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Archive for the ‘ACUPCC’ Category

By James Brey, Director, AMS Education Program & Elizabeth Mills, Associate Director, AMS Education Program
(This article appears in the December, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

ACUPCC ImplementerThere has never been such a critical need for educating today’s undergraduates on Earth’s changing climate and pathways to sustainability.  The footprints of climate change surround us – Arctic sea ice reached its record lowest extent in August 2012, the 10 warmest years in the global climate record have occurred since 1997, and global sea level continues to rise (1). Climate change is also predicted to increase the frequency of extreme weather events, which combined with sea-level rise, may lead to more natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy (1, 2, 3).

It is imperative to develop a scientific workforce ready to tackle the challenge of climate change in light of the new energy economy and various societal and political factors. The National Science Foundation (NSF) underscores the need for increasing public literacy in the Earth System Sciences, including climate science literacy, and preparing a highly skilled scientific workforce reflecting the nation’s diversity (4, 5).

To promote climate science literacy and geoscience diversity, NSF is supporting a long-term partnership between Second Nature and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Education Program that will introduce the AMS Climate Studies course to 100 minority-serving institutions (MSIs) over a five-year period (6).  AMS is now enrolling 25 MSI faculty members to attend the expenses-paid Course Implementation Workshop in Washington, DC, from May 19-24, 2013.

The Implementation workshop leverages the expertise of NASA, NOAA, and Howard University climate scientists, as well as faculty from George Mason University and James Madison University, both signatories to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The 2013 AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project informational website and application form are available online. The deadline for application is March 15, 2013.

The AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project aligns with the goals of the ACUPCC and supports the diversity initiatives of Second Nature. The AMS-Second Nature partnership is enabling signatories to strengthen the curriculum component of their ACUPCC Climate Action Plans.  Faculty members representing 28 MSIs attended the inaugural Course Implementationamsbrochure-larger Workshop in May 2012 and are introducing the climate course at their local institutions this academic year.  The 2012 cohort included 9 signatory MSIs: California State University Monterey Bay, Coppin State University, Delaware State University, Jones County Junior College, Monroe Community College (NY), Morgan State University (MD), New Mexico State University, New Mexico State University – Grants Campus, and South Mountain Community College (AZ).

AMS Climate Studies is closely tied to campus wide sustainability efforts. As Professor Mintesinot Jiru (Coppin State University) explains, “this course alone will enlighten our students with the contemporary issues of climate and impact of climate change. The course is a good addition to the other sustainability related courses we have on campus. It will strengthen our effort to infuse sustainability education in our curriculum. I am working with our Associate Vice President for Government and Public Policy, who is also in charge of sustainability initiative on campus, to ensure that what we do in the classroom is also reflected on our campus-wide sustainability initiative.”

Professor Jason Szymanski of Monroe Community College is also connected to his college’s Climate Action Plan. “Indeed this course will promote awareness of, and engage students in, sustainable, college-wide actions. I am working with the College’s Sustainability Steering Committee to support the College’s Action Plan. For example, written into the curriculum of the course is a component that highlights sustainable practices on campus including our ride-share program, our new LEED Certified building, electrical co-generation facility, and recycling initiatives. Students will also be taught carbon-reducing practices that they can incorporate into their day to day routines.”

Faculty members are drawn to the AMS Climate Studies Diversity Project for many reasons. Some are key players in their Climate Action Plan development and implementation. Others, like Professor Michael Leach of New Mexico State University – Grants Campus, want to educate their students about climate science topics using current data with the sustainability connection as a plus.  As Professor Leach explains, “I was not aware that our college was an ACUPCC signatory when I applied for the Climate Diversity Project, however I was aware that we were involved in some type of sustainability program, as I had to report if my classes had a sustainability component. That is easy to report for my AMS classes. I chose climate studies for many reasons, but the fact that it would help my students understand the complexities of climate, and the human factors involved in climate change were tops on my list. I feel it is extremely important for all college graduates to have broad general knowledge of climate change, as it is their generation that is going to be involved in helping to fix the problem.”

