Brown University seeks to take a leadership role in committing to real and substantive Greenhouse Gas reductions. In 2008 the University made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42 percent below 2007 levels (equivalent to 15 percent below 1990 levels) for existing buildings. In FY18, $2.5 million was spent on efficiency improvements. This investment resulted in approximately $840,000 in National Grid utility incentive payments, an annual GHG emissions reduction of 1,872 tons and utility savings of $554,000.
Brown Pledges to Reduce Campus Greenhouse Gas Emissions to Net-Zero by 2040
To create a more sustainable campus and confront what scientists have declared an increasingly dire threat posed by global climate change, Brown University has set an aggressive goal to cut its campus greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent by 2025 and to achieve net-zero no later than 2040.
Brown's Commitment to Renewable Energy
As a major part of a campus-wide effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Brown University has finalized agreements for two renewable energy projects that are expected to produce enough combined solar and wind power to offset all on-campus electricity use.
The first project — a collaboration with Constellation, a national competitive energy provider, and Providence-based Energy Development Partners (EDP) — will create Rhode Island’s highest-capacity contiguous solar generation project across a 240-acre field on a former gravel pit in North Kingstown. (2019, January https://news.brown.edu/articles/2019/01/renewable)
Highlight: The Thermal Energy Efficiency Project
Facilities Management's Office of Sustainability has already begun work to achieve Brown's new emissions goals with the Thermal Efficiency Project (TEP). The current campus central heating plant (CHP) is a steam-powered high-temperature system. The Thermal Energy Efficiency Project will convert the CHP to a medium-temperature hot water distribution system and eliminate steam distribution.
Upon completion in 2020, this three-year project is estimated to result in annual savings of over $1 million in fuel costs and a reduction in GHG emissions of 5,000 tons. Additionally, the project is designed to enable longer-term system electrification, heat recovery energy distribution and service of lower temperature heating systems.
Facilities Management’s Design & Construction office also implemented multiple projects under the high-performance design goals for all new construction, major renovations, and acquired facilities, including a minimum certification of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Silver and at least 25 percent better requirements than code in energy utilization.
Under the energy efficiency investment program Facilities Management has 527 projects of various size and scope either completed, in progress, or under development. Over the life of the program, we have invested approximately $27 million dollars for a total reduction of 19,723 MTCDE(Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide), or 27 percent below the fiscal year 2007 levels in our existing buildings. To date, our efforts have resulted in a savings of over $4 million dollars in annual energy expense.