PEER certification final: College students gather energy data during a pandemic

Published on: 
27 Jul 2022
Author: 
Calvin Hennick

This article was previously published on July 26, 2022, in the USGBC+ digital magazine. Read the original article.

In February 2020, Chatham University registered its Eden Hall campus in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, for PEER certification. Then, a month later, the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university had a grant to support the certification process, but the student who was supposed to lead the certification effort for her thesis work had graduated by the time the project began. Mary Whitney, Ph.D., Chatham’s director of sustainability, assembled a new team of graduate students to tackle the project. They broke the PEER scorecard up into categories and started chasing down data to document the campus’s energy infrastructure and earn certification points—periodically conferring with an engineer from GBCI for guidance.

“We had two faculty members that we thought would be our go-to sources on our side, but they left, and it was suddenly just the students,” Whitney says. “But after we divided up the sections, it went really well, because we realized: There’s no cavalry to call; we are the cavalry.”

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