Middlebury College Reaches Carbon Neutrality
In a recent news announcement, the college explains two initiatives it used to help reach a net zero carbon footprint, meaning that the institution has balanced the amount of carbon emissions it releases with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset. In 2008, a biomass facility was brought online that helped reduce No. 6 fuel oil from two million gallons to 600,000 by using 24,000 tons of locally sourced wood chips. In addition, a conservation deal allowed the college to set aside 2,100 acres of forestland in perpetuity that it will count toward carbon sequestration.
Harvard U Achieves GHG Reduction Milestone Set in 2008
In a recently released report, the university details the path it took to achieving its goal, which it set in 2008, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2016 from a 2006 baseline, inclusive of campus growth. The steps included energy audits and energy efficiency measures across most of the 25 million square feet of campus, installing renewable energy technology, and fuel-switching and other improvements to campus utilities that lowered carbon pollution. Changes to energy supply and demand resulted in a 24 percent absolute reduction in emissions while purchased electricity from local renewable energy sources fulfilled the remaining six percent reduction.
HEIs Pen Letter to President-Elect Regarding Climate Action
Collaboratively developed by a diverse group of higher education institutions and Second Nature, an open letter to the incoming President and members of Congress asks for participation in international climate efforts, support for climate research and investment in climate solutions. Any institution of higher education can add their name to the letter by Dec. 9, to be included in the national release of this letter.
Simon Fraser U Commits to Decrease Footprint of Investment Portfolio
In late November, the university's board of governors committed to decrease the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio by at least 30 percent by 2030. This target is in line with Canada’s climate commitment, and enables the university to actively encourage companies to pursue lower carbon solutions, while also reducing its investment risk.
Oklahoma State U to Connect New, More Efficient Power Plant
The construction of a new central steam and chilled-water plant will replace the university's 1947 power plant and is set to come online at the beginning of 2017. Designed to meet future needs as dictated by the growth of campus over the next 20 years, the power plant's new chillers will be 31 percent more efficient and new boilers 21 percent more efficient than existing plant equipment, resulting in a projected $350,000 reduction of annual campus energy costs.
North Carolina State U Students & Faculty Petition for Renewable Energy by 2030
Students gathered just before the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday to ask Chancellor Randy Woodson to commit to making the university 100 percent reliant on renewable energy sources by 2030. Students working with the Climate Reality Project, Environment America and the Student Public Interest Research Groups gathered 4,200 signatures from students and faculty on a petition, as part of a national movement called “100% Committed, 100% Renewable. The Week of Action for Renewable Energy.”
St. Olaf College Soon to be Carbon Neutral
The college will soon be 100 percent carbon neutral after the completion of five, one-megawatt solar electric farms on college-owned land. In addition to the solar installations, the college operates a utility-scale wind turbine and purchases wind energy from a utility. The college uses over 17,000 megawatt-hours of energy.
Portland State U Wins National Award for Community Engagement
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) has named the university the winner of the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award in recognition of its 27-year partnership with Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, which have gained national and international recognition for their long-term partnership that engages faculty and students in education, research and service.
Portland State U Partners with Community on Clean Air
The university’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions recently joined with Neighbors for Clean Air and Lewis & Clark Law School’s Northwest Environmental Defense Center on a new partnership, BREATHE Oregon, that will provide scientific data, legal analysis and community outreach so residents and policy makers have the information they need to make decisions that improve air quality in Portland and throughout Oregon. The partnership was awarded $250,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust.
Duke U Students Challenge Proposed Natural Gas Plant
A proposed 21-megawatt, combined heat-and-power (CHP) project that the university and Duke Energy have claimed as a clean and energy-efficient alternative for the university is facing growing opposition. Opponents worry the project will expand the use of fossil fuels, and some complain the university has not involved students, faculty and the local community.
Weber State U Unveils 2MW Solar System
The approximately two-megawatt solar-electric system is expected to provide 100 percent of the Davis campus electrical needs. The system was financed, designed, installed and will be maintained by SolarCity and covers nearly seven acres of land.
Wesleyan U Celebrates Installation of 750KW Photovoltaic Array
Projected to provide approximately five percent of the university's annual energy consumption, the completed 750-kilowatt solar-electric system will work in collaboration with two existing natural gas co-generation facilities to expand the reach of its microgrid.
Ball State U Shaves 20 Years Off Carbon Neutrality Date
In consultation with the institution's Sustainability Working Group, the interim president endorsed moving the carbon neutrality date up from 2050 to 2030, which was made possible, in part, from the installation of a ground-source heating and cooling system and working with Chevrolet and the Climate Neutral Business Network to sell carbon reduction credits on the voluntary carbon market to fund further advancements.
