Oberlin Campus

Oberlin College

Carbon Neutrality at Oberlin College

Ever-Green Energy began its partnership with Oberlin College in 2015, working toward meeting Oberlin’s goal of making the campus carbon neutral by 2025. Oberlin is committed to a sustainable and reliable infrastructure plan that is financially pragmatic and implementable. This effort has included a comprehensive assessment of building performance, fourth generation distribution system solutions, carbon-free energy sources, and the potential of integrating the system with the local community.

Study, Planning, & Implementation

Ever-Green’s study and planning phase concluded that there were several carbon-free strategies that could help Oberlin achieve its goal. This effort has included a comprehensive assessment of building performance, fourth generation distribution system solutions, and carbon-free energy sources.

In 2020, the partners completed the implementation study of the project with an emphasis on analyzing the most feasible carbon-free source of energy. The analysis included landfill gas with combined heat and power, biomass, geothermal, and solar energy. In March 2021, it was determined that the system would transition from natural gas to geothermal as its primary energy source. Construction began in May 2021.

Ever-Green’s Role

Ever-Green led the Carbon Neutrality Implementation Plan for the Oberlin campus with an emphasis on energy and water utilities. Efforts included data collection, identification of building energy efficiency opportunities, exploration of renewable energy source options, development of financial strategies, and community and campus engagement. Beginning in 2019, Ever-Green led implementation of the planning recommendations, which included design of the campus conversion from steam to hot water, verification of the optimal carbon-free energy supply strategies, utility organizational planning, development of financing strategies, and continued campus and community engagement.


  • 2015 – Initiated campus and community engagement programming.
  • 2016 – Carbon neutrality master plan completed.
  • 2017 – Energy capture design approved.
  • 2019 – Construction implementation plan began.
  • 2021 – Geothermal selected as primary energy source.
  • 2021 – Construction began.

About the Client

Oberlin College is a four-year liberal arts college and conservatory of music with a reputation for leadership in campus sustainability. Oberlin’s Office of Environmental Sustainability takes a multidisciplinary approach to advancing sustainability for campus and community resilience.

From the Oberlin website:

“Since the first greenhouse gas inventory in 2007, the college has halved on-campus emissions through the purchase of green electricity, installation of a 2.27 MW solar array, energy efficiency projects, and ending the use of coal for heating.” Oberlin is committed to being a carbon neutral campus by 2025.


The Oberlin team worked closely with Ever-Green to solicit input from students, faculty, staff, and community partners, including the City of Oberlin, and local civic, business, and community groups. It was a priority of the project team to interact with a broad group of perspectives and to learn from the local experts who understand and have a significant stake in the outcomes of this effort.


Buildings served58
Current billed demand19 MW
Total building area served2.1 million square feet


Heat source total 30MW
Length28,500 feet (supply and return)
Supply Temperature 250 degrees F
Return Temperature 150 degrees F
Fuel typeNatural gas
Plant typeSteam boiler


Buildings served15
Total building area served .9 million square feet


Chilled water sources 1,850 tons
Length5,200 feet (supply and return)
Supply Temperature43 degrees F
Return Temperature54 degrees F