Harvard actively invests in and supports the transition to renewable energy sources as part of its commitment to climate action.

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

To complement the emissions reductions from energy supply and demand, the University purchased wind from Maine and existing hydro power from Massachusetts in 2016 as an interim step to meet our 2006-2016 climate goal (the other options identified were not needed as the on-site emissions reductions were larger than projected).

Three ways we support renewable energy

1. On-site 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's fuel purchases and therefore reduce 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 and delivered to the grid. A REC represents 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 the majority of the RECs generated from these on-site installations for regulatory compliance, but also sells some of the RECs to third parties.


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



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)



Average Annual Production

Arnold Arboretum, Hunnewell Garage

30.8 kW

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

Arsenal Mall, Harvard Real Estate

501 kW

Note: Harvard was responsible for installing the solar PV project on the roof of the Arsenal Mall in 2009. However, the rooftop array is no longer owned by Harvard because the building was sold by Harvard in 2013.

Harvard Art Museums


Learn more

Baker Library, Bloomberg Center, Harvard Business School 

42.5 kW

Estimated 49,000 kWh/year

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)

Chao Center, Harvard Business School

65.5 kW

Estimated 77,116 kWh/year

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.

Harvard Kennedy School


153 solar PV panels installed on the roofs of the Ofer Building, the Wexner Building, and the Rubentstein Building in February of 2018.

Morgan Hall, Harvard Business School

48 kW

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

38 Oxford Street, Faculty of Arts & Sciences (installed 2017)

330 kW


Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

14 kW

Learn more

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.

Teele Hall

25 kW

Estimated 28,677 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



Average Annual Production

Soldiers Field Park Garage.

(2) 10KW turbines

20,000 kWh

Geothermal Energy (Ground-source Heat Pumps)




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



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





Harvard Forest


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

Harvard Business School


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 purchases

As a licensed retail supplier of electricity, Harvard directly purchases energy from renewable sources to meet both regulatory compliance requirements and the 2006-2016 climate goal.

STETSON Wind II Project

Harvard was an early leader in investing in renewable energy and off-site emissions reduction through the long-term PPA it signed in 2009 for 12MW of power and RECs from the Stetson II wind project in Maine. The University was required by legislation to purchase RECs each year to meet compliance standards, but made the leadership decision to invest in a long term contract for the energy plus RECs from a new wind project, and the University was one of the first organizations to voluntarily make a large scale Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), now a common model for corporate renewable energy buyers. 

With this purchase, Harvard became the largest purchaser of wind energy by a higher education institution in New England at that time. Harvard has a 15-year agreement with First Wind to purchase half the energy and RECs generated at the Stetson Wind II wind facility in Maine.

3. Regulatory compliance

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.

Fuel switching to natural gas + Combined heat and power + Additional utility efficiency upgrades = 20,500 MTCDE reduction, equivalent to taking over 4,300 cars off the road.

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