Boston U Student Research to Aid Carbon Reductions From Landscaping
The university aims to convert some of its mulched spaces to plants and trees after research from the Campus Climate Lab and an earth and environment undergraduate student revealed that mulch and the maintenance of grass lawns negatively impacts the campus’ carbon cycle.
Utah State U Approves Recommendations to Lower GHG Emissions
The university recently committed to the following strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: dedicate $60,000 annually in ongoing funds to allow USU Facilities to purchase a renewable energy portfolio from an external power provider; facilities will invest $500,000 each year toward improving building energy efficiencies, and additional funding has been allocated within existing budgets for LED light conversions over the next two years; create a $10 per trip carbon fee on all university-sponsored airline flights, from which funds raised by this fee will be used to invest in on-campus projects that reduce USU’s carbon footprint; and enhance academic programs to raise awareness of sustainability and climate change.
Cornell U Signs PPA for 1 MW Rooftop Solar
In December, Cornell finalized a 1-megawatt power-purchase agreement to construct rooftop solar arrays on all five buildings of the North Campus Residential Expansion project. The solar power from this project will reduce the university’s carbon footprint by providing about 35 percent of the power needed for the new buildings.
Indiana U Partners to Develop City-Level CAPs
The 2020 Resilience Cohort, along with 11 Indiana cities, will develop climate action plans that outline specific activities the communities will undertake to achieve reduced greenhouse gas emissions targets. The plans will then be presented to elected officials for review and approval by the end of the year.
Wesleyan U to Divest From Fossil Fuels
The university recently announced its decision to not make any new investments in fossil fuels and to reduce current investments as quickly as possible. It expects to be fully divested from direct fossil fuel investments by the end of the decade.
Brown U Divests From Fossil Fuels
The university's president recently announced that 90 percent of Brown's investments in companies that extract fossil fuels have been sold, and the remainder (less than 1 percent of the portfolio) is being liquidated as it becomes possible to do so. The Investment Office has made no new investments in this area.
Arizona State U to Plant Carbon Sink & Learning Forest
The university will plant 1,000 desert trees on what is currently an empty plot of land to help meet its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. The forest will be used as a way of sequestering carbon and will be open for university researchers and classes.
U Pittsburgh Commits to Carbon Neutrality by 2037
The university recently selected its 250th anniversary in 2037 as the target date for carbon neutrality. Pitt’s progress toward carbon neutrality will be shared via a newly created online sustainability dashboard updated by the university’s Office of Sustainability.
Four Pennsylvania HEIs Partner on Renewable Energy Purchase
Lehigh University and Dickinson, Lafayette, and Muhlenberg Colleges recently signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for the production by a 45.9-megawatt share of a new 200-acre solar farm located in Texas. The partnership will enable all four institutions to mitigate 100 percent of their carbon emissions associated with electricity use.
Southern Illinois U Carbondale Signs Climate Commitment
In mid-February, the university's president signed Second Nature's Climate Commitment. Becoming a signatory means that the university will develop a campus plan that reduces greenhouse gases, create energy efficiencies and/or deploy alternative energy sources or other strategies that reduce its carbon footprint.
U Albany Receives $2M for Carbon Neutrality Planning
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority recently approved a $2 million grant for the university to research and implement solutions for the statewide 2050 net zero carbon emissions goal.
Michigan State U to Install 20 MW Solar Array
The university's board of trustees recently approved a 20-megawatt solar-electric array that will span nearly 145 acres. The project is expected to cost about $2.3 million and will be funded with university utility reserve funds. It is estimated that the array will begin producing power by the end of 2022 and save the university at least $27 million in the next 25 years.
EPA Releases Top 30 List of Green Power Users
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Top 30 College & University list highlights the largest green power users among higher education institutions within the Green Power Partnership. The combined green power use of these organizations amounts to more than 3.5 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually.
William & Mary Signs Power Purchase Agreement
The recently signed 20-year power purchase agreement is for the output of a 20-megawatt photovoltaic system that is projected to generate approximately 50 percent of the university’s electricity needs. The production of solar energy at the farm will likely begin in 2021. William & Mary expects the contract will begin to save the university money after about six years.
U Rochester Joins 'Climate Action 100+' Coalition
The university recently joined the Climate Action 100+, a coalition of investment firms, pension funds, and institutional investors influencing the corporations that are the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to agree to lowering emissions, being transparent about their operations, and taking necessary action on climate change. Additionally, the university's investment committee approved two recommendations: no direct investments in thermal coal production or in the production of oil from tar sands.
Balliol College Reduces Fossil Fuel Investments
(U.K.) The college announced a number of steps it will soon take in order to reduce the fossil fuel exposure of its endowment, from approximately 2.4 percent of its total endowment to a target of less than 1 percent. The college is also working with students on a climate change action plan.
Colorado College Achieves Carbon Neutrality
The college recently achieved carbon neutrality through a variety of initiatives that include efficiency upgrades, building renovations, campus engagement initiatives, on-site renewable energy, local renewable energy purchases, and carbon offsets.
California State U Channel Islands Receives Grant for EV Charging Ports
The university recently received a grant from the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District to install an additional six electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on campus, bringing the university's total to 15 charging ports. The new charging stations will be the first networked stations on campus, enabling the university to gather data on charging patterns and energy usage.
Selkirk College Installs Solar Array
In October, the college installed a solar array on the roof of the library that includes 275 panels with the capacity to produce an estimated 112,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. The project will produce approximately 10 percent of the electricity needed on an annual basis at the college's Castlegar campus.
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.
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.
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.
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.