A lifecycle cost analysis of transitioning to a fully-electrified, renewably powered, and carbon-neutral campus at the University of Dayton

University of Dayton

Publication Release Date: Dec. 5, 2019
Date Posted: Feb. 10, 2020
Submitted by: Genevieve LaMarr LeMee
Sustainability Topics: Air & Climate, Energy
Content Type: Publications
Publisher: Elsevier
Periodical Name: Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments
Type: Journal Article


This paper analyzes the cost-effectiveness of converting the University of Dayton (UD) to a fully-electrified, renewably powered, carbon-neutral campus by 2025. The greenhouse gas (GHG) impact and 30-year lifecycle costs (LCC) of a scenario including four primary strategies for transitioning to carbon-neutrality were analyzed; scaling building energy efficiency was determined to reduce GHG emissions by 12% with $10 million LCC savings from business as usual, switching the campus fleet to electric vehicles would reduce GHG emissions by 0.4% with $2 million LCC savings, switching from on-site natural gas combustion to geothermal heat pumps would reduce GHG emissions by 15% with a $15.5 million LCC premium, and procuring renewable electricity through a power purchase agreement with a new-build renewable generator would eliminate the remaining 73% of GHG emissions with a $1.7 million LCC premium. In total, achieving a carbon-neutral campus would increase the 30-year LCC of UD’s energy systems by 2.4%, from $211.8 million to $216.9 million. This is likely a reasonable investment to consider, given the uncertainties in future commodity pricing, the potential of future regulatory mechanisms like carbon pricing that would internalize the social cost of carbon, and the urgent need to reduce global GHG emissions.