Air & Climate

Indoor Air Quality Management Plan

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) in collaboration with the Sustainability Institute and UNH Facilities has developed an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Management Plan to assist in providing UNH faculty, staff, students, guests, and visitors indoor environments which are free of airborne contaminants. The IAQ Management Plan is a pro-active program where building occupants can participate through education and outreach to identify potential sources of pollutants and implement corrective actions to eliminate them. Through a concerted effort by building stakeholders, Facilities Operations, Campus Energy and OEHS, this pro-active plan is designed to educate and inform the community about addressing IAQ concerns in the workplace.

While most IAQ complaints revolve around strange odors or non-specific symptoms, some are the result of a potentially hazardous source. Identifying the underlying cause(s) can be very simple or extremely challenging as there can be many variables in play including potential sources, building functions, mechanical systems, and varying individual sensitivities.

While this program is voluntary in nature, OEHS encourages our stakeholders to contact us for more information and to schedule an appointment with our IAQ representatives to meet and further discuss the details of the plan.


WildCAP - UNH's Climate Action Plan

UNH has had a long-standing commitment to leadership in climate and energy scholarship and operational best practices. The UNH Durham campus's climate action plan -- called WildCAP -- consolidates the energy conservation, energy efficiency, and climate mitigation and adaptation planning and work being done across campus into a coherent framework that guides UNH Durham towards meetings its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of:

  • 50% GHGE reduction by 2020
  • 80% by 2050
  • En route to climate neutrality by 2100
  • As compared to a 2001 baseline

WildCAP is written and implemented by the UNH Energy Task Force (ETF) with input from the campus community. 

WildCAP Highlights

  • UNH’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) is named WildCAP, after the university’s wild cat mascot.
  • The plan is the culmination of more than 40 years of energy efficiency efforts at UNH and 15 years of activity by Sustainability Institute’s Climate Education Initiative (CEI)
  • The plan calls for greenhouse gas reductions of 50% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (measured against a 2001 baseline).
  • UNH will receive up to 85% of the energy used by the campus from the EcoLine™ project, a landfill gas-to-energy project that uses methane gas from a nearby landfill. UNH is the first campus in the country to use landfill gas as its primary fuel source. In partnership with Waste Management of New Hampshire, Inc., UNH launched EcoLine to pipe enriched and purified gas from Waste Management’s landfill in Rochester to the Durham campus. EcoLine is projected to cut more than 36,000 t CO2e (metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) annually by 2020.
  • Many of the projects in energy efficiency projects in WildCAP are financed though UNH's Energy Efficiency Fund. This fund captures the cost savings of efficiency projects on campus to reinvest in future projects.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions inventories and progress reports on how UNH is meeting the goals of WildCAP are reported annual to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC, which UNH signed in 2007).

WildCAP Update: 2014 - 2020

The Energy Task Force updated WildCAP throughout 2013-2014 to take UNH through its first target deadline of 2020. 

Total Emissions 

Scope t CO2e 
Net Reported Emissions 59,303
Scope 1 & 2 26,743
Adjusted Scope 1 & 2 (Includes REC Sales)* 39,041
Scope 3 20,573
Composting -311
Biogenic Emissions **150
Forest Sequestration *** -2,200

Percentage Change

Base Year %
FY1990 (First year measured) -24%
FY2001 (Reduction baseline: Adjusted****) -32%
FY2011 (last year measured) +.03%
GOAL (by 2010) 50% compared to 2001

STILL NEED TO REDUCE: Roughly 4,000 MTeC02, or nearly twice the amount sequestered in our campus forests.  (This assumes we stop selling EcoLine RECs.) 

Intensity Demographics

Indicator t CO2e
Per student 4.0 (3.3 w/o REC sales)
Per 2,000 sq.ft. 3.4 (2.8)
Per 1,000 sq. ft. 9.3 (7.7)

*See the SI website  for explanation 

** Using biofuels like B20 results in CO2 emissions, but these are reported in a separate “biogenic” category because they are considered to be carbon neutral in the long term. 

***These sequestered emissions are not considered as part of the “net” calculation because they are not “additional;” see the ACUPPCC GHG Inventory Protocol for more. 

