JHU on track to achieve 2025 emissions goals in June this year

April 22, 2022
Sustainability efforts of the university have reduced emissions by 39% since 2008

John Hopkins University’s (JHU’s) sustainability efforts have paid off as emissions declined by 14% between 2020 and 2021 and 39% since 2008.

Considering a continuation of this momentum, the university expects to achieve its 2025 target of 51% reduction in emissions, by the end of June 2022.

JHU’s 2022 Annual Sustainability Report highlights its sustainability efforts, successes and future plans.

Since the formation of the first Task Force on Climate Change in 2008, JHU has proactively invested in infrastructure, like solar panels, combined heat and power plants, LED lighting and heating and cooling system retrofits. As a result of these initiatives and more, JHU observed a steady decline in its GHG emissions.

Some of its initiatives include:

  • Receiving energy certificates equivalent to 250,000 MWh of power annually under a 15-year agreement with Constellation Energy – the largest agreement any single university signed in the U.S. at the time of its signing and the largest renewable energy agreement from a Maryland institution.
  • Evaluating the impact of including the social cost of lifecycle assessments of capital projects in making environmentally-responsible decisions
  • Deploying utility management software, devising guidelines for high-performance healthy buildings, performing Building Portfolio Analysis, expanding its Green Labs program and designing the Hopkins Student Center sustainably to improve energy consumption in buildings and on campuses
  • Implementing waste reduction programs to track and reduce construction waste and decreasing waste in Labs
  • Expanding sustainable transportation with the deployment of the Homewood-Peabody-JHMI Shuttle Route Electrification, offering electric and hybrid-electric vehicle grants and providing access to alternative modes of transport to APL staff and visitors

Under the agreement with Constellation Energy, over 80% of the university’s electricity will come from renewable sources. The energy will be sourced from the 175 MW Skipjack Solar Center in Charles City County, Virginia. JHU's Sustainability Director Julian Goresko added, “This historic agreement caps a decade-plus of progress in climate change mitigation and gives us a foundation to build upon for the future."

The report also outlines the university's new Sustainability Plan, which includes a roadmap to carbon neutrality.

Laurent Heller, senior vice president for finance and administration, wrote in the report’s introductory letter, “Our updated Sustainability Plan will set JHU's goals even higher and challenge our community to find creative and collaborative solutions that better support the intersection of sustainability, research and education, and community partnerships.”

Committees made of students, faculty, staff and external community members have guided the creation of the Plan. The working groups are addressing topics, like climate resilience, decarbonization and healthy buildings. Advisory groups are focused on business and operations, community engagement, research and academics.

The holistic Sustainability Plan tackles topics like culture and community partnerships, designing high performance buildings, reducing GHG emissions, increasing the procurement of green products, reducing waste and developing solutions to environmental challenges. For instance, the Hopkins Student Center and the SNF Agora Building are targeting a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification. Over 15 university laboratory groups are seeking My Green Lab certification.

Goresko said, “From field classes on sustainable food systems to the electrification of our shuttles, the report shows the breadth and diversity of the sustainability work being accomplished at JHU and the many individuals who make daily contributions.”

About the Author

EnergyTech Staff

Rod Walton is senior editor for EnergyTech.com. He has spent 14 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist.

Walton formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

He can be reached at [email protected]

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.