Daytime aerial view of Arizona State University parking areas showing solar carport installations and panels on the top level of a parking garage

Colleges and Universities

The modernization of campus energy systems presents significant opportunities for higher education facilities to attract new students and reduce utility, operation and maintenance costs. Most institutes of higher education must deal with a patchwork of old and new equipment, varying levels of operational efficiency and the lack of a campus energy management system to control overall energy use. For state schools, stricter energy consumption rules can stress budgets as funds are sought for mandated upgrades.

“The University of Alaska Anchorage chose Ameresco to assist us in our goal of becoming more energy efficient based on their proven track record in Alaska and their long history of successfully working with higher education institutions.”

–John R. Faunce, PE, Director, University of Alaska Anchorage Facilities Planning & Construction

With an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) from Ameresco, higher education institutions can get the energy infrastructure upgrades they need now and stabilize ongoing utility costs to develop a source of capital in the future. Ameresco can modernize a single facility or provide comprehensive campus-wide energy management systems, built from best-in-class energy-efficient and renewable energy solutions, financed entirely with capital collected from campus energy conservation. Renewable energy systems lower energy costs, reduce reliance on the power grid, increase energy security and provide additional benefits for student recruitment. Ameresco also offers a behavior modification program that delivers life lessons for embracing efficiency and conservation measures.

Campus Energy Use and Student Recruitment

Campus renewable energy and energy conservation policies play a role in the ability of colleges and universities to attract and recruit undergraduate and graduate students. Increasing awareness of environmental responsibilities and the need for sustainable development at the primary-school level has created a generation of students hard-wired to consider environmental impact as part of their decision making.

Ameresco can develop programs with higher education institutions that encourage energy conservation through changes in student behavior, such as reduced lighting, electricity and water use. We also develop renewable energy systems that serve as constant reminders that the institution is in touch with the concerns of its student base. Once relegated to recruitment in the sciences, campus energy use is now a consideration for students in every academic discipline. Universities and colleges that are seen as leaders in renewable energy use and energy conservation have an advantage in recruitment, as well as an energy use approach that delivers greater value for each energy dollar spent.

Case Studies

Aerial view shows solar panels on the roof of Sun Devils Stadium at Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Extensive use of solar panels is just part of Ameresco’s partnership with ASU, which also includes  cogeneration and a long-term capital plan.

Daytime exterior of main buildings on the quadrangle at Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee chose Ameresco to help it reach its goal of running a carbon-neutral campus.

Medical University of South Carolina sign as seen in the daytime, with the school buildings in the background

Medical University of South Carolina

Equipment upgrades and replacements will yield $2.47 million annually in energy savings, and $22,000 in O&M savings.

Additional Media

Watch the MUSC video

Watch the Roxbury Community College time lapse video

Watch the Gilded-to-Green Solar Day 2017 “Rhode Island College and Ameresco” video

Watch the NMSU APPA Award video