Chatham U Aims to Invest Endowment in Sustainable Energy
At a recent meeting of the university's investment committee of the board of trustees, members voted to approve two new investment opportunities that are specifically aimed at excluding fossil fuels and supporting sustainable energy. With those changes, 96 percent of its endowment will be fossil fuel-free. Currently, about five percent of the $80 million endowment fund is invested in fossil fuels.
U California Launches Climate Change Video Series
In a partnership with Vox, the university launched Climate Lab, a six-episode video series exploring global climate change and the university's work to mitigate its effects. Hosted by a conservation scientist and UCLA visiting researcher, the series showcases ways people can harness known and emerging technologies to address the complex problem of climate change. The first episode has been released, with five additional ones premiering over the next five weeks.
U Virginia Launches Nitrogen Footprint Tool Network
The University of Virginia, along with Brown University, Colorado College, Colorado State University, Dickinson College, Eastern Mennonite University, Marine Biological Laboratory and the University of New Hampshire, has launched the Nitrogen Footprint Tool Network, a group of higher education institutions that are measuring and attempting to reduce their output of reactive nitrogen. The Nitrogen Footprint Tool Network is working with the University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute to build the nitrogen footprint tool into the Campus Carbon Calculator.
U Virginia Dedicates 126KW Solar Array
Since mid-February, 324 panels on Clemons Library's roof have been producing what will amount to about 199,600 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. This will account for about 15 percent of the library’s annual electricity usage.
Rutgers U Approves $74.5M for Energy Facility Upgrades
The school's Board of Governors approved a $74.5 million upgrade to the university’s cogeneration plants, one built in 1995 and the other in 1987, to generate more electricity while producing fewer emissions. Between the two facilities, six turbines will be replaced and a total of $5.86 million per year will be avoided.
U Virginia to Publish Greenhouse Gas Action Plan
The soon-to-be released Greenhouse Gas Action Plan seeks to shift energy generation and distribution to renewable energy sources, employ conservation measures in existing buildings, increase energy efficiency in labs, employ sustainable building standards in new construction and major renovations, improve efficiencies in transportation and promote awareness of individual actions.
U Maryland Approves Carbon Neutral Air Travel Initiative
The university president recently approved a strategy to offset the greenhouse gases caused by university-related student, faculty and staff air travel, which have increased 52 percent over the past decade and now account for 20 percent of the university's carbon footprint. The goal is to completely and permanently eliminate the university air travel carbon footprint, likely through the purchase of carbon offsets at a cost of approximately $5 for each domestic trip.
U North Texas Taps Green Fund for RECs & Renewable Energy Education Campaign
A class submitted a request to the university's We Mean Green Fund that resulted in funding to purchase 107-megawatt-hours of renewable energy credits (RECs) and for an educational campaign focused on increasing renewable energy use that includes an educational website and classrooms and student organizations visits.
U Massachusetts Amherst Opens Net-Zero-Energy Building
The new 16,800-square-foot building houses 35 offices and four conference rooms and was designed to produce as much energy as it consumes, aided by daylighting, ground-source heating and cooling, and photovoltaic energy. It will use about one-fifth the energy of the average office building in that region's climate.
Leuphana U Completes Zero Emissions Building
(Germany): Topped with a green roof and powered by renewable energy, the light-filled building will operate at zero emissions. It also includes a gray water system. The building exceeds the standard that sets energy requirements for new buildings in Germany.
U Idaho Begins Fueling Trucks With Biodiesel
The university's Steam Plant has begun reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their operation by fueling their semi-truck and front-end loaders with a 20-percent blend of biodiesel made on campus from used cooking oil from Dining Services.
Columbia U Announces Coal Divestment Plans
The university's board of trustees has voted to support a recommendation from its Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing to divest from companies deriving more than 35 percent of their revenue from thermal coal production and to participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Climate Change Program.
California Polytechnic State U Releases Climate Action Plan
Over the 2015-16 academic year, Facilities Management and Development staff partnered with faculty and students in the college’s City and Regional Planning Department to create the university's first climate action plan. A team of twenty seven students and professors performed a background report and vulnerability assessment, comprehensive transportation survey, greenhouse gas inventory, and wrote the climate action plan. The university has the goal to achieve net zero emissions from all sources by 2050.
