BYOP Climate & Energy Workshop

Boston University, ENGIE, Second Nature and Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission hosted a peer-to-peer seminar / workshop on Climate and Energy issues for Campus Decision-makers in July 2019 at BU’s campus in Boston.

The half-day program focused on sharing of ideas and intelligence so that campus leaders could be more effective in their decision making with respect to energy and climate action.  The participants / experts who shared their knowledge hailed from from many campuses, including Boston University, Bowdoin, Brandeis, Harvard, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, MIT, Mass Maritime, Pace, Smith, and UMass-Boston. The program also included formal presentations from Dennis Carlberg (Assoc Vice President for University Sustainability at Boston University) Caitlin Holley (Project Manager, Capital Projects at The Ohio State University), and Michael Webber (Chief Science and Technology Officer at ENGIE and Professor at the U-Texas at Austin).

The “Bring Your Own Problem” (BYOP) segment gave campus leaders an opportunity to present and discuss energy and climate-related concerns faced by campuses in our region. After presenting a problem, the peer-to-peer discussion identified possible solutions to issues such as:

  • Senior Leader Buy-in: Distributing a University clear climate action vision from the highest level / Uninformed senior administrators / Lack of on-campus political will to have hard conversations / Separating the practical and impractical expectations / How to get buy in from senior management because renewable energy programs, data, and “green” policies are disorganized.
  • Energy Retrofits: Deep energy retrofits for our existing buildings / Decreasing Carbon in Residence Halls / Balance of promoting energy efficiency with an understandably risk adverse operational staff / How to identify best strategy for improving efficiency of buildings located on a large campus
  • Bigger Picture: Integration of our sustainability problems (and solutions) with teaching and research / Aligning efforts to among competing priorities / Weaning ourselves off fossil fuels
  • Kickstarting a Plan: Kick Starting a Climate Action Plan / Working toward a Carbon Neutral Goal / Climate Resilience prep / Engaging students and other stakeholders
  • Financing: Cost of capital & Off-book financing / Allocating funding NOW to start executing projects / How to lower out-of-pocket costs for new systems (heating, eVs, etc)
  • Thermal solutions: Planning for campus geothermal. / District scale ground source heat pump development / Solar hot water heater system to offset hot water demand in cafeteria / Decarbonization of campus heating systems

Thoughts and ideas about these topics are in the meeting notes (see link below). If you have thoughts about these topics, please feel free to add your comments in the Google Doc.

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