Auraria Higher Education Center to Complete 779 KW Solar Array Installation

A 779-kilowatt solar array installation atop the Auraria Library is nearly complete. It will supply 2.5 percent of the annual campus-wide power consumption. The 150-acre Auraria Campus serves the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the University of Colorado Denver, a collective population of approximately 43,000 students, faculty, and staff.

Northern New Mexico College to Construct 1.5 MW Solar Array

Located on Northern’s El Rito campus, the 1.5-megawatt photovoltaic array will be completed in partnership with the local electric co-op.

Colorado State U Purchases RECs

The university recently purchased enough renewable energy certificates to offset 25 percent of the total electricity use for the university, while university Housing and Dining Services bought enough to offset 100 percent of the electricity use in their buildings, including residence halls and dining areas, for the 2019 fiscal year.

U Toronto Releases 'Low-Carbon Action Plan'

The new five-year Low-Carbon Action Plan (2019-2024) was developed to further implement carbon reduction strategies across the university's three campuses—accelerating efforts as the campus community works towards its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 37 percent by 2030, compared to its 1990 baseline level.

U Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Encourages Air Travel Offsets

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment recently published a quick four-step guide to help community members calculate the amount of carbon to offset and where to purchase high-standard offsets.

Eastern Kentucky U Professor Brings Solar Energy & Research to Campus

An assistant professor in the chemistry department recently launched a plan for the university to lease around 1,000 solar panels from a local business owned by an EKU alum. The project will add solar energy to the grid while providing educational research platforms for students.

Virginia Tech Offsets Air Travel

The university's Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability will begin mitigating the carbon emissions from the air travel of both its students and faculty. Working with the company Terrapass, the center will contribute to a portfolio that invests in renewable energy and methane recapture.

Vassar College Board Endorses $13M Carbon Neutrality Plan

In mid-October, the college's board of trustees endorsed a $13-million package of renovations and upgrades to the college’s heating system and other energy-saving projects that altogether is expected to reduce Vassar's carbon footprint to less than 25 percent of its benchmark year emissions. The plan calls for retrofitting all lighting fixtures with LED bulbs; upgrading the central boiler to use renewable fuel oil; upgrading the HVAC in several buildings; and an energy awareness campaign.

U Virginia Pilots Electric Cargo Bikes

In a year-long pilot program, the university is testing out the viability of electric bikes with a trailer for moving items such as tools and annual plants.

U College London Adopts Ambitious Sustainability Strategy

Among other targets, the university's new Sustainability Strategy 2019-2024 includes the following commitments: it will not to invest in companies involved in fossil fuel extraction or production and will make public its portfolio of investments; all buildings will be net zero carbon by 2024 and the whole institution will be net zero carbon by 2030; and it will have a single-use-plastic free campus by 2024.

Smith College Board Approves Divestment

The college's board of trustees voted recently to direct Smith's endowment management firm to exclude from the endowment all future investments with fossil fuel specific managers. The college will also begin an immediate phaseout of all current investments with fossil fuel specific managers in its endowment. This phaseout will be achieved through the sale, maturity or liquidation of investments held by fossil fuel specific managers over a projected period of 15 years.

20 UK Universities Partner to Purchase Wind Energy

(U.K.) Twenty universities in the U.K. have signed a joint power purchase agreement to buy electricity from wind farms across Scotland and Wales for $63 million (50 million British pounds). The 10-year deal ensures the cost stability of electricity while simultaneously reducing the universities' carbon footprint.

Environment America Launches Higher Ed Energy Campaign

To kick off Campus Sustainability Month, Environment America Research & Policy Center launched 30 campaigns in 11 states, pressing colleges and universities to generate 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. The initiative aims to get 150 schools to commit by 2021 to exclusively use renewable energy.

Harvard U Commits to Reduce Food-Related GHGs

The university recently signed onto the Cool Food Pledge, which commits signatories to collectively reducing food-related greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2030.

U Coimbra Discontinues Serving Beef

(Portugal) The university announced at the end of September that it would stop serving beef in an effort to combat the climate crisis. The university was consuming around 20 tons of beef per year.

Carnegie Mellon U Enters Multi-Year Wind Energy Agreement

After more than a decade of offsetting 100 percent of its electric power consumption with renewable energy certificates, the university recently entered a series of multi-year wind energy agreements. Under the agreements, the university will source all of its electricity from a wind farm in Illinois and will secure the renewable energy certificates from the project.

U Pittsburgh Signs 'Cool Food Pledge'

The Cool Food Pledge is an initiative of the World Resources Institute. All signatories will work together to reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2030. The university recently signed the pledge alongside the U.N. Climate Action Summit.

Northwestern U to Launch Master’s Degree in Energy & Sustainability

The university will welcome its first class in fall 2020 of the Energy and Sustainability Master of Science degree program. Led by the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, the program seeks to prepare graduates to navigate the intersection of technology, economics and regulation in the sustainability and energy innovation industries.