AMS Climate Studies is a course package available to undergraduate institutions nationwide. The course can be offered by science faculty with a range of backgrounds, within various learning environments from face-to-face to online instruction. Developed by AMS staff scientists and science educators, the course includes a comprehensive 15-chapter textbook, an Investigations Manual with 30 laboratory-style activities, a course website containing current science investigations and real-time data, and a faculty website and resource CD. Course activities and test banks are provided in Respondus format that can be ported into a course management system for automated scoring and immediate student feedback.

Faculty fit the course into different departments and levels depending on their local college requirements. For example, Professor Constance Falk of New Mexico State University plans to first offer the course in spring 2013 as a senior level honors class. She explains that “the course will be open to all majors and focus on science, policy, and politics.” Professor Chunlei Fan of Morgan State University first offered the course as a “498” internship class in fall 2012 and awaits full course approval. Professor Szymanski has the 4-credit sequence of Climate Change with a laboratory approved at a 200-level.  Many others implement the course at the introductory undergraduate level.

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References:

(1)    American Meteorological Society (Adopted 20 August 2012) “Climate Change: An Information State of the American Meteorological Society” Boston, MA: American Metrological Society, http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/2012climatechange.html

(2)    National Research Council, 2012. “Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices. “ Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=14674

(3)    Kahn, Brian.”Superstorm Sandy and Sea-level Rise.” 5 November 2012. NOAA ClimateWatch Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/article/2012/superstorm-sandy-and-sea-level-rise

(4)    National Science Foundation (2012) Strategic Frameworks for Education & Diversity, Facilities, International Activities, and Data & Informatics in the Geosciences http://www.nsf.gov/geo/acgeo/geovision/geo_strategic_plans_2012.pdf

(5)    NSF Advisory Committee for Geosciences (2009) Geovision Report http://www.nsf.gov/geo/acgeo/geovision/nsf_ac-geo_vision_10_2009.pdf

(6)    Brey, James. “American Meteorological Society and Second Nature Partner to Strengthen Climate Sustainability-Focused Curricula at Minority-Serving Institutions.” February 2010. Advancing Education for Sustainability. Retrieved from… https://secondnaturebos.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/american-meteorological-society-and-second-nature-partner-to-strengthen-climate-and-sustainability-focused-curricula-at-minority-serving-institutions/

The following authors also contributed to this article:
Kira Nugnes, Program Assistant, AMS
Kathryn O’Neill, Content Specialist, AMS
Maureen Moses, Program Assistant, AMS

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By Adrien Tofighi, Program Assistant, Second Nature
(Review the symposium agenda, or download a PDF Summary of this post).

ACUPCC Logo

The 2012 ACUPCC Southeast Regional Symposium took place at Agnes Scott College, November 7-8th, 2012. ACUPCC Regional Symposiums are working sessions to foster dialogue and collaboration among ACUPCC signatories who are facing similar challenges and opportunities in their geographic regions.

The conference garnered participation from 45 colleges and universities, representing states throughout the Southeast, achieving cross-institutional dialogue, knowledge exchange, and the creation of new solutions to Climate Action planning, curriculum reform, and other key issues. This conference marked the third regional symposium hosted by the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

David E. Shi, President Emeritus, Furman University

Opening Speakers

After a warm welcome by Agnes Scott College President Elizabeth Kiss, David E. Shi, President Emeritus of Furman University, opened the symposium on Wednesday evening. The keynote presentation, entitled “Sustainability in the South: An Oxymoron?” addressed some of the region’s most pressing questions regarding conservation, sustainability, and climate leadership.

Dr. Shi posed the questions: How can conservation thrive in a conservative culture, and how can higher education be the vanguard of cultural change? His talk shared statistics on the southeastern colleges and universities progress on climate and sustainability initiatives, and reviewed the need for campuses to move from singular sustainability projects to a centralized “hub” for large-scale transformational change.

