Campus Energy

Overview

Columbia will meet its sustainable energy goal through the focused application of available and emerging energy efficiency, technology, and supply market options. Columbia’s action plan for campus energy will follow the carbon management hierarchy, address critical regulatory requirements for campus buildings (i.e. Local Law 97), and exploit clean energy options that emerge in response to New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The CLCPA has charted an aggressive course for the state to have a net zero economy by 2050, including an interim goal of 70% renewable energy by 2030, and decarbonization of the electric sector by 2040.

Click here to read the full Overview.

Goal & Strategies

Columbia commits to electrification and 100% renewable electricity.

Strategy 1: In the near- to mid-term, aggressively identify and implement opportunities to avoid and reduce emissions through traditional energy efficiency measures including new building and retro-commissioning standards, space use optimization, and both electricity- and fuel-related improvements in efficiency.

Strategy 2: Transition as rapidly as is practical from brown power paired with national renewable energy credits (RECs) to zero-emission electricity sources on the New York grid that, where feasible, are Local Law 97 (LL97)-eligible or (ideally) are located on Columbia campuses.

Strategy 3: Mid- to long-term, pair deep conservation with electrification to displace fossil fuels used for heating and cooling. As a first step, Columbia will undertake comprehensive engineering studies of strategic electrification of its campuses.

Campus Energy Content Sections

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Breakdown of Emissions Sources

Addresses the Scope 1 (stationary combustion of fuel) and Scope 2 (purchased utilities) components of campus energy emissions.

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GHG Goals & Science-Based Targets

Sets forth the science-based targets and goals for the Scope 1 and 2 emissions sources related to campus energy.

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Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Hierarchy

Addresses the order of operations (Avoid, Reduce, Replace, Offset, and Remove) Columbia will use to reach net zero emissions.

Columbia signature crown logo in a green circle representing Sustainable Columbia
Roadmap to Net Zero

Shows how a suite of mitigation measures might be applied to meet Columbia’s science-based targets.

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Progress to Date

Lays out the progress each of Columbia's campuses has made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions since the release of the first sustainability plan in 2017.

Topics: Energy

Recent News: Energy

March 31, 2021

Columbia University Ranks Third in EPA’s Top 30 Green Power Users

Columbia University ranked third in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Top 30 College and University green power users across the United States as part of their Green Power Partnership (GPP). Columbia’s 100 percent zero emissions electricity from various sources, including solar and wind, provided 277,892,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power in 2020, behind the University of California and Arizona State University.

February 25, 2021

Columbia University Awarded Climate Registered™ Gold Status and Joins Ranks of U.S. Climate Leaders

New York, NY – Columbia University was awarded Climate Registered™ Gold by The Climate Registry, a nonprofit organization that is governed by U.S. states and operates the Carbon Footprint Registry, which is North America’s largest voluntary registry for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Columbia earned this recognition by publicly reporting a third-party verified GHG emissions inventory for its operations. This data will enable them to track their climate initiatives and GHG reductions credibly over time.