The Big Green: Dartmouth College confronts one of the foremost challenges facing humankind

Dartmouth envisions its campus as a place where operations are reimagined to prioritize human and environmental well-being, piloting the best solutions. GreenerU went behind the scenes to help connect this historic campus with building efficiency.


Dartmouth College, nestled along the banks of the Connecticut River in Hanover, New Hampshire, has never had an official mascot.

Regardless, one persistent mainstay of Dartmouth culture since the mid-19th century has been its nickname, “The Big Green”—which is apropos, given the School’s leadership on environmental stewardship.

Tackling climate change is one of the “foremost challenges facing humankind,” wrote Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon in 2013. In Our Green Future: The Sustainability Road Map for Dartmouth is a stated goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on its campus 80% by 2050. But even before making this bold commitment, Dartmouth was making investments in energy efficiency across campus.

Dartmouth engaged GreenerU in 2012 to assist with developing the infrastructure and processes required to manage energy-efficiency work contracts on campus. Serving as program manager for Dartmouth College, GreenerU has coordinated multiple aspects of retrocommissioning and energy engineering work, scope development, and project implementation.

GreenerU’s turnkey implementation programs included all engineering, materials procurement, hiring and managing subcontractors, commissioning, turnover, and performance verification. Phases 1 and 2 included a variety of projects such as retrocommissioning studies, variable frequency drive installation, controls upgrades, behavior change campaigns, and overall program management and reporting. Finally, GreenerU underwent Phase 3 investigations and project implementation, which consisted of working across lab buildings, dormitories, the athletic center, and the campus hotel.

An essential element to the success of these projects was the effective collaboration and utilization across facilities groups. Specifically, Dartmouth College’s controls and energy teams played an integral role in understanding the needs of the building occupants and balancing those concerns with building energy efficiency. GreenerU collaborated with these teams to provide turnkey energy solutions that prioritized and synthesized the goals of various stakeholder groups on campus.

In addition to clear and frequent communication with facilities teams, GreenerU has engaged building stakeholders in the energy efficiency changes made to each building to ensure a lasting impact across campus. By facilitating collaboration across the controls and energy efficiency teams, GreenerU has laid the foundation for continued success in implementing energy efficiency projects.

Ultimately, all projects GreenerU has performed across campus are saving Dartmouth College an estimated $1.2 million in annual energy costs, as well as reducing 4,000 metric tons of carbon equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions. That’s from not burning 237,000 gallons of #6 fuel oil, or, put another way, avoiding using 450,000 gallons of gasoline, or 4.4 million pounds of coal.

Staying true to its reputation, The Big Green’s efforts to date have gone a long way toward confronting one of humankind’s foremost challenges today in Dartmouth’s picturesque corner of the world.

Thinking of taking on a major building energy-conservation measures involving multiple stakeholders? GreenerU’s experienced team of energy-efficiency engineers and change management experts can help you manage the whole process smoothly. Call us at 781-209-5670 or email today!

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