Progress Report for Arizona State University
Submitted on Jan. 15, 2012; Last updated on Jan. 15, 2012
The Progress Report is intended to help signatories assess and track progress toward the goals outlined
in their Climate Action Plans and to share that progress with their stakeholders and the general public.
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For more than 30 years, the Center for Environmental Studies at Arizona State University carried out environmental research that served as the foundation for the establishment of the Global Institute of Sustainability and the nation’s first School of Sustainability. As a signatory of the ACUPCC, Arizona State University has committed to become carbon neutral for emissions from building and grounds by 2025, and for transportation by 2035. As a transformational catalyst in sustainability education, research, and operational practices, we intend to lead the community of institutions of higher education to a sustainable future.
Since completing our Carbon Neutrality Action Plan in 2010, we have published a Strategic Plan for Sustainability Practices and Operations, which specifies targets and milestones for carbon neutrality, waste and recycling, campus engagement, and campus practices. The Office of University Sustainability Practices is charged with developing on-the-ground programs to meet the goals of the plan.
We’ve taken immediate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and we’ve shown tangible results. Gross GHG emissions have declined by 13.5%, from 308,227 MT CO2e in 2007 to 269,378 MT CO2e in 2010. During this time period enrollment has risen from 59,274 students to 65,785 (FTE), and emissions per FTE student have fallen 20%, from 5.2 to 4.1 MT CO2e. Building space has increased from 11,909,662 GSF to 13,013,373 GSF, and emissions have declined 24%, from 25.9 to 19.6 MT CO2e per 1000 GSF during this period.
As a result of thirty-four initiatives, most of them aimed at waste aversion, ASU has reduced the volume of landfilled material by 52%, from 9,682 tons of materials in 2007 to 4,670 tons in 2010. ASU’s goal of zero solid waste (defined as 90% of 2007 volume) by 2015 is supported by a partnership with Waste Management, Inc., through ASU and WM define policies, plans, operational strategies, and educational tools that will result in the necessary aversion and diversion of waste materials.
We’ve integrated sustainability into curricula across the university, by creating and offering research on climate change and sustainability throughout the university. We’ve put together a range of campus action initiatives that might be worthy of adoption or emulation by other colleges and universities. ASU communications teams have made our progress on all of these programs easily available to the public
Our Global Institute of Sustainability serves as a hub for the integration of our sustainability research, instruction, community engagement, and sustainability practice. The first class of graduates from the School of Sustainability (SOS) completed their curricula in 2009, and as of Fall 2011, SOS had enrolled 467 undergraduate and 77 graduate students. In addition to an undergraduate degree, students may pursue masters and doctorate degrees in programs that focus on resolution of practical, real-world problems. A minor in sustainability also can be added to any undergraduate degree program.
The Sustainability Practices Network (SPN) focuses the institution on applications of sustainability to campus operations. The SPN is comprised of eight thematic work groups and is supported by four resource groups. Each work group is responsible for developing strategies and goals for a specific area of the university sustainability plan.
In addition to requiring LEED Silver or better, ASU’s Sustainable Design Policy is used as a basis for all construction and major renovation. Specific energy performance and water conservation requirements combine to assure that the highest standard is used on design and construction on ASU projects. The BioDesign Institute Building B, completed in 2010, was Arizona’s first LEED Platinum building.
Through innovative power purchase agreements and marketing of renewable energy credits, as of December 2011, 14.5 MWpeak of solar photovoltaic panels are installed on ASU’s four campuses in Tempe and the Phoenix metro area; 0.8 MW is currently being installed; and 1.9 MW more is in the design phase. A total of 17.2 MW will be installed by the end of 2012, and 20 MW will be installed by 2014.
Alternative transportation options are available to the ASU community including a free intercampus shuttle service, a student bicycle co-op, and reduced-cost public transit passes that provide unlimited bus and rail access to all four ASU campuses and greater Phoenix area campuses.
Over $75 million has been invested in energy savings performance contracts, which has significantly upgraded building and central plant infrastructure. A contract with a behavioral engineering firm addresses engagement of the University community for more efficient use of energy and water resources.
