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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-8: Building Energy Consumption

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.33 / 6.00 Doug Spengel
Manager, Energy and Environment Program
"---" 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 851,461.50 MMBtu 975,741.30 MMBtu

Purchased electricity and steam:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Grid-purchased electricity 382,222.20 MMBtu 387,626.70 MMBtu
District steam/hot water 0 MMBtu 0 MMBtu

Gross floor area of building space::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Gross floor area 8,050,200 Gross Square Feet 7,315,674 Gross Square Feet

Floor area of energy intensive space, performance year::
Floor Area
Laboratory space 304,619 Square Feet
Healthcare space 61,600 Square Feet
Other energy intensive space

Degree days, performance year (base 65 °F)::
Degree days (see help icon above)
Heating degree days 4,120
Cooling degree days 1,724

Source-site ratios::
Source-Site Ratio (see help icon above)
Grid-purchased electricity 3.14
District steam/hot water 1.20

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or 3-year periods)::
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2013 June 30, 2014
Baseline Year July 1, 2007 June 30, 2008

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

GW became the first university in the Washington, D.C., area to join the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2008. The university, along with more than 660 other higher education institutions, committed to develop a Climate Action Plan for carbon neutrality and to spotlight and support its academic endeavors on climate issues. GW's Climate Action Plan, completed in May 2010, established a 40% carbon footprint reduction target for the institution by FY2025 relative to a FY2008 baseline, and committed to carbon neutrality by FY2040. The baseline year was thus adopted for FY 2008, during which GW became an ACUPCC signatory and consistent with GW's Climate Action Plan.

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

GW's design standards include winter and summer temperature ranges for designers of new buildings to achieve. In existing buildings, GW has begun to use Coris Outlet Modules, which are Internet-controlled packaged A/C unit ("window shaker") timers. Programmable thermostats are also employed.

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

GW has used LED lighting in exit signs for many years. At the end of FY11 the university began retrofitting its underground parking garages with LED lighting and occupancy sensors. GW now has five underground parking garages using LED lighting and occupancy sensors. In FY12 GW installed LED lights as house lights in its historic Lisner Auditorium theater. GW is now installing LED lights into a wider range of fixtures including interior and exterior uses.

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

The most common type of occupancy sensor used to control lighting on campus is a dual-technology sensor that detects both motion or sound. These are usually mounted into ceilings of public spaces such as classrooms and conference rooms. In smaller rooms such as public bathrooms a sensor detects motion to bring lights on and then the lights go off again a pre-set amount of time later such as 15 minutes. This application is now switching to the use of vacancy sensors instead. Some daylight sensors are in use in lobbies with a lot of natural light. Most outdoor lighting is controlled by timers or photocells.

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

Several buildings at GW incorporate passive solar heating, such as our two greenhouses. Approximately 3,500 square feet of solar window films have also been installed on three campus facilities: Ames Hall, Rice Hall, and 45155 Research Place (Virginia Science & Technology Campus). The window films reduce solar incidence to help prevent overheating in interior spaces, which both improves occupant comfort and decreases GW’s energy demand for air conditioning during warmer months of the year.

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

The University built one fraternity house that used ground-source heat pumps but has since sold it to the fraternity so it is no longer in our portfolio.

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

No cogeneration technologies are in use at this time. However, construction has begun on a new cogeneration unit on GW’s Foggy Bottom Campus that will provide power to Ross Hall and Science & Engineering Hall. The 5-MW cogeneration unit is expected to start-up by the end of 2015 and is projected to supply approximately two-thirds of the energy consumed by those two buildings.

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

GW has commissioned all of its new buildings for the past 20 years. While a formal recommissioning program has not been implemented to date, two pilot-scale recommissioning activities have been undertaken. In one building a continuous commissioning project was used for a year and in another LEED-certified building a recommissioning effort was undertaken to correct a higher-than-expected energy usage. A formal building retrofit program is now underway; see its description below under the description of the institution's program to replace energy-consuming equipment with higher-efficiency alternatives.

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

The University's building management systems (BMS) currently interconnect 40 buildings with either remote monitoring or control functionality. In terms of the absolute number of buildings with BMSs, the coverage is small (~30%), but in terms of square footage the BMS coverage is extensive (~78.5%). The BMS primarily monitors and controls space temperatures, humidity, and HVAC functions rather than lighting. Lighting is generally controlled with local occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, or photocells. One building that opened recently has its lighting system controls integrated into its BMS.

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

Three years ago the University launched its Eco Building Program to reduce energy usage and GHG emissions in existing buildings. To date three phases of projects have been conducted, covering ten major buildings.

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

The University has begun replacing a variety of exterior lighting with LED alternatives. Two other initiatives were described in response to OP-9 where renewable energy sources have been incorporated into the landscape to power LED lights along a pathway and to allow students to recharge their laptops, tablets, and phones.

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

We currently have "SnackMisers" on two vending machines on campus, which control the energy use of the machines based on motion. We piloted twelve of these products, but it was determined that it is not the best fit for GW's vending machines, so we continue to explore additional options.

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

GW has undertaken several behavior-change initiatives aimed at reducing energy usage and GHG emissions. The Eco Challenge competition has been used for many years as a way to engage students living on campus in a friendly energy-reducing competition. This competition has expanded to include many academic buildings. There are now two kiosks on campus that display the energy usage of many campus buildings, with a third to be added during the Spring 2015 semester.

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

Energy use in existing buildings comprises approximately 80 percent of the university's GHG emissions. In the first years of implementing the Climate Action Plan, GW has prioritized improving building energy efficiency and enhancing IT systems that result in energy use reductions.

GW's Eco Building Program provides a comprehensive capital improvement plan to strategically implement energy and water conservation projects in campus buildings. Implementation of this program will result in a reduction of energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and will produce short-term and long-term financial savings. Through these projects, GW aims to reduce energy use from the buildings by 15%.

Within the last 3 years, 30% of GW's buildings (by square footage) have undergone an energy-efficiency oriented retrofit as part of the Eco Building Program. That trend is poised to continue in the coming years, with capital projects already scheduled.

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.