District Energy System

Long committed to sustainability as an implicit part of global citizenship, Smith College engaged Salas O’Brien to develop a campus energy master plan for achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 and to design and implement its measures. The project centers on converting steam to low-temperature hot water distribution, supported by a large ground-source vertical heat exchanger. By identifying suitable existing surface sites for the borefield location and phasing the buildout of the hot water distribution and by-building conversions, the project avoids physical disruption to a concentrated landmark campus of 19th-century buildings, a botanic garden, and an arboretum landscape. In addition, the campus energy project addresses such key variables as: energy conservation potential, predicted fuel costs, and real-time electric purchasing; renewable energy and emerging electrical generation technologies; future campus expansion and building renovations; and, government and potential future carbon regulations and the social cost of carbon.

Completion Year



2.6 million square feet