Colleges and universities that sign the ACUPCC become part of a vast network of schools leading society towards climate neutrality by implementing climate action plans that address education, research initiatives, community engagement, and campus operations.
On-campus emissions-reducing efforts benefit the environment, the students who gain hands on experience in the field of sustainability, and the institution’s budget. Below are a few examples from ACUPCC campuses:
- Ball State University has established a closed geothermal energy system with the capacity to cool and heat 45 buildings on campus, reducing their carbon footprint by 50% and saving the school around $2 million in operations costs. It is the largest system of its kind in the nation.
- The University of Southern Maine has committed to switch from oil to natural gas by 2025 as a part of their efforts towards carbon neutrality. This action will reduce their carbon emissions by 1,048 metric tons per year, the equivalent electricity used by 127 homes for a year. The switch will save USM around $315,000 this year alone.
- Butte College recently completed installing 25,000 photovoltaic panels on campus, eliminating the need for outside electricity sources and providing them with the ability to send clean energy back to the grid. The solar panels will generate “6.5-million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year”— enough to power more than 9,000 US homes. The College predicts that this investment in solar energy will save them approximately $50-75 million over the next 15 years.
- Valencia Community College greatly increased its energy efficiency by establishing new chiller plants and constructing three LEED certified gold buildings, one of which has solar panels on the roof that generates 25% of the buildings energy needs. It is estimated to save Valencia Community College over $400,000 savings a year.
- The University of Southern Mississippi established a Climate Action Plan that is expected to save the school $273 million in energy costs over a 40 year time period.
- State University of New York at Stony Brook is reducing annual energy costs by approximately $2.9 million and carbon dioxide emissions by almost 33 million pounds. The university’s Green Campus Initiative is focused on finding new ways to limit environmental impact and educate the campus community on sustainable practices.