Building electrification

Committing to 100 percent renewable electricity is a great start, but it is critical that universities eliminate the use of fossil fuels for all energy uses — including heating, hot water and cooling in campus buildings. Over half of universities’ energy consumption — 53 percent on average — comes from water heating and space heating, which are primarily powered by gas and other fossil fuels.

Renewable energy purchasing

America’s colleges and universities can purchase renewable power to transition to a future of 100 percent clean, renewable energy, as well as save money and hedge against volatile fossil fuel costs. Power purchase agreements (PPAs) and renewable energy credits (RECs) enable colleges to purchase clean energy and drive the deployment of new renewable energy installations without upfront costs.

Microgrids and energy storage

Installing microgrids and energy storage systems on campus allows America’s colleges and universities to help pave the way to a future of 100 percent clean and renewable energy, developing pioneering solutions that can later be adopted by other institutions and the electric grid at large. Thanks to microgrids and energy storage systems, college campuses have the capacity to integrate renewable energy in new and creative ways to increase their use of clean energy and ensure reliable access to electricity.

On-campus wind energy

Installing wind energy systems on or near campuses can help America’s colleges and universities shift to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. College campuses across the U.S. are investing in wind energy to reduce their electricity costs, provide learning opportunities for students, and lower their carbon emissions.

Energy conservation

Conservation is an important part of the transition to clean, renewable energy. By promoting initiatives to encourage and assist the campus community in adopting less energy-intensive lifestyles, colleges can save money, reduce their environmental impact, and ease the shift to 100 percent renewable energy.

Energy efficiency in campus buildings

The task of powering college campuses with clean energy can be made easier through aggressive steps to improve the energy efficiency of campus buildings. Energy efficiency in campus buildings can save colleges money and accelerate the transition to a clean energy future.

It's time to take charge

With clean energy from the sun and wind, we have the technology to provide for our energy needs without the global consequences of pollution. Yet we’re still producing and consuming virtually all of our energy in ways that do lasting damage to our environment, our health and our climate. And to make matters worse, of all that dirty energy we produce, two-thirds of it ends up being wasted

On-campus solar energy

On-campus solar energy systems help America’s colleges and universities to shift to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. Campuses across the U.S. are installing solar energy to save money, provide learning opportunities for students, and achieve their climate goals.

Renewable Energy 101

PennEnvironment designed this series of 11 fact sheets as a resource for students, faculty and administrators interested in moving their campuses toward 100 percent clean, renewable energy. The fact sheets have been crafted to illustrate the importance, challenges and opportunities of 11 technologies and strategies. Each fact sheet includes two case studies of effective action on college campuses, as well as a list of resources.