Renewable & Clean Energy

Reducing reliance on fossil fuels has social, economic, and environmental benefits

Renewable Energy Highlights

  • Emory aims to self-generate 10% of energy used on campus to replace fossil fuel sources by 2025.
  • Sustainable technologies for producing energy are employed across Emory’s campus, including solar photovoltaic power, co-generation from Emory’s steam plant, biofuel used in Emory’s Cliff shuttles, and geothermal energy in the LEED Platinum Emory Student Center.
  • With the enactment of HB 57, The Solar Power Free-Market Financing Act of 2015, Georgia became the first state in the Southeastern U.S. to legislatively approve private, third party sales of electricity from onsite solar systems as a means of financing solar energy for Georgia businesses, institutions, schools and homes. With third party financing through Solar Energy Procurement Agreements (SEPA) now legal in Georgia, Emory is able to install more cost effective solar energy systems on Emory property.

In 2020, Emory entered into a Solar Energy Procurement Agreement (SEPA) with Cherry Street Energy to install 5.5 MW of solar on the Atlanta campus. Furthering Emory’s commitment to economic inclusion, Cherry Street’s Shine On workforce development program provides skilled training to the workers installing more than 15,000 solar panels across Emory’s rooftops and parking decks .

Renewable Energy Benefits

  • Renewable energy installations can provide important teaching and research opportunities on campus and serve as nationally-important demonstration sites.
  • Rooftop solar installations can “leapfrog the need for large-scale, centralized power grids and accelerate access to affordable, clean electricity – becoming a powerful tool for eliminating poverty.” (Project Drawdown)
  • Renewable energy sources exist over wide geographical areas, as opposed to fossil fuel sources, which are concentrated in relatively few global locales.
  • Renewable energy generation can result in increased energy security, climate change mitigation, and the creation of jobs.

How It Works

Solar:

  • In August 2020, rooftop solar was installed on 1599 Clifton Road, Gambrell School of Law, and the Health Sciences Research Building a the initial phase of the Cherry Street Energy SEPA project. More installations will continue through the end of 2020!
  • In 2015, Georgia Power’s Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI) enabled rooftop solar on 1762 Clifton Road and the North Decatur Building, which generate 265 kWh of energy.
  • Six 70-watt solar panels outside of the Few and Evans Residence Halls pump water from an underground cistern into the waste water system for toilet flushing.
  • A small solar installation provides solar power for a portion of the energy needed at the Water Hub.
  • A solar hot water heating system preheats approximately 40% of the domestic hot water required for the Emory Student Center.

Geothermal: A system of 400-foot deep geothermal wells dug into nearby McDonough Field that provide some 700 tons of heating/cooling capacity to the Emory Student Center.

Biofuel: The entire Cliff Shuttle fleet is fueled by B5 biodiesel, made from recycled cooking oil from Emory’s cafeterias.

Cogeneration: 1mW of combined heat an power provide energy in Emory’s steam plant. Learn more about this system in a blog post.