Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.89
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date Aug. 29, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Columbia University
OP-5: Building Energy Consumption

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.97 / 6.00 Tak Eng
Senior Engineer
Operations, Columbia University Facilities and Operations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total building energy consumption:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Grid-purchased electricity 1,299,102 MMBtu 1,217,880 MMBtu
Electricity from on-site renewables 0 MMBtu 0 MMBtu
District steam/hot water (sourced from offsite) 0 MMBtu 0 MMBtu
Energy from all other sources (e.g., natural gas, fuel oil, propane/LPG, district chilled water, coal/coke, biomass) 1,215,913 MMBtu 1,281,661 MMBtu
Total 2,515,015 MMBtu 2,499,541 MMBtu

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or 3-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year Jan. 1, 2017 Dec. 31, 2017
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2006 Dec. 31, 2006

A brief description of when and why the building energy consumption baseline was adopted (e.g. in sustainability plans and policies or in the context of other reporting obligations):

The building energy consumption baseline was adopted when Columbia signed onto The NYC Carbon Challenge for Universities.

Gross floor area of building space:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Gross floor area of building space 13,082,585 Gross square feet 12,110,538 Gross square feet

Source-site ratio for grid-purchased electricity:

Total building energy consumption per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Site energy 0.19 MMBtu per square foot 0.21 MMBtu per square foot
Source energy 0.40 MMBtu per square foot 0.42 MMBtu per square foot

Percentage reduction in total building energy consumption (source energy) per unit of floor area from baseline:

Degree days, performance year (base 65 °F / 18 °C):
Degree days (see help icon above)
Heating degree days 4,419 Degree-Days (°F)
Cooling degree days 1,440 Degree-Days (°F)

Floor area of energy intensive space, performance year:
Floor Area
Laboratory space 316,354 Square feet
Healthcare space 0 Square feet
Other energy intensive space

EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
13,715,293 Gross square feet

Building energy consumption (site energy) per unit of EUI-adjusted floor area per degree day, performance year:
31.30 Btu / GSF / Degree-Day (°F)

Documentation (e.g. spreadsheet or utility records) to support the performance year energy consumption figures reported above:

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices in regard to energy efficiency (e.g. outreach and education efforts):

Columbia's Sustainable Leaders Network (SLN) Workspace Certification Program aims to shift individual attitudes and practices related to sustainability, including energy efficiency. The program engages a wide range of students, faculty an staff from schools and departments across the University and provides them with a simple, easy to use survey tool that functions as a roadmap toward creating lasting culture change. Participants are encouraged to partake in simple but meaningful behavior change practices that they themselves can implement, in order to encourage a more sustainable workplace.

A brief description of energy use standards and controls employed by the institution (e.g. building temperature standards, occupancy and vacancy sensors):

A number of buildings use timers to regulate temperature. Temperature timers in buildings are on schedules, such as office spaces. These times are virtually managed. Night set back and cut back on usage on air handlers turn them off completely or change set points in IAB, CEPSR, Social Work, Northwest Corner on mostly the north campus at Morningside depending on lab or office space usage and occupancy.
Columbia University Facilities, depending upon the time of the year, sets forth targeted interior space temperature ranges in commonly (temperature controlled) zoned areas for academic, administrative spaces and residence halls.

The chiller optimization program installed metering and sensors on the chillers and on the chilled water loop so Facilities can read how the system is performing and run more efficiently. Columbia has an economic dispatch model (told to run the most efficient machines) so the University had 11 and replaced 2 with more efficient units and adding 2 new ones and then will remove the 3 in CEPSR. The University is able to trend over a period of time with an optimization program.

Typical faculty, staff, and graduate student apartment buildings have timers for temperature control to monitor the temperature in the apartments. If above the set point, the temperature control turns the boiler on, and if below the set point, the control system turns it off for far reaching apartments furthest from the loop technology. The technology has resulted in savings of 20-25% on consumption.

LEED Gold-Certified Faculty House contains an HVAC system that is highly energy efficient. The air conditioning is partly an outdoor air cooling system. On warm days, it uses chilled water provided by the main campus system – which also provides steam heat during winter. When the outdoor air is dry, and temperatures range from around 55 to 65 degrees, automatic controls shut off the chilled water flow and louvers open to bring in outside air. Additional sensors count occupancy and adjust the necessary amount of air flow accordingly.

For additional information:
Faculty House: http://www.environment.columbia.edu/newsandprofiles/faculty-house-reopens-%E2%80%93-green-inside-and-out
New Water Chillers and Timers Project: http://facilities.columbia.edu/new-water-chillers-bring-energy-savings

A brief description of Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting and other energy-efficient lighting strategies employed by the institution:

LED lighting retrofits and upgrades have taken place across Columbia's campus, with most of the residential properties completed. The University intends to fund a Lighting Master Plan program in 2018 which will evaluate the remaining campus buildings and assemble a three-year implementation schedule on LED lighting & controls projects.

A brief description of passive solar heating, geothermal systems, and related strategies employed by the institution:


A brief description of co-generation employed by the institution, e.g. combined heat and power (CHP):

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 were installed and came on-line in 2015 at 542 W. 112th 545 W. 112.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to replace energy-consuming appliances, equipment and systems with high efficiency alternatives (e.g. building re-commissioning or retrofit programs):

Columbia University launched a comprehensive retrofit and modernization of its central chiller plant. The project consisted of installing a new steam drive and electric drive chillers, cooling towers with variable speed drives, pumps with variable speed drives and a comprehensive network of controls, metering, hardware, programming software, and other upgrades to the school’s chilled water system. In conjunction with the modernization of the chilled water plant, a real-time optimization program from Optimum Energy was implemented to take advantage of the new equipment and the data collected from the new metering and monitoring equipment to maximize the overall efficiency of the chilled water plant and distribution system. Chiller operation is continuously metered and monitored to ensure the plant operates at its maximum efficiency. Columbia University has completed energy efficiency reports and has identified retro-commissioning measures for 33 of its buildings in a comprehensive campus-wide energy efficiency effort. The University has funded $2M toward retrocommissioning in the upcoming fiscal year.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

MMBtu- source data provided.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.