Tuesday July 30, 2013

Striking Out Carbon

University of Dayton President Daniel J. Curran has signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, committing the University to being carbon neutral.

Under the commitment, the University will update an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions within a year. It will have a plan in place within two years outlining objectives to becoming carbon neutral and a date by which to achieve it.

The plan also calls for integrating sustainability into the curriculum and educational experiences for all students.

While the plan is being developed, schools are required to implement at least two actions to reduce greenhouse emissions. Those include establishing a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver standard or equivalent or adopting an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist, among others.

"We will update a carbon footprint study this fall to determine our current emissions levels and then create a plan for eliminating these emissions during the next several decades. One of the immediate steps we will take is to create a policy requiring all appliances we purchase be ENERGY STAR rated," Curran said. "All of our past sustainability work aligns with this commitment and gives us a firm foundation to move forward."

Read the commitment at the related link.

The University's plans, carbon inventory and progress reports will be made available on that website.The University has worked recently on sustainability with a number of efforts:

  • Joined a regional initiative to build a culture of sustainability in the community and reduce the region's carbon footprint.
  • Campaign to reduce energy, which saved more than $600,000.
  • Instituted one of the largest university food composting efforts in the nation. The effort has diverted more than 1,000 tons from landfills.
  • Master's program in renewable and clean energy. Demand is nearly three times the projected enrollment figures.
  • Pilot recycling program, providing each of the University's approximately 633 housing units in the student neighborhood with large recycling bins.
  • Gave students report cards demonstrating how they use energy. Eighty-five percent of the 469 monitored student residences received an average or better score on their report cards, and the University estimated a $20,000 savings on gas and electric.
  • Built its first green buildings. The $51-million GE Aviation Electrical Power Integrated Systems Center opening this summer is the University's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified (LEED) building. Five new houses built in the student neighborhoods for the 2012-2013 school year are certified as green buildings under the National Association of Homebuilders national green building standard.

A pair of national organizations have recognized the University for its efforts.

The University made The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges and it earned a Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS®) bronze rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Find more information about the University of Dayton's sustainability efforts on the Learn. Lead. ConServe. website.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or srobinson@udayton.edu.