Why Colleges and Universities Must Take the Lead in Climate Action

Academic institutions are well suited to take on the climate change leadership challenge. Our primary mission is to educate future generations of leaders thus, concern for future generations and sustainable development are intrinsic to education and a countervailing force to the cycle of short-term selfish decision making that has become acceptable in some sectors of society. The university is an ideal learning laboratory, creating opportunities for hands-on experimentation ranging from modest...

Facilities Planning

Facilities planning is guided by the larger goals of the master plan and informed by short-term needs. Especially on older campuses, facilities planning may focus primarily on existing buildings and facilities, treating new construction separately. Good facilities planning is the integration of space and program improvement, campus modernization, deferred maintenance, and utility planning. As we describe in chapter 6, energy delivery, building use, and mechanical and electrical systems...

The Master Plan Can Link Buildings with the University Mission A

Focus on climate change provides an opportunity to think about the links between the master plan, the physical plant, and the research and academic mission. This focus may include creating explicit demonstrations of technology, allowing students and faculty to participate in planning activities, evaluating the proposed plan, and creating plans that allow for visible rather than invisible campus infrastructure and energy systems. For instance, Brown is linking their master plan with their...

Adapting to Changes Caused by Global Warming

Across the United States and beyond, the effects of climate change may be dramatic. The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that worldwide economic losses due to natural disasters appear to be doubling every ten years, and the next decade will reach 150 billion a year.4 Natural disasters appear to be more frequent and more severe.5 Campus planners should consider the energy delivery, increased frequency of floods, and consequences of higher average temperatures that are predicted...

Revising Master Plans to Address Climate Altering Emissions

A campus master plan is a wonderful opportunity to articulate an inspirational vision for the university and to move these ideas from concepts This material is excerpted from an article appearing in the New York Times in October 2003. Whether evident in student unions, recreational centers or residence halls (please, do not call them dorms) the competition for students is yielding amenities once unimaginable on college campuses, spurring a national debate over the difference between educational...

Campus Trends and Emissions

Across the country universities are increasing electricity use. In the late 1990s the demand started growing at about 1 percent a year on our Medford campus and about 3 percent a year universitywide, as students have brought more and more electrical appliances to campus. These devices range from cell phones to air purifiers and average twelve to fifteen per residential student. Faculty and staff also have dramatically The Ivy Council (representing all of the Ivies) Bowdoin College MIT's...

Setting Climate Goals

Perhaps one of the most important phases of university planning is the goal setting that sets the stage for detailed plans. These goals are critical for comprehensive action on climate change. Goals for addressing climate change have been embraced by governments, industry, and individuals (see chapter 2). For example, countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol and states and provinces that have endorsed the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers climate action statements also...

University Master Planning and Climate Action

Major decisions of the university are informed by plans, many of which have heat-trapping emissions implications. The university administration and trustees undertake long-term, large-scale planning however, more detailed and short-term planning takes place in all academic and administrative departments. A comprehensive discussion of planning at academic institutions is beyond the scope of this book, but we will explore intersections between university planning and climate change action....

Evaluate Progress Regularly

In Fran Jacobs's five-tiered approach to program evaluation,2 there is an explicit recognition that programs follow a developmental path in which early efforts tend to produce results that are related to process and subsequent efforts tend to produce outcome results. This is reasonable because changes often take time to manifest themselves. In this example, progress in the early years can and should be evaluated in terms of number of faculty participating in development programs, number of...

Identify Program Components

Program components are the specific activities you will undertake. They should be defined in a way that makes sense on your campus. For instance, three components could be installing lighting controls in the biology building, replacing all incandescent chandelier bulbs in the chapel, and upgrading the boiler in the engineering building. You might have few components at the beginning of a climate action program and you can add components as the program gains resources. For example, a program...

Steps to Climate Action Planning

Across the country municipalities, states, and corporations are creating climate change action plans to identify feasible and effective policies to reduce their heat-trapping gas emissions. A university climate action plan can to the same. As with any good program plan, the climate change action plan will be part of a dynamic, evolving process in which goals are set, measurable objectives are identified, progress is evaluated, and modifications are made as implementation experience is gained,...

