Three Universities Win Energy Innovation Awards
The University of Maryland, University of Virginia, and University of California San Diego were recently recognized as the 2019 Smart Energy Decisions Innovation Award winners. The objective of the Innovation Awards program is to recognize the individual and collective efforts of large electric power users, their suppliers, and their utilities in support of the energy transformation currently taking place.
U Cincinnati Clermont College Becomes 100% Wind Powered
The university recently signed an agreement to purchase 100 percent of its electric supply with Green-e certified wind power renewable energy credits. This action is projected to reduce the university's total annual greenhouse gas emissions by 16 percent.
Rowan-Cabarrus CC to Install 1 MW Solar-Electric System
The 1-megawatt photovoltaic plant is expected to be completed by the end of January 2019. The community college will receive power-generation revenues and ground-lease payments, which will be used to fund programs such as student scholarships and professional development.
Joliet Junior College to Install 1.37 MW Solar Array
The college's board of trustees approved in December the installation of a 1.37 megawatt photovoltaic array on its main campus. There will be no out-of-pocket costs to JJC, which will initially pay a fixed discounted rate for the energy generated and take ownership of the panels after 10 years. Over its lifespan, the solar array is projected to save the college more than $1.1 million.
Delta College & U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Win Climate Leadership Award
Second Nature, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), recently announced the winners of the Climate Leadership Award. Delta College was recognized for implementation of an Energy Optimization Incentive Program in collaboration with its utility provider, as well as a sustainability-immersive study abroad program, and climate adaptation and resilience learning sessions. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was honored for using power purchase agreements to reduce more than 17,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, creating a task force to address climate resilience concerns, and enhancing classroom learning through a sustainability mentorship program. Six institutions received honorable mention.
Duke U Pilots Carbon Sequestration Farm
After recently acquiring the rights to a 10,000-acre farm in eastern North Carolina, the university began a two-year pilot program on 300 acres of the land. University researchers aim to identify the best ways to restore the former farm fields to their original wetland state and measure and verify how much carbon the land's saturated peat soil can store. If enough carbon credits can be generated at a cost-effective rate, production will then expand to the other 9,700 acres.
U Victoria Selects Two Carbon Offset Projects
All students and employees were invited to vote on a shortlist of projects selected by the school’s Carbon Neutrality Plus committee. All projects were presented and voted on through a video contest. The winning projects included a solar power project in India and a conservation project in Canada.
U Newcastle Procures 100% Renewable Electricity
(Australia) In response to feedback from students, staff and stakeholders who wanted to see the university increase its investment in renewable energy, the university recently signed a contract to purchase wind, solar and hydroelectric energy that will cover 100 percent of the university's electricity needs across its Newcastle and Central Coast campuses.
Brandeis U Adopts Fossil Fuel Divestment Policies
The university's board of trustees recently adopted policies that balance the university's climate-related concerns with its fiduciary responsibility. The university will make no direct investments of endowment funds with companies whose principle business is mining coal for energy; existing investments will end with the funds' typical life cycles and then will be suspended for a three-year period; and the university's investment bodies will increase their focus on finding investments in renewable energy sources and technology. Additionally, the provost and president will prioritize support for Brandeis faculty and researchers working on climate change and related issues through the provost research fund.
U Pittsburgh to Use Hydropower
The university has signed a letter of intent to purchase 100 percent of the power from a hydroelectric plant to be built on the Allegheny River. The facility will generate about 50,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, which is enough to supply about 25 percent of Pitt’s electricity needs.
Emory U Receives $650K to Advance Climate Project
The Ray C. Anderson Foundation has awarded a $650,000 grant to Emory University to advance the Georgia Climate Project. This foundational grant will support efforts to build a network of experts who can improve understanding of climate impacts and solutions and better position Georgia to respond to a changing climate. The Georgia Climate Project is a state-wide consortium co-founded by Emory, the University of Georgia, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and joined by Agnes Scott College, Georgia Southern University, Spelman College, and the University of North Georgia.
