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

(U.K.) 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.

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.

Colgate U Achieves Carbon Neutrality

In addition to their recent investments in carbon offsets for heating, cooling, and employee travel, the university will now purchase 100 percent renewable energy, making it carbon neutral in the year of its bicentennial.

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.