Carbon Offsets and Trading

Market mechanisms for encouraging climate change action or for mitigating climate change through financial transactions are emerging on a largely voluntary basis, especially in light of the absence of federal policy. Carbon offsets and carbon trading are two such mechanisms. Carbon Emission Offsets A project that reduces greenhouse gas emissions outside of the university to compensate for the university's own emissions is called an emission offset. Often the institution simply pays a fee per...

Prepare a Campus Greenhouse Gas Inventory

The inventory is the baseline against which subsequent progress is measured. See chapter 3 and appendix C for details on how to develop the campus inventory. Inventory data will also help developers of the climate action program describe the problems to be solved. For example, after conducting an inventory, you might conclude that our electricity is the major source of greenhouse gas emissions because it is procured from a utility that burns coal. An information-rich problem description will be...

Articulate a Program Theory

The program theory does not have to be a grand theory comparable to the theory of relativity. And different elements of the program will have different theories. For a program to encourage students to turn off their computers when not in use, the program theory can be as simple as the following People don't turn off their computers at night because they don't understand that electricity from fossil fuel increases heat-trapping gas emissions. If we teach people that electricity use contributes...

Planning and Policies for Climate Change

Having a plan for campuswide emission reduction is an essential part of climate action however, it is most likely to be effective if it is viewed as part of a larger whole. Colleges and universities that successfully embed climate change in the full range of their planning and policies are more likely to realize comprehensive and effective climate action. If institutions are located in jurisdictions where government planning and policies also give priority to climate change, municipal or state...

Tree Planting

Strategic planting of trees and shrubbery on campuses can reduce energy demands and increase the sequestration of carbon. Landscaping with trees can provide shade and reduce wind speeds and thus reduce energy needs related to heating and cooling. Because half the dry weight of wood is carbon, as trees add mass to trunks, limbs, and roots, carbon is stored in relatively long-lived structures instead of being released to the atmosphere. Thus, programs to support tree planting can help reduce...

Fertilizer

Industrial fertilizers and organic materials such as manure add nitrogen to soils. Any nitrogen not fully utilized by the crops grown in these soils undergoes natural chemical and biological transformations that can produce nitrous oxide (N2O), a highly potent greenhouse gas. There is some uncertainty about how to best manage fertilizers, but universities that use large-scale fertilization programs for campus greens, athletic fields, or agriculture may be able to reduce climate change impacts...

Livestock

The normal digestive process of most animals produces methane. While true for everything from termites to humans, emission reduction efforts focus on commercially valuable species. Cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels are the major sources.31 Tufts' School of Veterinary Medicine maintains a research herd at the Grafton campus. In 2001, the herd consisted of approximately 50 dairy cows, more than 300 swine, and a few sheep, goats, and horses. The herd's emissions of methane add up despite...

Management of University Forests

University forests often are separate from the main campus and are used for biology and forestry education and research. Because trees and other vegetation can sequester carbon from the atmosphere, management of these forestlands can help to offset or store carbon generated elsewhere by the institution. Use of university forests as a source of wood products can also store carbon for a relatively long time, rather than letting it decay back into the atmosphere. In addition to managing their own...

Climate Action in Dining Services

University dining halls, kitchens, and dish rooms are full of opportunities for reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. These opportunities are greatest when a kitchen, servery, and dining room are designed or renovated, or when new equipment is purchased. As with any construction, care should be taken to select the most efficient equipment possible. Key opportunities exist in air-conditioning, exhaust, makeup air, refrigeration, dishwashing, water conservation (particularly of hot...

Solid Waste and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The life cycle of almost all products generates greenhouse gases in their use of raw materials, manufacture, transport, recycling, or disposal (see table 8.2). For this reason, using only needed products and managing their end use or disposal can help reduce emissions, even outside of the institution. Waste prevention and recycling can reduce methane from landfills, reduce emissions from incinerators, reduce energy consumption, and increase storage of carbon in trees. Once a product has been...

Travel Related to University Business

Faculty and staff at all levels of the organization travel on university business, and the emissions associated with their travel contribute to the buildup of greenhouse gases. Students also may travel for research collaboration, conference participation, and fieldwork. Depending on the type of accounting system in place in an organization, tracking the type of travel and the modal split may be challenging. For organizations with centralized travel services or travel-approval systems, records...

