Northwestern U & U Chicago Receive EPA Energy Star Award
Among this year’s 206 total winners, two were institutions of higher education. Northwestern University was honored with the Partner of the Year: Sustained Excellence award for the second year. The University of Chicago received the Partner of the Year award for the first time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star Partner of the Year awards recognize institutions and organizations for their year-over-year commitment to energy efficiency.
U Virginia Uses HVAC Systems to Cull Spread of COVID
A group of specialists at the university recently began studying how best to use heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to limit the spread of COVID-19 virus. They are focused on three areas: HVAC enhancements, such as the use of filters and increased ventilation; mitigating airborne transmission based on new research and technologies; and serving as a resource to the campus community about airborne transmission and HVAC mitigation.
Luther College Connects Solar Array
A new solar array that includes a battery storage system will provide 10 percent of the college's current electricity consumption. Luther is leasing the land and will purchase power from the facility over the next 10 years.
Vanderbilt U to Purchase 25 MW of Solar Energy
Through the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Green Invest program, the university has contracted to be a 25-megawatt co-subscriber to a Tennessee solar farm scheduled for completion in 2023.
U Sheffield Pledges Carbon Neutrality
(U.K.) As part of its recently released five-year sustainability strategy, the University of Sheffield pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions on campus by 2030 and across all activities by 2038. The strategy also includes plans to embed education for sustainable development into all courses.
Maine HEIs Join Renewable Energy Consortium
Bowdoin College, Colby College, the Maine Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy, and the University of Maine have joined with 18 other Maine businesses, schools and towns in signing long-term energy contracts with 33 new renewable projects in the state.
U Virginia Launches 'Energy Transition Initiative'
The Energy Transition Initiative is a merger between the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service's Virginia Clean Energy Project and its Virginia Solar Initiative. The new collaboration aims to analyze energy systems to identify roadblocks and reduce barriers to achieving a net-zero carbon electric sector by 2050, and to promote informed, engaged and inclusive decision-making.
Georgetown U Signs Renewable Energy PPA
A new 15-year agreement allows the university to buy 100,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually from 11 existing solar plants. Georgetown will purchase the electricity from the solar facilities without the associated renewable energy credits (RECs), and through a second financial transaction, purchase Green-e certified RECs through a broker for an equivalent amount of power for the first five of the 15-year agreement.
U California San Diego Receives $39M for Renewables Integration Research
The National Science Foundation recently awarded $39 million to a team of engineers and computer scientists at UCSD to build a testbed to better understand how to integrate distributed energy sources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, smart buildings and electric vehicle batteries, into the power grid. The goal is to make the testbed available to outside research teams and industry by 2025.
Colorado State U Signs On-Campus Solar Agreement
The university recently signed a formal agreement with two companies to identify campus site feasibility for installation on rooftops, carports and ground mounts. Construction and installation is slated to begin in the first half of 2021 with project completion set for late 2022. Photo by William A. Cotton/CSU Photos.
U Virginia Publishes Sustainability Plan
The university’s new plan, the 2020-30 Sustainability Plan, includes these goals: carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil fuel-free by 2050; reducing waste to 30 percent of 2010 levels by 2030; reducing the nitrogen footprint by 30 percent by 2030; partnering to advance equity; building accountability in leadership; and enhancing sustainability research. The plan also provides seed funding for sustainability projects.
College Redwoods to Install 2.1 MW Solar System & Battery Storage
The College of the Redwoods board recently approved a proposal for a 2.1-megawatt photovoltaic system with an additional 500 kilowatts of battery storage that will cover about three acres of open field space on campus, about a third of campus parking, and the roof of the Learning Resource Center. The energy generated by the system is expected to provide about 90 percent of the campus’s electricity demands.
U Wisconsin Madison Places Solar Panels on Arboretum
The university's Arboretum Visitor Center will soon house an array of 66 photovoltaic modules that are projected to produce 32,300 kilowatt-hours in the first year of operation. The solar energy system will cover about eight percent of the arboretum’s current energy needs, resulting in a projected $3,750 decrease in annual electricity cost.
