Engineering and Campus Energy

Engineering and Campus Energy builds and maintains the infrastructure on, and below, the Princeton University campus. We are responsible for the operations and maintenance of the central energy plant, the design and management of building system upgrades, and energy management. Using best practices in the design and execution of engineering projects, we support Princeton University's Sustainability plan by reducing energy use and environmental impacts. Our staff includes plant operators, mechanical and electrical engineers, as well as building control system operators and designers. No matter what, we aim to keep the lights on and the steam flowing.

Princeton’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategy is beginning to focus on transforming the University’s energy usage through Geo-exchange technology that transfers heat between the steady temperature of the earth and a building to maintain the building space conditions. This technology is one of the most promising developments in district energy. It is several times more efficient than an already-efficient cogeneration plant. By using geo-exchange instead of traditional fossil fuel combustion, Princeton hopes to achieve net-zero operation for heating and cooling the Campus in time to celebrate its tricentennial in 2046.

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In The News

What is Geo-Exchange?
Feb. 6, 2023

As part of Princeton University's goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2046, we are advancing our use of geo-exchange technology. Investing in geo-exchange projects, with enough capacity to serve the entire campus, will enable Princeton to phase out nonrenewable energy sources, including natural gas burned today to produce steam heat. 

Princeton Builds Energy: Geo-exchange lays the foundation for a ‘net-zero’ campus
Oct. 20, 2022

"Think of geo-exchange as a thermal piggy-bank..." Learn more about Princeton University's campus-wide conversion from steam to hot water

Going Deep: Princeton lays the foundation for a 'net zero' campus
Nov. 22, 2021

For Princeton University to meet its energy needs, along with its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by its 300th anniversary in 2046, a complete rethinking is required on how energy is used and supplied in every lab, every office, every dorm room, in each parking lot and garage — even on pathways and playing fields. The groundwork for this massive undertaking is being installed now as the University undergoes one of the most extensive building programs in its history over the next decade.

Princeton’s co-gen plant marks 25 powerful years of operation, points to clean-energy future
Oct. 27, 2021

Princeton’s co-generation energy plant began supplying power, heating and cooling to campus 25 years ago this month, and it will continue to play a significant role as the University drives toward its goal of net zero greenhouse gas…

The Time is Now
May 22, 2021

Princeton University will undergo one of the most extensive building programs in its history over the next decade — adding some 3 million square feet in new construction to house more students, expand research facilities, and replace aging buildings and infrastructure. Construction on this scale could pose enormous sustainability challenges. Princeton, however, is embracing it as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lay the foundation needed to achieve “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions before mid-century.   

Did You Know

Facilities plays a major role in Princeton University’s Sustainability Plan, which calls for the University to reduce its CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.