Symposium Sessions

World Café: From Planning to Action

Participants kicked off the first full day of the conference with dynamic discussion and planning during the World Café, which allowed for reflections on leveraging campus resources in order to implement climate action planning solutions. Facilitated by Bonny Bentzin of GreenerU, the session focused around key themes related to communicating and engaging with the campus community.

Campus Sustainability Case Studies

Case studies from eight different institutions in three concurrent sessions were presented as a means to address the topically and geographically relevant problems that many campuses face, and share how these issues are being dealt with.

The first track, Financing, highlighted three institutions from North Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky. A team from Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) including Cassidy Cannon, Sustainability Director, Robert Gaines, Special Assistant to the Chancellor, Charles Hall, Director of Design & Construction, Dennis Leary, Facilities Director, and Kent Anson, Vice President of Higher Education for Honeywell Building Solutions presented on the campus’s experience leveraging a comprehensive energy savings program to address deferred maintenance, energy costs, and sustainability goals. Howard Wertheimer, Director of Capital Planning & Space also discussed the lessons learned in building the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory (CNES), and Mitchell H. Payne, Associate Vice President for Business Affairs at the University of Louisville provided an overview of financing energy efficiency through energy savings performance contracting.

Hands-on learning at Furman University’s David E. Shi Center for Sustainability

In the second track, Sustainable Food and Community Engagement, Furman University’s Katherine Kransteuber, Program Coordinator at the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability shared the interdisciplinary faculty-student research initiative designed to study and further sustainable agriculture on campus and in the Carolinas. Stephanie Sims, Implementation Coordinator at Office of Sustainability at the University of Florida provided an overview of UF’s broad approach to involving stakeholders and addressing challenges and opportunities in food systems through partnerships and innovative programming, which included strategies such as “Food for Thought” outreach campaigns and University extension efforts and the Office of Sustainability at the regional and state level.

The third track, Addressing the Challenge of Coal began with a presentation by Susan Kidd, Director of Sustainability at Agnes Scott College, discussing the institutional challenge of cheap coal, and the college’s focus on funding options for energy efficiency and renewable energy,. Matt Earnest, Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development at Bridgemont Community and Technical College showcased how the institution’s Sustainability Institute is bringing together multiple organizations with varying viewpoints to promote sustainability through workforce education, academic enhancement, and community development. Gordie Bennett, Sustainability Manager at the University of Tennessee Knoxville also provided examples of their institutional path to a cleaner campus by converting the nearly 50-year old UT Knoxville Steam Plant to 100% natural gas and fuel oil, with a focus on the decision making process that weighed the social and economic implications of going coal free in the Tennessee Valley.

Lunch with the President’s Panel

Second Nature President David Hales moderated the President’s Panel which included Elizabeth Kiss from Agnes Scott College (GA), Kenneth Peacock, Chancellor of Appalachian State University (NC), and Beverly Daniel Tatum, President of Spelman College (GA), in a dialogue on how higher education in the Southeast can lead the way to a clean, green, and sustainable economy. Participants followed the discussion with a question and answer session on the challenges facing presidential leadership in supporting sustainability initiatives on campus.

Sustainability as a Pedagogical Process

To conclude the event, Tom Kelly, Director of the Sustainability Academy at the University of New Hampshire, facilitated a session to remind attendees of the broader goal of “educating for sustainability.” With the campus as a learning platform, every building, the food eaten, classes attended, grounds and landscaping, etc. “count as an opportunity to cultivate a global sustainability outlook.” This session presented a pedagogical process that considers building case studies from campus to guide the learning community to ask good questions, investigate, and find sustainable solutions.

Summary: Collaborating for Success

The ACUPCC Southeast Regional Symposium attendees created new strategies for climate leadership, shared the steps necessary for putting a plan to action in a region where sustainability can be challenging, and learned from both campus and industry leaders that the work they do is more vital than ever.

