In early 2016, Tom Nyquist, Executive Director of Facilities Engineering and Campus Energy, presented to the Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS) the University’s energy system and efforts to increase efficiency and decrease CO2 emissions. Following the presentation, PECS decided to focus their annual project on working with Tom’s team to understand Princeton’s emissions reduction challenge.
Founded in 2008, PECS brings together Princeton Ph.D. students from a range of departments with research expertise ranging from energy security and technology to climate science and policy. Current members of PECS working with Facilities Engineering include Greg Davies, Ryan Edwards, Yao Lai, Bruce Perry and Kasparas Spokas.
Since PECS first learned about Tom’s team efforts to consider how Princeton’s energy infrastructure could be developed under the next Campus Plan in a way that reduces the University’s CO2 emissions, an ongoing partnership has taken root. The team has looked into questions including how institutional emissions should be accounted for, how accounting methods incentivize particular emission reduction actions, unintended effects and risks associated with decarbonization strategies, and a framework for consideration of off-campus renewable energy procurement.
The partnership has provided the Facilities team with an independent source of technical and policy advice, and has provided the students with an opportunity to apply their analytical energy and climate expertise to help shape the future direction of the campus, and to gain first-hand experience in how institutions make decisions about energy infrastructure.