In our 2020 AASHE STARS Report, we reported for two subcategories within the overarching ‘Energy’ categories, and Energy is one of our seven E.C.O. Wheel categories and an important part of our Sustainability Plan. In AASHE STARS, the University of Delaware scored the following for the two Energy subcategories:
Between 2007 and 2019, UD reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 16%. This was due largely to the city shifting its energy grid away from coal.
About Energy: The use of fossil fuels contributes significantly to the greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming. UD is likely to be severely impacted by extreme storms, sea level rise, power outages, and infrastructural damage that would ensue if global warming is not kept below 1.5° C.
Current State of Renewable Energy: The University of Delaware’s energy portfolio is currently restricted by utility contracts and the local grid. Delaware Governor Carney has set goals mandating Delaware utilities derive 40% of their energy from renewable resources by 2035 (State of Delaware, 2021) and reduce GHG emissions by 26% by 2025. Further, many comparator institutions have also set GHG emission reductions of 40100% by 2030 (Appendix iv). Thus, UD must develop a plan to shift to 40% renewables to match. Being one of the most influential institutions in the state, UD needs to lead by example and collaborate with the State of Delaware and push beyond the 40% benchmark already established.
About Buildings: The energy efficiency and retrofitting of buildings are key to curbing energy consumption. Lighting, temperature control, metering, and building envelope upgrades (i.e. retrofitting windows, doors, walls, and roofs) can all be optimized to decrease our carbon emissions. Further, buildings must be bird-friendly and compliment environmentally friendly landscaping. In 2021, all federal building must use bird-friendly glass from the ground up to 40 feet.
Current State of Buildings: Campus buildings contribute to 72% of the total energy consumed by the university. UD currently uses the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standards to ensure the energy efficiency of newly-built buildings and between 20132018 had a Revolving Energy Efficiency Fund to support energy efficiency projects. However, some older buildings on campus are still in need of retrofitting and updates. Further, buildings have not incorporated bird safe glass; although UD now partners with Newark to reduce nighttime lighting during Fall and Spring migrations. UD needs to further fund raise to establish a new “Blue Hen Sustainability Fund” which would provide a larger and aggressive revolving fund to improve energy efficiency and be environmentally and bird friendly.
- Use 45% renewable energy by 2035 (from 2007 baseline).
- At least 40% GHG reduction by 2030 (from 2007 baseline).
- Develop a Sustainability Campus Master Plan.
- Ensure future UD buildings follow high sustainability standards for energy efficiency and bird-friendliness.
- Grow a new “Blue Hen Sustainability Fund” to provide a revolving fund for UD sustainability projects.