A voluntary Environmental Impact Fee raises funds to underwrite offsets for university sponsored air travel. The fund has established a videoconferencing infrastructure to provide business communications and coordination without accruing work-related travel.
ASU is one of two U.S. universities in the Green Sports Alliance, a coalition of teams, venues, and leagues that aim to identify and adopt environmental initiatives while sharing best practices and experiences.
ASU is a founding member of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, which asks U.S. colleges and universities to collectively invest $1 billion in sustainable projects through green revolving funds.
|Climate Neutrality Target Date:||2035|
|Interim Milestone Emission-Reduction Target||Target Date||Baseline*|
|30% reduction in Total Scope 3 Emissions||by 2020||relative to baseline emissions in 2007|
|50% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions||by 2025||relative to baseline emissions in 2007|
|100% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions||by 2035||relative to baseline emissions in 2007|
|Reporting Year||Gross Emissions||Net Emissions||Full Time Enrollments||Total Bldg. Sq. Ft.||[action]|
|2007||308227.0||308227.0||59068.0||11909662.0||[ view ]|
|2008||293270.0||293248.0||60543.0||12390974.0||[ view ]|
|2009||292743.0||292728.0||64011.0||12800182.0||[ view ]|
|2010||269378.0||269364.0||66988.0||13777905.0||[ view ]|
|2011||255470.0||251385.0||69459.0||14366350.0||[ view ]|
Change in GHG gross emissions
Energy savings due to performance contracts and campus engagement activities.
Change in GHG emissions per 1000 sq.ft. building space
-6.32896691727Energy savings due to performance contracts and campus engagement activities.
Change in GHG emissions per full time enrollment (FTE)
-1.19688488126Energy savings due to performance contracts and campus engagement activities.
How is your institution making climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for all students?Since 2010, all students at ASU have had the opportunity to enroll in a Minor in Sustainability. The minor consists of an introductory course on sustainability principles, two lower division courses that focus on key sustainability knowledge, a 300-level course that integrates sustainability knowledge and principles, and two upper division electives germane to the student's major. The last component encourages students to introduce sustainability principles and perspectives to their major -- including to fellow students, staff, and faculty -- and this allows students to act as change agents for sustainability education for the institution at large. Climate neutrality is one of a number of grand sustainability challenges addressed through this minor.
Education methods in use
- Included sustainability learning outcomes, tracks, or certificates in every academic major.
Does your institution offer an undergraduate degree program(s) related to climate change/sustainability?see STARs report for Arizona State University
Does your institution offer a graduate degree program in climate change/sustainability?see STARs report for Arizona State University
Does your institution have a central sustainability website that consolidates information about the institution's sustainability efforts?see STARs report for Arizona State University
Does your institution include sustainability prominently in new student orientation?see STARs report for Arizona State University
If applicable, how is your institution expanding research efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality research?Arizona State University is a Research I university that conducts use-inspired research with purpose and impact. The university engages with people and issues locally, nationally, and internationally and creates knowledge by transcending academic disciplines. Those are our aspirations as a New American University. What it means, practically speaking, is that we are working to solve real-world problems—like climate change—by bringing together researchers from across the university, because finding sustainable solutions cannot be accomplished without transdisciplinary collaboration. We have designated nearly 250 Sustainability Scientists and Scholars from 64 ASU centers and institutes. These scientists represent a spectrum of disciplines in the natural and social sciences, medicine, engineering, mathematics, humanities, and the arts. They influence the university’s strategic research planning and have dedicated financial incentives and support staff dedicated to their sustainability research efforts. ASU has nearly 50 research projects dealing specifically with some aspect of climate change, from small collaborative research projects to several multimillion-dollar initiatives and centers. Graduate and undergraduate students are involved in many of these projects. In 2011, ASU invested more than $70 million in sustainability research; in 2009 it initiated its President’s Award for Sustainability, with categories in research, teaching and learning, community outreach, and campus operations.
