Marissa Gebhard, Notre Dame News
Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., announced in the fall of 2015 the ambitious goal of discontinuing the use of coal by the end of 2020, and cutting the University’s carbon footprint in half by 2030. Both goals have been achieved ahead of their target dates.
“Guided by the wisdom of Pope Francis in his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’,’ we have used a multifaceted strategy to make our campus more sustainably responsible,” Father Jenkins said. “I am proud of our progress, while realizing that we have still more work to do.”
Because of combined efforts laid out in the University’s Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy, Notre Dame has achieved a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions per gross square foot based on 2005 levels, accomplishing the goal well before 2030. The University accomplished these goals by reducing energy consumption, diversifying its energy sources and expanding and evolving its energy infrastructure to increase efficiency and capacity.
Notre Dame’s implementation of technology has further increased its energy efficiency. The University began using two new natural-gas-fired combustion gas turbines with heat-recovery steam generators earlier this year. These units operate in a combined cycle with other existing systems to produce both electricity and steam. This energy production is twice as efficient as a traditional electrical plant. The steam produced through the heat-recovery steam generators, powered in part by the gas turbine exhaust, is further used to heat campus, produce hot water or drive equipment to provide air conditioning for campus.