Alternative Fuels and Technologies

Conversion to alternative fuels and technologies can help reduce on-campus emissions, but the reductions will not be dramatic. However, there may be other compelling reasons to switch to electric, biodiesel, or compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles to improve local or regional air pollution and create educational opportunities around transportation and transportation technologies. Hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, CNG, biodiesel, and low-emission diesel can all be useful on campus. Fuels such...

Reducing Emissions from University Owned Vehicles

Many vehicles travel primarily within the campus so that staff can deliver mail, serve catered meals, or undertake facilities and grounds maintenance. A college or university may also own vans, small buses, or a fleet of buses. Tufts' fleet of over one hundred vehicles includes passenger cars, light-duty trucks, pickup trucks, vans, forklifts, police and safety vehicles, grounds maintenance, farm equipment, and construction equipment. Increasing the efficient use of these vehicles and planning...

Shared Vehicles Zipcar

In summer 2003, Tufts entered into an agreement with Zipcar (www.zipcar.com tufts). The Zipcar system allows members to rent vehicles by the hour, and is established in urban areas to serve a population that needs an automobile periodically. Nearly 400 members, including administrators, development officers, faculty, staff, and students, can rent vehicles by the hour for university or personal business. While it is envisioned that some users may not have cars (a good assumption for some student...

Inspiring Downstream Effects Active Citizenship at Tufts

One of our goals in developing the personal action initiatives on campus is that all members of the university community will carry the lessons with them into other communities. For faculty and staff, we hope that learning about compact fluorescent bulbs and shutting down their computers at work will lead to greater learning and action that will in turn influence the decisions they make at home, as members of town government, through their activities in social service organizations, and in...

Social Marketing

Social marketing uses insights from social psychology and the techniques of commercial marketing to influence behaviors. As we have noted, environmentalists often assume that if people understand the problem, they will take appropriate action. Over the last twenty years, research has indicated that even when people understand the problem, they will not necessarily exhibit environmentally sound behaviors.16 The discrepancy between environmental values and action is commonly referred to as the...

Personal Responsibility

There is an element of personal action for climate change and energy efficiency that includes personal responsibility and awareness. This is hard to teach (and perhaps harder to learn). In many ways the climate change problem and our inability to come to grips with it is a tragedy of the commons a failure to consider how our individual actions have benefits or costs for the community. Personal responsibility for climate change action on campus might include Tolerance for indoor temperatures...

Operate Windows Thoughtfully

An open window is a wonderful addition to almost any room. However, in a conditioned room or building (those with heat or cooling), an open window can increase the demand for heat or air-conditioning. Building occupants need to be trained to shut windows when they do not need to be open and to understand how an open window affects others. For example, a window opened to cool an overheated office or classroom may eventually supply the nearby thermostat with that same cool air, calling for more...

Vacation Shutdowns

Vacations, particularly those around the midsemester break, are times when dedicated efforts to shut things off and turn temperatures back can pay off. At Tufts the last day of exams for the fall semester in a recent year was December 20, and spring classes started on January 20. If students had early exams or papers, they were away for more than four weeks. The Tufts Climate Initiative and the energy manager developed a plan to target student rooms for an intense shutdown. Prior to our...

Lighting and Behavior Change

TCI focuses on task and chandelier lighting as a way to increase awareness of energy efficiency and demonstrate alternative technology. We give away compact fluorescent lightbulbs, free for on-campus use. Whenever possible, we do charge for them asking that people provide us with their old incandescent lightbulb. This program has distributed over 3,000 bulbs, including a retrofit of all lamps in the president's office. This lighting effort is part of a more comprehensive retrofit of the...

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Cool the Climate Power

Not only has the number of electronic devices on campus increased, so have their hours of use. At Tufts we began addressing the use of electronics by creating simple messages. As part of this effort, we spent a great deal of time debunking the myths of computer and light shutdowns and we linked the messages to climate change. See box 10.2 for computer myths. These are modest programs however, they are concrete actions that may start to make the connections for people, even if they do not yield...

