Working with Dr. Whitney of the Sustainability Office and a small team of students from Dr. Macagno’s Sustainable Decision-making class, with more input from other Falk School faculty and staff, the students gathered data, analyzed results, and identified measures and strategies for the PEER certification process. On August 10th, 2021, Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus has received the PEER v2 Silver Certification. In addition, the USGBCI noted our excellent renewable energy generation performance, with Eden Hall receiving a score of 91 on PEERs Energy Efficiency and Environmental (EE) Index. (For comparison purposes, the state of Pennsylvania has a score of 45).
The PEER certification also recognizes the many preventative measures that Eden Hall has taken to avoid risks within the energy system including rain gardens and drainage systems to direct water away from the system, notes that all power distribution cables are underground to avoid risks with extreme weather events, and having various systems in place to monitor and control energy consumption that also strengthen the resiliency and reliability of the renewable energy infrastructure.
Our participation in this project was funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania DEP, and included coaching support from the USGBC team and covered the costs of PEER Pro certification for anyone on the team. Three of the students who worked on this project chose to earn their PEER Pro professional certification.
Chatham’s Eden Hall campus utilizes 340 kW onsite solar PV panels, a 20 kW combined heat and power plant (CHP), and a 14 kW mobile battery energy storage system (BESS) to supply 50% of the energy need for the space. Eden Hall also has a microgrid that includes a 1 kW vertical-axis wind turbine, 2 solar PV panels, and a BESS. This microgrid has the capacity to support an outdoor classroom and the needs of the farm, while also proving as a great learning platform for various educational programs and an interesting testing site for other alternative energy sources. The university purchases 9,000 Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) (9,000 MWh) from a Green-E Certified mix of renewable energy sources. These energy and power generation tools have mitigated 370 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year and have provided cost savings amounting to $34,000 annually.
"Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus is designed to be a living lab for sustainability and resiliency, and it made perfect sense to do PEER as a student-led real-world project, where students can drive progress while developing their skills. We were very happy that several of our students chose to pursue their PEER Pro badge as part of this project.” - Dr. Mary Whitney, Director of University Sustainability, Chatham University