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Benchmarking utilities to improve overall energy consumption. The types of fuel used for energy, and the efficiency of heating/cooling systems play a major role in campus sustainability. By evaluating campus energy use, measures can be taken to reduce a large percentage of energy use without major changes to buildings. Work with utility providers to understand and reduce consumption to improve. Further examination of creating all potential renewables is urged (photovoltaic, biomass, geothermal, wind, etc) along with potential for Combine Heat and Power plant. Evaluate the creation and track energy conservation plan, monitor energy management plan, recommission buildings and actively evaluate lighting controls. Verify Energy Star on all equipment and in purchasing.

State solar policy resource: A State-by-State Policy Guide for Midsized Solar Customers

2019 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook 

2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook

Click on this link for a pdf  from one of NACUBO's most experienced VP/CFO on how to improve energy use at your campus:
Key Steps for Energy Efficient Program!


Other case studies and resources: 

Posters from NACUBO Annual Meetings are a great resource for how campuses are advancing energy issues:

  • Arizona State UniversityTempe, Ariz. Solar-powered production in multiple conditions.
  • Bowdoin CollegeBrunswick, Maine A solar project for campus use that is third party financed, built, owned and maintained by SolarCity.
  • Carleton CollegeNorthfield, Minn.Sustainability: energy conservation, clean energy production, waste reduction, student activism, and food procurement.
  • Delaware State UniversityDover, Del.  Energy performance contracting
  • University of UtahSalt Lake City, UtahRooftop solar systems offered at a reduced cost for students, faculty, staff, and alumni at their home residences.
  • University of WisconsinOshkosh, Wis. Dry and wet anaerobic biodigesters; solar and geothermal; learning, living laboratory.
  • Cornell UniversityIthaca, NYClear, concise on process and financials involved  for making carbon neutrality a reality; explains the Energy Conservation Initiative - included in specific costs on funding,  information on cost and expected return on investment  with building automation (great graphic), project highlight on a library mechanical cost and a lamp replacement  cost , climate action plan and the renewal energy projects.
  • University of MiamiCoral Gables, FLProcess flow diagram on execution of efforts with 1) measure and analyze benchmarks, 2) implement technologies and strategies, 3) investment and execution with 4) the program for the future.
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN Conversion of power plant from coal to natural gas; specific costs and pollutants noted.
  • Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI green revolving fund history - clear graphics from 1980 on reducing costs with investment and average annual return on investment - Official joining 2012 Billion Dollar Green Challenge with graphics clearly identifying the need, process and savings on investment and ROI.


Results are in for the five years of the APPA/NACUBO Key Facilities Metric survey.   How does your Btu or Electrical compare for your campus from year to year?  This particular group of campuses has seen a trend line that electrical is being reduced at most campuses, but BTU (energy) in not always being reduced.  Know your own campus consumption numbers to evaluate if projects should be put in place to reduce your energy.  Keep track of these measures to improve.

 Just as leadership can recite pertinent campus facts - cost of tuition, types of academic programs, number of students, etc  - it is critical to know basic facilities data to improve strategic planning; Btu, electrical, water, waste and carbon. 

Related Content

2019 Campus Efficiencies Posters

View campus success stories from poster submittals at the 2018 Annual Meeting. These posters are a great resource of how to execute savings as well as how to display success.


Review other initiatives campuses are using to conserve water. Due to either environmental or utility infrastructure problems, in some communities water is becoming the most expensive utility. Vigilance on conserving water can be cost effective, and it helps enlighten students and staff for the future.

Sustainability Finance