Posts Tagged ‘EPA’

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
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
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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The EPA Green Power Partnership recognized the following ACUPCC signatory institutions with 2011 Green Power Leadership Awards:

Allegheny College
Franklin & Marshall College
Mercyhurst College
Santa Clara University
University of Central Oklahoma

Five of the ten Green Power Purchasing awards went to colleges and universities – all of which are part of the ACUPCC network.

Learn more about these institutions’ efforts to measure and manage their greenhouse gas emissions, and integrate climate and sustainability into their education, research, and community engagement efforts by looking them up in the ACUPCC Reporting System.

Read more about Allegheny’s recognition here.

Read more about Mercyhurst’s recognition here.

Read more about Franklin & Marshall’s recognition here.

Read more about Santa Clara’s recognition here.

Read more about Central Oklahoma’s recognition here.


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By Sargon deJesus, Science Writer and Analyst,Anthony Amato, Senior Climate and Energy Analyst, and Robyn Liska, Climate and Energy Analyst, Eastern Research Group

(This article appears in the October, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


When signatories take the first step of self-discovery by starting to craft a Climate Action Plan (CAP), many discover that the journey is more of a grueling uphill climb. Every school faces challenges that set back their climate action planning – entrenched operations, cost, lack of community buy-in, constraints on staff time. What can your school do to avoid these obstacles? To help answer this, a new report by Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG) details important best practices in creating a CAP by analyzing completed reports and speaking with schools directly. Through the support of EPA, the recently released study “Climate Action Planning: A Review of Best Practices, Key Elements, and Common Climate Strategies ” identifies helpful approaches that any signatory can start using for their first CAP or future update.

What is the best way to structure my CAP development process? Who should be involved in making decisions? How do I present or share information with key people? What do I include in the CAP? What metrics do I use to track my school’s progress? The report surveyed 50 completed CAPs and conducted two dozen interviews with school representatives about their unique experiences to answer critical questions such as those.

ERG’s survey included an array of 50 colleges of all sizes, regions, and breadth of degree offerings. The results from this research shows ambitious trends across the schools. When combined, these climate commitments represent a significant reduction in carbon emissions and exemplify the power of the ACUPCC. The figure below illustrates the reductions in the total emissions of these 50 schools over time, assuming they achieve all of their interim reduction targets and neutrality goals.

Much work lies between now and the low-carbon future depicted above. Before even thinking about implementation, schools have to compile data, organize support, and decide on how to present information about their institution. To make this part of the CAP process successful, schools need a management structure that truly works. Some schools choose to create a central committee with stakeholders from groups inside and outside the campus walls. This collaborative approach builds strong ties and motivation among key players, but demands a heavy time commitment and lengthy deliberation. Other schools opt to put the work in the hands of a central point person. Relying on a small team of core advisors, this climate “superhero” develops the plan before presenting it to a higher-level body for approval.

No matter how you structure the decision-making process, school officials say the most important element is to have good communication. It starts with clearly explaining the purpose of the climate commitment and how a CAP fits into that. School representatives categorically believe in the importance of introducing these concepts to all members of the community early on to build buy-in for the climate commitment. In one example, to create motivation and to encourage communication about Arizona State University’s climate commitment, the university established a working group of senior-level administrators. These officials regularly meet with the President to report on CAP implementation in their departments. By forging communication channels early on in the development of the CAP, these pathways can help make implementation easier down the line. Many representatives also point out that effective communication allows for people who think differently from administrators or facilities managers to have their say. For example, the University of California, San Francisco devoted part of their sustainability website to solicit suggestions and comments from the campus community.

Creating a GHG inventory is a key ingredient of a CAP and demands considerable effort. To ease this burden, some schools choose to hire consultants to help carry it out. These schools, which often lack the expertise and technical familiarity to conduct a GHG inventory, find consultants to be a useful and important contributor to the process. Their experience can often help accelerate the construction of the inventory or other aspects of CAP development, such as financial evaluation of potential mitigation options. On the other hand, schools that opt to keep things in house often find their inventory experience to be more rewarding. Paul Manstrom, Director of Facilities Management at Kalamazoo College, explains that “it allowed a cross-section of people to gain expertise on the issue and [now there is] a permanent presence on campus of people who were able to speak to the issue.” With or without outside help, however, school representatives felt that the decision they made was the right one for them at the time.

Once schools make the move from brainstorming and data collection to concrete planning, school representatives consistently recommend integrating the planning with ongoing campus activity. Has your campus already started a sustainability initiative separate from the ACUPCC? Does your school face a largely under-informed community or skeptical staff? Choosing what strategies to use in your CAP is as critical to getting community support as having good communication channels. If a CAP appears to challenge existing projects or to deprive other departments of their funding, it can be viewed with hostility. Preventing this kind of backlash first requires setting yourselves up for success.

In one example, the University of Arkansas is utilizing a two-phased approach to help promote sustainability over the long term. To help build campus support, officials are prioritizing highly visible and “photogenic” projects, despite their sometimes smaller impact on GHG emissions. These projects include biking infrastructure, biodiesel, and recycling. Once sustainability anchors itself in the community, administrators will shift their focus to bigger items, such as emissions from electricity generation – something that could not happen without firmly rooted campus support. While this approach is not appropriate for every school, it shows the need for schools to tailor their approaches to their unique situation.

The statistics from the survey of CAPs echo what many of the representatives expressed verbally during the interviews. The graph below shows an example from the report of how schools are mobilizing various mitigation strategies. Frequently mentioned strategies, such as energy efficiency and transportation measures to decrease Scope 3 emissions, are well represented across all schools. Other data presented in the report offer context for schools unsure about how to prioritize their strategies. Through this wide survey of CAPs, the data provide a good portrayal of how schools structured their plans and addressed the core areas of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (mitigation, education, research, and outreach).

Formulating a CAP and creating an integrated plan entails meticulous planning, along with frequent wrong turns and unexpected successes. No matter if you are just starting your CAP adventure or confidently starting your next CAP update – by taking note of these lessons from other schools, your institution can avoid similar trials by fire and can finish with a more refined, and ultimately more successful, product!

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by Blaine Collison, Program Director, Green Power Partnership, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(This article appears in the June, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCCThe fundamental economic, environmental and security importance of dramatically increasing the United States’ portion of renewable electricity generation portfolio cannot be overstated.  American colleges and universities have compelling and unique abilities to help drive this series of changes through immediate and concrete action; this is Tangible Action 5 of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

This article will review some of the key issues in voluntary green power purchasing, touch on best practices, and briefly consider the enormous potential impact colleges and universities can have on the development of U.S. renewable energy.

Ninety-six colleges and universities are participating in the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Power Partnership (GPP), a voluntary program that offers technical support, best practices, and communications resources.  The schools are purchasing almost 1.5 billion kWh of green electricity.  All told, the GPP includes more than 1,200 organizations which are collectively buying almost 17 billion kWh of green power annually.

U.S. Voluntary Market Sales

U.S. Voluntary Market Sales

Source: NREL/TP-6A2-46581, September 2009


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