If you have any qualifying statements with regard to the climate neutrality target date,
please include them here, and/or if you have chosen "TBD" and not specified a neutrality date,
please enter the reason and explain the process for establishing a target date in the future.
Berea College completed its GHG inventory in 2009 and, with the inclusion of its 8000+ acre forest as a carbon sink, it is carbon neutral. However, we will continue to take steps to decrease emissions.
In September 2007, the College created the Subcommittee on Sustainability II, charged to develop strategic directions for sustainability efforts at the College. The Subcommittees March 2009 report placed sustainability in the context of the Colleges historic mission to promote social justice and plain living. The Subcommittee included initiatives to minimize energy use, CO2 emissions, and natural resource consumption. Noting that this work is urgent in both practical and moral terms
, the Subcommittee recommended these specific initiatives:
Seeking ways to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and CO2 production and moving toward carbon neutrality;
Reducing consumption of natural resources directly and indirectly;
Creating a culture of sustainability through education;
Extending the Colleges initiatives to the larger community.
Over the last decade the College has made great strides in reduction of energy use and in other sustainability practices. Energy use, as measured by BTUs of energy purchased for campus heating, cooling, and electricity, declined more than 50% between 1998 and 2009. Investment in a new central heat plant, as well as a focus on ecologically responsible renovations, resulted in great gains in efficiency.
Now a detailed assessment of our current buildings and systems is necessary to determine next steps. Such work will provide information on the conditions of the physical assets, as well as a complete assessment of our ability to measure, collect, and analyze energy data efficiently. With data in hand, we can determine the investments in equipment and education needed to decrease further our energy use and carbon footprint.
Another outcome from the study will be a greater understanding of how Bereas energy use compares to that of similar colleges and universities. Our limited analysis indicates we fall generally in the middle of peer institutions, due largely to our dependence on coal-generated electricity. As a customer of Berea Municipal Utilities, the only renewable energy we are using is that generated by the small solar arrays on campus. Berea Utilities purchases all their power from Kentucky Utilities, and it is coal generated.
The objectives of the energy assessment project and development of an energy management program are fourfold:
Reduce overall energy use for the College;
Reduce the carbon footprint for the College;
Reduce energy costs (in constant dollars) over time;
Provide data and methods to assist in education of students, faculty, staff, and the larger community in energy issues, as they relate to the operation of the Berea College campus.
The service provider we are currently seeking for the project will conduct each building assessment, noting possible improvement projects, and make adjustments to systems and settings, thereby optimizing system performance. This will allow for immediate gains in efficiencies. We expect to be able to use the results of the audits and the initial set of recommended actions to determine aggressive, reasonable, clearly defined numeric targets for further reductions in energy use and associated costs.
The physical assessments and development of energy information systems will allow us to determine projects, using both human and financial capital, to reduce energy use, energy costs, and the Colleges carbon footprint.
This energy plan will be incorporated in an overall Climate Action Plan, with goals related to reductions in emissions from Scopes 1, 2, and 3, goals and action plans related to incorporating sustainability and climate neutrality even more fully into the curriculum and the Colleges research initiatives, and for expanding the culture of sustainability on campus and in the larger community. The full action plan will require a concerted effort over the next several months, and will be constructed using the recommendations of the SOS II and subsequent recommendations and guidelines established within the Colleges governance structures and processes.