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Sustainability

Miami's path toward carbon neutrality: At a glance

Read the infographic story in the Fall/Winter 2021 issue of the Miamian magazine

infographic with green facts and images of  Miami's Western campus rain garden and farm
Infographic of "Green facts" at Miami; center image is the rain garden near Western Dining center, as it looked after it was created in 2016 (image by Scott Kissell).
Sustainability

Miami's path toward carbon neutrality: At a glance

#Infographic of "Green facts" at Miami; center image is the rain garden near Western Dining center, as it looked after it was created in 2016 (image by Scott Kissell).()

See the full infographic story in the Fall/Winter 2021 issue of the Miamian online.

Eleven years ago, nearly all the buildings on Miami University’s Oxford campus were heated and cooled by a coal-fed steam plant behind Western’s Peabody Hall.

Today, that number is under half at 49%. By 2026, nearly all buildings will be off steam and heated and cooled by geothermal energy, or simultaneous heating and cooling (SHC) or heating hot water (HHW).

Between 2019 and 2026, the Oxford campus will save 18 million gallons of water a year due to its change in energy systems.

To underline the university’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving carbon neutrality as soon as possible, Miami University President Gregory Crawford last year signed Second Nature’s Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments (PCLC).

Miami has already achieved a reduction in carbon emissions from purchased electricity, natural gas, and coal of 52% per gross square foot since 2008 thanks to the Utility Master Plan, approved in 2012 and updated in 2017.

A major component of Miami’s commitment to sustainability has been underfoot for some time, beginning in 2011 when the newly renovated Elliott and Stoddard residence halls were switched from coal-fired steam heat to geothermal.

Converting campus energy systems away from fossil-fuel-powered steam to systems that are powered by electricity increases the opportunities to purchase renewable electricity off the grid, such as wind or solar power. 

A handful of highlights:

  • At Goggin Ice Arena, the heat recovery system installed in 2019 saves $300,000 annually in utility costs; the system captures and reuses 75% of the heat used to cool the ice.
  • The Physical Facilities Department initiated two studies to inform decision making to achieve carbon neutrality in our energy systems: A solar-energy study with HEAPY Engineering and a net zero study with MEP Associates/Salas O’Brien. Results are expected in Spring 2022.
  • The Sustainability Office collaborated with University Communications and Marketing and the Regionals E-Campus Office to create a Student Sustainability Education Module for planned launch by Feb. 2022.
  • Campus mail delivery and routes will be reduced to save fuel/carbon emissions, enabling Miami to eventually remove old fleet vans and explore replacing them with an electric vehicle.
  • Night classes are being consolidated into fewer buildings to save electricity and natural gas.