The guiding sustainability goal for Clemson University is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, but there are important elements of sustainability that are not covered explicitly by this goal. The most important aspect of sustainability that has a direct correlation to Clemson's Net-Zero goal is energy consumption. Energy usage affects virtually all aspects of life at Clemson including but not limited to building operations, transportation, water use, waste, dining and housing.
The overarching concept is that energy and carbon emissions are directly related. As detailed in the Sustainability Action Plan, energy reduction and energy efficiency are of the utmost importance in achieving the goals of the President's Commission on Sustainability.
It is essential that Clemson University's energy demands are met in a clean and sustainable way. As outlined by the Net-Zero goal, the driving force behind most sustainability-related initiatives will be limiting carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions result directly or indirectly from a multitude of actions in daily living. Clean energy usage will become more prevalent in Clemson through the reduction of nonrenewable energies and an increase in energy efficiency and the use of alternative energies.
Biodiesel: Clemson produces its own biodiesel, which is used to fuel the diesel engine trucks for the facilities department. From 2011 through 2013, The Biodiesel Program produced up to 3,500 gallons of biodiesel from 5,000 gallons of waste cooking oil, a year, and will continue production in 2015. This program helps Clemson reduce emissions and burn a more sustainable, renewable form of energy. The program is now located at the Cherry Crossing Research Station.
Geothermal: Geothermal energy is generated from the natural heat from within the earth and can be used for both heating and cooling in buildings. The recent addition to Lee Hall (Lee Hall III) utilizes 42 geothermal wells at a depth of 440 feet to help provide and offset energy demands. The geothermal heat pump system has helped make Lee III Hall a high energy building and one of the most sustainable buildings in the United States.
For more information, visit Lee Hall.
Solar: Clemson has increased the use of solar energy to power buildings over the last decade. Solar panels provide electricity to the on campus buildings of Fluor Daniel and the Life Sciences Building, and there are plans to install solar panels to power Lee Hall III. This renewable source of energy is considered in all new construction projects.
Visit Campus Facilities to learn more and to see real-time statistics for campus solar installations.
Wind: Clemson has recently built a one-of-a-kind wind turbine testing facility in Charleston, S.C. The goal of this facility is to be able to develop clean, inexhaustible energy resources in order to provide solutions to environmental challenges. The testing facility has worked toward increasing reliability and efficiency, reducing cost, and improving grid compatibility.
Learn more about Clemson's efforts in wind energy.
For further information about energy at Clemson, and to learn what you can do, please visit the Clemson Facilities website.