Submitted on May 13, 2010; last updated on May 13, 2010
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Strategies Goals (listed in the order of appearance in this plan) Deadline
A. Reduce Consumption
1 Reduce electricity consumption by a minimum average of one percent relative to 2007 baseline. Annual
2 Reduce transportation emissions. Annual
3 Eliminate emissions from paper. 2013
4 Eliminate emissions from waste. 2013
5 Eliminate emissions from agricultural inputs. 2014
B. Produce Renewable Energy
6 Produce maximum viable solar energy. 2015
7 Produce maximum viable energy from waste. 2015
8 Produce maximum viable wind energy. 2015
C. Buy Green Power
9 Buy renewable energy certificates (RECs) for 100% of electricity. 2010
10 Buy green power for 100% of electricity consumption. 2014
D. Buy/Develop Offsets
11 Buy offsets for travel and other unavoidable emissions. 2012
12 Develop offset projects for travel and other unavoidable emissions. 2020
Recognizing the need to rapidly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in order to avert the worst impacts of global warming, this plan establishes the year 2020 as the Universitys target date for achieving carbon-neutrality. This date is intentionally ambitious and reflects a desire to encourage innovation and demonstrate extraordinary leadership in addressing one of the great issues of our time.
Reducing energy consumption and producing renewable energy are the two best long-term strategies for addressing climate change. However, the University acknowledges that achieving neutrality requires utilizing every strategy available and recommended by the ACUPCC, including the purchase of green power and carbon offsets. In order to take full responsibility for emissions and reach neutrality by 2020, this plan outlines mitigation activities that include working vigorously to reduce consumption, maximizing onsite renewable energy production, investing in local and regional renewable energy projects, and purchasing and developing renewable energy and carbon offsets.
Students are exposed to sustainability education early in their AU experience by attending a new student sustainability orientation during their first week on campus. In 2010, AU began cataloging sustainability-focused and sustainability-oriented curricula in order to encourage and emphasize education that contributes to solving the great sustainability challenges of our time, such as climate change.
In 2010, AU began cataloging sustainability-oriented research interests in order to foster connections and collaborations, additional research, and potentially identify opportunities for applied research on campus. It is anticipated that incentives and opportunities will be considered to encourage sustainability and climate change oriented research. In addition to teaching and researching sustainability, many faculty members engage in policy debates at think tanks, on Capitol Hill, and through public media.
In August 2009, the Office of Sustainability launched the universitys new sustainability website and has since worked with various academic and administrative units to produce and feature more sustainability and climate change news in University publications. Beginning in 2010, the office will publish a sustainability newsletter, and produce and place sustainability signage throughout campus.
It is anticipated that, as a result of this plan, AU faculty, staff and students will increase outreach activities within the Washington D.C. community. For example, two close-by neighborhood groups have already requested the universitys expertise and support in their own sustainability efforts, including stormwater management improvements and green building upgrades. Faculty members are considering ways to cooperate with local school teachers and student groups to advance sustainability education. Public sustainability tours will soon be offered of the campus as a whole and of the new School of International Service building, in particular, which is tracked for LEED gold certification.
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