Partnerships

GRITS 1.0 - A New Tool for Energy Efficiency Project Tracking

March 21, 2014

 

By Mark Orlowski, Founder & Executive Director, Sustainable Endowments Institute

 

In April, a new tool will be launched to help colleges achieve their ACUPCC goals through streamlined tracking and calculation of project-level energy, financial and carbon data.  GRITS 1.0 (Green Revolving Investment Tracking System) is a breakthrough web platform that provides real, accessible, shareable data to unite management of both financial and environmental project performance.

Developed by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, an ACUPCC and Second Nature partner, GRITS offers a necessary bridge between managing and reporting, creating the space for schools to track, analyze and share information on specific projects or groups of projects--well beyond the capabilities of spreadsheets.

NEW ACCESS + WEBINAR

The GRITS 1.0 tool is the culmination of more than two years of internal development and guidance from colleges and universities across North America.  These schools benefited from using GRITS beta to manage their green revolving funds (GRFs)--an innovative financing mechanism to recapture cost savings from energy and resource efficiency projects.  More information on green revolving funds is available on The Billion Dollar Green Challenge website.

The Future Ain't What it Used to Be

November 5, 2013

“The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be”:

Collaborative Leadership, Higher Education, and Climate Destabilization

Dr. Peter Bardaglio

 

 By Peter W. Bardaglio, Ph.D., Senior Advisor, Second Nature

 

Icebergs in Iceland: an endangered species?

 

 

“The future ain’t what it used to be,” Yogi Berra once declared.[i] He wasn’t talking about climate change, but he could’ve been. Eight out of the nine hottest years on record worldwide, including last year, have occurred since 2000. The rate of the Arctic summer melt is accelerating at an astonishing pace and the latest reports now predict that we could have ice free summers in the Arctic as early as 2015. Scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii announced this past May that for the first time in human history the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed 400 ppm. The last time carbon dioxide levels were this high was probably in the Pliocene epoch, over three million years ago. To top it off, a paper just published in Nature predicts that by mid-century over half the planet will be experiencing average temperatures equivalent to the hottest days recorded since 1860.[ii]

As bad as this news is, and it’s bad, there is some really good news on the clean energy front.

Join Second Nature at the 2013 New England Campus Sustainability Forum

September 13, 2013

On Friday, September 20th, 2013, Second Nature will once again co-sponsor and participate in The New England Campus Sustainability Forum. This year’s theme is “Climate Change & New England Campuses: Impacts and Solutions” and it will take place at Colleges of the Fenway in Boston, MA.

We invite you to join Second Nature and our partners for the following educational opportunities:

Assessing Campus Vulnerabilities to Climate Impacts (Workshop)

This workshop will provide an overview of climate impact assessment resources using the 2013 National Climate Assessment, and discuss components of preparing a campus and community vulnerability assessment.

Panelists include:
• Sarah Brylinsky, Director, Climate Resilience & Education Programs, Second Nature
• Anne Waple, Program Manager for Climate Adaptation, Second Nature
• Jenn Andrews, Acting Executive Director, Clean Air-Cool Planet

Second Nature Partners for Free Webinar Series on National Climate Assessment

March 1, 2013

By: Sarah Brylinsky, Director of Climate Resilience & Educational Programs, Second Nature
SSF LogoSecond Nature
 and the Security & Sustainability Forum are convening a free webinar series on the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA), released in draft form in January 2013. Written by hundreds of leading scientists and experts from academia, government, and private and non-profit sector authors, the NCA is a powerful tool for understanding, teaching, planning for, and adapting to climate change.  

This webinar series will address findings, recommendations, and implications of the NCA, with an emphasis on multi-sector responsibility and collaboration potential. To learn more about this series, visit our webinar series page.

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.

Increased Staff Capacity to Support ACUPCC Implementation at MSIs

February 7, 2013

By Jairo Garcia, Kresge Implementation Fellow, Second Nature
(This article appears in the February, 2013 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

My name is Jairo Garcia and I am thrilled to be part of the Second Nature team as the ACUPCC Implementation Fellow. My primary responsibilities are to assist and support Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and Under-Resourced Institutions (URIs) signatories of the ACUPCC to advance your institution’s commitment to carbon neutrality, implement sustainability practices in curricular initiatives and support your community partnerships. Also joining the Second Nature team is Axum Teferra. Axum is the ACUPCC Membership and Engagement Fellow, and will be sharing responsibilities in providing implementation support. Our positions were made possible by The Kresge Foundation through Second Nature’s “Sustainability Leadership, Capacity Building and Diversity Initiative”.

SEED Center Mentor Connect Project Report

February 7, 2013

By Candy Center, SEED Center Consultant and Todd Cohen, Director of the SEED Center (This article appears in the February, 2013 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

ACUPCC ImplementerThe American Association of Community Colleges’ SEED Center Mentor Connect program pairs best-in-class green colleges with “mentee” colleges in an effort to more swiftly enhance programs that prepare students for careers in clean energy and green fields.

