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Renewable Energy Trends in Higher Ed: Different Solutions for Different Institutions

March 22, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Colleges and universities are buying more renewable energy than ever. Their strategies are evolving and increasing, including: onsite, offsite, PPAs, Utility Green Tariffs, Retail Renewables, unbundled RECs, and emerging approaches. This webinar, which is based on a recent analysis of the state of renewable energy in higher education, will highlight several innovative examples of how institutions are navigating this complex landscape. Participants will hear case studies about Brown University’s community solar projects, Loyola Chicago’s journey from RECs to 100% renewables via retail, and more. Join this webinar to learn what’s happening across the sector and what might work for your institution.



Jessica Berry, Director of the Office of Sustainability, Brown University

Jess is the director of the Office of Sustainability and provides leadership and management across the University to enhance sustainability at Brown. She works closely with the associate provost of sustainability and key stakeholders to identify opportunities for integrating sustainability principles into University operations, including the development of a long-term Sustainability Strategic Plan and net-zero strategy. Jess has worked in the environmental field for over 20 years and holds a B.S. and M.S. in environmental studies and natural resources. She can be found mountain biking, skiing or in the Vermont mountains with her family.

Aaron Durnbaugh, Director of Sustainability, Loyola University Chicago

Aaron supports faculty and staff across Loyola’s campuses and academic centers in creating the most sustainable and transformative education experience possible. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Chicago Wilderness Alliance, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s (CMAP) Environment and Natural Resources Working Committee, the Illinois Green Alliance’s Drawdown Steering Committee, and is the interim Chair for the Advisory Committee for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). Previously, he served as the Deputy Commissioner leading Chicago Department of Environment’s Natural Resources and Water Quality Division (NRWQ). The Department of Environment was the lead agency developing and implementing the Chicago Climate Action Plan. NRWQ educated the public on climate change issues through the Chicago Center for Green Technology, Chicago Conservation Corps, and Greencorps Chicago. NRWQ created mitigation opportunities through open space protection in the Calumet region, green infrastructure financing and various urban forestry projects. During his time in City government, Durnbaugh oversaw the City of Chicago’s climate adaptation strategy engaging stakeholders in built environment, public health and the natural environment. He holds a Master’s Degree in Geography and Environmental Studies and is a LEED™ accredited professional.

Dr. Wolfgang Bauer, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Michigan State University

From 2001 to 2013, Dr. Bauer served as chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and from 2009 to 2013 as founding director of the Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research. For the last decade he has worked primarily on MSU’s Energy Transition Plan, with a stint as Senior Consultant (2013-2018) and subsequently Associate Vice President for Administration (2018-2020). He oversaw the development of MSU’s 10 MW portfolio of solar carports, which became operational in 2018 and was the largest solar carport project in the United States at that time.

Chris O’Brien, Vice President, Business Development, Coho Climate Advisors

Chris leads business outreach and solution delivery efforts with a focus on the higher education market. He brings more than 20 years of energy, sustainability, and strategic advisory services including as Director of Sustainability at American University, where he led participation in the Coho-facilitated 53 MW Capital Partners Solar Project. Chris also previously served as Director of Higher Education Programs at Edison Energy. In his side career/hobby in the beer industry, he authored the award-winning book Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World. He serves on the board of directors of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).


March 22, 2023
11:00 am - 12:00 pm




The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
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