Sustainability and Resiliency

Brown's Path to Net-Zero

Goal: Reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions by 75% below FY18 emissions by 2025, and achieve net-zero no later than 2040.


FY 2018


campus heating facility


Thermal Efficiency Project

TEP increased the efficiency and decreased GHG emissions by eliminating steam and lowering the temperature of our campus heating loop. This is a key step toward electrification of campus heating.

wind farm


Power Purchase Agreements

Brown signed two renewable power purchase agreements, one with a Rhode Island-based solar farm and the other with a Texas-based wind farm. Solar will offset 70% of Brown's annual campus electricity consumption, wind the remaining 30%.

Doing calculations


Transparent Reporting

Brown will calculate and verify its emissions through a partnership with The Climate Registry. This will ensure consistency and transparency of reporting as we reduce emissions.

PAC building rendering by REX Architecture


Net-Zero Buildings

All new buildings and major renovations will be net-zero or net-zero ready. A net-zero building operates only on renewable energy. A net-zero ready building will, too — when the central heating plant switches to renewables. As examples, the new Performing Arts Center is net-zero ready, while the new Wellness Center is net-zero.

Brown heating plant


Renewable Natural Gas

Brown will offset its use of natural gas by purchasing renewable natural gas (RNG) offsets. RNG is created from biowaste that would otherwise emit methane (a strong greenhouse gas) to the atmosphere. These RNG offsets will help meet Brown’s 2025 emissions reduction goals, but are only a short-term bridge to a future without fossil fuel-powered combustion.

solar panel


Fossil Fuel Elimination

Brown's 20-year engineering and financial plan to eliminate fossil fuel combustion from campus. It focuses on heating modifications and distribution loop upgrades so all buildings can be heated by warm water produced by renewably generated electricity.

Person working at the central heating plant

Net-Zero FY 2040

Brown plans to decarbonize (electrify) the central heating plant and associated buildings by 2040, and to expand renewable electricity power purchase agreements. Thus, while use will roughly double, Brown will still be 100% powered by renewables.

Further Information

Facilities Management's Office of Sustainability; Planning, Design and Construction; and the Office of the Provost work together to accomplish Brown's net-zero goals. For further reference and detail, a variety of resources are available, including: