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.
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.
For more detail on our department, feel free to explore our organizational chart or find a team member in our staff directory.
In The News
May. 21, 2021
Oct. 20, 2020
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. Check out our new What is Geo-Exchange? flyer to understand how geo-exchange works, how we are not installing geothermal wells, and how our infrastructure projects work together to advance geo-exchange technology across 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.
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 emissions by 2046.
Jan. 6, 2021
Here in Facilities, we've been helping out during move-in for oh, a few years. We've assembled a list of tips and tricks that we hope will make your move-in experience a bit easier (check out tips 8 and 9 to help adjust your bed). Whether you are a new or returning student, welcome to campus! Our Facilities Customer Service team is here all year and happy to help.
Oct. 1, 2020
Most heating systems on Princeton University's campus need to be turned on manually. Building heat is scheduled to be turned on around October 15, 2020, depending on the weather. We literally go building by building turning on individual heating systems in the fall, a very time-consuming process with the wide variety of heating systems in our wonderfully old and new campus buildings.
Aug. 17, 2020
We can baaa-rely contain our excitement! Shearly Tilghman, our first lamb born at the University's solar field, now has lambs of her own. Shearly T and her two girls, born on August 17, 2020, are all healthy and doing well. Shepherd Julie cares for our solar field sheep in her barn when they are not at the solar field grazing and naturally keeping the grass low.
Apr. 22, 2019
We welcome the new Sustainability Action Plan: Toward 2026 and Beyond on Earth Day and want to recognize our many Facilities staff members who play a role in planning and reaching our sustainability objectives.
Jun. 22, 2018
No, we're not trying to pull the wool over your eyes - say hello to the newest maintenance system at the Solar field. Ewe might think that this tight-knit crew just gets along on a few blades of grass, but we assure you they have the shear determination to get the job done.
Mar. 30, 2017
Sustainable Business Magazine spoke to Ted Borer, our Energy Plant Manager, about natural disasters, economic dispatch and the community benefits of microgrids. We do like being a Good Neighbor.
Nov. 2, 2016
The University’s Office of Sustainability celebrated its tenth anniversary with a party at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment on Friday, Oct. 21.
Nov. 2, 2016
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of Princeton University's Office of Sustainability, the hub that supports, monitors and connects initiatives across campus focused on cultivating positive global and local impacts in the environment.
May. 25, 2016
A riddle: Which local entity finds 12,000 people working daily in its buildings and roaming its walks and roads? Which entity generates power from a fighter jet engine, has installed a large solar array, and calculates a self-imposed a carbon tax?
Sep. 11, 2015
Princeton University is making campus lighting more sustainable and efficient one fixture at a time. Through the Lighting Efficiency Upgrade Program, the University will convert more than 100,000 fixtures to light-emitting diode (LED) technology in buildings across campus. The improvements will significantly reduce carbon emissions, promote cost savings and limit waste.
Jul. 27, 2015
Large energy users such as industrial facilities, hospitals, apartment complexes and universities seeking energy resiliency, stability in energy prices and the ability to operate independent of the grid are increasingly turning toward combined heat and power, or CHP, facilities to meet at least a portion of their energy needs.
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.