Dartmouth College

At a Glance


College or University

Project Types

Commercial Energy Efficiency, Data Analysis, Engagement and Behavior Change, Financial Evaluation and Planning




Hanover, NH


Jun Zhang helped Dartmouth College reduce the energy intensity of its laboratories.


Dartmouth College set a goal of reducing 50% carbon emission by 2025 relative to its 2010 baseline. In an effort to meet this target, the Dartmouth Sustainability Office and Environmental Health & Safety Office wanted to develop “Green Labs” to reduce the high energy use intensity of laboratories. However, due to the constant need for accuracy and consistency, laboratories remain one of the most challenging sectors on campus to improve. The college enlisted Jun Zhang to develop a deployable “Green Labs” program targeted at reducing energy use in laboratories across campus.


After evaluating existing efforts in the creation of the program, reviewing best practices from other universities and interviewing researchers, Zhang created a menu of possible options so that each laboratory could customize participation based on individual interests and technical feasibility. The options include:

  • Shut-the-Sash Program: which encourages lab occupants to close the sash of fume hoods when not in use
  • Chill-Up Initiative: which encourage researchers to adjust the set-point temperature of ULT freezers from -70 °C to -80 °C
  • Cash for Clunkers: this helps to cover the capital cost premium of purchasing more energy-efficient ULT freezers
  • Lighting Retrofit Program: replacing CFL bulbs in labs with energy-efficient LED bulbs.

He also developed a financial analytical tool to estimate the energy savings and financial feasibilities.

Potential Impact

If implemented, the Cash for Clunkers program could save the college nearly $0.4 million over the program lifetime. Annually, this could save over 358,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and 155 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, with a payback period of 2.1 years. The Lighting Retrofit program could save $68,000 in utility cost and 180 metric tons of carbon dioxide emission per year. Shut the Sash and Chill-Up Initiative have the potential to save nearly $42,000 in energy cost and 95 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Those programs would also assist in optimizing energy performance and safety of lab operation and the enhance research community’s awareness of lab sustainability.

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