Johnson & Wales University Receives RePower PVD Award from City of Providence

Story by JWU Media Relations , on Aug 3, 2022 12:30 PM


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — August 3, 2022 – Johnson & Wales University today was recognized by the City of Providence as the winner of the annual RePower PVD Challenge. Mayor Jorge Elorza commended the university for its efforts at the Academic Center, located at 138 Mathewson Street, which saw a decrease in energy consumption by nearly one half, thanks to sustainability initiatives.

“It’s tremendously important that we be proactive when it comes to acting on climate,” Elorza said at the award presentation. “Providence is leading by example, investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy … Sustainability and environmental justice has found its way to the core of the work that we do.”

The city’s Office of Sustainability announced JWU as the winner of the RePower PVD Challenge in December 2021. The annual contest encourages energy reduction in large buildings and is part of the mayor’s goal to make Providence carbon neutral by 2050.

Compared to 2015 baseline usage, JWU reduced energy consumption in the Academic Center by 44.6 percent, saving more than 4,800 metric million British thermal units of energy in 2019 and 2020. To achieve this goal, the university completed sustainability-focused renovations, including transitioning from fluorescent to LED lighting, upgrading older model boilers and water-cooler chillers and more.

“These initiatives are more successful with everyone working toward a common goal… it’s allowed all of us to work together and even celebrate successes like we are today,” said Matthew Fannon, director of sustainability and resource management at Johnson & Wales University. “We’re grateful to the City of Providence for recognizing our efforts and look forward to continuing to create a more sustainable campus.”

The award showcases the JWU’s commitment to sustainability, which stretches far beyond the Academic Center. Campus-wide, the university has taken many steps to become more environmentally friendly by reducing waste, recycling, and conserving energy.

JWU Sustainability at a Glance 

  • Since 2012, JWU has reduced its electric energy usage by 30 percent through energy efficiency upgrades and renovations, along with cultural changes.
  • JWU operates five solar fields throughout Rhode Island and two wind turbines are currently operational on campus, which, combined, produce more than 100 percent of JWU’s electric energy usage. Four Providence Campus buildings are LEED Gold certified: Grace Welcome Center, the Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence, the John J. Bowen Center for Science and Innovation, and the Center for Physician Assistant Studies.
  • Seven electric vehicle charging stations are operational on campus.
  • Bottle filling stations were installed throughout campus in residential and academic spaces, along with the “fill-it-forward” program to discourage single-use water bottle usage.
  • Plastic bag usage on campus has been eliminated.
  • The university’s recycling program includes plastic films, Styrofoam, metals, composting, e-waste, paper, and plastics.

Other JWU sustainability efforts include:

  • Involvement with the Strategic Energy Management Program (SEMP) with Rhode Island Energy
  • The establishment of Director of Sustainability and Resource Management and creation of Sustainability Council
  • The recipient of “Tree Campus USA” designation by the Arbor Day Foundation and RI DEM 2019, 2020 and 2021
  • The recipient of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Food Recovery Achievement Certificate for food waste reduction in 2015
  • Introduction of campus “surplus sale” for waste stream diversion of unnecessary campus assets
  • Annual “move-in and move-out” recycling and donation initiative

About JWU

Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 8,000 graduate, undergraduate and online students at its campuses in Providence, Rhode Island and Charlotte, North Carolina. An innovative educational leader, the university offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in arts and sciences, business, engineering, food innovation, hospitality, nutrition, health and wellness. It also offers undergraduate programs in culinary arts, dietetics and design. JWU’s unique model provides students with the personalized attention, academic expertise and industry connections that inspire professional success and personal growth. The university’s impact is global, with alumni in 125 countries pursuing careers worldwide. For more information, visit

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