Vassar has a strong commitment to sustainable energy purchasing and support for local green power programs.
- Effective Summer 2021, Vassar is purchasing 100% renewable electricity through a partnership with EDF Energy. This was detailed in an article outlining our new agreement.
- When at full operating capacity, approximately 10% of Vassar’s energy is sourced from a hydroelectric dam in Beacon, New York, managed by Gravity Renewables.
- A 34-kilowatt solar array was installed on The Barn at the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve in 2018, offering a living lab for students to see sustainable energy generation in action. The culmination of years of effort led by the student group Vassar Solar Initiative was celebrated at a grand opening ceremony.
Buying greener energy is only part of Vassar’s efforts to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. An equally important area of focus is reducing the amount of energy consumed by campus buildings.
Every major facility project, whether it’s a retrofit of an existing building or construction of a brand new one, has sustainability as a guiding principle. An Energy Master Plan and Green Building Guidelines provide structure and support for our efforts. A resolute staff maintains campus buildings to ensure optimal efficiency and condition. And our Near-Term Decarbonization Project, currently underway, will reduce our total campus carbon footprint by 75% compared to our 2005 baseline.
No building on campus is a more clear example of Vassar’s commitment to a post-carbon campus than the new Institute and Inn facility. As noted in a letter from President Bradley, the facility combines a space for wide-ranging discourse and programming with fifty guest rooms and a restaurant to welcome visitors to the Hudson Valley.
The campus community and student body underscored the need for the facility to emit no greenhouse gas emissions as part of its routine operations, and their efforts helped ensure the building is completely combustion-free. Heating will be provided through geothermal heat pumps and all meals will be prepared on all-electric cooktops.