The Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America, founded in 1887, is a national research university with nearly 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students in more than 180 academic programs on a residential campus in the heart of Washington, D.C. The 176-acre campus contains more than 50 buildings; in each, the University strives to implement high performance best practices wherever possible.

The University has incorporated many renewable energy and energy efficiency best practices. Clean energy powers Catholic University. With one of the largest solar installations in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and 100 percent of its electricity purchased with Green e-Certificates, Catholic University has been recognized as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in North America. Currently, the University has 2,600 solar panels on 7 different buildings and a parking lot. Additionally, the University offsets 100% of its energy usage through the purchase of renewable energy credits. In April 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Catholic U as a Green Power College Champion. The University was ranked first in the Landmark Conference and 19th overall with 37.9 MWh of green energy purchased.

The University has set a goal of reducing its energy use by 20% by 2026 based on a 2016 baseline. To achieve this goal, the University is currently undergoing a massive effort to conserve energy on campus through the “Energy Project”, which started in 2017. This project will remove the steam system and replace it with an energy-efficient, modern heating water system served from the campus central plant. In addition, the project will provide support to centralize and modernize the cooling infrastructure of many buildings by providing the chilled water distribution systems, also served from the central plant, which enables the University to remove decades-old building chillers. Altogether, these efforts including lighting retrofits, real-time sub-metering, and building automation system optimization, will greatly reduce the campus’s natural gas, electrical and water consumption.  

Challenge Commitment
2.1Million Square Feet
Energy Goals
20%Reduction in Energy Intensity
Progress