Minority-serving Institution Signatories to the ACUPCC Strengthen Curriculum Component of their Climate Action Plans by Offering AMS Climate Studies

December 4, 2012

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)

There 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 (123).

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 (45).

The University of Maine’s Integrative Graduate Education & Research Traineeship (IGERT) Focused on Adaptation to Abrupt Climate Change

December 4, 2012

By Misa Saros, A2C2 IGERT Program Coordinator, University of Maine

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

The University of Maine has launched a new National Science Foundationsponsored Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) – the first of its kind to focus explicitly on adaptation to abrupt climate change (A2C2).  The A2C2 IGERT is a partnership between theClimate Change Institute (CCI) and the School of Policy and International Affairs (SPIA) and is focused on the need to adapt environmental policies and management strategies to meet the social and ecological challenges caused by abrupt climate change events.  The program is funded by a five-year, $3 million award from the National Science Foundation, and will support the research of 24 Ph.D. students in Earth sciences, ecology, economics, anthropology and archaeology. Their research will focus on the effects of abrupt climate change on global security, ecosystem sustainability, and the integrity of economic, social, political and ideological systems.

IGEN Career Pathways: Preparing a Green Workforce

December 4, 2012

By Terri Berryman, Project Director, IGEN Career Pathways, College of Lake County

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

Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN), which was formed in 2006, is a President led initiative involving all 48 community colleges in the state of Illinois.  IGEN has four main areas of focus – green campus, green communities, green curriculum and green careers.  In 2011, the College of Lake County, on behalf of the IGEN, was awarded a $19.37 million grant from the Department of Labor (DOL) as part of round one of the Trade Adjustment Act Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.  The grant, IGEN Career Pathways, brings together seventeen community colleges working as a consortium to create 31 on-line blended and hybrid degree and certificate programs in green career fields.

Basic RGBThe grant’s goals are aligned with the four priorities outlined by the DOL: to accelerate progress for low-skilled and other workers; to improve retention and achievement rates to reduce time to completion; to build programs that meet industry needs, including pathways; and to strengthen online and technology-enabled learning.  Seven strategies are being used to meet these priorities:

Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative – October-November 2012

November 22, 2012

By Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Welcome to the October-November 2012 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, an electronic update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).

Photo Credit: Wrexie Bardaglio

Student Divestment Movement at Cornell and IC Heats Up

By K.C. Alvey, TCCPI Assistant Coordinator and 350.0rg Field Organizer

As part of a national 20-city tour called “Do the Math,” Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, and other well-known speakers have hit the road this fall to call attention to what McKibben calls ”Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” As McKibben wrote in his now famous Rolling Stone article this past July, the fossil fuel industry currently has 2,795 gigatons of carbon in proven coal, oil, and gas reserves, five times more than the maximum 565 gigatons the world can emit and keep warming below 2°C, a target scientists widely agree is necessary to prevent runaway climate change.

Cornell students call on the university to divest from fossil fuels.
Photo Credit: K.C. Alvey

In the lead-up to “Do the Math,” students across the country launched fossil fuel divestment campaigns at over 30 college campuses, taking campus sustainability to the next level. Here

posted in: 

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

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.

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.

Students Gear Up for Campus Sustainability Day 2012

October 17, 2012

Learn more in two new  posts from our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) about how students are getting involved for Campus Sustainability Day next week! Sustainable Students – Planning for Climate Change at a Campus Near You and Preparing for a Changing Climate with a Feast DownEast provide some great opportunities to learn more about Campus Sustainability Day, and generate ideas for your campus events.

The following two posts originally appeared on the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Switchboard Blog.

Sustainable Students – Planning for Climate Change at a Campus Near You

By Tiffany Traynum, Communications and Campaigns Program Assistant

Photo from the NRDC Switchboard

Involving Students in Climate Action Planning Prepares them for Life after College

October 3, 2012

By Anne Bertucio, Business & Community Relations Coordinator, Focus the Nation

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

Student involvement, ideas, and innovation have been and continue to be a driving force behind sustainability successes on college and university campuses.  In 2008, Focus the Nation (FTN) launched a national teach-in campaign to empower students through education, civic engagement, and action to advance a clean energy future. In turn, the ACUPCC has provided a terrific opportunity for students through their FTN training to play an integral role in the development and implementation of their campus’ Climate Action Plan’s.

Currently FTN offers the Forums-to-Action (F2A) program providing students withleadership skills, energy literacy, experiential learning and professional development. The F2A program benefits both the student and campus as it provides a framework for interdisciplinary collaboration, academic engagement with industry experts and elected officials, and an opportunity to apply existing campus resources to urgent sustainability issues in the community, to name a few. F2A participants at the University of Utah and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville have already made an impact. Their efforts show how valuable student leadership in implementing the climate action plan can be to the institution’s carbon footprint, and the capacity of students to prepare for a changing economy by shaping their institution’s climate and sustainability initiatives.

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