Box

Banned in Boston (and many other places) Halogen lamps have been banned on most campuses. This was originally done for safety because of the fire risk several fires occurred when posters or curtains touched the hot lamps and were ignited. The halogen lamps also use massive amounts of electricity (300-600 watts) and generate so much heat that additional building conditioning is required. Personal air conditioners are banned on most campuses. Most universities do not give a reason, but it...

Plug Loads

Plug loads involve the electricity used by equipment installed and operated by building occupants. In a typical campus room, students have a storehouse of electrical appliances and devices, including desk lamps, electric razors, and lighted makeup mirrors. According to a March 2003 survey by Miami University, the average freshman takes eighteen appliances to campus.12 Table 10.2 shows some of these devices along with the amount of electricity they require. We mentioned plug loads earlier...

Student Choices

In fall 1999, a survey was conducted as part of an undergraduate political science class at Tufts. In a course on survey design and analysis, students were asked to take a representative sample of undergraduates, and to pose questions related to global citizenship and the environment (n 288). Of the respondents, 74 percent agreed or strongly agreed with the statement The US government should take an active role in the global effort to curb the problem of rapid climate change. And 67 percent...

Staff and Faculty Choices

We believe that there is a link between peoples' choices at home and those at work. TCI holds seminars for faculty and staff on saving energy at home. In the publicity for these events, we emphasize that many energy-saving measures can also save money. On a campus where sessions of this type are being introduced for the first time, it would be very interesting to launch this in the form of an experiment. This could be done by an individual faculty member or in conjunction with a course. Through...

The Nature of Personal Choices

In the course of our daily activities, we make several choices that have climate change implications. Some decisions have a great deal more impact than others, and they vary in relevance to different demographic groups. Wealth may be a factor in an individual's emission profile. For example, the residential transportation energy consumption survey available from the Department of Energy shows that higher income is correlated with more vehicle miles traveled.9 Emissions from personal travel...

Knowledge Does not Equal Action

Campaigns conducted by environmental activists often assume that education is essential to behavior change. This assumption is inherently attractive for those of us at academic institutions however, there is compelling evidence that a great deal more than understanding is needed to inspire people to change their habits. Recently we convened a group of climate change professionals at Tufts, and asked them whether their personal emissions from their own activities were greater than or less than...

Inspire Understanding of Climate Systems Then Provide Facts about Global Warming

Scientific research organizations, intergovernmental agencies, and governments are developing materials that illustrate the climate system and provide facts about climate change. Many are available on the Internet and reflect different levels of complexity for diverse audiences. Just a few of these resources include the United Nations, whose UNEP GRID-Arendal website includes slides and an interactive model 6 the Hadley Centre 7 and the Environmental Protection Agency.8 Teaching modules related...

The Cost of Misconceptions

Many approaches can be used to calculate the cost of misconceptions related to global warming. For example, it is possible to estimate the cost of one or many events related to extreme weather, an approach that has inspired the insurance industry to advocate for prompt climate action. In a report to Congress weeks after Hurricane Katrina, the Congressional Research Service estimated the private-insurer losses at 40 to 60 billion, making Hurricane Katrina the costliest single event in U.S....

Knowledge and Action

Studies indicate that the general understanding of climate change is so inaccurate that even if people were motivated to change behaviors, they would not know what actions to take. In 2001, Steven Brechin found that only 15 percent of Americans surveyed correctly identified fossil-fuel burning as the primary cause of climate change.1 More recently, John D. Sterman and Linda Booth Sweeney created a series of tasks to explore peoples' intuitive understanding of climate change. Focusing on...

Personal Action Initiatives

Personal decisions are vitally important to the climate action effort because they cumulatively account for a significant and growing portion of electricity use on a residential campus. Equally important, a focus on personal action allows us to expand the educational reach of our commitment to reducing greenhouse gases. Our experience and that of others who have undertaken a wide range of comparable efforts suggests that motivating individuals to make choices in favor of the environment is not...

Other Policies with Climate Implications

There are many other policy areas that can link university operations and decision making to climate change action. In addition to achieving energy efficiency and achieving cost savings, these policies are also opportunities to underscore the university's commitment to the issues. Purchasing and contract policies are opportunities to specify efficiency since many energy-using machines are available with a range of efficiency. These include copy machines, printers, computers, refrigerators,...