U Alabama Birmingham Releases 6-Year Sustainability Plan
The new Sustainability Strategic Plan outlines the goals and strategies for 13 different objective areas targeting the university’s academic and medical campus. The plan commits the university to acquire 20 percent of the university’s energy needs from renewable sources of power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2025.
Cloud County CC Students to Install 200 KW Solar Array
Students enrolled in the college's Solar Energy Technology program will install a 200-kilowatt photovoltaic array on single-axis solar trackers, which will increase electricity production efficiency. The system will be installed on campus-owned land.
West Texas A&M U Enters Energy-Efficiency Contract
The university entered a partnership for a $14.4 million Campus Energy Reduction and Modernization Project throughout 31 campus buildings. Scheduled for completion by September 2019, the conservation and modernization measures include high efficiency LED lighting, improvements to the campus heating and cooling systems, water conservation measures, and automated controls that allow for improved tracking of energy consumption.
Duke U Adds Electric Buses to Fleet
The two new battery-electric buses will replace two diesel vehicles, saving Duke about $924,000 in maintenance, fuel and vehicle costs over the lifespan of the two buses. Each bus can carry up to 40 seated passengers and operate for about 200 miles on a single charge. Besides zero greenhouse gas emissions, the buses require no oil changes and use no liquid fuels.
Wellesley College Commits $24M to Energy Initiatives
Based on recommendations from a task force assembled to assess the energy needs of the college, the board of trustees has committed approximately $24 million to be spent over the next three years on a multipart energy initiative. The college will make the following improvements in its buildings and central utility plant: replace the steam absorption chiller plant with an electric chiller plant; decommission five natural gas electricity generators and increase renewable energy; construct a power plant that will generate electricity during peak electrical-use periods and during power grid failures; and improve energy efficiency in campus buildings.
U Washington Uses E-Bikes to Deliver Campus Mail
The university's Mailing Services now uses a fleet of electric-assist cargo bicycles to deliver nearly all mail to 455 departments on the Seattle campus. Mailing Services used a grant from the Campus Sustainability Fund to purchase five of the bikes. Since phasing out trucks, deliveries now take 10 percent less time and 30 percent fewer miles traveled.
Kansas State U Buys Wind Energy
The university has signed a 20-year agreement to receive approximately 50 percent of the electricity needs for the university's main Manhattan campus from a nearby wind farm. It is estimated that the new deal will save the university nearly $200,000 annually. Kansas State University is one of 14 Kansas organizations that will receive electricity from the 300-megawatt Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center.
U Technology Sydney Purchases Electricity From 32 MW Solar Farm
(Australia) The university has signed a renewable energy power purchase agreement for the output of a 32 megawatts of electricity from a solar farm in northern New South Wales. The university will purchase the equivalent of half its annual electricity demand.
Yale Divinity School Announces Air Travel Offset Program
The Yale Divinity School has launched a new program to offset the environmental impacts of academic and administrative travel. Inspired by other universities with offset programs, domestic flights will incur a $50 charge and international flights will incur a $100 charge. The revenue from the charge/tax will be used to support sustainability efforts at Yale Divinity School.
Whitman College Creates Plan to Divest From Fossil Fuels
The Whitman College board of trustees unanimously approved a new investment policy that directs the college to begin reducing ownership in fossil fuels and to not invest in any companies listed on the Carbon Underground 200. This action was taken in response to a proposal submitted by the student-led organization Divest Whitman.
Salem State U to Install 387 KW Solar Electric With $193K Grant
As part of a $5 million solar grant program launched earlier this year by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Salem State is receiving the first award of $193,500 for three photovoltaic systems totaling 387 kilowatts. Estimated to save the university $28,500 in annual electricity costs, the installations are projected to generate 439,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity through a 20-year third-party power purchase agreement with no upfront costs.