**** Adjusted to account for addition of air travel to GHGI to 2001 baseline. Air travel emissions are “backcasted” to 2001, the baseline year used for setting reduction goals in WildCAP.  This was done by attributing the average annual amount estimated over the past five years (since this data collection began) to all years previous.  UNH did not start collecting or reporting data regarding Air Travel until 2009. 

UNH Revolving Energy Efficiency Fund (EEF)

Launched in 2009 with a $650,000 grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), UNH’s Energy Efficiency Fund (EEF) has already seen more than $500,000 in energy savings “returns,” including over $250,000 in FY12 alone. The UNH Energy Task Force (ETF) estimates that after a decade, the university will realize about $3 million in energy savings and prevent more than 8,500 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases from being emitted -- the equivalent of over 1,600 passenger vehicles or 19,000 barrels of oil. 

The EEF is a “revolving” fund: savings from the energy efficiency projects are estimated using a combination of sub metering and engineering estimates that follow the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol. Savings are captured through a System’s Benefit Charge (SBC) included in the utility costs charged to campus units. Thus a slightly higher rate offsets lower consumption due to the energy efficiency improvements and the net impact of funding the EEF on campus units is cost neutral. Gas and electric utility companies recover similar costs from their customers using similar system benefit rate structures. The UNH Energy Office targets an average five-year payback on projects funded. Project selections are approved by the UNH Energy Task Force, which is comprised of administrators, faculty, staff and students from across campus.

The EEF has already invested in many projects, including:

  • Efficient lighting retrofits across campus.
  • Digital lighting controls in the main library.
  • Insulating steam distribution piping.
  • Upgrading a lab ventilation system in the engineering building. The building will also see one of the next investments, a passive solar heating system.
  • Updated equipment in UNH's cogeneration plant.
  • A recently initiated retro-commissioning program which targets 5 to 20 year old energy-intense buildings where we believe returning HVAC systems to peak performance can result in significant efficiency improvements.

As part of UNH’s commitment to climate protection and sustainability more broadly, the EEF helps the university address increasing energy intensity on campus -- or energy used per square foot of building space -- and prevents greenhouse gas emissions. The fund is part of UNH’s climate action plan, WildCAP, and will help UNH meet its American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment obligations.

In 2011, UNH joined 32 other colleges and universities to launch a national challenge to invest in revolving funds that finance energy efficiency upgrades on campus. Called the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, the effort is being coordinated by the Sustainable Endowments Institute. As part of the Founding Circle, UNH is the only public institution in New England to take the lead in making this commitment. The challenge is inspired by the exceptional performance of existing green revolving funds, which have a median annual return on investment of 32 percent, as documented by “Greening The Bottom Line,” a report published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute. 33 institutions, including UNH, joined the challenge’s Founding Circle by committing to invest a cumulative total of more than $65 million in green revolving funds. In addition to UNH, Dartmouth College, Green Mountain and Middlebury colleges in Vermont, and Unity College in Maine joined the Founding Circle.

Through the early 2000’s, steady investments in energy efficiency improvements had been made as the campus leveraged its own funds with rebate programs offered by the local utility companies. However, these programs became more restrictive concurrent with UNH investing in a combined heat and power plant to better utilize on-site energy, but which essentially eliminated any remaining eligibility for rebate programs. While renovation and new construction projects continued to require high efficiency lighting, motors and HVAC systems, investment in pure energy efficiency projects stopped and campus energy use intensity (total energy per GSF) started to climb; an unacceptable trend for a campus with a strong culture of being “green.”

Campus energy managers, members of the Sustainability Institute, and the campus Energy Task Force (ETF) recognized that a dedicated funding stream for energy efficiency improvements was needed if the trend was to be reversed and the concept of an Energy Efficiency Fund (EEF) was developed. The fund would invest in energy efficiency improvements and the value of the estimated annual energy savings would be returned to the fund through a surcharge on the utility rate charged to campus units (UNH utilities operate as a cost center and charges campus units for utilities consumed.) This would replenish the fund and allow further investments. However, an initial source of funds needed to be found. After several unsuccessful initiatives, in 2009, UNH was able to secure a $650,000 grant of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds and the EEF was launched.