Energy use in NYU buildings is a much more substantial source of emissions than the University's waste and transportation systems, therefore reducing energy use will directly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
When NYU accepted the Mayor's Carbon Challenge in 2007 to reduce its emissions by 30% from 2006 levels by 2017, the University's emissions were about 0.30% of New York City's total. We reached our reduction goal in 2012, five years ahead of schedule! In 2015 we accepted the new Mayor's Carbon Challenge: a massive 50% emissions reduction by the year 2025.
NYU’s direct greenhouse gas emissions break down:
Here is our progress and our strategy to cut emissions:
NYU is striving to avoid energy waste (conservation), while also accomplishing the same work using less energy (efficiency). This strategy includes:
NYU is generating cleaner, more efficient energy on-site with an upgraded and expanded cogeneration power plant. Our cutting edge cogeneration plant, which sits under Warren Weaver Hall and is the largest capital investment in the university's history, went online in 2010. The plant provides heating and cooling to 40 NYU buildings and electricity to 26 buildings, saving the university $5–8 million per year and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. The plant also provides high-temperature hot water, avoiding the annual use of 500,000 gallons of carbon-intensive fuel oil and 280,000 therms of natural gas combustion in buildings.
In addition, cogeneration power takes pressure off the city’s strained electrical grid, reducing the chances of future brownouts, and allows us to resiliently handle such large-scale blackouts as the one we experienced during Hurricane Sandy.