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.
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.
Vanderbilt U Releases Strategic Sustainability Plan
Vanderbilt University unveiled a comprehensive long-term strategy on Earth Day 2019 to significantly reduce its environmental footprint, in part by powering its campus entirely through renewable energy, putting the university on track to be carbon neutral by 2050. The university plans to meet its 2050 commitment by investing in on-site clean energy and off-site large-scale renewable energy, increasing green spaces across campus such as pedestrian-friendly walkways and parks, reducing energy consumption and waste, decreasing the university’s carbon footprint from transportation and commuting, and investing in sustainable built environments.
Johns Hopkins U Enters Solar Energy Procurement Agreement
The university has entered into a 15-year agreement to supply its campuses with more than 250,000 megawatt-hours of solar power per year, meeting roughly two-thirds of its overall energy needs with solar power. The university will purchase the power and project-specific RECs from a new 175-megawatt solar plant being developed in Virginia.
U San Francisco Reaches Carbon Neutrality
Reaching its goal of zero net carbon emissions 31 years ahead of its 2050 target date, the university achieved neutrality through on-campus renewable energy and energy-efficiency upgrades, purchasing carbon offsets in projects with a focus on environmental justice, reducing waste, and supporting a diversity of transportation options with lower carbon impact.
U Saskatchewan Invests in Energy Efficiency
Armed with $1.5 million in support from the federal government’s Low Carbon Economy Fund, the university plans to fix, replace or eliminate equipment and systems that are outdated and inefficient in 26 buildings on campus, to be completed by March 2022.
American College Greece Holds Inaugural Climate Change Symposium
(Greece) The inaugural event focused on the economic consequences of climate change impacts and related risk estimates, the national plan for energy and climate, forecasting of extreme weather phenomena resulting in catastrophic flooding and fire incidences in the country, and the development of climate change adaptation plans.
Colgate U Benton Hall Earns LEED Platinum
Benton Hall features a passive house design with high-performing windows, occupancy sensors and daylight-responsive light dimming. Stone was sourced within a 500-mile radius and 75 percent of its construction waste was recycled or salvaged.
Washington U St. Louis Adds 1.9 MW of Solar Energy
Construction is underway on a 1.9-megawatt solar electric project that will add arrays to six university buildings. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the fall 2019. A new interdisciplinary program allows students to use the project as a case study to learn about the business, policy and engineering aspects of the solar industry.
Colgate U Invests in Carbon Offset Projects
To mitigate remaining university emissions for air and automotive travel, and energy consumption related to buildings, the university invested in a New York State landfill gas-to-energy project, a grassland carbon sequestration and conservation project, a tropical forest conservation project and a solar cookstove project in China. Additionally, the university now purchases renewable energy credits to cover 100 percent of their electricity needs. The total cost of renewable energy credits and the four offset projects for 2019 is about $61,000.
East Sussex College Installs Community-Funded Solar
(U.K.) East Sussex College recently completed a community-funded solar-electric project that will supply approximately 72 percent of the college's electricity. Partial funding came from local residents who will receive a 5 percent per year return. The array will generate a community fund over its 25-year lifespan that will be used by the college for renewable energy education and community projects.
Dalhousie U Sexton Campus Undergoes Green Renovation
The university's redesign of its downtown campus was a $64-million project, with $4 million earmarked for specific green features, including ground-source heating and cooling, photovoltaic electricity tied to a 180-kilowatt battery bank, and a 6,600-gallon underground cistern that will capture and treat rainwater for toilet and urinal flushing.
Tufts U Bolsters Carpooling With App
In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, the university entered a partnership with the carpooling app miles2share in early March, which allows students, faculty and staff within the Tufts community to connect with riders and drivers with overlapping routes.
Lafayette College Trustees Approve Carbon Neutrality Plan
The recently approved plan sets the college on a path of carbon neutrality by 2035 and outlines specific steps to be investigated and implemented over a three-phase timeline. Recommendations cover the areas of energy, waste and transportation, with a focus on immediate, high-impact actions that can reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency on campus.
Mills College Offers Car Sharing
At the end of January, the college placed two Zipcar vehicles on campus that can be used by any student or staff member at a discounted rate.
Florida A&M U Trustees Give Green Light to 75 MW Solar-Electric Project
The university's Board of Trustees approved a 25-year lease agreement for a 74.9-megawatt, grid-tied photovoltaic project to be constructed at its Agricultural and Environmental Research Station. The solar facility would occupy between 600 and 800 acres of property and feature approximately 270,000 tracking solar panels.
U Maryland Professor Reports to Congress on Carbon Emissions
Speaking before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, Nathan Hultman, director of the university's Center for Global Sustainability in the School of Public Policy, outlined findings about how universities, businesses, states and cities are making important contributions to cutting carbon emissions in the U.S., even without the federal government’s support of the Paris Agreement’s goals on climate change. The findings Hultman reported on were from the most recent America's Pledge Initiative report, an assessment of how leaders are driving the U.S. toward a low-carbon future.
U California Berkeley Commits to 100% Renewables by 2050
The University of California, Berkeley's chancellor recently signed a memorandum of understanding committing the Berkeley campus to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. This commitment covers purchased electricity as well as energy used for transportation and heating.
Higher Education Leaders Announce a Call to Action
In response to the recent scientific reports that strongly advise unprecedented action in the next decade, 21 higher education leaders announced a call to action for accelerating equitable and just climate solutions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The declaration, which was released at the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, provides guiding principles for higher education institutions to accelerate climate leadership and concludes with signatories' belief that leveraging their institutional strengths is critical to doing more.