By providing tangible resources, contacts, and ideas to support both Presidents and their staff’s efforts on campus, with a regional focus highlighting the unique issues associated with electricity rates, government policies, energy supply, and public opinion of the region, institutions were empowered to create beneficial partnerships that will support their mutual development in the coming years. Participating sustainability teams made significant headway in overcoming the obstacles to fulfilling the Commitment, and creating lasting regional connections.

84 college and university, industry, and non-profit representatives participated in the Symposium, with attendance from Presidents and Chancellors, sustainability coordinators, facilities directors, faculty, students, and ACUPCC Corporate Sponsors.  Click here to view the list of attendees.

Thank You!

Second Nature would like to thank the staff of Agnes Scott College for their partnership in hosting the event, and Aramark for providing food for the event.  And a special thanks to all attendees who found exciting new opportunities for creating and implementing their Climate Action Plans, as well as creative solutions to the challenges of creating a sustainable campus.  Well done!

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For more information on upcoming ACUPCC events, visit presidentsclimatecommitment.org/news-events

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By Michele Madia, Director of Sustainability Financing & Strategy, Second Nature
(This article appears in the November, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

ACUPCC ImplementerNo matter what the outcome of the presidential election, Congress will undoubtedly consider comprehensive tax reform in the New Year. Second Nature, the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and the National Association of College & University Business Officers (NACUBO) are presenting policy options for changes in tax policy and federal grant programs that would allow colleges and universities to increase operational efficiencies, reduce long-term energy expenses and ultimately contribute to administrative efforts to contain costs.

The report, Higher Education: Leading the Nation to a Safe and Secure Energy Future was released at the ACUPCC Climate

Luther College generates one-third of the electrical power it consumes with a wind generator sited on the bluff overlooking the campus and city.
Photo: Erik Hageness

Leadership Summit in Washington, DC this past summer, explores how the federal government can develop and enhance clean energy incentives and investments specifically for colleges and universities. To publicize the report and proposals, Second Nature hosted a press briefing with higher education reporters. Several college presidents participated in the event with media representatives from the Chronicle of Higher Education and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Stories about the report appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, ClimateWire, and in AACC’s Community College Times.

In early October, Second Nature and NACUBO hosted a meeting with representatives from government relations staff at higher education associations (HEA) and from individual institutions to educate them about the shared effort. David Hales, in his first visit to Washington DC as Second Nature’s new president, participated in the meeting and had the opportunity to connect with key staff from the presidential associations.  The goals for the meeting were to:

  • Educate association colleagues about Second Nature’s work
  • Engage the higher education associations in dialog about the strategic importance of energy issues (HEAs are primarily focused on student aid, access, and research funding)
  • Enlist additional volunteers to participate in meetings going forward

Participants included representatives from: Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU), University of California, Irvine, University of Colorado, Ball State University, Portland State University, Michigan State University, University of Washington, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California Office of the President.

Technical Correction to the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction (Section 179D)

Second Nature has been involved in another effort to advocate for public policy initiatives that are consistent with the ACUPCC mission.  We have identified a current legislative issue that would benefit all higher education institutions and all nonprofits that may be considering new construction or building retrofits that generate energy savings.

The specific issue described here in more detail involves a federal tax deduction for energy efficiency projects. Currently nonprofits, including independent colleges and universities are excluded from benefiting from this deduction.  Supporters of an amendment extending the deduction to nonprofits have indicated that letters of support from influential and respected voices addressed to targeted members of Congress would be helpful in getting the amendment added to the “tax extenders bill” during the lame duck session of Congress in November.

Second Nature took action and identified eight signatory institutions in key legislative districts, and requested that presidents send a letter of support to their member of Congress.