EPA Honors 2020 Green Power Leadership Awardees
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and Madison Area Technical College as winners in the Direct Project Engagement category. Saint Louis University won in the Excellence in Green Power Use category. The Direct Project Engagement Award recognizes partners that distinguish themselves through direct project engagement using a variety of financing structures to access green power. The Excellence in Green Power Use Award recognizes partners that distinguish themselves by using green power in amounts that exceed the minimum benchmark requirements, or where the partner can demonstrate a distinct market impact through innovation, communications and stakeholder engagement.
College Lake County Adds Solar Electricity
The college will soon add photovoltaic panels on two acres of land on the west side of campus and on six buildings. Once complete, the college will receive nearly 20 percent of its electricity needs from the solar installations.
Cornell U Students Build Solar-Charging Trailer for Landscaping Equipment
Members of the university's Sustainable Design student group recently delivered to the grounds department a 7-by-12-foot trailer that will cart and power electric string trimmers, hedge clippers, chainsaws and an electric, heavy-duty commercial mower. The trailer will help Cornell reduce carbon emissions while raising awareness of its environmental initiatives, aimed at helping the campus achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.
U Notre Dame to Procure Solar Electricity
The university partnered with a power company to purchase 40 percent of the total output from a 22-megawatt solar electric project, which is equal to about 10 percent of the university's overall electrical usage.
I2SL Announces Lab Freezer Challenge Winners
The organizational and individual laboratory winners of the 2020 International Laboratory Freezer Challenge are, respectively, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Learning and Research Laboratory at the University of Bristol. Honorable mentions include the University of Alabama Birmingham in the organizational category and, in the individual lab category, the BioSpecimen Processing Facility at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the Biology Teaching Laboratories at the University of California Santa Cruz; and the Van Der Pol Lab at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Together, the 2020 challenge participants saved a combined total of roughly 3.2 million kilowatt-hours per year.
Aarhus U Approves 44 Actions to Reduce Emissions
(Denmark) The university recently announced 44 activities to reduce carbon emissions, some of which are waste-sorting pilot projects in study areas, libraries and canteens, electricity meters on IT equipment, assessing the feasibility of solar-electric, and using fixed temperature settings for all university buildings in the winter. The four focus areas of the actions are campus, transportation, procurement and waste.
Austin CC Switches to Solar & Wind Power
The community college district launched its 100 percent renewable energy program with the Texas General Land Office, and now its Round Rock and Elgin campuses use 100 percent renewable energy from wind and solar.
Dumfries Galloway College Launches Sustainable Energy Hub
(U.K.) Called the Green Energy Hub, the new initiative aims to provide practical solutions to the challenges of heating, power and water supply faced by the college as well as creating a valuable teaching tool for students. Technologies of the hub will include a wind turbine, heat pumps, solar arrays, battery storage and electric vehicle charging points.
Northwestern U Research Center Earns LEED Gold
The university's Biomedical Research Center features a vegetated roof, a rainwater collection system, a double-skin facade on the south-facing side to reduce heat and glare, energy recovery wheels in laboratory exhaust and water-efficient fixtures.
Duke U to Purchase 101 MW of Solar Energy
The university will soon bolster its renewable energy portfolio through the purchase of 101 megawatts of solar electricity from three facilities expected to be online by 2022. The purchase is projected to meet about 50 percent of Duke's annual electricity needs.
Environment America Releases Higher Ed Renewable Energy Report
Environment America's newly released report, "America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy 2020: Who Is Leading the Transition to 100% Renewable Energy on Campus?", catalogs the efforts of 127 colleges and universities that reported data through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership. The report lists the top 10 colleges and universities obtaining 100 percent or more of their electricity from renewable sources, with Georgetown University leading all schools, generating and purchasing more than 1.3 times as much electricity from renewable sources as it consumes. It also lists the top five schools for renewable heating, cooling, hot water and other non-electric energy produced per student, with Colby College listed first.
HKUST Announces Large-Scale Solar-Electric System
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) recently announced a renewable energy project that will include the installation of up to 8,000 solar panels at over 50 locations on campus. The system will generate up to 3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. Part of the system will be dedicated as a living laboratory for the university’s faculty and students to test out ideas and projects related to solar energy systems.
Mid-State Tech College Installs Solar Array
Mid-State’s Renewable Energy Technician students recently installed 135 solar panels on the roof of the downtown Stevens Point campus. The array will supply approximately 15 percent of the campus’s energy usage. The project was incorporated into an advanced solar installation course this June and made possible thanks to a Solar on Schools grant the college received from the Couilliard Solar Foundation to purchase the solar panels.
