Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative – May 2011

May 25, 2011

By Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Welcome to the May 2011 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, a monthly update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).

TCCPI Backs Plan for Sustainability Center on the Commons

Ithaca Commons

Ithaca Commons on a sunny spring day!

Members of the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative at a recent meeting strongly endorsed the concept of a sustainability center located on The Commons indowntown Ithaca and identified the establishment of such a center as one of its top priorities for 2011.

The proposed sustainability center will foster broader community awareness and involvement in sustainability efforts in Tompkins County. Local residents, visitors, and students from nearby educational institutions can learn and interact with a wide range of sustainability projects and programs underway in Tompkins County and the Finger Lakes region.

Displays, videos and interactive exhibits will allow visitors to the center to become informed about, and engaged in, those efforts. The facility will be staffed by a program coordinator, work-study students, and volunteers, and could provide office and meeting space for sustainability projects and internships.

The Sustainability Center Steering Committee is made up of the following individuals, all of whom are TCCPI members:

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The Paid-from-Savings Guide to Green Existing Buildings

May 4, 2011

The Paid-from-Savings Guide to Green Existing Buildings
Free to Title III and V signatories through October 16, 2011
(Valued at $50)

This is a guide to help building facilities managers and energy service companies (ESCOs) leverage utility cost savings to fund comprehensive green building retrofits.  The resource provides detailed information on how to aggregate green improvement measures to optimize project economics and achieve LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance certification.

Brought to you by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council and its founding sponsor United Technologies Corporation.  To download the summary, please click here.

To request a copy, please email

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Integrating Sustainability into the Undergraduate Curriculum

May 4, 2011

Participants at the April conference. Photo courtesy of Craig Mosher, Luther College.

By Susan Jane Gentile, STARS Content Specialist
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

The Integrating Sustainability into the Undergraduate Curriculum: Best Practices and Pedagogical Resources conference was held at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa April 3-4, 2011. Each participant received a copy of Jim Farrell’s book, The Nature of College: How a New Understanding of Campus Life Can Change the World, and Jim was the keynote speaker on Sunday.

Discipline groups met at the beginning and end of the conference to discuss sustainability in the curriculum in their fields. On Monday the following presentations were offered in three concurrent sessions:

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TCCPI Recognized by Cornell with "Partners in Sustainability Award"

May 2, 2011

We are pleased to announce that theTompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI) received the second annual “Partners in Sustainability Award” from the Cornell University President’s Sustainable Campus Committee on Friday.

TCCPI is a multisector collaboration seeking to leverage the climate action commitments made by Cornell University, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins County, and the City of Ithaca to mobilize a countywide energy efficiency effort and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. Launched in June 2008 and generously supported by the Park Foundation, TCCPI is a project of Second Nature, coordinated by Second Nature Senior Fellow Peter Bardaglio.  Learn more about TCCPI at

TCCPI is designed to foster the kind of cross-sector collaboration needed to create a sustainable society.  The Partners in Sustainability Award is a tremendous validation that the approach and the work of all of TCCPI’s members is having a positive impact.

For more on this exciting award, see Cornell’s Media Advisory below, and this article in the Ithaca Journal.

Cornell to present second sustainability award to Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

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Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative – April 2011

April 21, 2011

By Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Welcome to the April 2011 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, a monthly update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).

TCCPI is a multisector collaboration seeking to leverage the climate action commitments made by Cornell University, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins County, and the City of Ithaca to mobilize a countywide energy efficiency effort and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. Launched in June 2008 and generously supported by the Park Foundation, TCCPI is a project of Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

We are committed to helping Tompkins County achieve a dynamic economy, healthy environment, and resilient community through a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Tompkins County and EVI Awarded Major EPA Climate Grant

EcoVillage at Ithaca on a sunny day!

Tompkins County, in a unique partnership with EcoVillage at Ithaca’s Center for Sustainability Education, has been awarded a $375,450 Climate Showcase Communities grantfrom the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fund innovative approaches to creating dense neighborhoods that enhance residents quality of life while using fewer resources.

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Sustainability Training in the Classroom and the Field

March 8, 2011

By Anouk Bertner, Emerging Leaders Manager, The Natural Step Canada
(This article appears in the March, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCCDuring a recent speaking trip to North America, The Natural Step’s Founder, Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt, when asked about the most serious sustainability impact of colleges, replied: “The worst emission from colleges is ignorant students.”

ACUPCC Signs R20 Charter

November 19, 2010

We can’t afford to wait for national and international movement. Action is needed now, and action is what we’re taking with R20. — Arnold Schwarzenegger

Earlier this week the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) signed the R20 Charter as an academic partner at UC Davis during the 3rd Governor’s Global Climate Summit.  R20 – Regions of Climate Action is an alliance of subnational governments and non-governmental partners that will collaborate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate the implementation of clean energy, drive innovation, and influence national and international policy.

The 3rd Governor's Global Climate Summit hosted at UC Davis drew over 1500 participants from over 80 states.

