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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 67.88
Liaison Mary Easterling
Submission Date Sept. 14, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Pennsylvania State University
OP-5: Building Energy Consumption

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.97 / 6.00 Shelley McKeague
Environmental Compliance Specialist
Engineering Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total building energy consumption:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Grid-purchased electricity 896,664 MMBtu 1,130,185 MMBtu
Electricity from on-site renewables 51 MMBtu 0 MMBtu
District steam/hot water (sourced from offsite) 0 MMBtu 0 MMBtu
Energy from all other sources (excluding transportation fuels) 1,944,200 MMBtu 2,275,949 MMBtu
Total 2,840,915 MMBtu 3,406,134 MMBtu

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or 3-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2015 June 30, 2016
Baseline Year July 1, 2005 June 30, 2006

A brief description of when and why the building energy consumption baseline was adopted (e.g. in sustainability plans and policies or in the context of other reporting obligations):

FY 2005-06 was adopted as the baseline to be consistent with our previous STARS report.

Gross floor area of building space:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Gross floor area of building space 20,886,526 Gross Square Feet 18,577,348 Gross Square Feet

Source-site ratio for grid-purchased electricity:

Total building energy consumption per unit of floor area:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Site energy 0.14 MMBtu / GSF 0.18 MMBtu / GSF
Source energy 0.23 MMBtu / GSF 0.31 MMBtu / GSF

Percentage reduction in total building energy consumption (source energy) per unit of floor area from baseline (0-100):

Degree days, performance year (base 65 °F / 18 °C):
Degree days (see help icon above)
Heating degree days 5,510 Degree-Days (°F)
Cooling degree days 512 Degree-Days (°F)

Floor area of energy intensive space, performance year:
Floor Area
Laboratory space 1,379,134 Square Feet
Healthcare space 43,075 Square Feet
Other energy intensive space

EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
24,142,651 Gross Square Feet

Building energy consumption (site energy) per unit of EUI-adjusted floor area per degree day, performance year:
19.54 Btu / GSF / Degree-Day (°F)

Documentation (e.g. spreadsheet or utility records) to support the performance year energy consumption figures reported above:

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to shift individual attitudes and practices in regard to energy efficiency (e.g. outreach and education efforts):

Through the Sustainability Institute, there are Sustainability Programs that focus on outreach and education for faculty, staff and students. Green Paws, an office certification program, incorporates energy efficiency and reduction actions in the 4 Level program. For students, the Eco-Rep program provides an opportunity for students to learn about energy efficiency and conservation and then share that information with peers through fun activities and events.

Office of Physical Plant staff teach and guest lecture in a variety of engineering, architecture and sustainability classes.

A brief description of energy use standards and controls employed by the institution (e.g. building temperature standards, occupancy and vacancy sensors):

Penn State has an Energy Conservation Policy (AD64). Set points are specifically addressed in the policy:

Interior Environment - Every effort will be made to maintain the occupied temperature in all University facilities at 70 degrees in the winter and 75 degrees in the summer. This excludes areas that currently are not heated or cooled and areas with special environmental needs.
-The temperature during low occupancy or unoccupied periods in all University facilities will be allowed to cool down to 60 degrees in the winter and warm up to 85 degrees in the summer. This excludes areas that currently are not heated or cooled and areas with special environmental needs.
-Employees and students with manual control of the equipment that heats or cools their space shall operate the equipment so that the least amount of energy is consumed (example, operate window air conditioning units only when the spaces are occupied).

A brief description of Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting and other energy-efficient lighting strategies employed by the institution:

Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology is used for various applications in many buildings on campus. All new construction or renovation attempts to incorporate the technology. Common applications include replacing incandescent bulbs in elevators, down light applications exit signs and parking lots. They have even been installed in Penn State's -40 degree Blast Freeze in the Food Science Building. 3 Parking decks (Nittany, HUB, East) have LEDs for upper deck lighting, stairways and access lighting with multi-level occupancy sensor and daylight controls. LEDs have been used for underbowl lighting at Beaver Stadium as well as the new logo signs. LEDs have been used in complex lighting locations including the HUB Art Gallery, Earth & Mineral Science Museum and the Nittany Lion Shrine.

A brief description of passive solar heating, geothermal systems, and related strategies employed by the institution:


A brief description of co-generation employed by the institution, e.g. combined heat and power (CHP):

Penn State operates 2 Combined Heat and Power Plants. The West Campus Steam Plant has two new backpressure steam turbines rated at 2.9 mW each. They generate electricity to serve Penn State's emergency power needs as well as provide low-pressure steam to campus.The East Campus Steam Plant has a combustion turbine and heat recovery steam boiler to cogenerate steam and 7MW of electricity.

In 15/16 University Park cogenerated approximately 17% of its power needs.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to replace energy-consuming appliances, equipment and systems with high efficiency alternatives (e.g. building re-commissioning or retrofit programs):

Continuous Commissioning (CCx) - Commissioning occurs shortly after a building’s completion to verify if it is functioning according to its design objectives. Implemented in 1998, the University Park Continuous Commissioning Program (CCx) focuses on the re-commissioning, retro-commissioning, and maintenance of campus buildings. The goals of the program are to reduce energy costs and optimize building performance. CCx are “corrective” projects that typically have a 5-year simple payback. The program currently includes 2 CCx Engineers and three 2-person technical service crews. These savings are repurposed toward other energy saving projects.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

In 2014, Penn State joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge and pledged to reduce its building portfolio’s energy use by 20 percent over the next decade. With a commitment of 28 million square feet (all campuses except Hershey Medical & Pennsylvania College of Technology), Penn State becomes the largest university in the program.

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.