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Climate Action

Bentley's Carbon Footprint

Bentley University's building square footage and population have grown by 3.49% and 4% respectively since 2008. Despite this increase, the university has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 70% over the same time period. 

The biggest contributors to the university's carbon footprint are greenhouse gas emissions from: grid electricity used to light, heat and cool buildings, natural gas burned in boilers on campus to make heat and hot water, commuting and air travel.

Our Approach

Carbon Footprint

Bentley's carbon footprint reduction success thus far is the result of a four-pronged approach:

  • Continuous energy efficiency upgrades to reduce electricity and natural gas use.
  • Installation of solar panels on campus.
  • Investment in offsite renewable energy via Green-e certified Renewable Energy Certificates.
  • Investment in Verified Emissions Reductions Credits (VERCs) to offset emissions from air travel.


Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a top priority for the university. Each year Bentley's Facilities Management team completes numerous energy efficiency projects, making Bentley one of the most energy efficient universities in its peer group. Projects include LED lighting upgrades, automated ventilation systems, new high efficiency boilers and chillers and the latest HVAC technology. Learn more about energy and Bentley's energy management programs.

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Wind Turbines

Renewable Energy Certificates

Since 2013 Bentley has use a portion of the annual savings from energy efficiency projects to invest in Green-e certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) for 100% of its annual campus electricity use. This wind energy investment reduces Bentley's annual carbon footprint by approximately 50%. Learn more about RECs.

Onsite Solar

The state-of-the-art Bentley Arena boasts a 500,000 kw solar array on its roof. 1,400 solar panels produce 40% of the arena's annual electricity needs. This solar array combined with the energy efficiency measures in the building mean that the arena emits 50% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a standard ice arena of a similar size.

This is the university's second onsite solar installation. In 1979, a solar hot water array was installed on the hillside south of the Tree Dorms. This system warmed domestic hot water for showers and handwashing so that less energy was required to heat water for these uses. -- Source Fall 1979 Bentley Observer Newspaper.

Solar Panels on Arena
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Verified Emission Reduction Credits

Bentley purchases Verified Emissions Reductions Credits from the New Bedford Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project which produces 3.3 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean electricity per year. Landfill gases like methane and carbon dioxide are captured from the degrading trash in the New Bedford Landfill and used to fuel four reciprocating internal combustion engine-generators. The project produces power for the regional electricity grid and reduces the amount of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) released into our atmosphere. By purchasing Verified Emissions Reduction Credits to support this project, Bentley is able to offset the greenhouse gas emissions from annual Study Abroad airline travel and contributes to the “greening” of the local electricity grid.


Bentley University has been awarded the Silver Seal by Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System.

Bentley University submits their STARS report once every three years.

AASHE's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) is a holistic measure of campus sustainability efforts. Beyond financial payback, STARS affirms the merit of sustainability programs that aim to increase awareness, engagement, and environmental stewardship.

Read Bentley’s entire STARS report.

Bentley was also named a top performer on the Sustainable Campus Index.

Compare Bentley's performance to other STARS-rated institutions.