The group aims to demonstrate that cutting emissions 75% by 2020 is possible at zero net-cost, while growing the green economy and creating jobs.  Readthis press release from the Governor’s office for more information.

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UNCF Building Green Initiative Training Series - Atlanta

November 9, 2010

By Barbara Koneval, Program Associate, Education & Training

Over 35 representatives from minority serving institutions including faculty, administration, facilities managers, students and deans gathered in Atlanta for a 2-day training presented by Second Nature and Clean Air Cool Planet, as part of the UNCF Building Green Initiative training Series, funded by the Kresge Foundation.

Photo Credit: Donnie Hunter Photography

The goal of the initiative is to build both the sustainability knowledge and capacity of minority serving college and universities and help them overcome barriers to building green and planning for carbon reductions on their campuses.

The first day of the workshop started with an introduction to greenhouse gas management. Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP) led the training on the Campus Carbon Calculator™, a tool that’s been used by students, faculty and sustainability managers on over 1,000 campuses to measure their emissions on campus.

Jennifer Andrews and Claire Roby from CA-CP reviewed the basics of what a greenhouse gas inventory is, the

2010 ACUPCC Climate Leadership Summit Facilitates Dialogue and Engagement

November 4, 2010

By Steve Muzzy, Senior Associate, Second Nature

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

The 4th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Climate Leadership Summit met October 12-13 in Denver, CO. The nearly 200 participants got right to work sharing challenges and best practices and outlining the future direction of the commitment. Highlights from the Summit follow.

James WoolseyJames Woolsey, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Bill Clinton, provided the opening keynote address. Mr. Woolsey’s presentation focused on the impending threats to national security that are being posed by an increasingly unstable climate. His perspective creatively threaded the current and future social and environmental implications of our reigning energy policy as well as provided some promising existing mechanisms to scale renewable energy production. Note: Mr. Woolsey’s presentation and all Summit presentations will be available on the ACUPCC website soon.

America’s Community Colleges Unite to Train Students for Jobs in the Green Economy-Over 300 Schools Join Leadership Initiative to Create More Competitive U.S. Workforce

November 4, 2010

By Todd Cohen, Director of Sustainability Initiatives, American Association of Community Colleges

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

To lead in the accelerating green economy, America needs millions of new skilled workers for jobs in renewable energy, energy efficiency, green building and sustainability. To meet this demand, America’s community colleges are joining the first nationwide initiative to collaborate on and implement programs to train students with the education and skills needed to succeed.

The SEED Center ( is a leadership initiative, free resource center, and online sharing environment for community colleges to dramatically scale up programs to educate America’s 21st century workforce to compete in the green economy. Designed to support various AASHE and Second Nature tools, SEED – Sustainability Education and Economic Development – is a landmark effort by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and ecoAmerica to assist the nation’s 1,200 two-year colleges in the critical task of preparing the American workforce with the skills needed to succeed in sustainable, clean tech and other green economy jobs.

Building Capacity to Make Sustainability ‘Second Nature’ For All!

September 7, 2010

By Ashka Naik, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Second Nature

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

Within the Advancing Green Building in Higher Education Program, a capacity-building initiative funded by The Kresge Foundation, Second Nature has been building the sustainability capacity of many under-resourced institutions for the past two years.  As Second Nature continues to work on this initiative, we thought of taking this opportunity to share with you some of the highlights and success stories of this program.

This initiative has a two-fold mission. The first one is to level the playing field and offer access to all under-resourced higher education institutions to embrace institutional sustainability.  And, another long-term mission is to assist these institutions in committing to climate neutrality by enabling them to sign and implement the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment(ACUPCC).  Second Nature is directly working with more than 50 under-resourced institutions through this initiative.

Minority Serving Institutions Building Green

September 7, 2010

By Felicia Davis, Building Green Program Director, United Negro College Fund

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

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Institute for Capacity Building has embarked upon an ambitious endeavor to catapult minority-serving colleges and universities into leadership roles in the transition to a sustainable green global economy.  Elevating the critical need for emissions reductions and social, economic and environmental responsibility is central to the mission of higher education institutions.  Energy efficient upgrades, LEED certified building, and interdisciplinary sustainability studies are key elements in campus-wide sustainability efforts.  Minority-serving institutions are in a unique position to make a quantum-leap by embracing and aggressively pursuing carbon-neutral campus infrastructures.  These institutions can turn liabilities, such as older inefficient buildings, into assets by adopting LEED standards for new and existing buildings.  They can lead the way to a sustainable future.

Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) in North Carolina, under the leadership of Chancellor Dr. Willie Gilchrist, is the first institution to sign

Above - Felicia Davis presents ESCU Chancellor Willie Gilchrist award as first ACUPCC signatory since start of Building Green initiative

Targeting Campus Efficiency, EDF expands Climate Corps to the Public Sector

September 7, 2010

By Jill Logeman, Energy Program Coordinator, Environmental Defense Fund

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


If improving building energy efficiency were as simple as flipping a switch, universities could easily cash in on big cost savings and emission reductions. Instead, limited resources, information gaps, and organizational barriers prevent universities from taking advantage of smart energy investments.  Environmental Defense Fund’s new summer fellowship program can help colleges and universities overcome these obstacles.