Harvard U Awards $1M to Seven Climate Change Projects
Five Harvard Schools will share about $1 million, awarded by the Climate Change Solutions Fund, for seven projects. Topics include energy, decarbonization, air pollution, imagining a fossil-free future, healthy eating and reducing the environmental footprint of food, and policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to inform the 23rd annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting of the parties in November.
Smith College Releases New Climate Action Plan
Smith College's Study Group on Climate Change presented the results of their yearlong study to the college's board of trustees recently, which recommended the college take a comprehensive approach to climate action in five areas: academic, campus programming, campus operations, investments and institutional change. The report also supports specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and a focus on climate justice, including a yearlong initiative on women and climate change.
U Mississippi Offsets Electricity Use With Renewable Energy Certificates
The university recently purchased 3,835 renewable energy credits (RECs) for $1,800, which is 0.02 percent of the overall electricity bill. This offset 3 percent of institution-wide electricity use from fiscal year 2016. The purchase, which came about as a recommendation of the UM Energy Committee, allows the university to lower its carbon footprint, support the development of renewable energy technologies and practice resource stewardship.
California State U Northridge Purchases Electric Grounds Equipment
The university's Grounds Shop has switched to all-electric equipment, such as blowers and hedge trimmers, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions on campus. Making the transition to electric, energy-efficient equipment will reduce fuel consumption and gas emissions, increase air quality, benefit employees’ health and reduce noise on campus. The university's president signed Second Nature's Climate Commitment about one year ago, a pledge to make the campus climate neutral by the year 2040.
U Wisconsin Stout Approves Solar Installation
A proposal to install 36 solar panels was recently approved by the Stout Student Association, the university’s student government council. Since receiving state approval, wheels are in motion for the university’s first solar panel investments using $66,280 of student Green Fee funds. All students pay the annual fee for campus sustainability-related projects.
Barnard College Endowment to Divest From Climate Change Deniers
The college's board of trustees recently voted to divest from energy companies that deny climate change. The board approved the measure saying the college will “distinguish between companies based on their behavior and willingness to transition to a cleaner economy.” Barnard students initially pressed for a broad divestment pledge before proposing a more limited measure that would target only those fossil fuel companies that seek to deny climate science or thwart efforts to mitigate the impact of global warming.
Loyola U Building Earns LEED Gold Level
The new five-story, $137 million building houses 500 students, faculty and staff and features a high energy efficient building envelope, operable windows, and natural daylighting and sun shades.
U Illinois Chicago Upgrades Energy Dashboard
The newly improved dashboard allows campus users immediate access to real-time energy displays. Upgrades include a new analytics platform, improved navigation and added campus-wide data streams. Users can see the energy use for 13 campus buildings.
U Iowa to be Coal Free by 2025
Increasing its use of biomass and other renewable energy sources, the university has teamed up with industry experts to develop diverse fuel sources and to optimize the power plant’s handling and combustion of these new alternative fuels in order to eliminate the use of coal by 2025. The current biomass fuel portfolio includes oat hulls, Miscanthus grass and wood chips.
Suffolk County CC Earns Tree Campus USA Recognition
The Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Suffolk County Community Colleges Eastern Campus as a Tree Campus USA, a national program that honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. The community college achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.
Eastern Kentucky U Sets 2036 Carbon Neutrality Goal
The university recently completed a comprehensive Climate Action and Resiliency Plan to strategically and economically reduce its carbon footprint to zero by 2036. The plan calls for the university to reach its goal via a variety of mitigation strategies, including implementation of geothermal heating/cooling throughout campus, improvements in central plant and building efficiencies, greater efficiencies in steam and chilled water, energy efficiency guidelines for new buildings, the purchase of renewable energy credits and carbon offsets and reduction in water consumption.
U Nebraska Medical Center Sets 2030 Carbon Neutrality Goal
Over the next 13 years, a new set of goals calls for the university and its partner, Nebraska Medicine, to become carbon neutral, with all the energy they use coming from renewable resources produced either on or off campus. The goals also call for reducing waste to zero and using less water than what falls on the main campus during an average year, about 104 million gallons.
U Reading Sets New Carbon Reduction Goal
(U.K.) After hitting a 35 percent reduction from a 2008-09 baseline, the university announced a new carbon reduction goal–45 percent by the 2020-21 academic year. To date, more than 4 million pounds ($4.9 million) has been invested into projects to improve energy performance, the savings from which will be reinvested back into sustainability initiatives. In addition, plans are already underway to reduce water consumption by 10 percent.
