Financing Sustainability

ACUPCC Signatories, American University and George Washington University Join Together for Largest Solar Power Purchase

July 17, 2014

by Janna Cohen-Rosenthal

Shifting power supply to renewable energy is a crucial strategy towards achieving climate neutrality. Generating significant quantities of renewable energy on a campus may not be feasible, especially in urban settings. Supporting offsite projects is an effective, but less common, solution. It is exciting to see the Washington DC-based schools and ACUPCC signatories, American University (AU) and George Washington University (GW) take leadership and support a large offsite solar energy project. The institutions joined together with George Washington University Hospital to form The Capital Partners Solar Project, which was announced early this summer.

The project will be the largest non-utility solar photovoltaic power purchase agreement in the United States in total megawatt hours contracted. It is being constructed by Duke Energy Renewables on land in North Carolina. Once completed in 2015, the solar panels will generate 123 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, estimated to be the equivalent of powering 8,200 homes.

 

At United Tribes Technical College Recycling Program Supports Sustainability

February 7, 2013

By Dennis J. Neumann, Public Information Director, United Tribes Technical College
(This article appears in the February, 2013 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer and was originally published in the December/January 2013 edition of United Tribes News)

ACUPCC ImplementerUnited Tribes Technical College used National Sustainability Day, October 24, to raise awareness and boost participation in the college’s recycling program. For a number of years campus departments have recycled paper and plastic under the leadership of a small but committed group of faculty members. Two years ago, interest in sustainability grew when United Tribes President David M. Gipp signed theAmerican College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The document outlines concerns about global climate change and offers methods for higher education institutions to model ways of minimizing the effects, showing leadership and integrating sustainability on campuses around the country. Institutions that sign-on commit their best efforts to pursue climate neutrality: By developing an institutional plan; initiating action to reduce greenhouse gases; and publicly reporting progress reports to the ACUPCC Reporting System.

Green Committee

Bowie State University’s Partnership With The Toyota Green Initiative: A University’s Path Toward Sustainability

February 7, 2013

By Jacqueline J. Palmer, Facilities Coordinator, Bowie State University
(This article appears in the February, 2013 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

Bowie State University has undertaken several endeavors to go “green” and increase its sustainability through its Climate Control Commitment Committee (C4), not the least of which is its partnership with the Toyota Green Initiative to foster sustainable living and thinking among its students. The Toyota Green Initiative (TGI) is an environmental stewardship platform designed to empower Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) students and alumni on the benefits of adopting a sustainable lifestyle. The success of a Bowie State University and TGI partnership is predicated on both entities’ keen focus on a partnership supported by engaged leadership, which in turn will foster enhanced sustainability awareness at Bowie State University.

By its nature a sustainable lifestyle necessitates a change in mindset, thus the acceptance of sustainability practices as routine requires leadership intervention and engagement. Further, the partnership will be foundational for fostering green practices targeting students, faculty and staff at the university. It is within this vein that the launch of the TGI was held during the 2010 Homecoming at Bowie State University, the first stop in a cross-country HBCU tour through a partnership with the CIAA and the BET Black College Tour.

Revolving Loan Fund at Lane Community College

November 6, 2012

By Jennifer Hayward, Sustainability Coordinator & Anna Scott, Energy Analyst, Lane Community College

(This article appears in the November, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

Lane 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 theEnergy 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 Possibilities at the University of Vermont

November 6, 2012

By Mieko A. Ozeki, Sustainability Projects Coordinator, University of Vermont

(This article appears in the November, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

How 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.

Building Georgia Tech’s Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory

November 6, 2012

By Howard Wertheimer, Director, Capital Planning & Space Management, Georgia Institute of Technology

(This article appears in the November, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

Georgia 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

Advocacy Update: Higher Education Leading the Nation to a Safe and Secure Energy Future

November 6, 2012

By Michele Madia, Director of Sustainability Financing & Strategy, Second Nature

(This article appears in the November, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

No 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

Join Second Nature and the EPA Green Power Partnership for "The State of Renewables in Higher Education"

November 2, 2012

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.

Higher Education and Energy: Opportunities for National Leadership

June 7, 2012

By Michele Madia, Director, Sustainability Finance & Strategy, Second Nature

(This article appears in the June, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The National Association of College & University Business Officers (NACUBO), Second Nature and the ACUPCC will release a policy brief report at the ACUPCC Climate Leadership Summit that explores how the federal government can develop and enhance energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives and investments specific to the nonprofit higher education sector.

The higher education sector is well positioned to lead the nation in implementing deep energy efficiency projects and renewable energy technologies. Colleges and universities own and manage thousands of buildings, heat and cool millions of square feet of space, and in many instances, operate their own thermal and electric power generation facilities. According to the latest reports from ACUPCC schools, 104 institutions have secured $195.7 million in outside funding to support their commitment to eliminate their operational greenhouse gas emissions and 158 institutions have implemented energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that have generated savings of $104 million. However, for many colleges and universities financing such projects can be challenging because current government incentives are most often designed for business and industry and not for the tax-exempt sector.

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