Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.20
Liaison Kimberly Williams
Submission Date March 5, 2020

STARS v2.2

George Washington University
OP-2: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.05 / 8.00 Meghan Chapple
Director & Senior Advisor
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Gross Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions:
Performance year Baseline year
Gross Scope 1 GHG emissions from stationary combustion 36,803.27 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 27,492 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 1 GHG emissions from other sources 1,609.14 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 2,592 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 2 GHG emissions from imported electricity 15,130.84 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 74,980 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 2 GHG emissions from imported thermal energy 107.24 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Total 53,650.49 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 105,064 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Figures needed to determine net carbon sinks:
Performance year Baseline year
Third-party verified carbon offsets purchased 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Institution-catalyzed carbon offsets generated 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon storage from on-site composting 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon storage from non-additional sequestration 94.10 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 118 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon sold or transferred 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Net carbon sinks 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

A brief description of the carbon sinks, including vendor, project source, verification program and contract timeframes (as applicable):

Carbon sequestration due to land that the institution manages specifically for sequestration: Based on an inventory conducted by Casey Trees in 2019.

Carbon storage from on-site composting: Based on FY19 waste stats.

Adjusted net Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions:
Performance year Baseline year
Adjusted net GHG emissions 53,650.49 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 105,064 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Performance year Baseline year
Start date July 1, 2018 July 1, 2007
End date June 30, 2019 June 30, 2008

A brief description of when and why the GHG emissions baseline was adopted:

GW became the first university in the Washington, D.C. area to join the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2008. The university, along with more than 660 other higher education institutions, committed to develop a Climate Action Plan for carbon neutrality and to spotlight and support its academic endeavors on climate issues. GW's Climate Action Plan, completed in May 2010, established a 40% carbon footprint reduction target for the institution by FY2025 relative to a FY2008 baseline, and committed to carbon neutrality by FY2040. The baseline year in this survey was thus adopted for FY 2008, during which GW became an ACUPCC signatory and consistent with GW's Climate Action Plan.

Figures needed to determine “Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance year Baseline year
Number of students resident on-site 7,477 6,571
Number of employees resident on-site 37 24
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 22,123 20,108
Full-time equivalent of employees 5,902 5,319.50
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 2,084 871
Weighted Campus Users 21,334.25 20,066.13

Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user:
Performance year Baseline year
Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user 2.51 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 5.24 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Percentage reduction in adjusted net Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user from baseline:

Gross floor area of building space, performance year:
8,711,724 Gross Square Feet

Floor area of energy intensive building space, performance year:
Floor area
Laboratory space 807,183 Square Feet
Healthcare space 19,600 Square Feet
Other energy intensive space 66,125 Square Feet

EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
10,431,415 Gross Square Feet

Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per unit of EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
0.01 MtCO2e / GSF

A brief description of the institution’s GHG emissions reduction initiatives:

Off Campus Solar:
Starting in January 2015, the university began receiving electricity purchased directly on its behalf from the Capital Partners Solar Project (CPSP). RECs produced from the off-site solar energy farm are retained by GW. CPSP is a renewable energy project that generates solar power for George Washington University, American University and the George Washington University Hospital. Built in 2014, it was the first significant aggregation of purchasers of large scale renewable energy. The project is comprised of 53.5 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) power— roughly the amount of electricity used by 8,900 homes every year. It shows that large organizations in an urban setting can partner to significantly reduce their carbon footprints by purchasing offsite solar energy.

Eco Building Program:
Energy use in existing buildings comprises 70 percent of the university's GHG emissions. In the first years of implementing the Climate Action Plan, GW has prioritized improving building energy efficiency and enhancing IT systems that result in energy use reductions.

GW's Eco Building Program provides a comprehensive capital improvement plan to strategically implement energy and water conservation projects in campus buildings. Implementation of this program will result in a reduction of energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and will produce short-term and long-term financial savings. Through these projects, GW aims to reduce energy use from the buildings by 15%.

Within the last 6 years, more than 70% of GW's buildings (by square footage) have undergone an energy-efficiency oriented retrofit as part of the Eco Building Program. Work will continue in the coming years, with capital projects already scheduled.

On-Site Thermal Hot Water:
The university installed solar hot water systems at these residence halls: 2031 F St., 1959 E St., Shenkman Hall, and The Dakota residence hall.

Renewable Energy Credits (RECs):
The university purchased Green-e certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) from local and/or nationwide wind energy farms, including 3Degrees, Inc. During previous reporting years, GW applied RECs (that had been purchased in previous years) as a component of LEED certification applications for several construction projects - Law Learning Center, Law Clinic Townhouses, GW Museum and Textile Museum, Milken Institute School of Public Health, and Ross Hall. RECs were also donated by Direct Energy, an energy supply firm, to offset the natural gas used on Earth Day. In total, GW applied 4,348,000 kWh of RECs in FY2015, which accounted for 3% of the university's total electricity consumption in FY2015 and mitigated 14,839.7 MMBtu or 2,445.5 metric tons of CO2e.