Since 2005, there has been a deduction for buildings that meet a certain threshold of energy savings (new construction or renovation).  This is a technology neutral tax incentive that encourages energy conservation by tying the value of the deduction to the actual energy savings generated by the building once it is completed. The deduction may be up to $1.80 per square foot, with qualifying energy efficient improvements in lighting systems, heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water systems, and the building envelope.

To help ensure that governmental owners get the most efficient systems yielding long-term operating savings, Section 179D permits a government building owner (including public institutions) to allocate the 179D deduction to one or more persons “primarily responsible for designing the property,” – this party can include architects, engineers, contractors, environmental consultants, or energy services providers.  The statute does not now allow nongovernmental nonprofits to allocate this deduction, although there is no legislative history indicating that this is intentional.

The benefit to the overall economy from permitting major sectors like higher education and hospitals to allocate the Sec. 179D tax deduction for energy efficiency construction and retrofit projects to the designers, engineers, construction firms, and architects involved with such projects will be considerable. Being able to include such a deduction in building construction or retrofit RFPs should lead to lower bids. Institutions would be incentivizing architects, engineers, and contractors to push the envelope on available energy savings, resulting in lower operating costs for years to come.  There is bipartisan support for the current law because of the savings it can generate and federal agencies have been encouraged to maximize their use of the allocation authority. Extending this benefit to higher education and to hospitals would help to save money in this capital and budget constrained economy, maximize the return on energy efficiency investments, and support the commitments made by ACUPCC institutions to help eliminate operational greenhouse gas emissions.

Second Nature will keep the network informed about both the technical correction to 179D, and about our national policy strategy more broadly. To get involved, or learn more, contact Michele Madia, Director, Sustainability Finance & Strategy mmadia@secondnature.org.

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By Howard Wertheimer, Director, Capital Planning & Space Management, Georgia Institute of Technology
(This article appears in the November, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

ACUPCC ImplementerGeorgia Tech is committed to the development of a sustainable campus community, creating distinctive architecture and open spaces. In keeping with this goal, Georgia Tech has a clear mission for its new Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory Building: carbon neutral net zero site energy use. The 40,000 square foot facility is intended to set a new standard for sustainable design for laboratory buildings of this type by optimizing passive energy technologies, reducing electricity loads, thoughtful day-lighting strategies, water conservation and harvesting, and maximizing the use of renewable energy, including a 290kW photovoltaic array.

Rendition of GT’s Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory

The building will be anchored by Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute and will house a variety of energy research programs requiring large scale (high-bay) and intermediate scale (mid-bay) capabilities, and the design is intended to express its mission simply, directly and honestly; a “no frills” design. The building took advantage of innovative planning models that go beyond flexibility and adaptability, introducing the mid-bay laboratory concept for large-scale equipment that requires slab-on-grade space, without the necessity of a 30’ tall high bay.  The building also challenged conventional energy use assumptions, and developed the energy model based on a net-zero energy approach. Through analyses of contemporary carbon neutral buildings, establishing a working definition of net zero site energy use, incorporating baseline energy modeling and studying simple pre- industrial structures, the design team created a series of four alternative building concepts. These were evaluated through energy-modeling to determine which options and which energy-savings features to pursue.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded the Georgia Tech Research Corporation $11.6 million to construct the Carbon-Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory (C-NES). As one of 12 recipients of the NIST award, the project has a total budget of $24.6 million. The balance of the project was financed through GT Facilities Inc., a 501c3 affiliate partner of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The project has already received national recognitions, with awards from the New Jersey AIA, the Georgia AIA, the Georgia chapter of the ASLA, and Southern Region of ENR’s Magazine for best Green Building.

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By Mieko A. Ozeki, Sustainability Projects Coordinator, University of Vermont
(This article appears in the November, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

ACUPCC ImplementerHow significant a role can campus-based renewable energy play in the University of Vermont’s (UVM) progress towards carbon neutrality?

