The College's main campus is made up of 130 buildings for a grand total of 4.9 million square feet of space- that's equal to 85 football fields, and all of it requires energy to operate! Whereas some buildings are brand new and employ the latest in energy efficient technology, others may date as far back as the 1700s. Reducing energy use presents unique challenges in each space and system, and the Energy Program employs a broad range of tools to carry out its mission.


Emissions Reduction Pledge

Pledge-graph2In 2008, former President James Wright strengthened Dartmouth’s environmental commitment by pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 30% by 2030.

To achieve this goal, the College has targeted three key areas:

1) Reduce energy demand by increasing building efficiency.

2) Promote conservation: monitor and optimize energy usage with the new energy management system.

3) Improve supply: manage risk and cost and develop an innovative future.

With over $15M invested in energy projects to date, Dartmouth’s 2013 emissions show a 22% reduction from the 2005 baseline.

Energy Management System

Shark meter “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”


In 2008, Dartmouth launched an aggressive effort to install and automate energy meters in all main campus buildings. We currently have more than 400 steam, electric, and chilled water meters that report real-time data to our central energy management system.

We also track and analyze data from building control systems, the central heating plant, and our district chilled water plants. This system allows us to identify energy hogs and to monitor the performance of projects such as lighting retrofits, building retrocommissioning, and upgrades to Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems.



Building Retrocommissioning

retro-commissioningRetrocommissioning ensures that building HVAC systems provide a comfortable environment while using the least amount of energy. The process can resolve problems that occurred during design and construction or that have developed over a building’s life.

Retrocommissioning typically results in significant energy savings and greater occupant comfort.

Top campus energy users targeted by the program (projects complete or in progress):

1) Baker Berry Library
2) Burke Chemistry Building
3) Moore Psychology Building
4) Alumni Gymnasium
5) Hopkins Center
6) Steele Hall
7) Wilder Laboratory
8) Hanover Inn
9) Class of 53 Dining Commons
10) Kemeny Hall/Haldeman Center

Chilled Water Plant Upgrade

New chillerIn 2012, the inefficient steam absorption machines used to air condition the College’s science buildings were replaced with two new electric chillers. Up to seven times more efficient than the old equipment, the new chillers and concurrent heat recovery system are saving 800,000 gallons of #6 fuel oil per year for a net savings of almost $2M/year.

Burke Chemistry is not the only location where chiller changeouts are happening; over the past five years, almost all other campus steam absorbers have similarly been replaced with electric drive machines.

This effort has been the driving force in reducing the College’s #6 oil consumption from a historical high of 5.4 Million gallons in 2005 to approximately 3.7 Million in 2013, all despite the addition of 500,000 square feet of new buildings!

High Performance Buildings

Completed in June 2011, the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center became the first LEED Platinum laboratory building in the U.S.

Among its environmental features is a system that continuously monitors and adjusts airflow, a high-performance building envelope with high insulation values, and efficient waste heat recovery. Rooftop rainwater is channeled into six 10,000-gallon storage tanks and used in the building’s graywater systems, helping to conserve drinking water.

With its innovative design and imaginative execution, the new Life Sciences Center uses approximately 75% less energy per square foot than its predecessor, the Gilman Laboratory.

Berry Library Lighting Retrofit

Berry libraryAn ambitious lighting retrofit is currently underway that will replace more than 2,200 light fixtures throughout Berry Library and reduce lighting electricity consumption by 75%.

Key project elements include replacing old fluorescent lamps with new energy-efficient models (and using LED technology where possible), installing efficient dimming ballasts, and using a Lutron control system to ensure lighting levels are optimized for building occupancy.

Annual avoided energy cost: $96,800
Annual electrical savings: 880,000 kWh

Since the 2008 carbon reduction pledge, the College has successfully completed more than fifteen other major lighting retrofits and many more are under way.

Green Revolving Loan Fund

gbsc-logoEnvisioned by a team of passionate students and implemented by Dartmouth sustainability and facilities staff, the $1M Green Revolving Fund launched in winter 2013.

Green revolving funds finance energy efficiency projects and then reinvest the resulting savings in future projects. The reason they are called “revolving funds” is because the funds loan money to specific projects, which then repay the loan through an internal account transfer from savings achieved in the institution’s utilities budget.

To date, Dartmouth’s revolving fund has financed $900,000 of efficiency projects, the savings from which are already regenerating the fund for the next round of investment. In addition to major efficiency projects originating within Facilities and Operations, there is a $100,000 Community Fund component for projects proposed by Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff.



For information on other campus projects related to energy and sustainability, please visit the Dartmouth Sustainability Office.