In Ten Years, 25 Percent Less Energy

In 2005, Emory pledged to reduce energy usage by 25 percent in ten years—a goal the university exceeded ahead of schedule in 2014.

“Sustainability was a major theme that emerged from Emory’s strategic planning efforts, and efficient energy consumption is an important component of sustainability,” says Mike Mandl, executive vice president for business and administration. “If we want to contain costs and allocate a higher proportion of resources to the academic mission, reducing energy consumption and associated costs must be a very high priority.”

Achieving the goal required extensive engagement across all levels of the university—from administrators who saw the wisdom of investing in energy efficient systems for both new and old buildings to every individual who turned off a light.

“While investment in technology and more energy efficient systems played a significant role, there is no way that the goal would have been reached without the changes made by faculty, staff, and students,” Mandl says.

The conservation goal was part of the university’s ten-year strategic plan and includes electricity, natural gas, and fuel oil use. Energy is one of the largest nonpersonnel expense categories at Emory.

In 2005, Emory spent a total of $24.8 million on utilities for the year. To meet the 25 percent per square foot reduction goal, the university aimed to reduce energy consumption per square foot from 217 kBtu to 162.7 kBtu by 2015.

“The 25 percent per square foot reduction goal was considered very ambitious when set by the visioning committee,” says Ciannat Howett, director of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives. “It is exciting that Emory has achieved this important reduction goal ahead of schedule.”

Email the editor