Campus Cleantech Pilots


Second Nature is accelerating the commercialization of clean energy technology by using universities as testing and demonstration platforms for startup companies. Colleges and universities participating in the Campus Cleantech Pilots will develop and implement a strategy for using existing campus infrastructure to test emerging energy-related technologies. This will help cleantech startup companies overcome the critical “first demonstration” barrier that often prevents new solutions from successfully making it into the market. At the same time, this program allows leading colleges and universities to get a first look at innovative technologies that provide opportunity for research and classroom learning while helping schools reach their climate and energy-related goals.


Second Nature is partnering with Clean Energy Trust (CET), the Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC), and a Campus Cleantech Advisory Committee of twelve higher education institutions to launch the Campus Cleantech Pilots. 


The Campus Cleantech Pilots program aims to accelerate deployment of clean energy technologies, both in the higher education sector and beyond, with the ultimate goal of lowering greenhouse gas emissions and finding innovative solutions to climate change.  By providing startup companies with pilot deployment opportunities at colleges and universities, this program helps drive the clean technology industry. Schools participating in this program are all signatories of Second Nature’s Carbon or Climate Commitment; through Campus Cleantech Pilots these schools demonstrate leadership in overcoming organizational barriers to innovation and have first access to new technologies that can help lower their emissions and meet their climate goals.


Second Nature and CET will work with participating schools to develop a challenge statement and to designate an area of their campus as an innovation zone where the new technology will be deployed. For the initial pilot phase of the program, Second Nature and CET are focusing on technologies that address one or more of the following categories:

  • Smart Buildings (e.g. energy efficiency, controls/sensors, interior lighting)
  • Smart Infrastructure (e.g. grid connectivity, microgrids, battery storage, exterior lighting)

CET will leverage its network of startup companies to find emergent clean energy technologies that address the challenge statement, and work with Second Nature to match these companies with the participating schools.

Campus Cleantech Pilots is in the initial testing and pilot phase. Over the next year Second Nature, CET, and the Campus Cleantech Advisory Committee will finalize the process for matching institutions with cleantech startup companies.

More Details

The Campus Cleantech Advisory Committee is made up of:

  • Agnes Scott College, President Elizabeth Kiss
  • Ball State University, Interim President Terry King
  • California State University-Northridge, President Dianne Harrison
  • Central Community College, President Greg Smith
  • George Washington University, President Steven Knapp
  • Huston-Tillotson University, President Collette Pierce
  • New York University, President Andrew Hamilton
  • Portland State University, President Wim Wiewel
  • Rochester Institute of Technology, President William Destler
  • Spelman College, President Mary Campbell
  • University of Minnesota-Morris, Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson
  • Western Michigan University, President John Dunn

For more information, or If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact [email protected]