February 21, 2011

Climate Action Plan Nears Completion; Eco-Friendly Projects in the Works

Green worldAfter nearly six months of work from more than 100 faculty, staff and students, the university’s Climate Action Plan is in the final stages of development and is on schedule to be submitted to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in May.

The Climate Action Plan is a comprehensive “road map” that will guide Case Western Reserve University’s efforts to carbon neutrality. The plan sets out guidelines through 2050, but it can’t—and won’t—remain a static document. “New technologies will become available, new curriculum will become available, and it will absolutely need to be updated,” said Eugene Matthews, director of facilities services. “It won’t become a tome that will sit on a shelf and never change.”

In 2008, President Barbara R. Snyder signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, a national initiative of higher education leaders to promote sustainability on campuses across the country. Now, more than 675 leaders from colleges and universities have signed the pledge. Once a university leader signs the commitment, members of the university community must meet certain immediate goals as well as make an action plan and progress reports available to the public.

The university already has taken numerous steps to become more environmentally friendly, many of which coordinate with goals of the 12 working groups that developed the upcoming Climate Action Plan, said John Lawyer, associate vice president for campus planning and facilities management. For example, Matthews noted, a recent project replaced all the toilets and sinks in Crawford Hall with water-efficient models, and the building’s stairwell lights are being replaced with LED lightbulbs, both of which correspond with the Energy Consumption & Conservation working group.

Additionally, under the umbrella of the Campus Planning & the Built Environment working group, the renovation of Tomlinson Hall is expected to earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating—as will every new construction and other major renovation project in the future, such as the Tinkham Veale University Center and the new field house, Matthews said.

CWRU wind turbineFor examples of work being done as part of the Renewable Energy & Offsets group, look no further than the wind turbine and the solar panels housed on the roof of Adelbert Gym. (Want to know how much energy they’re producing? Click here.) Plus, Information Technology Services is working with Facilities Services to develop “sustainability dashboards” that show real-time energy consumption in buildings, Matthews said. This hopefully would drive efforts for those inside the buildings to bring down their numbers. The dashboards also would fall under the Education & Research working group, Lawyer noted, as the projects would help inform the university community.

RecycleMania, the campus recycling program taking place now, is another effort, as is the chilled water line installation that’s being done on Adelbert Road through the end of the month.

A full list of raw ideas from the working groups is available online. Have a great idea you’d like to see happen on campus? Submit it and become part of the conversation—and the continuing efforts—on campus. Stay up to date with the latest happenings on the new Climate Action Plan website.

Posted by: Emily Mayock, February 21, 2011 09:30 AM | News Topics:

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