Harvard University - Gordon Indoor Track

Boston, MA

Project expected to pay for itself in as little as 6 years

Overview

Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States and has an enrollment of over 20,000 degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

Harvard Athletics’ commitment to sustainability and waste reduction also includes recycling at football games and tailgates, the creation of a student-led green team, and the installation of a cogeneration unit used to heat pool water and domestic water for showers at the Malkin Athletic Center complex by generating heat and electricity from a single power source that reduces 197 tons of emissions annually.

Installation

The solar energy system atop Harvard’s Gordon Indoor Track and Tennis building is the largest installed at the University. It was installed in part because of Harvard’s commitment to sustainability and in order to reach its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2016 (from a 2006 baseline). Borrego Solar’s construction crews were on site for six weeks, installing 2,275 solar photovoltaic panels on 1.5 acres of flat (non-sloped) roof space. The completed solar PV system produces enough electricity to power approximately 100 traditional residential houses for a year, reducing nearly 480 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Benefits

The electricity produced by the solar panels and the solar panels themselves will be owned by Harvard Athletics and will be used to meet the University’s requirements under the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires Harvard to buy an increasing percentage of electricity from renewable sources. The project is expected to pay for itself within 6 to 10 years.

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