Back in 2011 this question spurred the University of Vermont’s Clean Energy Fund to award up to $100,000 toward a Comprehensive Campus Renewable Energy Feasibility Study (CCREFS). The intent of the study was to generate scenarios to aid in renewable energy planning at UVM by getting a broad view of the potential for these technologies on-campus. The outcome of this study will also help to inform meeting UVM’s Climate Action Plan first target of becoming carbon neutral with our purchased electricity by 2015.

The funding for the CCREFS project was primarily sourced from UVM’s Clean Energy Fund (CEF), a student green fund approved in 2008 by UVM’s Board of Trustees. The CEF is sustained by a self-imposed student fee of $10 per student per semester and generates an estimated $225,000 per year. The fund was created in response to students’ desire to have UVM advance renewable energy research, education, and infrastructure on campus. To date, the CEF has awarded funding to twenty projects including the development of an internship program, CEF graduate fellowship, and lecture/workshop series.

The idea for this study began in 2009 and was proposed during the 2010-2011 funding cycle to the CEF Committee, an 11-member group predominantly composed of students with representation from alumni, faculty, and staff. The project was recommended by the CEF Committee and approved by the Vice President of Finance & Administration, Richard Cate, in Spring 2011. With the concept approved, the Office of Sustainability and Capital Planning & Management worked together on a Request for Proposal (RFP) for an outside firm to conduct the analysis. We looked to other institutions that had conducted a comprehensive campus renewable energy feasibility study; to our surprise we found few institutions that had carried out studies at this scale and beyond site specific and/or technology specific studies. It was through outreach to the GRNSCHL listserv that we learned that the University of Connecticut (UConn) was beginning a “preliminary siting and feasibility study for installing various forms of on-campus renewable/sustainable energy generation.” Rich Miller shared UConn’s RFP for their Renewable Energy Strategic Plan, which helped us develop the wording as well as identify the goals and deliverables for the project.

The overarching goal of the CCREFS was to get recommendations for optimal renewable energy site locations on the University’s main campus in the City of Burlington (459 acres), and on south campus, located in the City of South Burlington (495 acres). The RFP identified three deliverables:

  1. Feasibility Study: a strategic campus renewable energy plan that included an assessment of the opportunities for the following renewable energy technologies: solar (thermal and photovoltaic), wind (ground mounted and building integrated), geothermal, biofuels and biomass, and fuel cells. We wanted the assessment to provide an overall maximum capacity of renewable energy potential of the UVM campus and recommendations that could be phased in to accommodate successive carbon neutrality goals. In addition, we wanted to determine the most appropriate renewable energy technologies for the University’s geographic location and climatic conditions as well as identify the optimal location of these technologies.
  2. Map: a visual representation of all potential installation locations divided into layers for each individual technology; and file formats (GIS and KML) for future planning or outreach use.
  3. Student involvement: an opportunity for student interns to gain professional experience and knowledge on renewable energy technologies.

The student internship component was modeled around an internship/consultant collaboration at Pomona College. Pomona hired a team of interns, who received training from the consultants to collect information for their sustainability audit. It is imperative for us to include students in the projects that they fund and to provide them with practical, professional development experience to prepare them for employment.

The RFP was released in Spring 2012 and attracted fifteen firms, resulting in nine proposal submissions. Clough, Harbour & Associates (CHA) was selected to conduct the study. The Office of Sustainability hired five UVM student interns to observe, document, and analyze the CCREFS project and the installation of a 32-kW solar PV system. Three of the CEF interns worked directly with CHA, as a technical team, to conduct field surveys of buildings, parking lots, and open fields on the University’s main and south campus. The interns surveyed each renewable energy technology (focusing on solar, wind, and geothermal) for a period of 1-2 weeks and submitted data to CHA for analysis.  CHA in turn provided data from each renewable energy technology feasibility study to their GIS specialist to create map layers.