U Hull Enters Carbon Neutrality Partnership
(U.K.) The university recently announced a partnership with Siemens that will create a detailed strategic master plan for carbon neutrality by 2027. Siemens has been commissioned by the university to undertake an evaluation of its energy consumption, focused on reducing emissions and finding new, renewable ways to power the campus. The elements of the plan will include reduction of current energy consumption, energy production using renewable energy, and conversion of the university's campus into a living lab that enables researchers and students to trial new technologies.
Leeward CC Becomes Net-Zero Campus
In addition to reducing consumption through various energy efficiency measures, the campus is now generating 97 percent of its energy through on-site photovoltaic systems, including solar shade canopies and distributed energy storage.
Three Massachusetts HEIs Receive Funding for Net-Zero Carbon Emissions Study
The Massachusetts governor's office recently allocated three awards, totaling $300,000, to Salem State University, and to University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD) and Lowell (UML). The grant funding is for feasibility studies that will help these three Massachusetts state universities achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
U Minnesota Morris Achieves Electricity Carbon Neutrality
Roughly 70 percent of the campus' electricity is generated by renewable energy–two university-owned, 1.65-megawatt wind turbines and several photovoltaic systems. To achieve carbon neutrality, the campus recently purchased renewable energy credits equal to the fossil-fuel produced electricity the campus uses.
U Pittsburgh Signs Solar PPA for Electricity
Through a new, 20-year solar power purchase agreement, the university will purchase all of the renewable electricity produced by a planned 20-megawatt solar power facility. It will cover approximately 13 percent of the Pittsburgh campus’ annual electricity usage.
Queen Mary U Invests in Energy Efficiency Measures
(U.K.) The university will be installing energy monitoring, enabling remote accessibility and live energy reporting, and LED lighting systems. The changes are expected to cut energy use by 25 percent at its Whitechapel campus.
South Dakota State U Adds 20 KW Photovoltaic Array
In early June, 54 solar panels were installed on the university's Facilities & Services roof. The 20.25-kilowatt solar-electric array provides approximately 18 percent of the total building energy usage.
Paul Smith’s College Receives $60K for Energy Audit & STARS Fellows
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recently awarded a $56,000 REV Campus Challenge Technical Assistance for Roadmaps grant to the university that will be used to hire third-party energy consultants to assess campus infrastructure and energy use. Additionally, $4,000 in bonus funding will support sustainability fellowship positions for students working on Sustainability Tracking and Rating Systems (STARS) projects.
U Virginia Partnership Increases Adoption of Solar Energy
In an effort to help the state reach its carbon neutrality goal of 2050, the University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service has partnered with the state’s Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy to host an advisory program, SolSmart, aimed to help local governments implement and embrace solar energy.
DePauw U Installs Photovoltaic Array
The roof of the university's Indoor Tennis and Track Center now holds 860 photovoltaic panels. More than 40 donors gave toward the installation of the panels, which cost $460,000.
U Toledo Installs 332 KW Solar Array
A new 332-kilowatt photovoltaic array on the university's Health Science Campus is expected to save the university approximately $30,000 per year in avoided electricity costs. A senior student design team worked with the university's Facilities and Construction to identify the site and prepare construction engineering drawings. The Student Green Fund approved spending $350,000 to cover the costs to install the array.
North Carolina State U Installs Thermal Energy Storage Tank
Equivalent to a seven-story swimming pool holding more than 3 million gallons of water, the thermal energy storage tank enables the university to create chilled water for campus buildings at night when electricity rates are lowest and store the chilled water for use during the day when electricity rates are highest. The system is designed to supply chilled water for mechanical systems at more than 20 buildings.
Greenville U Completes Solar Installation
The university's recently completed photovoltaic project will cover approximately 75 percent of the university's electricity needs. The project was feasible thanks to an Illinois renewable energy program that allowed the school to acquire the system at no up-front cost and pay over six years with the money that would have been spent on electricity.
Northwestern U to Support 16 Community Solar Projects
The university recently signed an agreement with a community solar provider to support the development and construction of 16 community solar projects in Illinois, totalling 11.9 megawatts. Additionally, the partnership will provide hands-on experiential learning for students. Community solar allows customers to subscribe to a local solar project, receive credits on their utility bill and reduce their overall electricity costs.