Washington University in St. Louis has a goal to chart a path toward carbon neutrality without purchasing renewable energy credits.
Washington University has a long legacy of increasing the efficiency of our operations. Since 1990, the Danforth and Medical campuses have nearly doubled in square footage while holding energy use flat, as shown in this graph.
From 2010 to 2015, our carbon emissions decreased by 17,199 metric tons of CO2 despite the addition of more than 585,000 square feet of new space for teaching, research and patient care. This progress is the outcome of major investments in NPV-positive energy conservation and carbon reduction strategies.
Our energy and carbon reduction has been driven by upgrades to the utility systems that heat and cool our buildings, investments in higher efficiency systems within our buildings such as lighting, optimization of existing heating and cooling systems, improved energy management through investments in metering infrastructure and controls, and awareness programs that engage our campus community in energy conservation. In spring 2014, we undertook our first major set of renewable energy projects, consisting of over half a megawatt of solar photovoltaics and solar thermal.