Navigating to Climate Neutrality

Helping our clients achieve climate neutrality through planning, engineering, and implementation

Navigating the steps to climate neutrality is like assembling a 7,500-piece puzzle...with no edge pieces. From big-picture planning and programming to detail-driven project orientation, GreenerU helps institutions navigate the organizational, operational, and infrastructure changes required to reach climate neutrality.



Climate action planning, which typically includes carbon or climate neutrality targets, benchmarking, and goal-setting, involves several steps and considerations. Institutions are often juggling multiple priorities, such as social justice, equity, long-term financial sustainability, campus growth, and meeting their organizational missions, to name a few. To develop an effective climate neutrality strategy, GreenerU facilitates and engages stakeholder-driven processes and develops clear, actionable, and communicable plans that align with other institutional efforts.

These planning efforts have some of the same basic elements to them:

  • Gathering baseline data through AASHE STARS and measuring Scopes 1, 2, and 3 emissions through SIMAP
  • Developing institution-wide support through stakeholder engagement
  • Addressing policy gaps and internal capacity issues
  • Aligning climate neutrality planning with other institutional plans
  • Identifying, developing, and evaluating the technical aspects of the plan
  • Developing an implementable plan

We’ve worked with several clients on either initial or renewed climate action and sustainability planning efforts, including Swarthmore CollegeConcord AcademyEast Carolina UniversityBoston Green Ribbon Commission’s Higher Education Working Group, Concord Free Public Library, Portland Community College, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and more.

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This engineering phase essentially takes the groundwork laid during the planning phase and gives it additional detail, from project design to sequencing to cost estimating and budgeting. During this phase, we take a look at the feasibility of what the client has prioritized—converting a campus from steam to low-temperature hot water, for example—and provide some more detail around how those elements would be designed.

We also help our clients secure financing and incentives, whether that’s through state and federal programs or utility incentives, or offering financing through programs such as GreenerMass or Boston’s Tax-Exempt Lease Program.

The engineering phase is an opportunity for GreenerU and/or our engineering partners to develop more detailed technical plans for clients, develop large-scale programs and timelines. During this phase, we perform a number of steps:

  • Develop program phases and priorities
  • Integrate program objectives with existing institutional plans and projects
  • Develop design documents as needed
  • Estimate costs, bid work, level, and award
  • Flesh out a phasing plan to balance short- and long-term goals
  • Identify state and federal financing incentives
  • Work with utility companies on rebates
  • Explore creative financing options

Examples of institutions we’ve helped with the engineering phase: Southern New Hampshire UniversityWilliam James College, Wellesley CollegeBrown UniversityBrandeis UniversityIthaca CollegeDean College, Isabella Stewart Gardner MuseumBrooks SchoolSmith College, The Governor’s AcademyThe Fessenden School, and many more.

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The implementation phase is where we can provide a seamless transition from planning and engineering into construction, which can include implementation of energy-conservation measures or renewable energy features. Through either turnkey implementation or an owner’s project management model, we act as the primary coordinator and quality control mechanism for our clients, pulling all the pieces together for often complex construction projects.

We first tackle procurement: bidding, qualifying, leveling, buyout for both labor and equipment for projects such as LED lighting, heating and cooling, ventilation, laboratory efficiency, and other energy-efficiency measures. We then go through the construction phase, throughout which we engage stakeholders and get feedback as we frequently work in occupied spaces, minimizing inconveniences for building occupants. Finally, we measure and verify energy savings, feeding that data back to the planning group to gauge progress to neutrality targets and adjust where necessary.

Our implementation work includes the following:

  • Finalizing design details
  • Developing and maintain detailed project schedules
  • Prequalifying contractors in close consultation with the client
  • Securing permits
  • Running the bidding process
  • Ordering and storing materials
  • Coordinating closely with stakeholders to get input secure buy-in, and minimize disruptions
  • Managing the work of subcontractors
  • Commissioning systems
  • Verifying performance

Examples of institutions we’ve helped with the implementation phase: Brown UniversityMassachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsBrandeis University, Wellesley CollegeBoston CollegeDean College, University of Massachusetts BostonYale UniversitySmith CollegeWorcester Polytechnic Institute, Clark University, and many more.

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