January 12, 2011

How Big is Your Footprint?

Earth in lightbulb

Whenever climate change is discussed, “carbon footprint” is nearly always mentioned in the same breath. But how many people actually know what their carbon footprints are? As part of its sustainability efforts, Case Western Reserve University presents the Accenture Eco Challenge, a five-minute survey open to all faculty, staff and students.

After taking the brief survey, respondents find out their carbon footprint as well as how their carbon output compares to others at Case Western Reserve and in the city, state and country. Additionally, they can make pledges to improve other habits—from easier tasks like recycling to more intensive goals, such as installing low-flow toilets.

The more people who take the Eco Challenge, the better idea the university has of campus energy usage and the more thorough it can be in developing its Climate Action Plan, a detailed plan developed in the fall by resident experts across campus that outlines ways the university will work toward carbon neutrality. The Eco Challenge allows even more people to share their input and help Case Western Reserve reach the goal of carbon neutrality, said Linda Robson, sustainability coordinator. “The Eco Challenge and the President's Campus Climate Action Plan go hand in hand because, while there are a lot of things we can look at as ‘institutional’ impacts, they are often simply the result of our collective daily habits, like leaving lights on or fume hoods open. Our hope is that as members of the campus become more familiar with the easy behaviors that will create a healthier, more sustainable campus, we will all move Case Western Reserve toward climate neutrality."

The data will help the CAP committee develop new recommendations for campus and provide more support for current recommendations.

The Eco Challenge is sponsored by Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, through their Accenture Alumni Fund. The Accenture Alumni Fund is the combined support of more than 100 CWRU alumni working at Accenture. The fund has raised more than $250,000 over the past 10 years. “We at Accenture completed the Eco Challenge and saw the impact it had on our sustainability efforts. Having a strong relationship with CWRU and knowing of their increased efforts in sustainability, we decided to gift CWRU with the Eco Challenge tool so that they might also benefit from this survey,” said Don Richards, managing partner at Accenture (WRC ‘79, MGT ’81).

Click here to take the Accenture Eco Challenge.

Posted by: Emily Mayock, January 12, 2011 08:22 AM | News Topics: Energy

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