Energy Conservation

Logo: Sustainable JWU: Renewable Energy

JWU began its energy reduction program in 2013, working to reduce its carbon footprint through multiple campus initiatives. In addition to reducing overall energy usage, JWU has incorporated renewable energy in its portfolio through remote net-metering solar and wind turbine projects.

Between 2013 and 2018 alone, more than 40,000 LED lights were installed in the university’s facilities — reducing electricity use by 16% and saving more than $4 million. These efforts earned the Providence Campus an Energy Excellent Award from Cenergistic Energy Consultants in 2017.

In October 2021, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee (RI) joined JWU leadership, staff and students for a wind turbine blade signing ceremony. Read about the wind turbine project here.


Energy Offset Programs

JWU has multiple renewable energy projects that they utilize to offset their campus electricity. As of 2021, 100% of our campus buildings employ some form of remote net metering, an arrangement that allows for the kilowatt hours (kWh) generated from a solar photovoltaic system located at a specific site to be credited towards kWh consumption at a different location.

JWU enables 5 solar fields throughout Rhode Island. Combined with the potential energy production from the wind turbines currently under construction on campus, the longterm goal is to produce 100% of JWU’s electric energy usage.

JWU is the first private university in Rhode Island to be using wind turbines and solar to offset its electric usage. MATT FANNON, '08, '14, Director of Sustainability & Resource Management

JWU Wins the 2021 RePowerPVD Challenge

In December 2021, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza announced Johnson & Wales University’s Academic Center as the winner of the city’s annual RePowerPVD Challenge. JWU surpassed challenge participants with a 44.6% overall reduction in energy consumption.

“Acting on climate change is necessary to the future well-being of cities like Providence,” said Mayor Elorza. “By increasing the efficiency of the buildings we live and work in, we can create more comfortable spaces that contribute to solving the climate crisis. I applaud Johnson & Wales University for their work to reduce the energy demand of their Academic Center and congratulate them on this award.”

JWU reduced the energy consumption of the Academic Center by 44.6% compared to their 2015 baseline usage. The Academic Center saved 4,835 metric million British thermal units (MMBTU) of energy in 2019 and 2020.

“Johnson & Wales continues to have a strong commitment to reducing our energy use and carbon footprint,” said Matthew Fannon, JWU’s director of sustainability and resource management. “From replacing aging boilers and water-cooling chillers with energy efficient models to transitioning from fluorescent to LED lighting, our focus over the last five years was to renovate the Academic Building — home to JWU’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate program — with sustainable building practices in mind. We’re grateful to the City of Providence for recognizing our efforts and look forward to continuing to create a more sustainable campus.”

In 2020, JWU joined RePower PVD’s “20% Reduction by 2025” voluntary energy challenge program, which is designed to help large buildings in the city conserve energy, save money and gain recognition for their leadership and contributions. Learn more at ProvidenceRI.gov.

Acting on climate change is necessary to the future well-being of cities like Providence. PROVIDENCE MAYOR JORGE O. ELORZA

National Grid SEMP Program

Since July of 2018, JWU has been working in collaboration with National Grid through the Strategic Energy Management Partnership (SEMP) program, which supports commercial customers through energy-use planning. SEMP allows larger customers to lower operating costs, improve system efficiencies, and work towards managing and obtaining their greenhouse gas reduction goals. As part of this partnership, National Grid works with JWU to understand the different local and state energy initiative programs available.

Through SEMP, JWU has fulfilled multiple energy efficiency projects, installed electric vehicle charging stations, performed a fleet study, put multiple staff members through Building Operator Certification training, and attended multiple National Grid Energy Summits.


Wind Turbine Project

JWU has partnered with Green Development LLC, Rhode Island’s largest onshore wind developer, to construct two turbines on the Harborside Campus, near the Scotts Miracle-Gro Athletics Fields. Expected to be completed in December, this initiative is part of the university’s holistic commitment to renewable energy.

JWU staff and students in front of the newly-signed wind turbine blade that will be part of the Harborside Campus’ two new wind turbines.