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.
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.
HKUST Announces Large-Scale Solar-Electric System
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) recently announced a renewable energy project that will include the installation of up to 8,000 solar panels at over 50 locations on campus. The system will generate up to 3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. Part of the system will be dedicated as a living laboratory for the university’s faculty and students to test out ideas and projects related to solar energy systems.
Fort Lewis College Installs EV Chargers
Spearheaded by the Campus Sustainability Council, a project to connect two electric vehicle charging stations is now complete. The chargers allow for four vehicles to charge at once. The Campus Sustainability Council received $18,000 in funding from Charge Ahead Colorado, a program of the Colorado Energy Office, for the purchase and installation of the stations.
Cornell U Explores Ground Source Heating With $7.2M Grant
The university recently secured a $7.2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to fund exploratory research on the feasibility of using a novel geothermal energy system to heat campus buildings. Ground source heating is part of Cornell's Climate Action Plan as a potential means for carbon neutrality by eliminating fossil fuels for heating.
Three HEIs Sign Onto Sports for Climate Action Framework
The Ohio State University, Wake Forest University and the University of Miami recently signed onto the U.N.'s Sports for Climate Action Framework joining the University of Colorado Boulder. Signatories of the framework commit to five core principles in environmental responsibility, climate impact, education, consumption, and advocating and communication. Globally over 120 athletics programs have signed onto the framework.
U Hull Enters Carbon Neutrality Partnership
(U.K.) The university recently announced a partnership with Siemens that will create a detailed strategic master plan for carbon neutrality by 2027. Siemens has been commissioned by the university to undertake an evaluation of its energy consumption, focused on reducing emissions and finding new, renewable ways to power the campus. The elements of the plan will include reduction of current energy consumption, energy production using renewable energy, and conversion of the university's campus into a living lab that enables researchers and students to trial new technologies.
Leeward CC Becomes Net-Zero Campus
In addition to reducing consumption through various energy efficiency measures, the campus is now generating 97 percent of its energy through on-site photovoltaic systems, including solar shade canopies and distributed energy storage.
Three Massachusetts HEIs Receive Funding for Net-Zero Carbon Emissions Study
The Massachusetts governor's office recently allocated three awards, totaling $300,000, to Salem State University, and to University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD) and Lowell (UML). The grant funding is for feasibility studies that will help these three Massachusetts state universities achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
U Minnesota Morris Achieves Electricity Carbon Neutrality
Roughly 70 percent of the campus' electricity is generated by renewable energy–two university-owned, 1.65-megawatt wind turbines and several photovoltaic systems. To achieve carbon neutrality, the campus recently purchased renewable energy credits equal to the fossil-fuel produced electricity the campus uses.
U Pittsburgh Signs Solar PPA for Electricity
Through a new, 20-year solar power purchase agreement, the university will purchase all of the renewable electricity produced by a planned 20-megawatt solar power facility. It will cover approximately 13 percent of the Pittsburgh campus’ annual electricity usage.
California State U East Bay Adopts Air Travel Offset Policy
A flat $9 offset fee per trip will soon be charged to the department of any person traveling on university business when funded by the university or related affiliates. The funds collected will be deposited into the university’s Climate Action Plan Fund and used for projects at university-owned sites that provide greenhouse gas reductions.
Williams College Invests in Local Carbon Reduction Projects
Through a partnership with the environmental nonprofit Center for EcoTechnology, the college is investing in the Community Climate Fund, a portfolio of projects that yields a measurable carbon reduction, significant social and financial benefits in the local community, and curricular and research opportunities for students and faculty. The initial $100,000 investment is being used toward building materials recovery, a solar wall for a local childcare center, and energy-efficient heating system upgrades for low-income homes.
George Washington U Commits to Fossil Fuel Divestment
The university board of trustees pledged in late June to not make any new investments in businesses that derive the majority of their revenue from the extraction of fossil fuels and agreed to eliminate 100 percent of all such investments from its endowment over the next five years. The board also committed to working with investment managers to encourage investment in companies with environmentally sustainable business practices.
Winona State U Installs Electric Charging Stations
The university recently installed two new electric car charging stations. The stations are ready for use and open to students, faculty, staff and the public. The charging stations are free to use for WSU students. Faculty and staff receive a reduced fee of $0.10 per kilowatt-hour. Public users are charged a one-dollar flat rate connection fee as well as $0.10 per kilowatt-hour.
Connecticut College Adopts GHG Emissions Reduction Target
The college recently adopted a new goal to achieve a 45 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. To reach the new goal, the college will undertake a multi-phased process beginning with a Utility Master Plan that will lay out a long-term strategy for transforming energy production and use on campus. This will be followed by a Climate Action Plan, laying out specific projects and a timeline to meet or exceed the goal. Both plans are to be executed in the coming year.
Alabama A&M U Receives $2.2M for Electric Buses
The university's Bulldog Transit System (BTS) has been awarded over $2.2 million from the Federal Transit Administration to further increase its total number of electric buses, as well as to work toward its goal of providing needed infrastructure upgrades, charging stations, and a bus storage facility.
Bucknell U Building Achieves LEED Platinum O+M
The university's academic and office building, Academic West, includes room occupancy sensors, large windows and glass interior walls that allow natural light to permeate the building, a green roof that helps the building stay cool and serves as a laboratory for student and faculty research, rain gardens, and a smart metering system that logs data on energy, temperature, water flow and HVAC settings every five minutes.
Northwestern U to Support 16 Community Solar Projects
The university recently signed an agreement with a community solar provider to support the development and construction of 16 community solar projects in Illinois, totalling 11.9 megawatts. Additionally, the partnership will provide hands-on experiential learning for students. Community solar allows customers to subscribe to a local solar project, receive credits on their utility bill and reduce their overall electricity costs.
Macquarie U Signs Hydroelectricity Agreement
(Australia) The new seven-year contract allows the university to source hydroelectricity for its North Ryde campus. Under the contract, the university will purchase approximately 54,422 megawatt-hours of electricity per year.