- % improvement in energy efficiency
- % wind generated renewable energy credits
- kWh solar energy generated on campus annually
- geothermal heating and cooling systems
- LEED® certified sustainable construction projects and renovations
- years of Annual Energy Challenges
Sustainable energy is as much about the energy you avoid using as it is about the kind of energy you consume. Allegheny prioritizes energy efficiency in our operations and behaviors even as we install on-campus renewable-energy systems and purchase electricity from renewable generation.
Improving the energy efficiency of our campus buildings and operations is a crucial component of our carbon footprint management. It’s an interesting challenge on a historic campus where many buildings are 100 to 200 years old. We’ve added insulation; retrofitted boilers, chillers, and lighting; installed controls; and even considered how to optimize the density of use in our buildings. Over the past decade and a half, we’ve improved our campus efficiency by 19.2 percent despite increasing our total square footage and number of residential students.
Better Buildings Initiative
In 2011, Allegheny College was the only small liberal arts college invited by the Obama White House to participate in the Better Buildings Challenge, an initiative to model and share effective strategies to improve energy efficiency by at least 20 percent over 10 years.
Wind Renewable Energy Credits
Since 2011, Allegheny College has purchased all its electricity from Green-e® certified, wind-generated, renewable sources.
Renewable Energy Greenhouse
In the heart of our Carr Hall Garden, we’ve constructed a greenhouse that features a switchgrass pellet stove for heating and a neon-pink roof of luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) panels. The dye-coated panels, a novel photovoltaic technology, capture and convert wavelengths of light that plants cannot use into electricity while allowing photosynthetically active light to reach the plants below.Allegheny Game Changing Greenhouse Takes Root
Geothermal Heat Pumps
Efficiently heating and cooling our buildings can be a challenge since we experience seasonal temperature extremes in Meadville. To cool and heat our buildings during summers and winters, we rely on geothermal (aka geo-exchange) heat pumps to harness the constant temperature of the earth rather than using the more extreme outside air temperatures. We have four geothermal heat pump systems in North Village Phases I & II, 454 House, and Bentley Hall.
LEED Certified & Sustainable Construction
Allegheny College has pledged that all new construction will be certified at the LEED® Silver level. In addition, renovations of our historic buildings are also considered for LEED certification and managed to prioritize efficiency and environmental responsibility regardless of certification. Our first LEED certified building, and the first in northwestern Pennsylvania, was a result of seminar students collaborating with the architect and contractor to research and implement the process in the design and construction of North Village Phase I. North Village Phase II and a renovation of Carr Hall were each certified LEED Gold. We’re currently pursuing LEED certification of our historic renovation of iconic Bentley Hall.
We generate 8,500 kWh of solar energy on campus annually, equal to the carbon sequestration ability of seven acres of U.S. forests. Our 24-panel Energy Challenge array was funded entirely by the savings realized through student efforts during our Annual Energy Challenge.
Even efficient buildings can lose efficiency if they are not managed carefully, both operationally and behaviorally. Allegheny employs several tactics and policies such as the Comfort and Energy Policy, a Building Automation System, Computing Policy, and Demand Response program.