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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 Kimberly Williams
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

George Washington University
OP-9: Clean and Renewable Energy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.15 / 4.00 Doug Spengel
Manager, Energy and Environment Program
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total energy consumption (all sources, transportation fuels excluded), performance year:
851,461.50 MMBtu

Clean and renewable energy from the following sources::
Performance Year
Option 1: Clean and renewable electricity generated on-site during the performance year and for which the institution retains or has retired the associated environmental attributes 16.50 MMBtu
Option 2: Non-electric renewable energy generated on-site 754.80 MMBtu
Option 3: Clean and renewable electricity generated by off-site projects that the institution catalyzed and for which the institution retains or has retired the associated environmental attributes 15,368.30 MMBtu
Option 4: Purchased third-party certified RECs and similar renewable energy products (including renewable electricity purchased through a certified green power purchasing option) 15,368.30 MMBtu

A brief description of on-site renewable electricity generating devices :

An 18-panel photovoltaic array is operating on a trellis above a walkway, known as the Solar Walk, between two buildings at the Virginia Science and Technology Campus. Below the Solar Walk is the world’s first walkable solar-paneled pathway which includes 27 slip-resistant, semitransparent panels comprising 100 square feet. In peak conditions the walkable panels, designed by Spain-based Onyx Solar, generate enough energy to power 450 LED pathway lights, while the panels on the trellis generate energy that feeds nearby Innovation Hall. The energy production figure shown in Option 1 above is for these devices.

On GW's Foggy Bottom Campus, a solar table was proposed and installed by students, led by sophomore Ben Pryde. The solar table is capable of fueling the equivalent of eight laptops for nearly seven days. Installed on a plaza between 21st and 22nd streets and F and G streets, the six-foot-long table is made of rain-resistant plywood and aluminum, with a layered tabletop of plywood and a 280-watt solar panel covered with Plexiglas. Devices like cell phones and laptops can be placed on the table and plugged into one of its eight 120-volt outlets. Power produced from this table is not metered.

The university also has several signs that are lighted at night using solar energy collected and stored during the day. These signs are also not metered.

A brief description of on-site renewable non-electric energy devices:

The university installed its first solar thermal hot water system in March 2011 on a residence hall at 2031 F St. (formerly Building JJ). During the summer of 2011, GW installed two more solar hot water heating systems on residence halls at 1959 E St. and Ivory Tower (later renamed Shenkman Hall). The energy production figure shown in Option 2 above is for all three of these systems. A fourth solar hot water system will be installed in spring 2015.

A brief description of off-site, institution-catalyzed, renewable electricity generating devices:

During the reporting year, the University purchased RECs from local and/or nationwide wind energy farms as a component of LEED certification applications for several new construction projects. Starting in January 2015, the University began receiving solar energy purchased directly on our behalf from an off-site solar energy farm.

A brief description of the RECs and/or similar renewable energy products:

During the reporting year, the University purchased RECs from local and/or nationwide wind energy farms as a component of LEED certification applications for several new construction projects. A few RECs were also donated by an energy supply firm to offset the natural gas used on Earth Day.

The website URL where information about the institution's renewable energy sources is available:

With the main campus located in a dense urban area, on-site clean energy generation and carbon sequestration options are limited. However, GW is committed to leveraging its urban campuses in the District of Columbia and its Northern Virginia campus to pilot innovative green energy generation and sequestration options that can help reduce carbon emissions, both for the university directly and for its community.

New discoveries, equipment and systems for green energy and carbon sequestration are emerging at a rapid pace, but require testing and improvements. The university is using its campuses as testing grounds for new technologies and integrate the performance of these options into learning and research opportunities for students and faculty as appropriate. As part of this innovation strategy GW targets a 1,000 MTCO2e reduction in its emissions by 2025 through use of on-campus clean energy sources. Additionally, the university aims to produce 10 percent of its energy needs through on-site low-carbon technologies by 2040.

Many contributors to the GW carbon footprint are out of the university’s direct
control. As a single player in a complex system GW realizes it cannot reach carbon
neutrality independently or in isolation of other entities affecting carbon emissions for the D.C. area. The university is forging partnerships with other institutions in the Washington, D.C. community to both achieve GW’s own targets and assist the region in reducing its carbon emissions as well. The university is working with partners to decrease the carbon intensity of its electricity fuel mix, as evidenced by the Capital Partners Solar Project, which began to come on line in January 2015.

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.