U North Carolina Chapel Hill Announces Three Zeros Initiative
The university's new Three Zeros Initiative strives to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality, water neutrality and zero waste by addressing individual behaviors, teaching and how the campus can model new, innovative approaches while having a global impact. Three Zeros stemmed from the new Sustainability Plan, which is the university's framework for examining campus-wide sustainability efforts and identifying ways to integrate them into teaching, research and engagement activities.
Ohio Northern U Begins Construction on 2MW Solar Array
Projected to meet approximately 10 percent of the university electricity demand, the two-megawatt photovoltaic system is expected to be complete in 2016. Under a 25-year power purchase agreement, the university will purchase electricity directly from the array without needing to invest capital in construction and maintenance.
Cornell U Releases Report on Carbon-Reducing Solutions
Released in September 2016, Options for Achieving a Carbon Neutral Campus by 2035 - Analysis of Solutions is a set of recommendations for that will inform decision-making to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. The report focuses on solutions to reducing energy demands and providing low carbon energy supply, such as ensuring all students graduate with a basic understanding of climate literacy and pursuing energy solutions in partnership with local and regional entities.
Harvard U Funds Climate Solutions Course and Research Project
The multi-year Climate Solutions Living Lab course and research project is designed to bring together students from across the university in interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at Harvard and beyond. The strategies are intended to be scalable for potential adoption by other similarly situated institutions that want to reduce their emissions and improve public health in and around their buildings.
Keene State College Heats with Waste Vegetable Oil
In a Campus Sustainability Month announcement, Keene stated it is using 100 percent purified waste vegetable oil to heat approximately 36 percent of campus. During August 2016, the college met the demand for heat and hot water using this fuel, which is helping the college reduce carbon emissions.
Otto Beisheim School Mgt Opens Building with Sustainable Energy System
(Germany) The new building features a climate control system that includes two wells for groundwater that is used to cool the building. This is coupled with a software-controlled ventilation system that allows the air inside the building to mix with outside air to result in an even distribution of temperature without temperature stratification.
U Oregon Adopts ESG Investment Considerations
The university's chief investment officer recently mentioned its new environmental, social and governance considerations for investments, which state that carbon-based investments will expire without renewal. The investment management statement also indicates the university owns no investments in coal.
Arizona State U & Johnson County CC Win 2016 Climate Leadership Awards
The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, in partnership with Second Nature, recently announced that Arizona State University and Johnson County Community College have been recognized for their innovative and advanced leadership in sustainability, climate change mitigation and resilience. Honorable mentions include Huston-Tillotson University, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Santa Fe Community College and Southern Oregon University.
Vassar College Endorses 2016 Climate Action Plan
The 2016 Climate Action Plan outlines a path of action for achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, including construction of a small-scale hydro facility and a large-scale photovoltaic system within the next two years. To date, the college has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent from 2005 levels.
U California Purchases Electricity from 60MW Solar Installation
A key step in reaching the university system's goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, electricity produced by a recently completed, 60-megawatt (MW) solar farm will be purchased by the university, with nearly one-quarter going to UC Davis. The 60MW represents approximately 14 percent of the system's total usage and the university notes that an additional 20MW solar installation is set to come online by mid-2017.
Energy Action Coalition Becomes the Power Shift Network
After the Energy Action Coalition's newly hired (2015) executive director, Lydia Avila, completed a listening tour with stakeholders, it was decided that along with a name change, the Power Shift Network will decentralize itself into "a national network of climate, clean energy, and social justice organizations, including student-led groups, who, together, mobilize the collective power of young people to mitigate climate change and create a just, clean energy future and resilient, thriving communities for all", Avila says.
Three Universities Participate in Voluntary Carbon Offset Market
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Ball State University and Southern Oregon University sold credits produced through carbon-reducing
activities to help finance and further their carbon neutrality work on campus. Made possible by Second Nature's Carbon Credit and Purchasing Program, the sale to BP Target Neutral generated over $1 million.
U British Columbia Publishes 'Carbon Neutral Action Report'
The newly released report summarizes the school's emissions profile, actions to reduce emissions, total offsets and ongoing and future strategies for continued emissions reductions. Highlights include greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 30 percent below 2007 levels despite a 16 percent increase in floor space and 22 percent increase in student enrollment. Reductions were primarily due to a steam to hot water conversion project (District Energy), displacement of natural gas through the Bio-energy Research and Demonstration Facility and optimizing academic building performance.
