College Campus Energy and Emissions Consulting

The word "Driven" on a Western Michigan University flag

College Campus Energy and Emissions Consulting

Partnering With Western Michigan University on a Push To Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Western Michigan University embarked on a journey to reduce greenhouse gas emissions nearly 40 years ago and formalized its commitment by signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2009. Over those decades, the university has cut its emissions by 70%, despite a 25% increase in campus square feet, becoming an impressive example of how a college campus can persistently work toward decarbonization. Our team has been a longtime partner, assisting with the strategy and implementation of cleaner generation, distribution and building efficiency.

To achieve such a dramatic reduction, WMU converted its coal-fired power plant to natural gas in the 1990s and continuously improved its overall energy efficiency by modernizing campus buildings and distribution systems. Old, inefficient buildings were replaced with LEED-certified facilities outfitted with upgraded technologies like HVAC automation, smart lighting, and window and insulation upgrades.  

More recently, an outdated combustion turbine generator was replaced with a modern equivalent, boosting efficiency and power output. Three boilers were also added as a part of the power plant refurbishment and expansion. We supported the plant throughout these upgrades by providing engineering design services, program development and ongoing technical support.

Our team has also played a key role in helping WMU understand and strategize around its energy assets and improvements, including:

  • Documenting ages and conditions of energy assets.  
  • Evaluating energy distribution systems, including utility tunnel system and faults, steam distribution, condensate return and more.
  • Cost estimating for potential energy modifications or additions, including future operating and maintenance expenses.
  • Prioritizing energy upgrades.
  • Tying energy distribution assets to WMU’s GIS and system maps.

We helped WMU develop the methodology to track comprehensive emissions data for the power plant, which WMU publishes on its website to provide students and stakeholders access to its progress. 

Our work helps WMU comply with the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which requires a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, climate neutrality plan, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and an integration of sustainability into the curriculum. WMU’s long-term goal is to become carbon neutral by 2065.

The word "Driven" on a Western Michigan University flag
Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, MI
United States