The schools of New Hampshire’s university system have joined nearly 300 other colleges and universities around the country to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
The effort, called the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, involves a range of goals from building all new structures to green standards to buying electricity from renewable resources.
The commitment calls for all institutions to create a plan for becoming climate neutral a state in which institutions have no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
Within two months of signing the commitment, institutions must establish a way to develop a plan, and within a year they must complete an inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions. Within two years, institutions must have a plan, including a target date for achieving climate neutrality and goals for including the issue in curriculum or educational experiences for students.
University system schools already have been working to be more energy conscious and efficient.
Plymouth State University is one of the first colleges or universities to earn national recognition for building a new, energy conscious dorm. It also runs numerous environmental research programs and has created an interdisciplinary environmental studies major.
Keene State College began a campus emissions inventory in 2005, has converted all campus diesel vehicles to biodiesel in collaboration with the city of Keene. Since 1996, Keene State has used its President’s Council for a Sustainable Future to advance sustainability programs.
The University of New Hampshire has a greenhouse gas emissions inventory tool that has been adopted by more that 200 colleges and universities across the United States. The university also has a comprehensive Climate Education Initiative that involves students.
Granite State College is forming an environmental advisory committee to integrate sustainable energy practices through the college and curriculum.
“Our presidents, faculty, staff, and students have demonstrated their commitment to a cleaner environment in the classrooms, in the field, and across the campuses for decades, often in groundbreaking ways,” said system Chancellor Stephen Reno. Signing the commitment demonstrates the system’s strong interest in making environment protection an even higher priority, he said.
Other programs already in place or being developed include using electric vehicles, increased use of biodiesel and a project that could use landfill methane gas for energy at UNH.
Information from: Foster’s Daily Democrat, http://www.fosters.com
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