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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.06
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date April 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Columbia University
OP-8: Building Energy Consumption

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.34 / 6.00 Jennifer Kearney
Energy Director
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total building energy consumption, all sources (transportation fuels excluded):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total building energy consumption 2,635,159 MMBtu 2,586,592 MMBtu

Purchased electricity and steam:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Grid-purchased electricity 1,298,720 MMBtu 1,277,215 MMBtu
District steam/hot water 0 MMBtu 0 MMBtu

Gross floor area of building space::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Gross floor area 13,082,585 Gross Square Feet 12,110,538 Gross Square Feet

Floor area of energy intensive space, performance year::
Floor Area
Laboratory space 1,077,570 Square Feet
Healthcare space 0 Square Feet
Other energy intensive space

Degree days, performance year (base 65 °F)::
Degree days (see help icon above)
Heating degree days 4,870
Cooling degree days 1,243

Source-site ratios::
Source-Site Ratio (see help icon above)
Grid-purchased electricity 1
District steam/hot water 1

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or 3-year periods)::
Start Date End Date
Performance Year Jan. 1, 2014 Dec. 31, 2014
Baseline Year July 1, 2005 June 30, 2006

A brief description of when and why the building energy consumption baseline was adopted:

The building energy consumption baseline was adopted when Columbia signed onto Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC Carbon Challenge for Universities.

A brief description of any building temperature standards employed by the institution:

A number of buildings use timers to regulate temperature. Temperature timers in buildings are on schedules, such as office spaces. These times are virtually managed. Night set back and cut back on usage on air handlers turn them off completely or change set points in IAB, CEPSR, Social Work, Northwest Corner on mostly the north campus at Morningside depending on lab or office space usage and occupancy.
Columbia University Facilities, depending upon the time of the year, sets forth targeted interior space temperature ranges in commonly (temperature controlled) zoned areas for academic, administrative spaces and residence halls.

The chiller optimization program engaged by Johnson Controls installed metering and sensors on the chillers and on the chilled water loop so Facilities can read how the system is performing and run more efficiently. Columbia has an economic dispatch model (told to run the most efficient machines) so the University had 11 and replaced 2 with more efficient units and adding 2 new ones and then will remove the 3 in CEPSR. The University is able to trend over a period of time with an optimization program developed by JCI and Optimum Energy.

Typical faculty, staff, and graduate student apartment buildings have timers for temperature control to monitor the temperature in the apartments. If above the set point, turns boiler on or below, turns it off for far reaching apartments furthest from the loop technology. Technology and service is provided by Tri-Star and have resulted in savings of 20-25% on consumption.

LEED Gold-Certified Faculty House contains an HVAC system that is highly energy efficient. The air conditioning is partly an outdoor air cooling system. On warm days, it uses chilled water provided by the main campus system – which also provides steam heat during winter. When the outdoor air is dry, and temperatures range from around 55 to 65 degrees, automatic controls shut off the chilled water flow and louvers open to bring in outside air. Additional sensors count occupancy and adjust the necessary amount of air flow accordingly.

The Gary C. Comer Geochemistry Building on the LDEO campus also has occupancy sensors for both heating and lighting.

The Allan Rosenfield Building has HVAC mechanical timers installed on each of its air handling units that serve non-critical spaces. The timers shut down the fan at 10 pm and turn it back on at 5 am. Building management systems are used in the Audubon (Russ Berrie, Irving, Lasker) buildings to set back temperature a few degrees at night to reduce mechanical load in non-critical areas and/or raise the chilled water temperature.

For additional information:
Faculty House: http://www.environment.columbia.edu/newsandprofiles/faculty-house-reopens-%E2%80%93-green-inside-and-out
New Water Chillers and Timers Project: http://facilities.columbia.edu/new-water-chillers-bring-energy-savings

A brief description of any light emitting diode (LED) lighting employed by the institution:

Columbia continues to install Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs in a series of pilot programs. LED lighting has been installed in multiple locations within Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs , in 5 floors of Wallach and Shapiro in the hallways. and is currently used in exit signs and some outdoor spaces- with several more projects in the works. LED lights will be installed in the new Campbell Sports Center and in other public spaces, and are now being considered for lighting retrofits across campus.

Wherever lighting fixtures need to be replaced , they are being replaced by LED for all 220 University apartment buildings including 47 Claremont, Harmony Hall, 362 Riverside, Shapiro 2/3rds is complete and Wallach ½ of the building been changed to LED.