Two interns worked together as the media and outreach team. The media intern filmed, edited, and produced videos on the project. The outreach intern collected progress reports from the technical team and produced PR materials on the implementation of the project. The interns wrote bi-weekly blog posts, a reflection and presentation on their internship experience, and a PR narrative of the project process in addition to their project deliverables. The intent was for each intern to develop materials for their professional portfolios and to get them to reflect on their career paths.

Data collection, analysis, and map development concluded in early September. Now as the CEF enters its fourth Call for Ideas, our committee and key stakeholders are using the results of the CCREFS as a guideline for future installations and to review current project proposals. CHA concluded that UVM had optimal locations, reasonable payback, and incentives to implement solar PV, solar thermal, and geothermal on-campus. We expect this student investment in this feasibility study will pay off in our long-term energy planning and meeting our climate action plan goals. The CCREFS also provides more opportunities for research on renewable energy development in cold weather climate and is highly relevant to the smart grid implementation underway in Vermont.

To learn more about the CCREFS check out the following video produced by CEF intern Daniel Hopkins ’13 on the survey process and from the poster presentation at AASHE 2012.

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By Jennifer Hayward, Sustainability Coordinator & Anna Scott, Energy Analyst, Lane Community College
(This article appears in the November, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

ACUPCC ImplementerLane Community College established a revolving loan fund in 2006, the only one of its kind at a community college, to pay for energy conservation and renewable energy projects through utility carryover. The fund, called the Energy Carryover Fund, realizes savings when current year electricity and natural gas expenditures are less than current year budget. Additionally, rebates and other incentives for energy-focused projects can be deposited into the Fund, helping to finance more projects in the future. The Fund is managed and implemented by Lane’s full time Energy Analyst, Anna Scott, and currently stands at $122,000.

Annual budgets for electricity and natural gas are determined using an energy use index calculation for the baseline year of 2004-05 and the current year’s prices.  Money is transferred to the Carryover Fund if Lane is purchasing less energy per square foot because of efficiency, conservation, and on-site renewables than in the baseline year.

Lane’s Energy Analyst plans the Fund’s projects in collaboration with faculty and students in its Energy Management and

Lane’s Solar Station provides electricity for charging vehicles and power for nearby buildings.

Renewable Energy Technology degree programs, Facilities Management and Planning staff, and college administrators, under the leadership of President Mary Spilde, a nationally known advocate for sustainability, and past member of the steering committee for the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

In 2006, when the Fund was first set up, Lane created a spreadsheet that listed twenty-one projects to be completed over six years.  Each project listed the estimated cost, rebates or incentives that may be available to help offset the cost, projected annual energy savings in MMBTUs and in dollars, and net dollar savings over the six year period.  Using this spreadsheet, the college could plan projects several years out and have a reasonable projection of the Fund balance into the future.  These projects included lighting retrofits, commissioning, and solar electric installations.

This system worked well for several years, but was temporarily put on hold because of an opportunity to use state stimulus, bond, and grant funds to implement projects. Thanks to prior planning, the college had shovel ready projects and was able to capture state stimulus funds for building-level sub-metering for electricity, natural gas, and water, new better-insulated roofs, an exterior lighting upgrade, and a solar thermal system that provides domestic hot water for Lane’s commercial laundry, showers, and two buildings.  Lane’s voter-approved 2008 bond levy provides funding for such energy efficiency projects as heat recovery systems for the college’s laundry facility and data center plus $830,000 for renewable energy projects.  A $100,000 renewable energy grant from Lane’s utility provider coupled with bond funds for renewable energy allowed the college to build a 43 kilowatt solar array with 19 solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations.

Busy implementing projects funded by these state, bond, and grant funds, college staff have only used the revolving loan fund in a very limited capacity for several years.  However, implementation of these projects is beginning to wrap up and the college is moving back into using the revolving loan fund.  Lane is a charter member of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, which encourages colleges and other organizations to invest in self-managed revolving loan funds that finance energy efficiency improvements.  As Lane has started its second round of planning for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, the resources associated with joining the Challenge have proven invaluable.  One of these resources is a streamlined web-based Green Revolving Investment Tracking System that will be used in lieu of the original spreadsheet planning and tracking system.

