A Toolkit for Identifying Energy Savings at Colleges and Universities

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Davis, Eliza


Smith, Martin D.

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Across the country college and university leaders are beginning to recognize the financial and reputational benefits of saving energy and “going green”. However school administrators and other campus leaders face institutional, behavioral, and economic barriers to identifying energy-saving opportunities on their own. To address these challenges a “toolkit” was developed to help college and university leaders identify energy-saving upgrades and programs, calculate project costs and savings, and communicate the value of these investments to key stakeholders. The toolkit includes a menu of energy efficiency projects appropriate for college and university campuses as well as detailed explanations of how to calculate the expected project costs and savings. This resource walks users through the process of benchmarking and tracking campus energy use over time and introduces key calculations to consider for all energy investments such as net present value, payback period, and avoided greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally the toolkit addresses the importance of education and engagement for successful adoption of energy efficiency programs. Finally, the toolkit includes two case studies about identifying energy-saving projects at universities in North Carolina. This is a free and accessible guidebook designed for use by school administrators, faculty, staff, and students who want to identify ways for their institutions to save money, reduce energy use, and cut greenhouse gas emissions. The toolkit can be used as an alternative to hiring an energy consultant or enrolling in a green building certification program or as a complementary resource for an institution that already plans to take these steps. The author hopes that the use of this toolkit will encourage community dialogue on environmental issues and will inspire a lasting commitment to sustainability on college and university campuses.




campus sustainability, energy-saving projects, campus climate commitment, energy efficiency, campus efficiency, green colleges



Davis, Eliza (2012). A Toolkit for Identifying Energy Savings at Colleges and Universities. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/5265.

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.