Princeton University lays the groundwork for a ‘net-zero’ future

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Denise Valenti, Office of Communications
Nov. 17, 2021

Princeton University is currently undergoing one of the most extensive building programs in its history, as part of the University’s goal to make the campus carbon “net-zero” by 2046, Princeton’s 300th anniversary. To that end, the University is working to eliminate carbon emissions and install innovative, energy-generating systems that do not involve the burning of fossil fuels.

One way the University is primed to achieve this goal is by phasing out the steam heating of buildings and, instead, implementing a new, low-temperature heating water energy system driven by electric heat pumps, thermal storage and geo-exchange — becoming one of the first sites in the nation to combine these technologies at this scale.

“By 2046, we should have a super energy-efficient campus with a system that’s super reliable, and one that’s fully powered through renewable energy,” said Ted Borer, director of Princeton’s Energy Plant. “Princeton has the opportunity to lead by example. … We can influence thousands, tens of thousands, even millions of others by our actions on campus.”