Climate Corps Public Sector trains talented graduate students from top schools in energy efficiency and places them in public organizations, such as colleges and universities.  Working with facilities management or sustainability staff, each fellow or pair of fellows develops a customized energy plan designed to meet the host’s needs.

Fellows work across host departments to:

Achieving Green Schools for Everyone Within This Generation

September 7, 2010

There are more than 3,800 projects participating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building program on campuses across the United States. In fact, colleges and universities have a higher percentage of LEED-certified green space than any other sector, including government, retail and hospitality. While notable, colleges have only just begun to scratch the surface of transforming their aging campuses. Today, there are more than 83,000 college buildings comprising 3.48 billion square feet on campuses across the country. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has a vision to ensure green schools for everyone within this generation and, new this year, USGBC is launching its Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council. The Center will support sustainability and green building for everyone from the kindergartner entering the classroom for the first time to the Ph.D. student performing research in a lab.

Tomkins County Climate Protection Initiative Update – Summer 2010

August 17, 2010

The Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative(TCCPI) continues to accelerate progress towards climate neutrality and sustainability on a regional basis in and around Ithaca, NY. With three ACUPCC signatory institutions – Cornell UniversityIthaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College – and a concentration of leading businesses, NGO’s, and government agencies, the coalition is developing and implementing innovative solutions.

Recent activities include:

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Performance Contracts Deliver Guaranteed Impact

August 4, 2010

By Kent Anson, Vice President of Energy Solutions, Honeywell
(This article appears in the August, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


Although battery-powered cars and green fuel tend to dominate the headlines, one of the largest targets for meaningful conservation is sitting right in schools’ backyards. Literally.

Across the globe, buildings account for nearly 40 percent of all energy and 70 percent of electricity use. With more than 4,000 campuses in the United States, colleges and universities are well positioned to have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions simply by making their facilities more energy efficient and sustainable.

However, with rising energy costs, tight operating budgets and increasing competitive pressures, finding the resources to implement the necessary changes has been a challenge for administrators.

If there is a choice between a state-of-the-art science lab and making energy-efficient upgrades, for example, the new facility usually wins. Financing tools like energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) give schools the opportunity to do both, which adds to their long-term sustainability.

Under an ESPC, colleges, universities and other institutions are able to finance environmentally conscious building upgrades — from new boilers to solar panels — through the energy and operating savings the improvements produce over a specified timeframe.

The savings are typically guaranteed by an energy services company so the work doesn’t impact budgets or require additional student or taxpayer dollars.

Leveraging the Private Sector to Advance the ACUPCC

August 4, 2010

By Anthony Cortese, President, Second Nature and Andrea Putman, Director of Corporate Partnerships, Second Nature
(This article appears in the August, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


The ACUPCC represents a courageous and unprecedented form of leadership by higher education to lead society to a climate neutral and environmentally sustainable state in order to meet the individual, social and economic needs of all humans in the present and in the future.  Signatory schools have committed to be a model for climate neutrality and sustainability and ensure that their graduates will have the knowledge and skills to help all of society do the same.

One of the most exciting developments of this focus by higher education institutions has been the cultural shift that is taking place on many campuses.  Presidents and other campus leaders have recognized that achieving these goals requires the focus, involvement and collaboration of all parts of the institution - administrators, faculty, staff, students and trustees – in deep and synergistic ways.  They have told Second Nature and others that the Commitment has accelerated efforts to integrate academic, research, operational and community outreach actions into a holistic approach to sustainability and that it has done more to build a vibrant community and a sense of shared purpose across the institutions than any other initiative in recent memory.  Collectively, the ACUPCC network has become an important learning community and is helping to encourage all of higher education to make this commitment.

Feeding a Culture of Sustainability on Campus

August 4, 2010

By Julie Lawrence, National Events Marketing Manager, Sodexo and Rachel Sylvan, Director, Engagement- Corporate Citizenship, Sodexo 

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

Above - International Day of Climate Action 10/24/09 during Campus Sustainability Week 135 Paul Smith’s College students, staff, and faculty participated along with community members from the Adirondacks (includes forestry students in orange hardhats and culinary arts students in chef whites) on the Great Lawn at Paul Smith’s College on the shore of Lower St. Regis. is leading a push to reduce carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million in the atmosphere.

Collaboration is at the heart of any successful sustainability program.  At Paul Smith’s College, a deep commitment to achieving carbon neutrality has led to opportunities for collaboration across the campus.  President John W. Mills was one of the first to sign the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment to neutralize carbon emissions and lead the way on teaching students to improve society. Today the importance of sustainability and carbon neutrality is stressed at all levels of the organization.  As a central touch point for all segments of the campus community, campus dining has become a center for promoting the culture change that is driving their success.


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