Vassar College

At a Glance


College or University

Project Type

Commercial Energy Efficiency




Poughkeepsie, NY

Value icon

Net Present Value:


Savings icon

Annual kWh Savings:

28,000 kWh

Reductions icon

Annual CO2 Reductions:

20 metric tons


Nicholas Garafola developed a data management tool to centralize and streamline energy-efficiency project identification.


Nicholas Garafola was hired as an EDF Climate Corps fellow at Vassar College to develop a data management system that would help the college identify energy efficiency project opportunities, and could serve as the central data resource for the Committee, employee and student project ideas. To this point, Vassar had several individual actors working in their respective departments to improve and green college operations, but it was believed that a more centralized and streamlined process for project identification was needed.


After reviewing the existing utility bill database and collecting additional data, Garafola developed a streamlined Excel-based tool to collect, organize and calculate a comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions inventory based on energy, waste, travel, fleet and paper purchasing data. He transformed utility bill tables into visual heat maps that showed large and small consumers for each utility type. Garafola then used the findings to identify a half-dozen boiler and lighting efficiency projects.

Potential Impact

Once implemented, the boiler and lighting retrofits could reduce annual energy costs by more than $6,500 and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 tonnes. These identified projects are potentially scalable across the entire campus and could save the college upwards of 10 percent on heating costs and tens of thousands of dollars in electricity costs annually. The Excel-based data management tool was formatted for use by Vassar’s Campus Committee on Sustainability to identify additional energy-efficiency project opportunities and could serve as the central data resource for the Committee, employee and student project ideas.

Related Links