Hope College Building Receives LEED Silver
The building is co-located near public transportation, and uses light-colored concrete to reflect light, and stormwater retention and filtering. By weight, the materials used in construction have 32 percent recycled content, and by cost, more than 55 percent came from within 500 miles.
Loyola U Chicago Wins 2016 Climate Leadership Award
The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and Solution Generation recognized the university for its commitment to addressing climate change and making climate impacts on natural and social systems a key aspect of social justice. In the past year, Loyola released the university’s climate action plan with a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. As Chicago’s Jesuit, Catholic university, Loyola is addressing the climate through three main strategies: its campus, its curriculum and its community engagement.
U Melbourne Unveils Four-Year Sustainability Plan
(Australia): The university’s first institution-wide Sustainability Plan 2017-2020 indicates the university will become carbon neutral before 2030, achieve zero net emissions from electricity by 2021 and will now report annually on the institution’s sustainability impact and performance. The plan also calls for the establishment of a sustainable investment framework for evaluating and managing material climate change risk, and will set out the criteria for divestment from and investment in listed equities.
U Illinois Farm to Install Biomass Boiler
The greenhouse at the university will soon have a new biomass boiler from Germany that will replace the greenhouse's current propane gas fuel, resulting in fewer carbon-dioxide emissions. The boiler will use perennial grasses grown on the farm.
Oregon State U Board Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels
Responding to calls from students and faculty concerned about global warming, the university's board of trustees voted recently to dump the university’s investments in the fossil fuel industry. The decision means the state treasurer will begin selling off about $6.7 million in securities issued by fossil fuel companies, which represent less than 2 percent of the $516 million currently held in the fund.
Maryland Gov. Announces $7.5M for U Maryland 'Green Energy Institute'
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced his environmental agenda for the coming legislative session that included allocation of $7.5 million to the University of Maryland to create a green energy research center. The mission of the Green Energy Institute will be to develop and attract private investment and commercialize clean energy innovations and deployment solutions in Maryland.
Black Hills State U to Install Four Solar Energy Arrays
In an effort to normalize what it pays for electricity and to further its environmental efforts, the university is moving forward with four photovoltaic arrays that are projected to provide approximately 17 percent of its annual electricity consumption. The university currently pays 3 cents per kilowatt-hour to Western Area Power Administration. Six months out of the year, BHSU exceeds its allocation from WAPA and then buys power from Black Hills Energy at a rate of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. The solar power will replace the power bought from Black Hills Energy.
U Notre Dame to Generate Hydroelectric Energy
The university and the city have reached an agreement on a 50-year lease that gives the university rights to construct and operate a hydroelectric generation facility on the dam in the St. Joseph River. The university will run transmission lines from the dam to campus to generate about seven percent of its electrical needs.
Dickinson College to Bring 3MW Solar Array to Campus
As Dickinson approaches its 2020 deadline for carbon neutrality, the college has advanced a project that will bring a three-megawatt solar array to campus. The array is expected to provide 25 percent of the college’s electricity. The project is in conjunction with SolarCity through a 25-year power purchase agreement. Under the 25-year contract, SolarCity will install and maintain the solar panels at no cost to the college. Dickinson’s only expense will be the cost of the power itself.
Saint Johns U to Purchase Solar Energy
The university will soon be able to use a maximum of 40 percent of a three-megawatt, grid-tied photovoltaic array, which will provide just over 13 percent of university's annual electrical needs. The new solar field is being constructed on 23 acres of Abbey-owned land, which will be replanted to a prairie-wildflower mix between the panels to increase pollinator habitats for bees, butterflies and birds.
Stanford U Partners on 67MW Photovoltaic System
The university teamed up with SunPower to complete a 67-megawatt solar system that will reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions by 68 percent and use of fossil fuels by 65 percent. The nearly 155,000-panel array tracks with the sun to optimize solar gain. Although the station is not wired directly to Stanford, the university will buy all the power the station generates for the next 25 years at a fixed price.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Enters into Wind Power Purchase Agreement
In a 10-year power purchase agreement, the university will receive nearly nine percent of the total wind generation of a nearby utility-scale wind farm, which in combination with other renewable energy brings the campus' clean energy portfolio to about nine percent (33,200-megawatt-hours) of it's annual energy consumption. The university's climate action plan includes an objective to obtain at least 120,000-megawatt-hours per year from low-carbon sources by fiscal year 2020.
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.