls must be submitted to the enforcement agency (local or state).
Compliance can be demonstrated for residential construction either by using the prescriptive path or by completing a residential thermal performance calculation form for trade-offs of the exterior envelope requirements.
Documentation for commercial buildings can use COMcheck's prescriptive or STA methods, as well as a Whole Building Analysis method (see the Oregon.gov Building Codes Division web page  for more information).
On May 6, Oregon was announced as one of the states that will participate in BECP's Compliance Evaluation Pilot Study.
Oregon's first energy conservation requirements were developed in 1975 and were limited to residential buildings. This code was upgraded in 1978 and again in 1980 to reflect the new editions of the ASHRAE standards (90-75, 90A-80, 90B-75). Since 1980, the residential energy conservation requirements have been amended on a three-year cycle in sequence with the Oregon One- and Two- Family Dwelling Specialty Code. Previous energy conservation requirements became effective on April 1, 2003. New energy conservation requirements for residential buildings became effective April 1, 2005. The energy conservation requirements for commercial buildings were developed in 1978 and upgraded in 1980. Since 1980, the energy conservation requirements have been upgraded in sequence with the Oregon Structural Specialty Code. Previous energy conservation requirements became effective on October 1, 2003. New energy conservation requirements for commercial buildings were adopted and became effective on October 1, 2005. Effective April 1, 2007, non-residential buildings are subject to the 2007 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC). Chapter 13, covering building energy efficiency, has been certified by the U.S. Green Building Council and is 1-2% more energy efficient than ASHRAE 90.1-2004. In 2006, Governor Ted Kulongoski mandated that the state of Oregon improve energy performance in new residential construction by 15% by the year 2015. On April 1, 2008, the Oregon Residential Energy Code Requirements were updated and will reduce energy costs an average of 15 percent when compared to the 2007 state specific code. Many, but not all, of the measures of the 2008 ORSC were drawn from the 2004 Northwest ENERGY STAR specifications. With the adoption of the 2008 ORSC, it was decided to move the respective Low Rise Code requirements into the adopted model codes with which they most closely align. This allows Oregon's published codes to be consistent with the scope of the nationally promulgated codes and assists in the scope of inspector/plan review certifications and certain licensing requirements. The Oregon BCD Enforcement Program works with local jurisdictions so they can emphasize proper compliance with permits. It has implemented pilot enforcement programs across the state to test different enforcement models and has expanded the division's enforcement presence in local communities. Effective July 1, 2011, the requirements of the state's updated residential code, Chapter 11 of the 2011 Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC), will be identical to Chapter 4 of the 2010 Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code (OEESC). This will be 10% more efficient than the current residential code, the 2008 ORSC. The 90-day phase-in period ended October 1, 2011.
2014 Oregon Residential Specialty Code requirements are based on the 2009 IRC.