IDEA, Published by Utility Dive
For many top-tier US universities, a robust district energy system is integral to their Climate Action Plan, providing a flexible platform to integrate multiple resources like renewable energy, combined heat & power (CHP) and thermal storage for a more a resilient, efficient and sustainable campus to support the core missions of research and education. Universities have long been leaders in reducing emissions through continuous investment in energy efficiency along with renewable energy projects like solar pv, biomass, landfill gas, earth-coupled heat pumps, and even lake water for district cooling. Because a district energy network aggregates the energy needs of dozens of buildings, it creates economies of scale that facilitate investment in energy technologies not otherwise feasible on a single-building basis. District energy infrastructure has made it possible for Harvard to meet its carbon reduction goals earlier than predicted, for UT Austin to use less fuel over the past 10 years despite a campus that has nearly doubled in size, and for Princeton to maintain continuous operations through a devastating event like Super Storm Sandy.