Hepner Hall


Building energy use is responsible for nearly all of SDSU’s operational (or Scope 1 and 2) emissions. Most of campus electricity and steam are provided by the cogeneration plant. This plant burns natural gas to drive turbines, which generate electricity and waste heat. The waste heat is then used to drive another turbine that generates more electricity and supply heat to campus.

An optimization study was completed in 2016; the changes made on these recommendations are anticipated to cut operational emissions by 10% in just one year.

Campus has nearly 1 MW of solar photovoltaic systems on campus, with the largest system rated at just under 350 kW! On an annual basis, 3% of campus electricity is provided by on-site solar.

Associated Students has a goal to achieve net zero energy by 2020. This means that all energy Associated Students consumes will be offset by solar power.

Campus solar
Campus Solar Examples

Wind tunnel model for CSLWhile it’s important to supply campus with clean, renewable technology, there are many improvements we can make to campus to reduce our energy usage. In 2015, a $2 million revolving energy fund was established. Energy saved from these projects will replenish the fund, allowing us to complete more projects.

One of the most effective ways to cut costs is retro-commissioning. This means we go into a building, tune-it up, and make some energy upgrades. We can cut energy use per building by 20 to 40%. While it isn’t as eye-catching as solar, it makes a huge difference on our budget and carbon footprint. A retro-commissioning effort at Arts & Letters cut energy use by over 35%. A similar project at the Chemical Sciences Laboratory is the first project funded out of the revolving energy fund.

LED technology has come along way in recent years. Any new project or renovation will be using LED fixtures. In the near future, all streetlights and parking lot lights will be replaced with energy efficient LED fixtures with controls to further reduce energy.

Campus is also in the process of implementing an energy information systm. This will be the data warehouse for all energy and sustainability data. This will allow us to do advanced analysis of energy use, automate processes, and provide dashboards. These dashboards will display high level and detailed information on energy, water, and recycling data for anyone on campus to view. The data from the system will also allow for additional research opportunities. Finally, fault detection diagnostics will alert us to energy inefficiencies as they occur.

SDSU has begun modernizing our building automation system that controls heating and cooling systems. Additional meters are also being installed for us to better understand campus energy use. These efforts will integrate into the energy information system.

Current energy dashboards are available for the Aztec Student Union, Zura, and Storm-Nasatir.

  • You can help campus cut energy use by turning off lights and equipment when not in use
  • Purchasing energy efficient and ENERGY STAR qualified equipment
  • Maintaining space temperatures of 68 to 70 °F for heating and 74 to 78 °F for cooling.
  • If you see energy waste or have ideas, please contact us.