Campus Energy: Overview

Columbia will meet its sustainable energy goal through 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.

Columbia’s ability to achieve net zero emissions to meet interim science-based goals for emissions reduction will require:

  • Reducing heating and cooling loads at campus buildings and shifting remaining loads away from fossil fuels (Scope 1 and related Scope 3 emissions), and

  • Securing a long-term strategy to perpetuate the purchase of zero emission, renewable electricity (Scope 2 and related Scope 3 emissions)

Columbia’s future electrical requirement stands to increase dramatically if electrification of fossil fuel technologies in Columbia buildings is deployed to reduce carbon emissions. Therefore, successful achievement of Columbia’s science-based targets requires a plan of action to address zero emissions electricity for Scope 1 (stationary fuel) as well as Scope 2 (purchased electricity) emissions. Thoughtful assembly of the potential “building blocks” for solving Columbia’s zero emissions electricity solution will begin with a thorough assessment of available and potential opportunities.