Virginia Commonwealth U Plants Trees in Local Community for Carbon Offset Credits
A project to plant dozens of trees this month in Richmond's Carver area will make the neighborhood a greener and more walkable community, while offsetting the carbon footprint of the university as the trees grow. The Carver Tree Project has brought together resources from VCU, nonprofits and state agencies to plant and maintain 75 trees in the neighborhood. VCU will claim carbon offset credits for the new trees under a peer-reviewed program developed at Duke University.
U Queensland Diverts Cardboard From Landfill By Reusing for Horse Bedding
(Australia) Used cardboard boxes are now turned into bedding material for horses and foals at the university's VETS Equine Specialist Hospital. Using cardboard allows the university to save approximately $80,000 (100,000 Australian dollars) annually in bedding costs. The initiative was originally developed by the 2017 cohort of Agribusiness students as part of an integrated learning project to make the university’s Gatton campus more sustainable. The project is now sourcing additional cardboard waste from local supermarkets.
U Notre Dame Installs 2-Acre Green Roof
Home to the Fighting Irish Athletics Department, the building now has a 79,096-square-foot vegetative rooftop. The layout consists of 25 plant species, including 22 varieties of sedum. A rooftop irrigation system also was installed.
U Notre Dame to Close Coal Plant One Year Early
Last month, the senior director of Utilities and Maintenance said the campus power plant will cease burning coal sometime in 2019, one year ahead of the initially predicted deadline in 2020. This recent decision is a direct result of the Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy, a multi-pronged plan for a more sustainable campus. The strategy, created by a standing committee of faculty, administrators, undergraduates, graduate students and campus staff, is organized into six areas of focus: energy and emissions; water; building and construction; waste; procurement, licensing and food sourcing; and education, research and community outreach.
Maharishi U Management Receives $200K Grant to Conduct Solar Array Comparisons
In addition to providing a third of the electricity on campus, the university’s new 1.1 megawatt solar array will be compared to another solar array in Iowa. Funded by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the $200,000 grant will enable evaluation of return on investment, operation and maintenance issues, battery performance, and effectiveness of solar tracking. A state-level committee will evaluate the findings of this research project and consider how to widely apply the lessons learned.
Marshall U Offers Bike Share Program
Called Rolling Thunder, a fleet of 30 new white bikes will allow Marshall students and staff to access bikes for free for the first two hours and $5-per-hour after the first two hours.
U Nebraska Enters 5-Year Partnership to Save Energy
Recommended by a university-wide committee and approved by the Board of Regents in June, a new five-year partnership with an energy-efficiency company aims to find energy savings across the university's campuses through technology- and behavior-based strategies. Each month during the partnership, the university will pay the company 50 percent of total energy savings realized during that month that resulted from the firm’s recommendations.
Monash U to Deploy Microgrid With Storage
(Australia) Building upon the university’s $135 million commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2030, the university is partnering with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to build a microgrid that will control a minimum of 1 megawatts of solar panels, 20 buildings, electric vehicle charging stations and 1 megawatt-hour of energy storage. The goal is to demonstrate how a 100 percent renewable electricity system can operate reliably and the value it can provide to consumers and the broader energy network.
U Waterloo Opens Vegan-Vegetarian Restaurant
The university's first restaurant dedicated to vegan and vegetarian cuisine, called FRSH, focuses all menu items on low-impact options such as salads, flatbreads and hot bowls. Though a couple dishes contain dairy, all menu items feature plant-based proteins. The change comes after students and employees expressed increasing interest in more vegan and vegetarian options on campus.
Pennsylvania State U Announces 2 MW Solar Project
The two-megawatt utility-scale photovoltaic project will provide one percent of University Park's campus electric needs. Included in the project will be an educational kiosk supporting academic instruction and research, sharing real-time performance data of the array.
Southern Oregon U to Install 392 KW of Photovoltaics
Three new photovoltaic arrays, amounting to a 57 percent increase in solar generating capacity for the school, will have a total capacity of 391.45 kilowatts. One array will be funded by the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University’s Green Fund, and the university will pay the fund back for the electricity generated by the system.
