Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.18
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date Nov. 30, 2012
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.1

Columbia University
OP-8: Clean and Renewable Energy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.10 / 7.00 Cathy Resler
Office of Environmental Stewardship
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Option 1: Total clean and renewable electricity generated on site during the performance year and for which the institution retains or has retired the associated environmental attributes :
0 MMBtu

Option 2: Non-electric renewable energy generated:
0 MMBtu

Option 3: Total clean and renewable electricity generated by off-site projects that the institution catalyzed and for which the institution retains or has retired the associated environmental attributes :
0 MMBtu

Option 4: Total RECs and other similar renewable energy products that the institution purchased during the performance year that are Green-e certified or meet the Green-e standard's technical requirements and are third party verified:
0 MMBtu

Option 5: Total electricity generated with cogeneration technology using non-renewable fuel sources :
226,000 MMBtu

Total energy consumed during the performance year :
4,023,935 MMBtu

A brief description of on-site renewable electricity generating devices :


A brief description of on-site renewable non-electric energy devices:

Four 2,000-foot deep geothermal wells are installed at Knox Hall. The geothermal wells, each eight inches in diameter provide heating and cooling by drawing ground water from the earth. The wells eliminate the less efficient chillers associated with more traditional systems and the University projects energy savings of 50% - 60%.

A brief description of off-site, institution-catalyzed, renewable electricity generating devices:


A brief description of RECs or other similar renewable energy products purchased during the previous year:

The CUMC campus purchased RECs for three years beginning February 2012, for the ARB 11,12,13 LEED project. No RECs were purchased for travel.

A brief description of cogeneration technologies deployed:

Columbia's first microturbine, built by Capstone Turbine Corporation, is housed in an 8-ft.-high container that's 30 inches wide and 9 ½ ft. long at 600 W. 113th St. , and uses natural gas purchased from Consolidated Edison to generate about half of the electricity used in the building. Exhaust from the turbine is forced into a heat-recovery module through which water is circulated and heated. For each microturbine installed, the estimated annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is equal to taking at least 45 cars off the road each year and a conservative estimate projects savings of about $20,000 per year on electric and heating costs. Two additional turbines are installed and will be coming on-line this year at 542 W. 112th 545 W. 112.

The website URL where information about the institution's renewable energy sources is available:

As the overwhelming majority of the University’s greenhouse gas emissions were shown to derive from buildings and their energy usages, the action plan focuses on strategies to reduce energy consumption in existing buildings and in central operations that supply the buildings. The action plan also focuses on strategies that will a) replace aging infrastructure with more efficient alternatives; b) produce the greatest greenhouse gas reduction for the cost; and c) have a reasonable payback period for the investment.

Consistent with the emphasis on gaining reductions in connection with existing space, the University’s efforts focus on improving operations and maintenance, improving and expanding building management systems, replacing aging central plant equipment and retro-commissioning as part of its comprehensive strategy. It’s with this focus that the University works on improving its own carbon footprint rather than investing in large amounts of RECS. As such, 3% of all energy purchased by Columbia University from Con Edison is from green sources that feed into the grid including hydro, wind, biodiesel, solar, and non-fossil fuel nuclear.

Additional information about Columbia's microturbines: http://facilities.columbia.edu/microturbine-another-columbia-sustainability-first

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