Santa Clara U Receives $5M Donation for Photovoltaic Systems

A couple recently donated $10 million to the university for a new STEM campus, half of which will fund photovoltaic systems in multiple campus locations over the next few years. The combined systems are anticipated to generate 1.7 megawatts of renewable energy each year when completed.

Columbia U Pledges Fossil Free Buildings

The university announced recently that it will no longer install new fossil fuel connections in any new construction, refresh or renovation projects. To support this transition, the university will evaluate how to fully electrify the campus by replacing the onsite combustion of fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy sources.

Oberlin College Secures $80M in Certified Climate Bonds for Geothermal Project

Investors poured $80 million into a Certified Climate Bond offering for a geothermal infrastructure project on Oberlin's campus. The four-year sustainable infrastructure project will convert buildings throughout Oberlin’s campus to geothermal heating and cooling, drawing on 1,100 wells that harness the earth’s natural underground temperatures to replace Oberlin’s current heat source, natural gas.

Nine Georgia HEIs Receive $300K for State Climate Consortium

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation has awarded a $300,000 grant to the next phase of the Georgia Climate Project, a state-wide consortium of nine colleges and universities working to strengthen Georgia’s ability to prepare for and respond to a changing climate. With this new grant, the project will engage a diverse network of experts to develop and disseminate knowledge on climate impacts and solutions through webinars, workshops, and an online Georgia climate information portal.

U California Riverside Installs 473 KW of Photovoltaic Energy

The university has completed the installation of 1087 solar panels on the roofs of the Student Recreation Center and the Student Services Building. The two projects were built by the university and will be owned by the institution.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Connects 12.3 MW Solar Farm

The recently completed phase of the university's solar farm will meet approximately 12 percent of the university's annual electricity demand. The university has begun planting pollinator friendly habitat around the solar arrays.

MIT Unveils Climate Action Plan

The new plan commits MIT to net-zero direct carbon emissions by 2026. Five broad areas frame the university's action plan: sparking innovation, educating future generations, informing and leveraging government action, reducing MIT’s own climate impact, and uniting and coordinating all of MIT’s climate efforts.

HEI Leaders to Guide Net Zero Endowments Initiative

A group of seventeen leaders from higher education endowments, investment consultants, asset managers and nonprofit partners recently joined together as a steering committee to guide a new Net Zero Endowments initiative hosted by the Intentional Endowments Network. The Net Zero Endowments steering committee aims to accelerate the adoption of net zero portfolio commitments to 50 endowments over the next two years.

Northwestern U & U Chicago Receive EPA Energy Star Award

Northwestern University was honored with the Partner of the Year: Sustained Excellence award for the second year. The University of Chicago received the Partner of the Year award for the first time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star Partner of the Year awards recognize institutions and organizations for their year-over-year commitment to energy efficiency.

Stevens Institute Technology to Source 100% Renewable Energy

The institution will purchase all electricity needed from regional wind, hydropower or solar energy sources beginning on Oct. 1, 2021.

U Sheffield Pledges Carbon Neutrality

(U.K.) As part of its recently released five-year sustainability strategy, the University of Sheffield pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions on campus by 2030 and across all activities by 2038. The strategy also includes plans to embed education for sustainable development into all courses.

U Virginia Launches 'Energy Transition Initiative'

The Energy Transition Initiative is a merger between the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service's Virginia Clean Energy Project and its Virginia Solar Initiative. The new collaboration aims to analyze energy systems to identify roadblocks and reduce barriers to achieving a net-zero carbon electric sector by 2050, and to promote informed, engaged and inclusive decision-making.

U Tasmania Commits to Fossil Fuel Divestment

The university announced in mid-October during Global Climate Change Week that it will divest from fossil fuel-exposed investment funds by the end of 2021. The university has committed to applying a negative investment screen to fossil fuels and a positive screen to companies and funds that contribute to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Georgetown U Signs Renewable Energy PPA

A new 15-year agreement allows the university to buy 100,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually from 11 existing solar plants. Georgetown will purchase the electricity from the solar facilities without the associated renewable energy credits (RECs), and through a second financial transaction, purchase Green-e certified RECs through a broker for an equivalent amount of power for the first five of the 15-year agreement.

College Redwoods to Install 2.1 MW Solar System & Battery Storage

The College of the Redwoods board recently approved a proposal for a 2.1-megawatt photovoltaic system with an additional 500 kilowatts of battery storage that will cover about three acres of open field space on campus, about a third of campus parking, and the roof of the Learning Resource Center. The energy generated by the system is expected to provide about 90 percent of the campus’s electricity demands.

Columbia U Launches ‘Carbon Dioxide Removal Law’ Database

Researchers at the university recently launched a database of carbon dioxide removal laws. The database, which is publicly available at cdrlaw.org, contains resources on legal issues related to carbon dioxide removal, including such techniques as: direct air capture; enhanced weathering; afforestation/reforestation; bioenergy with carbon capture and storage; biochar; ocean and coastal carbon dioxide removal; ocean iron fertilization; and soil carbon sequestration. The database also includes resources on carbon capture and storage, utilization and transportation.

College Lake County Adds Solar Electricity

The college will soon add photovoltaic panels on two acres of land on the west side of campus and on six buildings. Once complete, the college will receive nearly 20 percent of its electricity needs from the solar installations.

Miami U Becomes Climate Commitment Signatory

In mid-September, the university's president signed Second Nature's Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitments, which set the university on the path of adapting to climate change through campus and community engagement, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible.

Cornell U Students Build Solar-Charging Trailer for Landscaping Equipment

Members of the university's Sustainable Design student group recently delivered to the grounds department a 7-by-12-foot trailer that will cart and power electric string trimmers, hedge clippers, chainsaws and an electric, heavy-duty commercial mower. The trailer will help Cornell reduce carbon emissions while raising awareness of its environmental initiatives, aimed at helping the campus achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.

U Pittsburgh Partners to Upgrade Fleet to Electric & Hybrid

The university is now leasing a total of 268 electric and hybrid vehicles through an expanded partnership with a national car rental agency. Overall, the agreement is projected to save the university $750,000 over the next five years while supporting the university's carbon neutrality commitment.

Aarhus U Approves 44 Actions to Reduce Emissions

(Denmark) The university recently announced 44 activities to reduce carbon emissions, some of which are waste-sorting pilot projects in study areas, libraries and canteens, electricity meters on IT equipment, assessing the feasibility of solar-electric, and using fixed temperature settings for all university buildings in the winter. The four focus areas of the actions are campus, transportation, procurement and waste.

Environment America Releases Higher Ed Renewable Energy Report

Environment America's newly released report, "America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy 2020: Who Is Leading the Transition to 100% Renewable Energy on Campus?", catalogs the efforts of 127 colleges and universities that reported data through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership. The report lists the top 10 colleges and universities obtaining 100 percent or more of their electricity from renewable sources, with Georgetown University leading all schools, generating and purchasing more than 1.3 times as much electricity from renewable sources as it consumes. It also lists the top five schools for renewable heating, cooling, hot water and other non-electric energy produced per student, with Colby College listed first.