College Lake County Building Earns LEED Platinum
The 42,000 square-foot Science & Engineering Building features photovoltaic solar panels, LED lighting, ample natural light, vegetated rooftops, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and energy-efficient fume hoods in chemistry labs.
Three Schools Selected for Free Carbon Neutrality Program
The College of Saint Benedict, the University of Minnesota Morris and the University of St. Thomas have been selected to participate in Ever-Green Energy's pilot program: Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality. As part of this pilot program, the institutions will receive free energy and carbon neutrality planning services over the next year that will help them map out plans, evaluate feasibility and lay out next steps.
U Virginia Collaborates With City & County to Reduce Emissions
The city of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the university will soon embark on a collaborative community outreach effort as each entity begins to update their greenhouse gas reduction targets and develop climate action plans. To enable broad community engagement and participation in informing these commitments, the three organizations are coordinating their outreach efforts across their sustainability offices and encouraging residents, businesses and area stakeholders to get involved.
21 New York Universities Form RE Purchasing Coalition
Called New York Campuses’ Aggregate Renewable Energy Solutions (NYCARES), the newly formed consortium is comprised of 21 private and public higher education institutions and is working towards a goal of purchasing or producing electricity from 100 percent zero-net-carbon sources.
Carnegie Mellon U Building Achieves LEED Gold
The university's home for the Tepper School of Business features a 120,000-gallon cistern to collect rainwater for reuse and the floor of its four-story atrium uses radiant slabs to heat or cool the space.
Pennsylvania State U Announces 70 MW Solar Project
The university recently announced a partnership to develop a 70-megawatt solar-electric project that is estimated to provide 25 percent of Penn State’s state-wide electricity requirements over a 25-year term. The project will be ground-mounted using over 150,000 solar panels in three locations encompassing roughly 500 acres. The targeted completion date is set for July 2020.
Rhode Island College Installs 110 KW Solar-Electric System
The university's Donovan Dining Center and the Student Union now house a 110.9-kilowatt solar system. The $300,000 project is expected to save the college more than $231,000 in energy costs over the next 15 years, and is expected to generate 132,502 kilowatt-hours in the first operating year.
Amherst College Announces Climate Plan for Neutrality by 2030
At its January 2019 meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the college's Climate Action Plan, which calls for changing the campus energy infrastructure from a traditional fossil-fuel powered steam system to renewable electric heat pumps that use geothermal energy sources. The plan does not rely on the purchase of carbon offsets.
Brown U to Offset All Electricity Use With Solar & Wind
As a major part of a campus-wide effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the university has finalized agreements for two renewable energy projects. Projected to offset around about 70 percent of Brown’s annual electricity consumption generated through fossil fuels, the first project is a 50-megawatt photovoltaic facility that will be constructed on an old gravel pit. The second renewable energy project is an 8-megawatt wind power project being developed in Texas, which will offset the remaining electricity use.
Parul U Bans Gas & Diesel Vehicles on Campus
In an effort to reduce pollution on campus and protect the health of teachers and students, the university recently banned the use of gasoline and diesel vehicles inside campus boundaries. To facilitate transportation across campus, one hundred bicycles have been placed across the campus, which the campus community can rent at a minimal cost.
Middlebury College Releases Plan for Energy, Investments & Engagement
The college's new 10-year commitment, Energy2028, puts the institution on a path toward a complete shift to renewable energy to power and heat its central campus by 2028, sets goals to reduce energy consumption, phases out direct fossil fuel investments in the endowment, and creates new educational programs and opportunities.
Three Universities Win Energy Innovation Awards
The University of Maryland, University of Virginia, and University of California San Diego were recently recognized as the 2019 Smart Energy Decisions Innovation Award winners. The objective of the Innovation Awards program is to recognize the individual and collective efforts of large electric power users, their suppliers, and their utilities in support of the energy transformation currently taking place.
U Cincinnati Clermont College Becomes 100% Wind Powered
The university recently signed an agreement to purchase 100 percent of its electric supply with Green-e certified wind power renewable energy credits. This action is projected to reduce the university's total annual greenhouse gas emissions by 16 percent.
Rowan-Cabarrus CC to Install 1 MW Solar-Electric System
The 1-megawatt photovoltaic plant is expected to be completed by the end of January 2019. The community college will receive power-generation revenues and ground-lease payments, which will be used to fund programs such as student scholarships and professional development.
Joliet Junior College to Install 1.37 MW Solar Array
The college's Board of Trustees approved in December the installation of a 1.37 megawatt photovoltaic array on its main campus. There will be no out-of-pocket costs to JJC, which will initially pay a fixed discounted rate for the energy generated and take ownership of the panels after 10 years. Over its lifespan, the solar array is projected to save the college more than $1.1 million.
Delta College & U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Win Climate Leadership Award
Second Nature, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), recently announced the winners of the Climate Leadership Award. Delta College was recognized for implementation of an Energy Optimization Incentive Program in collaboration with its utility provider, as well as a sustainability-immersive study abroad program, and climate adaptation and resilience learning sessions. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was honored for using power purchase agreements to reduce more than 17,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, creating a task force to address climate resilience concerns, and enhancing classroom learning through a sustainability mentorship program. Six institutions received honorable mention.
Duke U Pilots Carbon Sequestration Farm
After recently acquiring the rights to a 10,000-acre farm in eastern North Carolina, the university began a two-year pilot program on 300 acres of the land. University researchers aim to identify the best ways to restore the former farm fields to their original wetland state and measure and verify how much carbon the land's saturated peat soil can store. If enough carbon credits can be generated at a cost-effective rate, production will then expand to the other 9,700 acres.