Oberlin College’s Sustainable Infrastructure Program
Hear from Oberlin College and Conservatory leaders on the four-year program to convert the campus to geothermal heating and cooling and achieve carbon neutrality by 2025, Oberlin College’s Sustainable Infrastructure Program from Oberlin College and Conservatory on Vimeo.
Oberlin’s Sustainable Infrastructure Program is focused on upgrading the century-old heating infrastructure serving campus to a hot water system. This work will enable a large-scale geothermal system, add cooling to buildings, and implement other building improvements that will increase student and faculty comfort year-round. These improvements are the tangible outcomes of Oberlin’s earlier commitments to the American College and University Presidents’ Carbon Commitment and the 2025 carbon goal.
The project will bring Oberlin within reach of its ambitious goal to become carbon neutral using efficiencies, clean energy sources, and offsets to bring the institution’s net release of carbon dioxide to zero by 2025.
The college will save more than $1 million a year in energy costs. The transition also will reduce Oberlin’s water use by more than five million gallons per year, reduce sewer discharge by more than four million gallons per year, and improve campus energy efficiency by more than 30 percent.
“We’re also establishing a system that can be further developed in the future. It will be flexible enough to be able to implement new technologies as they become available in say 20, 40, 60 years from now. It’s a good opportunity for us to put our sustainability goals on display.”
— Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings, Vice President for Finance and Administration at Oberlin College
Advancing this district energy system creates future opportunities for Oberlin businesses, nonprofits, schools, and other partners to connect to reliable, cost effective, and low carbon energy.
Carbon Neutrality Partners
Ever-Green Energy has been a partner to Oberlin College since 2015. Ever-Green led the 2016 Carbon Neutrality Implementation Plan for the Oberlin campus with an emphasis on energy and water utilities and has recently led implementation of the planning recommendations, which include design of the campus conversion from steam to hot water, verification of the optimal carbon-free energy supply strategies, utility organizational planning, development of financing strategies, and continued campus and community engagement.
Design, Construction, and Planning Partners
- Mortenson – Construction planning
- Salas O’ Brien – Building conversion design and engineering
- MPA – Architectural design and planning
- Rafter A Surveyors – Campus surveying
- Frost Brown Todd – Legal advisor
- Ernst & Young – Financial advisor