Three US Legislators Introduce Climate Change Education Act
U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan recently introduced legislation that would create a grant program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aimed at promoting climate literacy. By supporting the application of the latest scientific and technological discoveries, it would promote formal and informal learning opportunities that emphasize actionable information. The grant program would also support professional development for teachers.
American U Launches Local Carbon Offset Program
The new program aims to offset the carbon emissions caused by students, faculty and staff members who commute to campus by planting and nurturing 650 trees throughout the nation’s capital. The initiative will also provide students with access to the urban forestry data from this program to inform their own field studies in urban planning and other related fields.
U Massachusetts Boston Releases Report on Climate Resilience Financing
In April 2018, the university's Sustainable Solutions Lab released a report, Financing Climate Resilience Report, that looks at different financial mechanisms for climate resilience. It provides recommendations for the city of Boston and the region on how to pay for climate adaptation investments and suggests that funding needs to be leveraged at the federal, state, municipal and district levels.
American U Becomes Carbon Neutral
The university achieved carbon neutrality two years earlier than expected through a combination of on-site renewables, a renewable energy partnership in North Carolina, and carbon offsets. The university relies solely on renewable energy for its electricity.
U Illinois Chicago Releases Climate Action Implementation Plan
The new Climate Action Implementation Plan includes seven strategies that integrate the university's goals for carbon neutrality, zero waste, net zero water, and creating a biodiverse university. The strategies cover energy, transportation, natural systems and ecosystem services, materials and waste, curriculum and engagement, and climate resiliency. The portfolio of solutions will be implemented over the next 10 years through 2028.
Cornell U Promotes Climate Literacy for Staff
Members of the university's Employee Assembly voted earlier this month to support staff involvement and participation in campus climate change literacy policy and programs, in an effort to ensure the success of the Climate Action Plan. Highlighting the scientific consensus of global climate change, the resolution notes the impact of climate change on employee happiness and well-being. Climate change literacy was defined in the resolution as an understanding of an individual’s influence on climate and climate’s influence on individuals.
Arizona State U Hosts 'Day Without Cars' Event
As part of a coordinated effort to further sustainable transportation efforts, nearly 400 university students and staff members signed a pledge to take an alternate, non-single occupancy vehicle mode of transit to campus on March 27.
U Richmond Receives $75K Grant for Energy Management Plan
A $75,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund will support the development of a comprehensive energy conservation management plan, including an energy audit to document energy usage and identify measures to increase efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Northwestern U Earns Energy Star Partner of the Year Award
The award recognizes Northwestern’s achievements in energy efficiency, including its efforts to accurately track energy usage data and measure progress in reducing consumption. Northwestern recently completed a comprehensive energy audit of all 222 campus buildings in Evanston and Chicago, representing more than 14.5 million square feet of space. Northwestern is the first university in more than a decade to receive the award and the fourth university ever to be recognized. Previous higher education winners include the University of Michigan (2004), University of Virginia (2001) and University of Missouri-Columbia (1997).
Ithaca College Moves to 100% Renewable Electricity
Working toward its goal of becoming carbon neutral, 100 percent of the college’s electricity has been purchased from Green-e certified national wind farms since February 2018. The purchase will offset around 7,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, roughly 35 percent of IC’s total emissions.
Cranfield U to Complete Large Solar Array
(U.K.) Covering roughly four acres, a total of 3,508 solar panels will generate five percent of the annual electricity at the campus and also provide a new renewable energy research facility to be used by students attending energy courses.
Mount Holyoke College Seeks Carbon Neutrality by 2037
The college's board of trustees recently announced the 2037 carbon neutrality goal, which is also the institution’s bicentennial. To achieve carbon neutrality, the college aims to invest in energy efficiency and conservation, retrofit historic buildings and transition to carbon-neutral heating and electricity sources. The decision to pursue carbon neutrality came after nearly a year of analysis and research by the college's Sustainability Task Force.
U North Carolina Charlotte Connects With City by Light Rail
The 9.3-mile stretch of extended light rail tracks offers 11 new stations providing service to the university’s main and uptown campuses. The campus added sidewalks, crosswalks, and bus stations to support pedestrian traffic from stations. For the station on the edge of campus, the university funded a pedestrian bridge over a highway.
U Hawai'i Maui College to Generate 100% of Energy Needs with On-Site Solar
A new solar photovoltaic system coupled with battery storage will be capable of eliminating the campus’ fossil fuel-based energy use when it becomes operational in 2019. The project is part of a partnership with Johnson Controls and Pacific Current that will also allow four UH community college campuses on Oʻahu to significantly reduce their fossil fuel consumption through the combination of solar shade canopies, distributed energy storage and energy efficiency measures.
U Bristol Strengthens Divestment Commitment
(U.K.) The University has pledged to divest completely from all investments in fossil fuel companies within two years. The new commitment builds on its previous commitment to end investment in companies that derive more than five percent of turnover from the extraction of thermal coal or oil and gas from tar sands.
