Sustainable Energy Program

About Our Sustainable Energy Program

As part of its ongoing commitment to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Dartmouth is making progress on our sustainable energy program, which will move the campus closer to meeting our Sustainable Energy Goals.

Over the past 15 years, Dartmouth has been implementing energy efficiency improvements to existing facilities, and designing new high-performance facilities, to reduce both operating costs and campus greenhouse gases. See the results of these efforts thus far.

Our current and ongoing priority is conversion of Dartmouth's heating distribution system from steam to low-temperature hot-water, which we anticipate will improve the efficiency of the campus heating distribution system by about 20%. In addition, unlike steam, a hot-water distribution system can utilize non-combustion, low-carbon energy sources that Dartmouth is investigating, including geothermal, solar thermal, and heat pumps.

This summer, Dartmouth will complete construction of the first portion—about 10%—of the campus hot-water network, which will serve the heating systems in the Irving Institute and the Center for Energy and Computer Science (CECS) buildings, both of which are scheduled to be open for winter term 2021. New low-temperature hot-water heating systems are under construction in Dartmouth Hall and Thornton Hall and have been completed in Reed Hall and Anonymous Hall. 

Design is underway for installation of low-temperature hot-water heating systems and energy efficiency improvements in several other buildings, including the Rauner Special Collections Library, Rollins Chapel, Hopkins Center for the Arts, and Burke Hall. Dartmouth has also installed rooftop solar systems this past year at the Indoor Practice Facility, Anonymous Hall, and the Friends of Dartmouth Rowing boathouse. Irving and CECS will also have rooftop solar systems.

Additionally, Dartmouth continues to evaluate a range of alternative heat-generation sources— such as heat pump and geothermal systems, solar thermal, and a large-scale solar photovoltaic field—which could be implemented over time.

Infrastructure Renewal Funding

At its March 2021 meeting, Dartmouth's Board of Trustees approved creation of an Infrastructure Renewal Fund (IRF) to address critical infrastructure upgrades and renewal. With funding from a percentage of supplemental endowment distribution, the IRF will fund projects that meet certain infrastructure renewal criteria which include:

  • Improve Dartmouth's infrastructure, including facilities, utilities, and information technologies, used by a broad cross-section of the Dartmouth community,
  • Provide lasting intergenerational benefit to the Dartmouth community, and
  • Extend the useful life, modernize, or improve the energy or operating efficiency of a facility, campus component, or campus system.

All projects funded by the IRF will be reviewed and approved by trustees as part of the annual capital budget.

Completed Projects

  • Utility Infrastructure Projects:
    • North to West Utility Extension: This project, completed in 2020, brought new hot- and chilled-water networks, new communications pathways, and new electrical distribution systems to the west campus. 

Projects Underway

  • Utility Infrastructure:
    • MacLean and Cummings chilled-water utility interconnection
    • Buchanan connection to West Campus hot-water and chilled-water networks
    • Integrated low-carbon energy supply/building conversion detailed study
    •  Design of campus-wide hot-water and chilled-water networks
  • New Construction and Building Renovation Projects, incorporating low temperature hot-water heating systems:
  • Energy Efficiency and Retrofit Projects:
    • Burke Hall deep energy retrofit and hot-water conversion project
    • Rauner Special Collections Library deep energy retrofit and hot-water conversion project
    • Campus LED lighting conversion
  • Solar Projects:
    • Rooftop Solar on CECS and Irving Institute

Project Team

The Sustainable Energy Program is being led by an Energy Steering Committee: Abbe Bjorklund, Director of Engineering & Utilities; Susan Boutwell, Senior Director for Content; Julie Findley, COO of Campus Services; Scott Frew, Asst. VP for Finance and Treasury Management; Scott Hening, Energy Program Manager; Josh Keniston, VP of Campus Services; Rosi Kerr; Director of Sustainability; Rick Mills, EVP of Finance & Administration; Frank Roberts, AVP of Facilities Operations & Management; Mike Wagner, CFO and VP for Finance