Building Temperature Standards:
GW's design standards include winter and summer temperature ranges for designers of new buildings to achieve. In existing buildings, GW has begun to use Coris Outlet Modules, which are Internet-controlled packaged A/C unit ("window shaker") timers. Programmable thermostats are also employed.

LED Lighting:
GW has used LED lighting in exit signs for many years. At the end of FY11 the university began retrofitting its underground parking garages with LED lighting and occupancy sensors. GW now has five underground parking garages using LED lighting and occupancy sensors. In FY12 GW installed LED lights as house lights in its historic Lisner Auditorium theater. GW is now installing LED lights into a wider range of fixtures including interior and exterior uses. At the end of FY16, almost all GW garages have been retrofitted to LED, and updating the remaining 24/7 lighting in stairwells/hallways has become a priority.

Occupancy Sensors:
The most common type of occupancy sensor used to control lighting on campus is a dual-technology sensor that detects both motion or sound. These are usually mounted into ceilings of public spaces such as classrooms and conference rooms. In smaller rooms such as public bathrooms a sensor detects motion to bring lights on and then the lights go off again a pre-set amount of time later such as 15 minutes. This application is now switching to the use of vacancy sensors instead. Some daylight sensors are in use in lobbies with a lot of natural light. Most outdoor lighting is controlled by timers or photocells. Two occupancy sensor audits were undertaken FY16-FY17 to determine where else this technology could be applied more extensively.

Passive Solar:
The University has a few buildings that incorporate passive solar heating. One example is our two greenhouses. Three buildings on GW's campuses -- Ames Hall, Rice Hall, and 45155 Research Place -- include a total of approximately 3,500 square-feet of solar window films to reduce solar incidence into spaces to help prevent overheating, in turn reducing peak air conditioning loads during warmer months of the year. An additional 6,200 SF of window film was added to the southern face of GW's Elliott School for International Affairs just after the reporting year ended.

A new CHP unit in Ross Hall was constructed on GW's Foggy Bottom Campus. The 7.4-MW cogeneration unit is designed to supply approximately two-thirds of the combined electricity demand for Ross Hall and the Science and Engineering Hall, as well as heat for the two buildings. Due to the timing, Scope 1 emissions are reported starting in GW’s FY16 GHG inventory.

Building Commissioning/Retrofits:
GW has commissioned all of its new buildings for the past 20 years. While a formal recommissioning program has not been implemented to date, two pilot-scale recommissioning activities have been undertaken. In one building a continuous commissioning project was used for a year and in another LEED-certified building a recommissioning effort was undertaken to correct a higher-than-expected energy usage. A formal building retrofit program is now underway; see its description above under "Eco Building Program" and below under "Energy-Efficient Equipment," the description of the institution's program to replace energy-consuming equipment with higher-efficiency alternatives.

Energy Metering/Building Management Systems:
The University's building management systems (BMS) currently interconnect 40 buildings with either remote monitoring or control functionality. In terms of the absolute number of buildings with BMSs the coverage is small (~30%) but the buildings with BMSs are the largest buildings on campus so in terms of square footage (or energy usage) the BMS coverage is extensive (~78.5%). The BMS primarily monitors and controls space temperatures, humidity, and HVAC functions rather than lighting. Lighting is generally controlled with local occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, or photocells. One building that opened recently has its lighting system controls integrated into its BMS.

Energy-Efficient Equipment:
In 2013, the University launched its Eco Building Program to reduce energy usage and GHG emissions in existing buildings. To date, six phases of projects have been conducted, covering more than 60 buildings.

Energy-Efficient Landscape Design:
The University has begun replacing a variety of exterior lighting with LED alternatives. Two other initiatives were described in response to OP-9 where renewable energy sources have been incorporated into the landscape to power LED lights along a pathway and to allow students to recharge their laptops, tablets, and phones.

Vending Machines:
GW has "SnackMisers" on two vending machines on campus, which control the energy use of the machines based on motion. We piloted twelve of these products, and continue to explore additional options.

Other Initiatives:
GW has undertaken several behavior-change initiatives aimed at reducing energy usage and GHG emissions. The Eco-Challenge competition is a way to engage students living on campus in a friendly energy-reducing competition. This competition has expanded to include many academic buildings. There are now three kiosks on campus that display the energy usage of many campus buildings.

Website URL where information about the institution's GHG emissions is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Starting in January 2015, the university began receiving solar electricity purchased directly on its behalf from the Capital Partners Solar Project (CPSP), a 53.5 megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar farm. In FY19, GW purchased more than 73 million kWh (or 73,000 MWh) of solar power. RECs produced from the off-site solar energy farm are also retained by GW. CPSP supplies GW with solar power for roughly half of GW's electricity consumption. If CPSP did not exist, GW's scope 2 emissions would be increased by 25,398.71 MTCDE. As a result of CPSP and the solar power it provides GW, GW was able to reduce its Scope 2 emissions by 79% as compared to the FY08 baseline data reported in STARS.

UNH SIMAP was used to calculate GW's FY19 GHG Inventory.

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.