Building Use and Performance Policies

Policies are important instruments for affecting decisions in the college community however, the extent to which policies are effective or consistent with the institution's culture varies widely. Because academia often honors and rewards independent thinking and creativity, policies that mandate equipment or behavior may be few and countercultural, although practices vary across institutions. Exceptions occur when legal requirements dictate action (such as in the handling and disposal of...

Academic Calendar

In response to the energy crisis of the 1970s, many colleges and universities modified their academic schedules. In the Northeast, a common strategy was to schedule a longer break in the winter between the fall and spring semesters. Over break, buildings such as student residences and classrooms could be heated to a minimum (to prevent freezing pipes) in the December-January period. This approach was designed to save money by reducing demand during a period when campus energy use is typically...

Using Endowment Funds to Create an Energy Account That Is Paid Back from Savings

Another potential investment opportunity for a portion of the university's endowment money may be in campus efficiency upgrades. While this idea may be new to investment officials, operations specialists have known for years that many efficiency projects can offer rates of return that are much better than the typical investment portfolio. Joe Romm's work suggests that in American businesses, many projects can have a 3.1-year payback.22 While university buildings may have somewhat slower payback...

Investment Planning for Colleges and Universities

A great deal of interest surrounds college and university investments as endowments have waxed and waned with the U.S. stock market, and as members of the university community periodically raise concerns about the ethics and practices of companies in which institutions hold shares. Climate change creates both vulnerability and opportunities for institutional investors, and careful planning can increase the likelihood of positive outcomes. As we mentioned in chapter 5, a 2002 report from CERES...

Financial Planning

Financial planning can create opportunities to put university resources to work in numerous ways that can have emission reduction benefits. Because the allocation of budgets generally reflects priorities, financial plans can link operating and construction costs, consider life-cycle costs, and link budgets across departments. Each of these measures can help to create incentives for energy conservation and give priority to energy-related projects in a range of departments. University advancement...

Lighting

Lighting can account for anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of a building's total energy use, so it is important to concentrate on efficiency through out campus operations.2 We know from research and personal experience that human beings are very responsive to different types of light. Artful lighting in a theater production can transform the audience's experience, and insufficient daylight is associated with seasonal affective disorder. Lighting can change the tone of a room dining by candlelight...

Increased Use of Alternative Fuels or Green Power

The electric industry, which remained basically unchanged for a century, has undergone something of a revolution in the past decade. Many states have now deregulated their electric industries. What this means for colleges and universities or other purchasers of electricity is that there is now a choice of electric generators. With this choice, a college or university may now purchase some or all of its electricity from renewable sources. Renewable energy offers low or no climate-altering...

Green Power and Alternative Fuels

Green power is electricity generated from fuels that do not deplete the earth's resources. Solar and wind energy are the most commonly thought of green power or renewable-energy sources, but tidal energy and hydropower are other examples of electricity-generating sources. Universities may opt to purchase green power (see chapter 8) or to generate power on campus. On-site generation may be central (see the discussion later in this chapter) or distributed (located where or near where it will be...

Efficiency

Climate change action in facilities must include energy efficiency using less energy to deliver the same level of service. This includes using less electricity in building systems using less electricity in systems such as chillers, motors, fans, laboratory hoods, and lighting improving the efficiency of building heating and cooling systems and reducing the energy needed to heat hot water and tightening the building envelope (walls, windows, doors, roof) as well as reducing penetrations of the...

University Purchasing

Universities are consumers, and like all consumers, their purchasing decisions can underscore their priorities. University purchasing decisions offer opportunities to have vendors, contractors, and service providers improve their practices on the university's behalf. Many campus sus-tainability programs have benefited from projects that involve the purchasing department and the university's purchasing power in efforts to increase recycling, increase the purchase of recycled content of...

Construction

Construction of the building according to the plans is perhaps the most complex step. In large and small buildings there are inevitably problems. However, in good buildings and collaborative processes, these problems are solved effectively and efficiently. Depending on the campus culture, community awareness about a new building may be low until construction begins. At that time, there can sometimes be a flurry of interest in affecting changes in the design as students and faculty visualize the...

