Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings Challenge partner Chesapeake College for energy efficiency advances made throughout its Wye Mills, Maryland campus. The college has reduced its energy intensity by 24% since 2011, reaching its Better Buildings Challenge goal of 20% energy reduction eight years ahead of schedule. Chesapeake College has saved more than $250,000 per year in energy costs, and is committed to achieving carbon neutrality in campus operations by 2025.

More than 360 U.S. companies, manufacturers, universities, school districts, multifamily organizations, and state and local governments have pledged to reduce energy use throughout their portfolios by at least 20% over 10 years as partners of DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge. Chesapeake College joins several other partners in achieving their goal ahead of schedule.

While adding 20% more campus space, the college has continued to reduce energy usage through equipment upgrades, energy efficiency education programs, and new building and system operations scheduling across the 373,000-square-foot campus. The campus has made sustainability advances beyond energy efficiency as well, including campus-based and publicly-accessible recycling..

Theon-campus LEED Platinum-certified Health Professions and Athletics Center, a Better Buildings Showcase Project, has achieved 51% annual energy savings through an array of energy conservation measures, including onsite geothermal heating and cooling, solar photovoltaic installation, high-efficiency HVAC equipment, and energy-efficient building materials and fixtures.

Most recently, the college completed a 1.8-megawatt solar array with 1-megawatt battery backup. Through a power purchase agreement and a partnership with the local utility, the college is developing this project into a partial campus microgrid. In times of crisis or disaster, the microgrid will allow campus buildings to serve as critical infrastructure for the regional community, providing stability and resilience.

The achievements made by Chesapeake College and all Better Buildings Challenge goal achievers show that bringing industry partners together with public sector programs like DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative can have real economic impact and make American businesses more competitive.

The Better Buildings Challenge is one component of the Better Buildings Initiative, through which DOE partners with public- and private-sector organizations to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings more efficient, thereby saving energy and money while creating thousands of jobs. To date, more than 900 Better Buildings Initiative Partners have shared their innovative approaches and strategies for adopting energy efficient technologies. Discover more than 2,500 of these solutions in the Better Buildings Solution Center.