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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 68.76
Liaison Meghan Chapple
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

George Washington University
OP-2: Outdoor Air Quality

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Janine Helwig
Environmental Management Engineer
Facilities Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and/or guidelines in place to improve outdoor air quality and minimize air pollutant emissions from mobile sources?:

A brief description of the policies and/or guidelines to improve outdoor air quality and minimize air pollutant emissions from mobile sources:

GW follows the District of Columbia's Engine Anti-Idling Law, as regulated by 20 DCMR 900. This law limits motor vehicle engines from idling for more than three minutes (five minutes if temperature is below freezing). This law does not apply to private non-commercial passenger vehicles or if engine idling is necessary for the operation of power takeoff equipment (e.g., cement mixers, refrigeration systems, etc.). Signs prohibiting engine idling on the GW campus are posted at all loading docks throughout the campus. Additionally, a written policy prohibiting engine idling is available on the University’s policies website at http://policy.gwu.edu/.

Has the institution completed an inventory of significant air emissions from stationary sources on campus?:

A brief description of the methodology(ies) the institution used to complete its air emissions inventory:

GW compiles a list of all fuel-burning equipment (natural gas-fired or oil-fired) located on each campus within campus boundaries. The equipment inventory includes boilers, emergency generators, fire pumps, water heaters, packaged HVAC units, humidifiers, clothes dryers, and other miscellaneous equipment that burn oil or natural gas. The heat input capacity of all equipment is tracked in British thermal units per hour (BTU/hr) and used to estimate the maximum potential emissions of criteria pollutants in tons per year (TPY) using EPA’s AP-42 emission factors for each pollutant (based on equipment type, fuel source, and capacity). Maximum potential emissions assume equipment is used 24 hrs/day and 7 days/week (or 8760 hours/year). Note that all emergency generators are only permitted to operate a maximum of 500 hours/year; thus, maximum potential emissions for generators are based on the maximum limit of 500 hours/year. Since most equipment are not operated continuously, actual emissions are instead determined based on fuel usage by each equipment, rather than operational hours, and it is typical that actual emissions of each pollutant is no more than 7% of the maximum potential emissions. The equipment inventory is maintained frequently to incorporate equipment updates, and annual emissions from the Foggy Bottom Campus are required to be submitted to the District Department of the Environment twice a year.

Weight of the following categories of air emissions from stationary sources::
Weight of Emissions
Nitrogen oxides (NOx) 25.12 Tons
Sulfur oxides (SOx) 2.26 Tons
Carbon monoxide (CO) 17.21 Tons
Particulate matter (PM) 1.88 Tons
Ozone (O3) ---
Lead (Pb) 0 Tons
Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) 0.41 Tons
Ozone-depleting compounds (ODCs) ---
Other standard categories of air emissions identified in permits and/or regulations 1.83 Tons

A brief description of the institution’s initiatives to minimize air pollutant emissions from stationary sources, including efforts made during the previous three years:

(1) All of GW's buildings now use natural gas or electric to produce heat. (2) Two absorption chillers that require natural gas to make steam were replaced in Summer 2013 and two steam-turbine-drive chillers with more efficient electric-driven chillers were replaced in Summer 2014. These actions significantly reduced the natural gas used on campus during summer months. (3) Oxygen trim controls were added to the boilers at Gelman Library and Ross Hall over the past two years, which helped reduce emissions from those units. (4) GW has been performing ongoing energy-efficiency work on HVAC systems (e.g., Gelman Library and the Law School) to change constant speed fan motors to variable speed fan motors to make them more efficient, which in turn allows boilers to back-down more often and use less natural gas. (5) GW anticipates the startup of a CHP facility in the next performance year to take advantage of the efficiency associated with this type of system. This system has been under construction for the last few years.

The website URL where information about the institution’s outdoor air quality policies, guidelines or inventory 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.