Finding Energy Saving Opportunities

In some buildings or sections of buildings there may be obvious signs of waste. Simple observations may tell you that the lights are on around the clock or that windows are open in the middle of a winter freeze. Conversations with building users may also tell you that the water is always too hot or that the occupants need to supplement heating or cooling with space heaters or window air conditioners. In many cases, however, comprehensive energy assessments conducted by a trained mechanical and...

Climate Change Education within Academic Disciplines

For courses taught by a single faculty member, it may be quite straightforward to introduce climate change in the classroom with the goal of raising student awareness. Box 11.1 has an assignment that can be adopted for several disciplines. We use it in a course on climate change. But there are more subtle ways to introduce global warming-related material. For example, in a quantitative methods class, a decision can be made to have students learn methods using data sets related to climate...

Climate Change as Interdisciplinary Study

Having mentioned several traditional academic disciplines, it is important to note that most of the climate change efforts at Tufts are interdisciplinary at some level. Although Tufts values and nurtures interdisciplinary work, it has to be acknowledged that a variety of challenges remain. Some courses with climate change content are cross-listed in more than one school or department. One course is cross-listed in three schools Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and Law and Diplomacy . This offers...

Educational Planning

There are several ways that educational planning can be used to influence the campus emission profile, many of which are unique to each college. For institutions that periodically select overarching themes for the community, climate change is a choice that may motivate faculty to modify course offerings, students to change decisions on turning off their computers, and administrators and staff to reevaluate vulnerability of campus infrastructure. For instance, on campuses with an endowed speaker...

TCI as an Internal Advocate

TCI plays the important role of advocating for climate change issues within the university. Staff and faculty associated with TCI act as advocates in university decisions that affect climate-altering gas emissions, and these decisions take place at many levels in the organization. When TCI was first formed, we set the stage for advocacy efforts by meeting with as many key decision makers as possible. Through this effort, it was possible to introduce TCI and to learn, at an operational level,...

Buildings and Climate Change Action

College and university climate-altering gas emissions result largely from the burning of fossil fuels for heat, hot water, and the generation of electricity. Therefore action for climate change is most effective if addressed in campus facilities including buildings, grounds, central heating and power facilities, water heating, and other building functions. Climate change action will encompass all aspects of university facilities campus planning, including facility and infrastructure planning...

Embrace Systems Thinking

Colleges and universities are complex institutions that have many complex systems operating within them. Some of the systems that are of greatest importance in reducing carbon dioxide emissions include energy generation, distribution, and consumption transportation and buildings. Other heat-trapping gases are associated with coolants, landscaping and agriculture, waste disposal, and use of specialty chemicals. Some of the decision-making systems that influence these important physical systems...

Interdisciplinary Solutions

There are numerous energy solutions that are outside of the energy professional's traditional realm. Climate change activists can be instrumental in bringing these solutions to the table and finding their best applications. Examples include planting landscape trees to provide shading to reduce cooling loads, changing new-building orientation to maximize or minimize a solar exposure and or natural daylight, water conservation to decrease water-heating demand, solar and other alternative fuels,...

Energy Simulation

Creating a mathematical model of how a building will use energy can be a very effective tool for making decisions. However, in order to provide maximum benefit, the model, even in its simplest form, needs to be up and running during the schematic design phase of a building project. Models are decision-making tools that allow you to see the effects and interconnections among various building components and to compare relative merits of choices. While they have a margin of error in predicting...

Large Scale Projects

Large-scale projects such as replacing or upgrading the central heating plant or constructing a high-performance building to replace an existing structure will make an appreciable difference in campus emissions but will require careful planning, long time scales, and both capital and human resources. Most large-scale projects that create opportunities for significant emission reductions will be undertaken because the projects address multiple priorities. For example, new space for life sciences...

Linking Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies

While master plans should create strategies for adapting to the effects of climate change, they are also central to implementing the actions to reduce emissions as well as to finding ways to connect both adaptation and mitigation. For example, an increased reliance on distributed power or on-site generation from combined heat and power see chapter 6 , renewable energy, or alternative fuels may decrease heat-trapping gas emissions and make the university less vulnerable to power outages or storm...