American University is committed to achieving carbon-neutrality by 2020. Our climate action plan calls for reducing consumption, producing renewable energy onsite, sourcing green power, and offsetting all remaining emissions. Track our progress toward carbon neutrality by clicking on ACUPCC in the Related Links. Click Carbon Neutral by 2020 to download our climate action plan.
What AU Is Doing to Slow Climate Change
Renewable Energy Generation
The SIS building has a 27kW solar photovoltaic array and over fall 2012 AU installed what was, at the time, the largest solar PV array in the DC region, covering 7 roof-tops with 2,150 panels that generating about 500 kW.
Solar Hot Water
AU's solar hot water system is also the largest in the DC area and produces hot water for showering in res halls (Letts, Anderson, and Centennial) and dish washing in the Mary Graydon Center.
A Vegawatt is being installed to generate electricity and hot water from the used cooking oil produced in the TDR.
Energy Efficiency & Conservation
Building Automation System (BAS)
The BAS monitors and optimizes building control subsystems, including lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, equipment scheduling, and alarm reporting. When a room's temperature goes outside the set range, a facilities operator is alerted and dispatched to the site to take any action needed (like closing a window, for example) to return the temperature to the normal range.
We connect the chillers in our buildings in loops, which helps optimizes their efficiency.
Classroom Temperature Monitoring
We program a timed range of temperatures in classrooms to save energy when rooms are unoccupied at night.
AU conducts ongoing building "commissioning" to ensure that our buildings are being used in the way they were designed to be used. When we change the way we use a building - for example from classrooms to offices - the internal systems need to be altered to reflect those changes.
We upgraded our T-12 sized fluorescent tube lighting to narrower T-8 tubes, which provide substantial emissions and financial savings.
Energy efficient LED (Light-Emitting-Diode) lights are used in the SIS parking garage, in the lamps that light pathways on campus, and in many vending machines on campus.
Preventative Maintenance Program
Equipment is most energy efficient when it is running the way it was built to run. We perform routinely scheduled preventative maintenance inspections, cleaning, and tune-ups to keep our equipment running at peak efficiency.
Individual sub-meters for electricity and water are installed at key points around campus to better track our usage and identify where we can reduce consumption.
Renewable Energy Purchasing & Offsets
AU's intends to develop and/or purchase carbon offsets locally and abroad in order to reduce or store the university's unavoidable emissions.
AU purchases renewable energy credits (RECs) equivalent to 100 percent of the university's expected electricity consumption. By purchasing RECs, AU is sponsoring the production of renewable energy in place of the energy that is delivered to campus via the electricity grid. AU ensures that our RECs have real environmental benefits by purchasing only Green-e-certified RECs from Renewable Choice Energy in the form of wind energy. Green-e is a stringent, independent standard and process for verifying the credibility of renewable energy certificates.