U California Los Angeles to Offer Bachelors Degree in Climate Science
Housed in UCLA's department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, the program will be among first undergraduate degree programs in climate science worldwide. The degree program will provide undergraduates with the scientific understanding they need to assess the effects of climate change, both from human activity and from natural climate variability. It also will provide students with the knowledge and tools they need to communicate on the subject with decision-makers in the public and private sectors.
U Dayton to Construct 1.26 MW Solar System
Meeting approximately two percent of campus-wide power consumption, the 1.26-megawatt photovoltaic system is expected to save the university roughly $300,000 in avoided energy costs over its 30-year lifespan. The university hopes to have the arrays online by early 2019.
Durham College Receives $14.7M for Energy Upgrades
Provincial government funding through the Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofits Program will be used to install a $9.1 million ground source heating and cooling system at the Oshawa campus. Additional upgrades of existing facilities, including the installation of high-efficiency HVAC systems, new and upgraded building automation systems, and LED lighting, will cost approximately $1.4 million. About $4 million of the government support will take the form of an eligible interest-free loan, uses for which are being explored.
Susquehanna U to Install 3.9 MW Photovoltaic Array
At the end of 2017, the university entered into an agreement to develop a 3.9-megawatt ground-mounted solar array that will supply 30 percent of the university's electricity needs. The 12,000-panel, 14-acre project is expected to be completed by summer of 2018. Susquehanna will purchase the electricity from WGL Energy, who will own and operate the facility under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
U California San Diego Partners With Lyft
In an effort to meet the university’s evolving transportation needs, the university and Lyft formally announced a partnership to provide access to alternative commuter options, safe rides for students, patient transport, designated pick-up and drop-off locations, direct billing for business travel, and ride credits for certain university-sponsored events.
Mohawk College to Receive $10.8M for Energy Retrofits
The funding will be used to replace an existing natural gas-fired boiler with an electrical boiler, and construct a solar-powered car park for over 200 parking spaces. The electricity from the solar system will be used to help power the new net-zero $54-million Joyce Center for Partnership and Innovation building currently under construction.
U Kentucky Offers Commute Planning Assistance
In an effort to increase the number of campus community members using alternative modes of transportation, the university's Transportation Services now offers free personalized commute planning assistance.
Harvard U to Construct a District Energy Facility
Construction is underway on a new, 58,000-square-foot natural gas facility that will provide heating, cooling and 2.5 megawatts of electricity for the campus. With a focus on energy efficiency, an element of the facility will be a 1.3-million-gallon tank for storing chilled water that will be used to cool buildings with some limited other applications to support research. In order to minimize impacts from potential flooding the building is raised above projected flood levels.
U California Merced Receives Grant for Food Reduction Program
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery will issue the university $100,000 over three years to develop and implement a mobile food-waste prevention and storage distribution center that diverts food waste from the landfill.
George Washington U Announces a Sustainable Investment Fund
The Sustainable Investment Fund is a Student Association-driven initiative focused on responsible investment and student engagement. GW will establish the fund with an initial $2 million from the university endowment and aim to engage stakeholders on issues relevant to responsible investing, including promoting and producing innovation in sustainable practices and seeking to avoid investments in the top coal, oil and gas companies.
U Newcastle Installs 2 MW Photovoltaic Array
(Australia) The 2 megawatt system will have more than 6,000 panels installed across about 25 buildings at the Callaghan campus with additional panels installed at the Ourimbah campus. The system is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,800 tons of carbon dioxide.
Lincoln College Upgrades 7000 Lights
(U.K.) As part of its commitment to improving its energy efficiency and reducing its carbon footprint, over 7,000 outdated light fixtures were upgraded to LED technology in 23 buildings across the college’s three campuses. The new technologies are predicted to reduce carbon emissions by over 605 tons annually.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Launches Campus as Lab Seed Funding Program
The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) at the university recently announced that it will provide seed funding for faculty members to assist in preparing a proposal for external funding that will include using campus sustainability features and projects in their research related to sustainability. Specifically, iSEE wants to leverage this seed money to attract external funds that are relevant to objectives from the Illinois Climate Action Plan.
Chaffey College Installing Solar Carports Totaling 5.5MW
The soon-to-be-connected solar shade structures totaling 5.5 megawatts have been installed on parking lots at the college's main campus in Rancho Cucamonga as well as the Fontana and Chino campuses. The installation is projected to offset more than 90 percent of the college district’s annual electricity usage.
U Toronto Commits $26.7M for Sustainability Projects
As part of a program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the university will combine $26.7 million in new funding with $15.3 million already earmarked for energy efficiency projects to complete energy measures across its three campuses. Projects include a geothermal well and upgrades to a 106-year-old central steam plant.