Does your institution have a program to encourage student climate and or sustainability research?see STARs report for Arizona State University
Does your institution have a program to encourage faculty climate and or sustainability research?see STARs report for Arizona State University
How is your institution expanding community outreach efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality?As part of its vision for a New American University, Arizona State University is increasing access to its educational resources and working with communities to positively impact social and economic development. The Global Institute of Sustainability coordinates several programs that support exchanging knowledge with the public and private sectors, especially on the need for society to balance environmental, social, and economic stewardship. The institute produces and collaborates in special events, hosts the Wrigley Lecture Series on sustainability, facilitates the Sustainable Cities program, and provides programs targeted to a variety of audiences. In addition, programs across the university help support additional connections to the community. Arizona State University has been instrumental in the bringing together its two sister Arizona universities for frequent working meetings, teleconferences and sustainability summits. To date the Tri-University Network has convened five times with an on-going commitment to convene three times per year. Arizona State University has a dedicated office within Educational Outreach and Student Services (EOSS) that markets and coordinates yearly university wide volunteer efforts with chosen community based projects. You can read more about their program and direct ties to the Martin Luther King Day Of service efforts here: http://eoss.asu.edu/ Within our Residential Life program, there is a dedicated Sustainability Coordinator that routinely oversees important GHG climate programs on all four Arizona State University campuses. To date the Polytechnic campus has planned and implemented two half day service learning projects which engaged over 50 local high school students, twelve ASU college students and approximately 15 staff or faculty. The focus of this twice a year effort are to educate students on climate science as well as allow students an opportunity to engage in real hands on restoration and development work directly related to climate change and/or protection. Special events are organized that contribute to the dissemination of information about the issues surrounding climate change for our society, examples include Focus the Nation, Greenbuild 2009, and Campus Sustainability Day.
Does your institution participate in community climate change and or sustainability partnerships?see STARs report for Arizona State University
Has your institution advocated for federal, state, and/or local public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance your goal of climate neutrality?see STARs report for Arizona State University
Energy Efficiency Projects
Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects planned, but not yet implemented:9
Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects completed since signing the ACUPCC:97
Number of buildings that have received a green building certification since signing the ACUPCC:35
Number of green buildings planned or scheduled for completion in the next 2 years:6
For all buildings, the green building certification/rating used is:USGBC:LEED
Annual output (in kWhs) for each renewable energy system utilized by Arizona State University
- Solar output: 11587 kWh
- Wind output: 6 kWh
- Biomass output: 0 kWh
- Fuel Cell output: 0 kWh
- Geothermal output: 0 kWh
- Annual renewable energy purchased: 16467866 kWh
- Other GHG mitigation efforts:
Arizona State University’s mitigation strategies to achieve carbon neutrality include:
Mitigation Strategy - Energy
By 2025, will mitigate 100 percent of carbon emissions related to energy, 35 percent of
which will come from reductions through demand-side energy, and the remaining 65 percent
through supply-side energy (including verifiable carbon offsets) savings.
Mitigation Strategy - Transportation
By 2035, will mitigate carbon emissions from transportation by 100 percent.
Mitigation Strategy – Other Campus Practices
By 2025, will reduce all emissions related to agriculture and refrigerants by 100 percent.
Mitigation Strategy – Recycling and Waste
By 2015, will eliminate 90 percent of campus solid waste from the landfill.
Arizona State University's mitigation strategies can be found within its Carbon Neutrality Action Plan.
Has your Climate Action Plan and/or related sustainability efforts saved your institution money so far, e.g. by reducing operational expenses?yes
Amount spent on CAP projects:$40-50M
Estimated amount saved to date from implementing your CAP projects:$1-10M
Estimated total savings expected from implementing entire Climate Action Plan$40-50M
Additional information or context to support expected savings:Savings to be generated by a performance contract with guaranteed savings.
Financial resources (dollar amount) secured from outside sources to support mitigation efforts related to the Climate Action Plan (grants, gifts, etc...) :599000
Additional information on secured outside funding:Amount shown above are incentive dollars from APS, the local electric utility paid for energy savings related projects.
- Financing Methods utilized for Mitigation or Renewable Energy Projects:
- Managed Utility Service Contract (MUSC)
- Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
For more information about Arizona State University's climate & sustainability efforts please click here