Harvard U Joins 'Climate Action 100+'

The university announced that its endowment has joined Climate Action 100+, an investor-led initiative to ensure that the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take steps to address climate change. As a member of this global network, Harvard Management Company (HMC) will join other investors in direct engagement with more than 100 oil and gas companies, utilities, and other important emitters, that account for two-thirds of annual global industrial emissions. HMC plans to engage with these companies to encourage efforts that curb carbon emissions, strengthen climate-related financial disclosures, and improve corporate governance and risk management.

U Illinois Urbana-Champaign to Purchase 20 GWH of Solar Electricity

The construction of a new 12.1-megawatt solar farm that was recently approved by the university's board of trustees is projected to generate approximately 20 gigawatt-hours (20,000 megawatt-hours) annually. The university will be the sole buyer of the electricity, almost tripling the university’s existing on-site renewable energy generation. As part of the agreement, the university will receive the renewable energy certificates.

Southern Illinois U Carbondale Receives $900K for Solar Plus Storage Project

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Energy recently issued a $900,000 grant award to the university for a photovoltaic-plus-energy-storage and communication resiliency project. The project will feature more than 150-kilowatts of solar generation and 310 kilowatt-hours of storage capacity. The project intends to demonstrate that photovoltaic systems with energy storage provide a viable alternative when selecting backup power sources for small-scale applications.

U Northern Colorado Completes 172 KW Solar Array

A 172-kilowatt photovoltaic array funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was recently connected, along with an interactive dashboard to track the performance. The array is part of a $8.9 million energy saving contract.

U Pittsburgh Deploys Electric Box Trucks

The university added four new zero-emission electric box trucks to its fleet. Designed to travel 60 to 80 miles on a single charge, the light-duty trucks are used for campus moving and delivery services.

Portland CC & Portland State U to Purchase 20,500 MWH of Solar Energy

The two institutions recently committed to purchasing a combined 25,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy from an Oregon-based solar facility set to be operational in 2021.

Ancilla College Installs 556 KW of Solar Power

A newly connected 515-kilowatt ground-mounted photovoltaic array will supply 75 percent of the needed electricity for college's residence halls and classrooms. An additional 41 kilowatts will be installed at its retreat and conference center.

U Adelaide Breaks Ground on 1.2 MW Solar Farm

(Australia) The university will soon have over 40 percent of its energy needs met through a 1.2-megawatt solar-electric farm and battery storage system. The system is expected to be operational by May 2020.

U Maryland Signs 'Cool Food Pledge'

The pledge commits the university to reducing food-related greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2030. It is an initiative from the World Resources Institute to fight climate change and bring more sustainable food to dining halls, campus cafes and event catering.

La Trobe U Invests $51M to Achieve Net Zero Emissions

(Australia) The university recently announced a $50.8 million ($75 million Australian dollars) project that will feature 7,000 photovoltaic panels across 27 buildings, 50,000 LED lights, a large-scale composter for 100 percent of the campus' organic waste, and an analytics platform for monitoring energy consumption.

U Arizona to Offset Scope 2 GHG Emissions By 2020

In an agreement with a local electric company, the university plans to purchase solar and wind power that will offset all of its scope two greenhouse gas emissions (emissions resulting from the generation of electricity, heat or steam purchased from a utility provider). The agreement provides the university with access to energy from a 247-megawatt wind farm and a 100-megawatt solar array system for 20 years.

Goldsmiths U London Discontinues Beef Purchases

(U.K.) After having signed the Climate Emergency declaration and announcing a carbon neutral goal of 2025, the college will remove all beef products from campus food outlets by the start of the 2019 academic year and place a levy on bottled water and single-use plastic cups. The announcement was accompanied by confirmation that starting December 2019, the university's endowment fund will no longer hold investments in companies that generate more than 10 percent of their revenue from the extraction of fossil fuels.

Lincoln Land CC to Install Rooftop Solar

The college's Litchfield campus will soon house a 124.5-kilowatt system while a 156.4-kilowatt system will be installed on its Jacksonville campus. The solar panels are expected to offset 95 percent of electrical consumption at Litchfield and 75 percent of its electrical consumption at Jacksonville.

UC3 Launches 'Research for Policy Platform'

The University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) launched the Research for Policy Platform at their inaugural event in July. The joint research and development platform will establish a unified set of principles and policies in order to directly support higher education leaders in local, national and international, 1.5 degree-aligned climate policy engagement. The coalition now includes 20 research universities with the recent addition of Queen’s University and The University of Utah.

U Virginia Releases Nitrogen Action Plan

The institution's new plan sets an official nitrogen reduction goal: reduce the university’s reactive nitrogen losses by 25 percent below 2010 levels by 2025. The plan, published in May 2019, outlines changes in the food and energy sectors, including strategies such as replacing gasoline fleet vehicles for electric, encouraging plant-forward dining options in dining halls, and reducing food waste.

U Cambridge Adopts Science Based Target for Carbon Reduction

The university recently adopted a 1.5 degrees science-based target for carbon reduction, committing itself to reduce its energy-related carbon emissions to absolute zero by 2048, with a 75 percent decrease on 2015 emissions by 2030. Cambridge’s target is focused on scope 1 (direct emissions from university-owned or controlled sources) and scope 2 (indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy) emissions. Targets are provided by the Science Based Targets Initiative and the International Energy Agency.