U Bergen Announces Plans to Go Carbon Neutral by 2030
(Norway) At a recent sustainable development goals conference held at the University of Bergen, the university announced a plan to become carbon neutral by 2030. It also committed to holding an annual Sustainable Development Goals conference.
California State U, Northridge Building Earns LEED Platinum
The new Associated Students Sustainability Center at CSUN features solar thermal hot water for domestic use, a 24-kilowatt photovoltaic system for electricity, daylighting combined with photosensors to control indoor lighting, and low-flow water technology along with composting toilets. Additionally, water from the lavatories, showers, and the heating and cooling system are captured and treated for irrigation use, and an existing paved service yard devoid of landscaping was transformed into a regionally appropriate drought-tolerant garden.
Harvard U Announces Fossil-Free Climate Action Plan
Recommendations from a climate change task force informed a new set of climate commitments that the university recently adopted - a long-term goal of being fossil fuel-free by 2050 and a short-term goal of climate neutrality by 2026.
California State U Northridge Rolls Out Bike Rental Program
In mid-January, LimeBike delivered 400 bicycles to the campus that are now part of a rental program to provide an alternative mode of transportation to the campus community. There is no membership fee required, however the rental fee is 50 cents per half hour with no time limit. Solar-powered GPS units will allow the university to determine where bike lanes are most needed.
Duke U Partners With Delta Airlines on Carbon Offset Initiative
The university and Delta Airlines covered the cost of 1,000 trees that will be planted in Duke's hometown of Durham, North Carolina. The purchase, facilitated by Urban Offsets, simultaneously offsets carbon from all university business travel on Delta in 2017. The 1,000 trees are equal to 5,000 carbon credits and will be planted during the 2017-18 planting season in neighborhoods found to have insufficient tree cover, according to a 2016 survey by Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
Parkland College Approves 2MW Solar Energy Farm
The board of the community college approved a contract in mid-January to build a 2 megawatt solar energy field on campus. Under terms of the agreement, Parkland expects to save $25,000 to $30,000 annually on its electricity costs and would pay none of the upfront or operating costs of the system. The solar field would provide between 10 and 15 percent of Parkland's energy use.
Raritan Valley CC Announces Carbon Neutrality
The community college has offset its Scope 1 emissions by acquiring carbon offsets, mostly from wind energy and some from landfill gas. Since 2014, the college has offset all Scope 2 emissions by purchasing renewable energy certificates.
U New South Wales to Go 100% Solar
(Australia) A 15-year power purchase agreement will enable the university to achieve its goal of carbon neutral energy use by 2020.. Starting in 2019, the university will purchase up to 140,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, enough solar energy to meet 100 percent of its electricity use.
U California Los Angeles Reduces Travel Emissions With Fee
A new university program reduces the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from university business-related air travel by assessing a carbon mitigation fee for these flights. A $9 fee will be applied to each domestic round-trip flight and a $25 fee to each international round-trip flight. Air travel mitigation fees will be placed into a fund, which will then be made available annually to the campus to finance university projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The pilot program will run from January 2018 through December 2020.
U Florida Publishes Guidebook for Integrating Cultural Resources into Disaster Planning
With support from the National Park Service, the Conservation Clinic at the university's Levin College of Law recently released a guidebook to help Florida state and local governments better integrate cultural resources into hazard planning. It describes current emergency management and preservation planning frameworks, provides examples of disaster planning practices, and presents new policy and planning recommendations.
Hampshire College Uses 100% Solar Electricity
The residential college now has 100 percent of its electricity sourced from 15,000 photovoltaic arrays on two fields that have a capacity of 4.7 megawatts. The college is buying the electricity at a fixed rate for about half the rate the college had been paying. The project is estimated to save the college about $400,000 a year in electricity costs for up to 20 years, for total estimated savings of $8 million.
U Virginia to Facilitate Governor's Environmental Justice Panel
Representatives from UVA’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation will serve as facilitators for the 15-member Environmental Justice Advisory Council, established by Virginia Govenor Terry McAuliffe in October. The mission of the council is to ensure that environmental policies around major issues like air quality or sea-level rise serve the interest of every Virginian, and that no area or group bears a disproportionate share of the burden.
Boston U Approves Climate Action Plan
The Boston University board of trustees recently approved a Climate Action Plan that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions across both the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus and fund broad infrastructure improvements in preparation for flooding or heat surges in the coming decades. The plan calls for capital improvements estimated to cost about $141 million over 10 years and the reduction of carbon emissions on the campuses to zero by 2040.
College William & Mary Uses $10K Grant for Lighting Upgrade
A $10,239 Green Fee grant awarded in fall 2017 will be used at the college's Virginia Institute of Marine Science to reduce electricity usage and improve working conditions by replacing 52 dated, energy-demanding bulbs with new light-emitting diode (LED) lamps in three buildings.