Eastern Mennonite U & Partners Launch Climate Center
The Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions launched in August with a $1 million donation. Led by the university, the center will focus on connecting with a national and global network of like-minded organizations, researching best practices and innovation. Goshen College is a founding partner institution.
U West England to Construct Large Solar Array
(U.K.) To support the nation's decarbonization agenda, increase energy security and enhance local renewable energy capacity, the solar electric system is expected to supply 400-megawatt-hours of electricity, roughly half of the electricity used by the building upon which it will be constructed.
Scientific Organizations Write Congress Regarding Climate Change
The June letter to U.S. policymakers, representing 31 scientific organizations, reaffirmed human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources and human health. The letter provides objective, authoritative information to policymakers.
North Carolina State U Tests Battery-Powered Lawn Equipment
New electric weed and hedge trimmers, leaf blowers and a lawn mower are now part of a pilot program to evaluate the equipment’s productivity, safety and cost-effectiveness. Air quality and noise reduction benefits are the driving motivators for the product testing.
Michigan State U Joins 'Workplace Charging Challenge'
In an effort to help reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions while also providing a valuable benefit to students, employees and visitors, the university recently joined the national partnership program, Workplace Charging Challenge through the U.S. Department of Energy, that aims to increase the number of employers offering workplace vehicle charging to 500 by 2018.
U British Columbia Boasts High Savings from Lab Challenge
One hundred and twelve participants, forming 18 teams, from 11 buildings across two campuses competed in a challenge to make research labs more energy efficient. The results yielded over 7,500-kilowatt-hours per year in energy savings, primarily through raising the freezer temperatures from minus 80 degrees C to minus 70 degrees.
U Massachusetts Amherst Divests Fossil Fuel Holdings
A recent announcement revealed a unanimous UMass Foundation Board of Directors' decision to divest its endowment, whose value was $770 million at the end of the last fiscal year, from direct holdings in fossil fuels. The move follows divestiture from coal companies in 2015.
Three New York Schools Win $1M Each in Clean Energy Competition
Bard College, University at Buffalo and SUNY Broome Community College each won $1 million as part of Governor Cuomo's Energy to Lead Competition. The competition, first announced in October 2015, challenged student-led coalitions from New York colleges and universities to design and develop innovative plans for campus and community-wide clean energy projects. Applicants were required to demonstrate innovation in one or more of the following areas: project design, business model, partnerships and/or curriculum integration.
U Winnipeg Unveils Climate Change Website
The new Prairie Climate Atlas is an interactive, online tool that uses climate data, geovisualizations and multimedia to map the dramatic changes predicted for the Canadian Prairies. The Atlas is the flagship project of the Prairie Climate Center, which is a collaboration between the University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development. The goal of the Atlas is to make the best climate science available to a broad spectrum of society.
SUNY New Paltz Partnership Yields 217KW Solar Array
The university's new partnership with the New York Power Authority will result in a 217-kilowatt solar electric system with a hybrid power converter and battery storage for use during emergencies and times of peak demand.
NextGen Climate Mobilizes Young Voters at 203 Campuses
NextGen Climate launched a national campaign to register and mobilize young voters at 203 college campuses in seven key battleground states to help elect climate champions to the White House and the Senate this fall. The campaign aims to show the size and scope of the enthusiasm for climate action among young voters.
Northern Arizona U to Install 720KW Solar Array
The university has signed a 20-year agreement on a soon-to-be constructed 723-kilowatt solar electric system that will be mounted on a parking garage. A separate 20-year agreement with another agency will provide six cents per kilowatt-hour produced by the system. The student-funded NAU Green Fund will contribute $100,000 a year for the first 10 years to offset the cost of purchasing the generated electricity.
MIT Report Highlights Creation of Climate Action Advisory Committee
In a new report released in April, MIT announced a new Climate Action Advisory Committee to consult on the implementation of climate plans, develop a set of strategies and benchmarks for the school's engagement with industry, government and other institutions, and assist in finding ways to engage the broader community in climate action. The report also outlines progress on its five-year climate action plan released in October 2015.
Stanford U Students Reduce Team Travel Emissions
The university recently announced that all of last year's (2015) varsity team air travel emissions were offset through Stanford Carbon Offsets to Reduce Emissions (SCORE), a collaborative effort to reduce Stanford Athletics’ carbon footprint from air travel by purchasing carbon offsets.
84 US Universities Join Second Nature's Climate Commitment
Second Nature recently announced that 84 charter college and university signatories across the U.S. have signed onto its Climate Commitment, which requires higher education institutions to set targets, report on progress publicly and collaborate with their surrounding community, all while integrating sustainability across the curriculum.