Humber College Retrofit Achieves Zero Carbon Certification

The college's NX building was recently awarded with the Zero Carbon Building - Design Certification by the Canada Green Building Council. A zero-carbon building is highly energy-efficient and offsets the annual carbon emissions using renewable energy. The retrofit focused on making the building envelope insulated and air-tight, and included upgrades to the lighting, heating and cooling systems and a new 25-kilowatt solar-electric system.

U Virginia Earns Sustainable Fleet Accreditation

The university's Facilities Management Fleet recently garnered tier 2 of the Sustainable Fleet Accreditation, recognizing its efforts to build a fleet of cleaner and more sustainable vehicles. In the last year, facilities replaced 10 of its older, less efficient vehicles with electric and hybrid vehicles, and reduced the number of older diesel vehicles. The accreditation is a joint program between the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) and Calstart, both transportation-related nonprofits.

Black Hills State U Dorm Receives Solar Electric Array

A solar array on the university's Thomas Hall was completed in May, featuring 186 370-watt photovoltaic panels. The cost of construction and installation was approximately $125,000 and has a payback time of less than 15 years.

Second Nature Receives $303K to Support Cross-Sector Climate Action

Second Nature recently received $303,000 from a private donor to further the organization’s work advancing collaboration and partnerships across sectors for scalable climate solutions. Second Nature’s cross-sector climate programs are part of its newly released core strategy to exponentially accelerate climate action through higher education over the next decade.

U London Releases Handbook on Zero Carbon Built Environments

(U.K.) The recently released document is intended to be a living document and aims to help higher education professionals in the U.K. and Ireland reduce carbon emissions through the built environment.

Carleton College to Install Ground Source HVAC

By 2021, the college will have switched its east and west sides of campus from steam to hot water with the aid of geothermal bore fields. The geothermal transformation across campus will reduce Carleton’s energy use by 40 percent and its emissions by 15 percent compared to the current steam plant operation.

NOAA Awards $175M to U Maryland for Earth System Studies

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded a five-year, $175 million cooperative funding agreement to the University of Maryland for collaborative research in Earth system science called the Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies. Led by two principal investigators from the UMD and one from N.C. State University, this institute will be a national consortium of more than two dozen academic and nonprofit institutions aimed at research activities covering three themes: satellite services, Earth system observations and services, and Earth system research.

Southern Connecticut State U Declares Climate Change Global Emergency

In response to student advocacy, the university's president, Joe Bertolino, recently declared climate change a global emergency. The emergency declaration is based on the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report; unprecedented acceleration of atmospheric carbon levels that as of May 2019; and local community health, environmental, and economic risk.

U Maryland Receives $2.3M for GHG Reduction Research

Former mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg, committed $2.3 million to the university's Center for Global Sustainability to evaluate and analyze current U.S. greenhouse gas emissions reductions. As the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, Bloomberg will submit the findings to the U.N. to demonstrate U.S. progress in meeting carbon reduction commitments made under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Bates College Achieves Carbon Neutrality

Measured against a 2001 baseline, Bates has eliminated 95 percent of its campus greenhouse gas emissions, and will purchase carbon offsets for the remainder. In its Climate Action Plan, announced nine years ago, Bates committed to hitting this milestone by 2020.

Cornell U to Offset New Buildings Electricity With Solar

The university aims to offset about 35 percent of the electricity of proposed new residential buildings using photovoltaics. The proposed residential expansion project, which will allow all first-year and sophomore students to be housed on campus or in affiliated housing, was designed in alignment with the university's Climate Action Plan.

Blackburn College to Install 2 MW Solar Array

The university will soon break ground on a two-megawatt solar-electricity project on an eight-acre plot once used as athletic practice fields. The college is purchasing the array by using tax-exempt bond proceeds. The project is estimated to provide $125,000 annual savings to the college after project expenses.

U Georgia to Purchase 20 Electric Buses

In an effort to reduce carbon emissions and increase alternative transportation options, the university recently established a contract to purchase up to 20 electric buses. Energy costs for operating the electric buses amount to less than $10 per day per bus, compared to energy costs for a diesel bus that total $90 per day per bus. The new buses also will have twice the horsepower and five times the efficiency of a diesel bus. The purchase is made possible by a $10 million grant from the GO! Transit Capital Program administered by Georgia’s State Road and Tollway Authority.

U California Concludes 2019 Cool Campus Challenge

The University of California system recently completed its month-long competition, Cool Campus Challenge, in which campuses compete to reduce their carbon footprint. UC Berkeley had the highest total points; UC Merced has the greatest percent participation; and UC San Francisco was the health location with highest points. A surge on the final day of competition helped push the total participants to over 22,000 students, staff and faculty from across all 10 University of California campus locations and the University of California Office of the President.

Paul Quinn College Announces Strategic Energy Initiative

The college's new energy plan includes cost-effective energy procurement, valuable infrastructure upgrades and renewable energy generation. Six campus buildings will host a combined total of 711-kilowatts of solar electric. Each will receive a full roof replacement at no upfront cost to the college prior to the solar installations.