LED lighting is used in exit signs and some outdoor spaces on campus. It is currently being installed as part of our cosmetic and lighting renovation of the Black Building Auditorium, which, when finished in a few weeks, will utilize LED lighting in both hallways and the entry area to the auditorium. Columbia also utilizes LED’s within the renovated elevators and other entryways across the campus.

As renovations continue preference is given to install LED lighting especially in large public open spaces.

A brief description of any occupancy and/or vacancy sensors employed by the institution:

Most academic spaces on the Morningside campus have lighting controls with timers, a combination of motion and infrared sensors as appropriate to the lighting application. The university is transitioning to newer, more reliable technology for all future construction projects. These new controls will be able to determine whether a space is truly vacant and switch off lights accordingly, as well as adjusting to natural light levels. The Alumni Center has the new device installed already. Spaces under renovation are also retrofitted with occupancy sensors whenever appropriate to the lighting application. There are photocell and infrared timers. New LED lighting has been installed with sensors that have a set back feature that will reduce the lighting down to 50% but when walk through the motion sensor return to preset lighting percentage. Additionally, all the light poles on campus are on timers. Wall Switch occupancy sensors are installed in dorm rooms and dorm bathrooms as an energy conservation measure. When the lights are manually turned off, they will not be controlled by motion in the room until they are manually turned back on. Where the motion sensor location does not have a clear view of the students in the space, a digital timer sensor is installed instead, as an energy conservation measure. Timer switches are manually turned on and will save energy by automatically turning the lights off after a preset time.
As fixtures are replaced, bi-level lighting is going in with sensors in residential apartments for faculty, staff and graduate students (but in undergraduate residence halls hallway bi-levels motion sensors had to be discontinued due to wireless interference).

Additional information on Columbia's residential light sensors:

A brief description of any passive solar heating employed by the institution:

A brief description of any ground-source heat pumps employed by the institution:

A brief description of any cogeneration technologies employed by the institution:

Columbia's first microturbine, built by Capstone Turbine Corporation, is housed in an 8-ft.-high container that's 30 inches wide and 9 ½ ft. long at 600 W. 113th St. , and uses natural gas purchased from Consolidated Edison to generate about half of the electricity used in the building. Exhaust from the turbine is forced into a heat-recovery module through which water is circulated and heated. For each microturbine installed, the estimated annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is equal to taking at least 45 cars off the road each year and a conservative estimate projects savings of about $20,000 per year on electric and heating costs. Two additional turbines are installed and will be coming on-line this year at 542 W. 112th 545 W. 112.

A brief description of any building recommissioning or retrofit program employed by the institution:

A brief description of any energy metering and management systems employed by the institution:

Columbia uses several types of building energy management system to manage and control equipment measure energy usage across its building portfolio, including Andover Controls, Siemens, Automated Logic, Allen-Bradley, and more. Approximately 50% of Morningside buildings are on a BMS system. Only buildings that are part of the central enclosure on the Morningside campus which includes most academic, science, research buildings, IAB, East Campus, Butler, most undergraduate residence halls, and Lerner Hall (student union) are on a management system. As part of the metering plan, Columbia has implemented a system called BUDA (building utility data acquisition). 15 buildings are already on-line and more will be added for all of Morningside. In the buildings, panels are installed that can connect electrical, water, and steam meters that will feed data to a central location. The data is live for use by Facilities staff with a goal to supply the information in a clickable public map of buildings. The information collected will help with measuring energy efficiency, erratic usage, reconciling with finance and ultimately help improve the University’s carbon footprint.

Additonal information on EMS's at Columbia:
Morningside EMS:
Manhattanville EMS:

A brief description of the institution's program to replace energy-consuming appliances, equipment and systems with high efficiency alternatives:

A brief description of any energy-efficient landscape design initiatives employed by the institution:

A brief description of any vending machine sensors, lightless machines, or LED-lit machines employed by the institution:

The vending machines in Wallach, Hartley, and John Jay use the Vending Miser energy management system. The energy savings result in a reduction of both operation costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The vending machines now use 46% less energy than before and are comparable in daily energy performance to new Energy Star qualified machines.

A brief description of other energy conservation and efficiency initiatives employed by the institution:

The website URL where information about the institution’s energy conservation and efficiency initiatives is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.