U New Mexico Receives $20M for SMART Grid Center
Funded by a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation, a consortium of universities, research laboratories and industry partners will contribute to a SMART Grid Center at the University of New Mexico. The SMART Grid Center, which stands for Sustainable, Modular, Adaptive, Resilient and Transactive, will support an integrated research and education program for the development of a modern electric grid. The research program seeks to transform existing electricity distribution feeders into interconnected microgrids and will utilize multiple testbeds across New Mexico.
Boston U Announces 15-Year Wind PPA
The university announced plans to buy electricity from 48.6 megawatts of wind generation capacity annually through a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 15 years. Last year BU used 205,000 megawatt-hours, which is what it plans to purchase from the wind facility annually. The university will receive and retire the associated 205,000 Green-e Certified renewable energy certificates. The electricity will feed the South Dakota electrical grid, one where BU can displace more fossil fuel intense electricity production.
Western Carolina U Hosts Air Quality Monitors
Clean Air Carolina, a North Carolina advocacy group, recently provided air quality monitors at two university locations for both research and providing real-time data to the public about weather fluctuations and particle pollution in the region. Students will be involved in data collection and measuring environmental hazards, with applications for course work, research projects and regional ecological assessment.
U North Carolina Charlotte Adopts Air Quality Measures for Construction
The university, with assistance from Clean Air Carolina, recently changed its Design and Construction Manual to require contracted companies to reduce diesel fuel emissions while working on campus. These new standards, which apply to all future construction projects on campus, discourage prolonged idling of equipment on construction sites and require all equipment to use the lowest exhaust emissions possible.
U Richmond Procures Solar Energy for 100% of Its Electricity
The university has announced a partnership with sPower to construct a 130-acre, 20 megawatt solar array 50 miles away from campus. Expecting to go online in 2020, the 47,000-panel array is projected to produce 41,000 megawatt-hours of solar energy.
U Iowa Residence Hall Earns LEED Gold
The Catlett Residence Hall includes energy efficient windows and the use of natural light throughout, high-efficiency HVAC and lighting systems are controlled by occupancy sensors, and Energy Star-certified laundry, kitchen and dishwashing equipment, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Seventy-six percent of waste was diverted from the landfill.
Flinders U Installs 1.8 MW Photovoltaic Carport
(Australia) The solar electric system will go online in October and is projected to provide 20 percent of needed electricity for the university’s Bedford Park campus. It will include a charging dock for recharging planned autonomous shuttles and plug-in electric vehicles. Costing 4.895 million Australian dollars ($3.6 million) it is expected to pay for itself within seven years. Flinders' draft sustainability plan indicates its commitment to achieve zero net emissions from electricity by 2020.
California State U East Bay Approves First Climate Action Plan
In early May 2018, the campus completed one of Second Nature's Carbon Commitment milestones by approving its first Climate Action Plan. The plan, which includes immediate, near-, medium- and long- action steps, indicates the university has set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040.
U Hawaiʻi Mānoa Launches 2 MW Solar Installation
The installation includes a large photovoltaic canopy on the top deck of the university's main parking structure as well as several rooftop systems. The university is buying the electricity under a power purchase agreement that is expected to save between $2 million to $8 million over its lifetime, depending on future energy costs.
SUNY Purchase Completes Energy Retrofit
The State University of New York (SUNY) Purchase campus recently completed the installation of energy-efficient LED lighting at its Performing Arts Center, the library, and in campus streetlights. In addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the project is estimated to save taxpayers more than $161,000 annually.
St. Lawrence U Enters PPA for Solar Energy
Entering into a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), the university will purchase solar electricity from a 2.9-megawatt photovoltaic solar system located just outside of Watertown, New York. The system, which came online in mid-July, is expected to produce 18 percent of the university’s total annual electricity consumption.