Brown University

Thinking BIG: Brown is green

Brown seeks to carry interdisciplinary research on sustainability issues beyond the classroom and laboratory through mutually beneficial collaborations with campus operations. Since 2007, Brown has achieved a 28.2% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions—the result of a bold, ambitious vision.

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Brown was halfway toward its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals in 2011 when GreenerU started working closely with the University in addressing particular challenges that Brown had identified.

Sustainability Goals

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Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 42% below 2007 levels by 2020

Working closely with Brown, GreenerU identified and analyzed more than 100 projects over six years. This is a result of a symbiotic relationship where GreenerU has been able to interpret Brown’s vision and formulate action plans around ideas. These projects have encompassed a wide variety of conventional energy-efficiency upgrades, along with a variety of more innovative solutions. In addition, GreenerU supported Brown in designing a streamlined process for selecting and implementing projects in order of priority, integrating energy management and behavior change programs for residence halls with a building optimization platform.

GreenerU has performed a large variety of energy-efficiency work at Brown, including controls upgrades, ventilation optimization, and occupant-focused behavioral initiatives in laboratories across campus; designing and implementing Brown-specific analytic tools to monitor, measure, and verify building performance and flag anomalies (now deployed in more than 80 buildings encompassing 4 million square feet); the Dorm Energy-Efficiency Project (DEEP), an integrated energy-management and behavior-change program for 34 residence halls; controls-intensive energy-efficiency retrocommissioning projects in six academic buildings; more than 4 million square feet of customized lighting solutions; and identifying and repairing a number of non-functioning or underperforming HVAC systems.

Brown University

Campus Improvements

  • Boiler upgrades
    Optimizing or replacing a boiler can substantially improve energy efficiency.
  • Building automation system
    Building automation is the automatic centralized control of a building's heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, and/or other systems.
  • Controls system upgrades
    Controls enable building managers to set limits on energy-using features in a space, such as temperature set points or occupancy sensors.
  • HVAC optimization
    Like any equipment, heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems for a building need adjustments from time to time.
  • Lighting
    Transitioning to LED lighting is one of the most effective ways of reducing energy costs on campus.
  • Measurement and verification
    Measurement and verification (M&V) is the term given to the process for quantifying savings delivered by an energy conservation measure.
  • Retrocommissioning
    Retrocommissioning is re-tuning an existing equipment to bring it back into optimal working order.
  • Sustainability strategic planning
    GreenerU helps institutions and sustainability departments gain consensus on goals, strategies, and tactics, developing an actionable strategic plan with built-in accountability.
  • Water conservation
    Wasted hot water can result in high energy bills. Installed water conservation measures can help reduce energy use.
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Having GreenerU support initiative development that required multiple layers of stakeholders, with varying priorities and visions, was instrumental in ensuring the collaborative approach and buy-in required to make implementation and operations successful.
Jessica Berry, Director of Sustainability Brown University
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