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Denver University Reduces Carbon Footprint with Solar Panel Project

By District Energy posted 12-09-2020 09:16


University of Denver


Colorado’s famed 300 days of sunshine are pulling double duty at the University of Denver. In addition to providing a bright background for studying and play, the sun’s rays will energize campus in a new way.  

That’s thanks to a new solar panel project, which now covers 18 of DU’s 88 roofs across campus, including its most recent additions, the Burwell Center for Career Achievement and the Dimond Family Residential Village. These solar panels will be responsible for as much as 8% of DU’s total energy production.

Since first outlining its 25 sustainability goals to achieve by 2025, the University of Denver has already made great strides. For the last two years, DU has surpassed its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 24%. Chad King, executive director of sustainability, says the University targeted efficiency first, changing out light bulbs for LED alternatives, reducing heating and cooling through smarter occupancy settings, and educating the community. In 2018, these efforts brought DU’s carbon footprint down by an astonishing 38%. To push the envelope further, renewable energy was the natural next step.

“We knew that in order to get to our carbon neutrality goal that we would have to, at some point, have renewables either on campus or off,” King says. “We also knew from the beginning that we wanted to be authentic in how we did renewables. We didn’t want to just buy carbon offsets or do some sort of tricky deal where we buy solar and then sell the offsets and buy cheaper offsets. We wanted to be transparent.”

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