Harvard actively invests in and supports the transition to renewable energy sources as part of our aggressive climate goal.

In addition to this commitment, our teaching and research across Harvard—in climate science, engineering, law, public health, policy, design, and business—is helping to accelerate the progression from nonrenewable to renewable sources of energy.


Three Ways We Support Renewable Energy

1. On-site Renewable and Alternative Energy Installations

Harvard’s Schools and administrative departments have installed a wide variety of renewable and alternative energy systems on campus and on University-owned property. The alternative energy installations (such as solar thermal and geothermal) reduce Harvard fuel purchases and therefore reduce GHG emissions. The renewable energy installations generate renewable energy credits (RECs). A REC is a tradable environmental commodity that signifies that one-megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity was generated by a renewable resource instead of fossil fuels and delivered to the grid. A REC is often considered to represent the environmental benefits of renewable generation. Only the owner of the REC can claim the environmental benefits of the renewable energy generation to avoid double-counting. Harvard retains some of the RECs generated from these installations but also sells some of the RECs to third parties to help them meet their renewable energy goals.

Co-generation (also known as Combined Heat and Power)

Location

Size 

Average Annual Production

Blackstone Steam Plant, Campus Services

5.6 MW

14.8 million kWh/year

Blodgett Pool, Athletics

-

300,000 kWh/year

Doubletree Hotel, Harvard Real Estate

-

-

Malkin Athletic Complex Pool, Athletics

75 kW

-

Shad Hall, Harvard Business School

75 kW

600,000 kWh/year

Solar Photovoltaic (PV)

Location

Size

Average Annual Production

Arnold Arboretum, Hunnewell Garage

30.8 kW

32,000 kWh/year (16% production needs)

Arsenal Mall, Harvard Real Estate

501 kW

590,000 kWh/year (584,700 kWh in 2011)

Batten Hall, Harvard Business School (installed 2015)

113 kW

Estimated 134,363 kWh/year

Center for World Religions, Harvard Divinity School (installed 2014)

19.6 kW

Estimated 21,530 kWh/year (25% of energy needs for the building)

Gordon Track and Tennis Complex, Athletics

600 kW

View real time statistics

Gutman Library, Harvard Graduate School of Education

4.8 kW

-

Harvard Forest (installed 2007)

10.2 kW

View real time statistics.

Morgan Hall, Harvard Business School

48 kW

53,800 kWh estimated annual production. View real time statistics.

Shad Hall, Harvard Business School (installed 2003)

36.5 kW

35,000 kWh/year

Science Center, Faculty of Arts & Sciences

10.8 kW

Tata Hall, Harvard Business School (installed 2013)

71 kW

 Estimated 79,331 kWh/year. View real time statistics

25 Travis Street, Harvard Business School (installed 2015)

33.55 kW

Estimated 38,795 kWh/year.

Wasserstein Hall, Harvard Law School 

97.6 kW

Estimated 114,000 kWh/year. Electric offset equal to total annual consumption at Dane Hall.

 Roof-mounted Wind Turbines

Location

Size 

Average Annual Production

Soldiers Field Park Garage.

(2) 10KW turbines

20,000 kWh

Geothermal Energy (Ground-source Heat Pumps)

Location

Description

Purpose

Zero/2 Arrow Street

-

-

46 Blackstone Street

(2) 30 ton water source heat pumps with titanium plate and frame heat exchangers

(2) 1,500 foot open geothermal wells

Cooling only

Byerly Hall, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

(5) 35 ton water source heat pumps with titanium plate and frame heat exchangers

(4) 1,500 foot open geothermal wells

Heating and cooling

1 Francis Street

(13) 1 ton water source heat pumps

(2) 1,500 foot open geothermal wells

Heating and cooling

90 Mt. Auburn Street

(5) 30 ton water source heat pumps

(3) 400 to 600 foot open geothermal wells

Heating and cooling

Quadrangle Recreation and Athletic Center

-

-

Radcliffe Gym

2) 35 ton water source heat pumps with titanium plate and frame heat exchangers

(2) 1,500 foot open geothermal wells

Heating and cooling

Weld Hill Research Center, Arnold Arboretum

(11) 35 ton water source heat pumps

(88) 500 foot closed vertical geothermal wells

Heating and cooling

 Solar Hot Water

Location

Details

HBS Esteves Hall 

Domestic solar hot water. Pressurized glycol solution system with 28 collectors serving Esteves Hall and future Chao Center. Expected to avoid 57,800 lbs of CO2 emissions annually.

46 Blackstone St. North, Campus Services

Domestic solar hot water

472 Broadway St.

View real time statistics (542.5 sq ft of collector area/19,867 kWh annually)

Canaday Hall Solar Thermal and Steam Heat Recovery System

Read the Harvard Gazette story for more information

20 Prescott St.

View real time statistics (1017 sq ft of collector are/46,936 kWH annually)

3 Sacramento St. (installed 2008)

(2) panels

Other

Location

Type

Description

Harvard Forest

Biomass

Thermal biomass system. Read about the project in the Harvard Gazette or visit the Harvard Forest website.

Harvard Business School

GreenRev

Program uses human energy to produce electricity (spin class bicycles tied to generators which are tied back to the building grid) at Harvard Business School's Shad Hall gym.

Faculty of Arts & Sciences

Heat recovery

Heat is recovered from the steam tunnels under Canaday Hall as part of solar and steam heat recovery system.

2. Direct renewable energy purchases

As a licensed retail supplier of electricity, Harvard directly purchases energy from renewable sourcesd and retains some of the renewable energy credits (RECs) generated from the renewable installation but also sells some of the RECs to third parties to help them meet their renewable energy goals.

Wind

In 2009, Harvard became the largest purchaser of wind energy by a higher education institution in New England when it entered into a 15-year agreement with First Wind to purchase half the energy generated at the planned Stetson Wind II wind facility in Maine.

3. Renewable Energy Credit Purchases

As a licensed retail supplier of electricity, Harvard is subject to the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and the Alternative Portfolio Standard (APS) which require a specific percentage of electricity generation to come from renewable energy sources. Harvard’s requirements under the RPS and APS will increase to approximately 22% of total electric load in 2016. (Other retail suppliers of electricity, such as Eversource and National Grid, are also subject to these same requirements.) Harvard uses a combination of RECs from on-site projects, direct renewable energy contracts, and RECs purchased from third parties to meet these requirements.

Harvard Schools and departments also purchase RECs in order to obtain points for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process. These are generally one-time REC purchases to cover two years of electricity use in the buildings.


On campus, we are also transitioning to a cleaner energy supply. 

Harvard’s Blackstone Steam Plant and chilled water plants were both upgraded to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.

Switching from oil to natural gas resulted in the largest reduction of emissions on campus (16,400 MTCDE) and the expansion of a combined heat and power system, including an existing backpressure turbine and new combustion turbine being installed in 2015 is estimated to further reduce emissions by a total of 14,000 MTCDE.

Watch a video tour of the Canaday Hall solar water and steam heat recovery system: