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					Oberlin College: Climate Neutral by 2020                                                                   Appendix C




                            Appendix C
          Climate projects at other
          colleges and universities
The majority of the nation’s 4,100 colleges and universities now have general environmental
programs in place, covering a range of topics from recycling to waste minimization and invest-
ment portfolios to environmental equity. The Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers
estimated in a 1995 survey that U.S. colleges and universities have deferred maintenance of $60
to $80 billion. The ecological footprint of such institutions’ own operations and facilities are
only now coming to the forefront, and while a number of institutions have implemented very
effective energy-saving programs, only a few institutions have launched climate programs.
Since climate change is the environmental threat of the 21st Century — affecting water, food and
economic growth and the very land, indeed the stability and health of nearly everything upon
which our societies rest — reducing emissions of greenhouse gases has become a societal
imperative.
Institutions of higher learning will integrate solutions to this call for action through curricula and
life and learning on campuses around the country. The future is choice, not fate, and we know
how we — as individuals and institutions and communities — can greatly reduce our “climate
footprint” through actions both simple and effective. Colleges and universities, paradoxically
often far behind the vanguard, can embrace rather than sacrifice fiscal responsibility by focusing
on ways to reduce energy and waste that offer impressive rates of return far in excess of ordinary
portfolios. Energy costs alone run in the millions for such institutions, and expenses per student
range from $64 to $4,700 per student per year, with a mean of $484 per student per year. 1 In
comparison, Oberlin College energy expenses were $689 per student in 2000.2


1
  MacDonald, Michael (2000), Higher Education Energy Performance Indicators 1997-98, Association of Higher
Education Facilities Officers; at http://eber.ed.ornl.gov/commercialproducts/CCAS9798.htm. Data for the College of
San Mateo and VA Inst of Marine Science, respectively. Costs per sq. ft. of building area (if we eliminate the
institutions listed as supplying “questionable data”) ranged from $0.41 to $2.19/ft 2/yr (Marquette Univ. and New
Mexico State). Energy intensity ranged from 91 to 485 kBtu/ft 2/yr (Portland State Univ. & Citadel Military College).
2
  $2.0 million divided by enrollment of 2,905 students in 2000. Oberlin’s total energy costs is for steam, natural gas,
and electricity for buildings only, and does not include expenditures for transportation and related fuels.


Rocky Mountain Institute                           Richard Heede                                         www.rmi.org
Oberlin College: Climate Neutral by 2020                                                                   Appendix C


As Walter Simpson has successfully demonstrated at State University of New York (Buffalo),
energy budgets can be reduced by millions of dollars annually with commensurate savings in
emissions of greenhouse gases.3 The Oberlin project intends to focus sharply on cost-effective
ways to reduce emissions, and we hope to use such financial savings to leverage additional and
more comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction programs, all of which will help define a better
future for the college, its students, and their planet.
Several colleges and universities have initiated greenhouse gas inventory programs; see the table
below for comparative statistics. A few institutions have made early commitments to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. In April 2000, University of Colorado students approved an increase
in student fees to buy 2 million kWh of wind power annually, thus reducing CU’s emissions by
1,400 tons of CO2.4 The University of Connecticut went a step further, announcing a more con-
sequential student fee to purchase green power at a lower cost than the previous contract for dirty
power.5 The University of Vermont has installed photovoltaic panels, University of North Caro-
lina is auditing energy consumption in dining halls, Illinois Wesleyan and Humboldt State
University are developing a comprehensive energy and environmental plans, and Ball State and
Carnegie Mellon have plans to boost environmental performance in residence halls, in other
buildings, and in transportation.6
Even so, only a handful of institutions have committed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Cornell University and Tufts University are among the leaders, although Lewis & Clark College,
Tulane, and PennState have completed comprehensive GHG inventories and are debating the
merits of committing to emissions reduction targets.7


3
  See the SEMPRA and Simpson reports listed in the bibliography for details. See also Lindsey Auden’s results at
Columbia University.
4
  ENS, 17Apr00: “In the largest student voter turnout in University of Colorado history, students voted by a 5 to 1
margin to increase student fees by $1 per semester for 4 years to purchase wind power from Public Service of Colo's
Ponnequin wind farm. This clean, renewable source of energy will lower campus emissions of CO 2 by 2.8 million
pounds every year. The increase in fees will raise $50,000 per year, enough to purchase the output of an entire wind
turbine (2 million kWh per year), making CU-Boulder the largest university purchaser of wind power in the nation!”
5
  Center for Resource Solutions, May01: “Students at Connecticut College celebrated a win for the environment
today as their University announced its commitment to support 100% Green-e Certified renewable electricity. The
students themselves spearheaded the switch to the cleaner, environmentally friendly energy (and) successfully cam-
paigned for a $25 increase in their student activity fees to pay the costs associated with purchasing renewable
energy. The Connecticut Energy Co-op is an electricity supplier based in Hartford, and pioneered the effort in New
England to offer 100 percent, Green-e Certified renewable electricity. The Co-op will serve Connecticut College
with renewable resources through its EcoWatt™, offering electricity at a price lower than the college's current elec-
tricity rate.” www.resource-solutions.org
Also, 17Dec01, NWF News: “Pennsylvania colleges and universities have taken a huge step towards green power.
Last month, Pennsylvania State University announced a 5-year commitment to purchase wind-generated electricity,
making it the largest purchaser of wind power in the U.S. Under the agreement, wind turbines in Somerset and Mill
Run, a small town in Fayette County, will supply 5 percent of the main campus's electrical needs, or about 13.2 mil-
lion kilowatt hours a year. This project was initiated by students from the Penn Environmental Group and continued
by the facilities department of University of Pennsylvania. Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA led the charge by be-
ing the first campus to commit to 5% of their energy coming from renewable resources at an estimated additional
cost of $80,000 annually, making them at the time the single largest consumer of wind power in the U.S. In addition,
the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has signed a similar agreement, resulting in three strong campus
commitments in the state, all supporting the local economy while making the right decision for the environment.”
6
  See National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology program for details. www.nwf.org/campusecology/
7
  In April 2001 Harold D. Craft Jr., Cornell’s CFO & VP for administration committed the University to “do every-
thing within its ability, consistent with the university's obligations for teaching, research, service and extension, to
implement the Kyoto Protocol standards.” www.news.cornell.edu//Chronicles/4.19.01/Kyoto_Now.html


Rocky Mountain Institute                            Richard Heede                                         www.rmi.org
Oberlin College: Climate Neutral by 2020                                                              Appendix C



                                  Tufts Climate Initiative
The Tufts Climate Initiative was launched in 1998 to steer Tufts University on a cleaner energy
path to “meet or beat” the target set for the United States under the Kyoto Protocol (that is, to
0.93 of 1990 emissions by 2012). Tufts also intends to continue contributing to an improved
public understanding of the climate issue through student involvement and increased research in
engineering, science, economics, and policy. The initiative’s ability to make changes at the uni-
versity is largely due to its successful partnership with the Tufts Department of Facilities. TCI
aims to realize direct and measurable reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas
emissions from 71,880 tons CO2e in 1998 to 59,470 tons CO2e or less by 2012.8 Details of the
GHG reduction plan are not available, and while a number of building retrofit and related pro-
grams have been implemented we do not yet have monitored data on savings. Tufts’ GHG
emissions and target is shown below.




                                    Oberlin’s opportunity
This brief survey of campus initiatives highlights Oberlin’s opportunity to leapfrog existing pro-
grams. Its inventory is more complete and comprehensive than any other inventory and is linked
to an effort to reduce emissions. Clear protocols will enable Oberlin to measure progress reliably.
A great deal of emissions reduction can be realized at a profit and can be integrated with normal

8
 Tufts’ 1990 emissions totaled 63,950 tons CO2e. The 7 percent reduction required to meet or exceed the U.S. Kyoto
commitment translates to savings of 29 percent below the estimated business-as-usual emissions of 83,790 tons
CO2e in 2012. www.tufts.edu/tci/


Rocky Mountain Institute                         Richard Heede                                       www.rmi.org
Oberlin College: Climate Neutral by 2020                                                           Appendix C


renovation and replacement schedules over the next two decades. Finally, the educational, public
relations, and endowment value of vaulting the current low performance bar and sluggish pro-
gress of other initiatives is immeasurable. The ability, tools, and rationale for such an aggressive
action by Oberlin College have been presented in the main report.


                            Comparative GHG emissions
An ability to benchmark Oberlin’s GHG emissions against other colleges and universities would
be useful. However, there are no standards — although RMI recommended the creation of
inventory and boundary protocols in a recent paper — to make fair comparisons possible.9 The
climates zones vary enormously, as do the energy fuels and the carbon content of the electricity
resources used on campuses. Oberlin’s electricity supply, for example, is heavily coal-
(therefore) carbon-intensive, and the central heating plant uses coal-fired boilers to raise steam
for heating. In contrast, Lewis & Clark College, in Portland, is in a milder climate and its electric
supply is predominantly hydropower.
Furthermore, there is no protocol determining each institution’s boundary: Oberlin’s is
comprehensive and conforms to the recommendations of the World Resources Institute and other
protocol-recommending institutions, whereas many boundaries are drawn much tighter than
Oberlin’s.10 Most inventories — Tulane University’s and University of Colorado’s, for example
— focus on building energy consumption and campus-owned vehicles, and thus exclude
chlorofluorocarbons (5.7 percent of Oberlin’s emissions), air travel and all other transportation
fuel (although Tulane does add commuting), methane from waste water treatment plants, coal
mining, and the landfill, nitrous oxides, and several other minor emissions sources. The building
energy emissions comprise 85.6 percent of Oberlin’s total, and we can surmise that most college
and university emissions inventories will strike approximately the same balance between
emissions sources. Unless — as is the case with Lewis & Clark College — electricity and
heating is primarily done with zero-carbon hydropower and low-carbon natural gas, in which
case transportation and miscellaneous emissions will rise in relative importance.
All these variables preclude drawing meaningful inferences about relative emissions intensities,
yet we present the results of the known inventories below.




9
  Heede, Richard, and Ben Shepherd (2001), “The Road Less Traveled (Still): Oberlin College: Climate Neutral by
2020,” Proceedings of the Greening of the Campus IV Conference, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, Sep01.
10
   World Resources Institute & World Business Council for Sustainable Development (2001), The Greenhouse Gas
Protocol: a corporate accounting and reporting standard, Washington, DC, and Geneva, Switzerland. www.wri.org
and www.wbcsd.org. See also Loreti et al (for the Pew Center) and UNEP’s reporting guidelines.


Rocky Mountain Institute                        Richard Heede                                     www.rmi.org
Oberlin College: Climate Neutral by 2020                                                              Appendix C




       Greenhouse Gas Emissions Comparison
       Oberlin College, Tufts University, Penn State University, Tulane,
      University of Colorado, and Lewis & Clark College, 2000 inventories
                              Emission per student Emission per building Total emissions
                              Lbs CO2-e/Student/yr   Lbs CO2-e/ft2/yr     Tons CO2-e/yr

     Oberlin College11                   34,710                     46.5                    50,417
     Tufts University12                  17,624                     37.0                    71,881
     Penn State Univ.13,14               20,447                     49.2                  413,750
     Tulane University15                   7,619                    23.4                    38,566
     Univ. of Colorado16                 10,097                     28.0                  126,757
     Lewis & Clark17                       8,077                    25.0                    12,338




11
    Oberlin College’s enrollment was 2,905 in academic year 2000-2001. Its building floor area totals 2,168,407
square feet, not counting the 138,677 square foot Kettering Science Center now under construction.
12
    Gloria, Thomas (2001), Tufts University’s Green House Gas Emissions Inventory for 1990 and 1998, Tufts Insti-
tute for the Environment, Medford MA, January 2001.
13
    Lachmann, Stephen Frederick (1999), A Greenhouse Gas Inventory of the University Park Campus of the Penn-
sylvania State University, Geography MS thesis, August 1999. CO2e per square foot is calculated by including total
campus greenhouse gas emissions and converting to CO 2e emissions per square foot.
14
   Pennsylvania State University Physical Plant Website. http://www.opp.psu.edu/fact/fact.htm 5Jul01.
15
15
 15 Davey, Elizabeth, and Shelley Kahler (2001), Tulane University Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for 2000.
www.tulane.edu/~eaffairs/energy.html. Email from Davey: Prelim inventory for Uptown campus only shows 34,987
metric tonnes of CO2 (= 38,566 tons CO2); Uptown students = 10,123; Uptown building area = 3.299 million sq. ft.
16
   Based on CU’s limited GHG inventory (buildings and campus vehicles only): 34,567 tons C (=126,757 tons CO 2).
APPA survey: CU has 25,109 students and 9.061 million sqft = 10,097 lbs CO 2/student/yr, and 28.0 lbsCO2/sf-yr.
17
   Lewis & Clark College enrollment 1999-2000 totalled 3,055 students (undergraduate A&S, Grad School, and Law
School). www.lclark.edu/general/glanc/. L&CC’s building floor area total 987,000 sq. ft. and 3,200 students,
according to the listing in MacDonald, Michael (2000), Higher Education Energy Performance Indicators 1997-98,
Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers: http://eber.ed.ornl.gov/commercialproducts/CCAS9798.htm.
University of Colorado is listed as having 25,109 students and 9.061 million sq. ft. PennState is listed as having
37,779 students and 14.653 million sq. ft. Tulane or Tufts did not participate in APPA’s survey.


Rocky Mountain Institute                         Richard Heede                                       www.rmi.org

				
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