Energy Use & Climate Change

"What has become clear from the science is that we cannot burn all of the fossil fuels without creating a very different planet." - James Hansen

LED lighting in College of Liberal Arts
LED lighting in the College of Liberal Arts

Climate Change

Towson University signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007. Our pledge is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent per full time enrollment by 2020, by 30 percent per FTE by 2030, and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. The President’s Climate Commitment also specifies that universities integrate sustainability into their curriculum, research and community engagement. Towson has an ACUPCC Committee comprised of faculty, staff and students who meet monthly to plan and implement sustainability initiatives. 

In order to understand our impact and to measure progress, TU has commissioned annual studies on our greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations since 2007. The latest greenhouse gas inventory reports emissions from FY 2014. 

Energy Use

Energy consumption is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. At Towson, we're no exception. We use energy for electricity, heating and cooling. As the university grows, we will continue to look for creative solutions and opportunities to reduce our emissions from campus operations.

Current energy conservation initiatives:

  • Replaced two 2,000 MBH heating boilers with two modulating condensing boilers and two 1,250 gallon hot water boilers with six instantaneous hot water heaters.  Installed a run-around heat recovery coil and variable frequency drives on air handlers.  Installed VAV dampers with occupancy sensors in locker rooms to reduce over ventilating during unoccupied times.  Energy reduction about 35% resulting in annual savings over $95,000.
  • Towson University invested $8 million in the installation of 14,000 new lighting fixtures, 20,000 retrofit fixtures and 9,600 occupancy sensors in 35 of the university's buildings. The project has reduced the campus's energy costs by approximately $1 million a year.
  • Installed the fifth touchscreen energy dashboard in the main lobby of Cook Library. 
  • Installed Electric SmartMetering systems in almost all campus buildings providing accurate, real time monitoring of electrical usage and demand.
  • Replaced 36 transformers at the Glen Towers with Premium Efficiency Harmonic’s mitigating transformers, resulting in a 30% energy reduction and an annual savings of $26,000.  
  • In-house HVAC and electric shops installed variable frequency drives (VFD) on ten condensing pumps, large air handlers and hot water pumps at Smith Hall, resulting in an annual savings of more than $30,000.   
  • In partnership with the campus energy group, the University Residence Government distributed over 4,000 LED light bulbs to campus residence during fall 2015 move-in.  These LED lamps will reduce lighting energy in residence hall lamps by 30% to 50%.