Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Chelsea Hamilton
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Vanderbilt University
OP-6: Clean and Renewable Energy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Chelsea Hamilton
Sustainability Outreach Coordinator
Sustainability and Environmental Management Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total energy consumption (all sources, excluding transportation fuels), performance year :
2,946,669 MMBtu

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:
86.50 MMBtu

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

A 20-kilowatt solar PV system and a 120 gallon solar hot water system are installed on the roof of the Currey Tennis Center. The solar PV system has produced a 15% reduction in electricity in the building since installation. The solar hot water system has reduced building natural gas use by 40% since installation. The solar PV electricity generation can be viewed via an online dashboard at https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/login?&utm_content=html with the login: sustainvu@vanderbilt.edu and password: VU*Tennis.

Three new solar picnic tables which use photovoltaic solar panels to power charging stations for laptops and phones were added to campus. Each table features a solar array, LED nighttime lighting, four 120 volt and eight USB charging stations, and two large benches for students. The systems will be able to provide 75-100 iPhone charges per day.

Four solar-powered charging stations were installed on campus in Spring 2012– a Solar Dok patio table and three walk-up Solstice units. Members of the Vanderbilt community can charge their electronics while outside, utilizing the batteries charged by solar power. The charging stations were a project of the Vanderbilt Green Fund, a collaborative venture of Plant Operations, the Office of the Dean of Students and Vanderbilt Student Government to fund utility conservation projects proposed by students and selected with student input. The power from these units goes directly into a battery used to power electronic devices and is not calculated in the above number (total clean and renewable electricity generated on site).

The Smart Modal Area Recharge Terminal, or SMART station, is a solar-powered electric car charging station and can accommodate 10 electric vehicles (EVs) and is located on Vanderbilt’s campus. The SMART station is a joint project of Vanderbilt, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Electric Power Research Institute to collect data on the operation of a charging station as well as the integration of the station into the operation of a “smart” power grid. This data will inform the further development of Tennessee’s electric vehicle infrastructure. The SMART station was opened in Fall 2012. The electricity produced by the SMART station goes directly back to the NES grid and is not calculated in the above number (total clean and renewable electricity generated on site).

Non-electric renewable energy generated on-site, performance year:
135 MMBtu

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

A solar hot water system was installed in late 2015 and the solar PV system was installed in late 2016. The systems currently supply hot water and electricity to the Tennis Center, offsetting on average 40% of the natural gas used in the building.

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, performance year:
37.33 MMBtu

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

VU/MWS Renewable Energy Showcase - In collaboration with Nashville Metro Water Services (MWS), Vanderbilt University School of Engineering (VUSE) set up a wind-solar renewable energy site at the Love Hill in Nashville. The main purpose of this project is to examine the feasibility of alternative energy production through solar and wind facilities, and the expectation is that about of 30kWh of energy will be generated on a daily basis; 30kWh is the average daily consumption of electrical energy per household across the US, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Love Hill is one of the highest points in Nashville and the wind speeds atop the hill are suitable for wind power generation, especially during the windy months November through April. In the first phase of the project, a wind monitoring station was set up at Love Hill to measure and establish analytical models for energy production. Owing to the proximity of homes, and considering issues of neighborhood aesthetics and noise, only a modest 3kW turbine has been installed. The wind power is complemented by solar power of 4.8 kW capacity. The electricity produced at this site does not return directly to the Vanderbilt campus.

Total third-party certified RECs, GOs and/or similar renewable energy products (including renewable electricity purchased through a utility-provided certified green power option) purchased during the performance year:
4,606 MMBtu

A brief description of the RECs, GOs and/or similar renewable energy products, including contract timeframes:

Vanderbilt purchases 750 blocks per month, the maximum purchase allowed, of renewable energy through TVA's Green Power Switch Program. Vanderbilt University is the largest purchaser of green power through NES, the local electrical provider.

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Electricity use, by source (percentage of total, 0-100):
Percentage of total electricity use (0-100)
Biomass 0
Coal 19
Geothermal 0
Hydro 5
Natural gas 45
Nuclear 27
Solar photovoltaic 4
Wind 0
Other (please specify and explain below) ---

A brief description of other sources of electricity not specified above:

29% of VU's electricity comes from excess steam generated at the on-campus co-generation plant, which is fueled with natural gas. An on-site solar PV system produces a small amount of electricity for the Currey Tennis Center. The remaining electricity comes from TVA, with 27% from coal, 7% from hydro, 23% from natural gas, 38% from nuclear, and 5% from other renewable resources (not specified between renewable source).

Energy used for heating buildings, by source::
Percentage of total energy used to heat buildings (0-100)
Biomass 0
Coal 0
Electricity 0
Fuel oil 0
Geothermal 0
Natural gas 100
Other (please specify and explain below) 0

A brief description of other sources of building heating not specified above:

100% of steam used for heating buildings comes from VU's co-generation plant, which is fueled by natural gas.

Percentage of total energy consumption from clean and renewable sources:

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.