Investing in energy efficiency using utility savings is an excellent model that any college can use.  Lane encourages all ACUPCC member institutions to establish a green revolving loan fund, join the Billion Dollar Challenge, and begin using the resources offered to Challenge participants such as the Green Revolving Investment Tracking System.  Lane’s revolving loan fund alone will not get the college all the way to carbon neutrality, but it will get the college part way there, and the planning that is required for the Fund has allowed Lane to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities that have skyrocketed its greenhouse gas reduction efforts.

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The State of Renewables in Higher Education

This webcast was broadcast on November 29th 2012, 2:00-3:00pm EST

Supporting Documents

Second Nature and the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership are collaborating to identify the barriers to expanding renewable energy use among colleges and universities, identify solutions, provide education and training on green power procurement strategies and explore the possibilities of joint purchasing opportunities.

To kick-off this partnership, Second Nature and EPA invite you to participate in an interactive event to learn more about trends and possibilities in colleges and universities incorporation of green power onto their campuses, and in their climate reduction goals.

The live event will stream on this page.  Please bookmark this link and register to participate in the event.

Leaning Objectives:

  • Understand the environmental, financial, and non-tangible benefits of procuring renewable electricity
  • Gain a better understanding of the challenges being faced by institutions trying to purchase or produce green power
  • Assess the current state of green power on campuses and potential for green power purchasing and production growth
  • Recognize the various procurement options for renewable electricity such as on-site generation, PPAs, project off-take arrangements, contracts for bundled or unbundled RECs
  • Identify new opportunities for learning and collaboration among institutions participating in the event

Webinar Panelists

  • David Hales, President, Second Nature
  • Blaine Collison, Program Director, Green Power Partnership, US EPA
  • Sarah Brylinsky, Program Associate, Second Nature
  • Jenn Andrews, Director of Program Planning and Coordination, Clean Air-Cool Planet
  • Anthony Amato, Senior Analyst, Energy and Climate Change, ERG

For more information or questions about this event, please contact info@secondnature.org.

About Second Nature
www.secondnature.org
Second Nature works to create a healthy, just, and sustainable society beginning with the transformation of higher education. Second Nature is the support organization of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

About the EPA’s Green Power Partnership
www.epa.gov/greenpower 
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 Partner organizations voluntarily purchasing billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities.

_______

How to Participate

This event will be broadcast using Google+ Hangouts on Air to a live YouTube video. Please be sure to reserve a room or space which is equipped to screen YouTube videos.  You will not need a Google+ account to participate.  On the day of the event, this page (the page you are currently viewing) will have the YouTube video streaming live.  Simply visit this page to begin screening the video at 2pm EST. Please note that the video will be posted no earlier than 1:45pm EST the day of the event.  If you are having trouble seeing the video, try refreshing the page or restarting your browser.

Submitting Questions

We invite you to submit questions to the panelists ahead of time to help guide the discussion! Please leave a comment at the end of this post with your question for one or all of the panelists.

If you would like to submit questions and participate in the interactive components of this event during the event, you will need a Google or YouTube account.  To ask a question, click on the “Watch on YouTube” button in the lower right hand corner of the video window.  This will take you to the live video on the Second Nature YouTube Channel.  To ask a question, sign in to your Google or YouTube account, then post your question in the “Comments” section below the video.  Your question will appear instantly to the moderator.

Unable to make this live broadcast?
A recording of the broadcast will be made available shortly after the event on the Second Nature YouTube Channel, and on this blog.  Please register if you would like to receive information about the recording or live broadcast.

Technical Difficulties?
Questions about how to screen this event, or having difficulty?  Email info@secondnature.org.

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