Sustainability. at SUNY Empire State College

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1 Sustainability at SUNY Empire State College Executive Summary

2 suny empire state college Sustainability Introduction SUNY Empire State College recognizes the leading role that institutions of higher education play in the movement towards a more environmentally sustainable world. With outreach to more than 20,000 students, 60,000 alumni and 1,500 employees spread across 35 locations throughout New York state and seven different countries, the college has a remarkable opportunity to be an educational and behavioral model essential to promulgating positive change in our communities. The Mission The Environmental Sustainability Committee was created by the college s president in 2010 to advance the strategic plan and the academic plan of the college by engaging in activities that increase the environmental responsibility of the college and promote the theme of environmental sustainability in academics. Our Mandates In 2008, the college joined almost 700 campuses across the nation and Canada and became a signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). In doing so, the president committed the college to achieve climate neutrality. This means that the college is committed to adopt operational procedures and policies that lead to climate neutrality. For purposes of the ACUPCC, climate neutrality is defined as having no net greenhouse gas emissions. incorporate issues of global climate change into curriculum. spread knowledge and awareness of global climate change into the community. As an institution of the State University of New York, the college has the responsibility to further the initiatives defined in the SUNY strategic plan, The Power of SUNY. This plan sets six big ideas for the SUNY system, one of which is SUNY and an Energy Smart New York. With this initiative, the chancellor has called upon all SUNY schools to reduce energy use and increase sustainability education. As a state institution, the college must comply with New York Executive Orders 4, 18 and 111. These orders mandate the college to: reduce waste increase recycling implement green cleaning and integrated pest management follow the state policies on green purchasing and procurement reduce water use in buildings and on grounds eliminate the purchase of plastic water bottles reduce energy use and purchase alternative energy (including vehicles) follow state policies on building energy-efficient buildings s u s t a i n a b i l i t y plan executive summary

3 Plans for the Future The Environmental Sustainability Committee has developed two strategic plans that will drive sustainability efforts forward at the college. The Green Path is the environmental sustainability plan for the college. The Carbon Action Plan was developed to fulfill the ACUPCC by creating a plan to incrementally reduce carbon emissions until the college achieves climate neutrality. The Green Path Goal One Reduce our carbon footprint, reduce waste, and incorporate environmentally responsible behavior into our daily habits and the workplace culture of every center, program and office. The college will: eliminate use of plastic water bottles; drastically reduce the use of plastic, paper and Styrofoam. increase ability to recycle at all centers and units. reduce paper use. reduce car travel performed for the college. reduce energy use at all centers, programs and offices across the state. Goal Two Increase academic offerings related to environmental sustainability. The college will: develop concentration guidelines for environmental studies and environmental science. promote the development of environmental sustainability studies (i.e., learning contracts, online courses and other learning opportunities for students) that meet general education and other expectations in all areas of study. encourage and support the development of more regional residency opportunities. encourage and support the development of more internships, citizen science and other service learning opportunities to give students real-world experiences. work with the area of study groups to encourage the inclusion of environmental literacy/sustainability issues in guidelines for all areas of study. work with the Office of Academic Affairs and the Registrar s Office to make new and current learning opportunities in environmental sustainability easy to find for students interested in the subject. Goal Three Establish a reputation for being a leader in sustainability initiatives in our communities and within higher education. The college will: remain involved in local and national organizations that emphasize environmental sustainability in higher education. increase its presence in local communities. maintain a high profile for the committee within the college and gain a reputation for providing excellent resources to employees and students interested in all facets of environmental sustainability. 2 s u s t a i n a b i l i t y plan executive summary

4 Carbon Action Plan The goal of the carbon action plan is to achieve climate neutrality by reducing the college s carbon footprint to zero. Carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of greenhouse gas given off by an institution, an object, a person or an activity, over a given amount of time. The baseline used for the college s carbon action plan is 5,442 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MT CO 2 e). Commuting 38% Purchased Electricity 26% Directly Financed Travel 23% Scope 1 Losses 9% Scope 2 T and D Losses Solid Waste Direct Transportation 2% 1% 1% SUNY EMPIRE STATE COLLEGE 2010 Carbon Footprint Refrigerants and Chemicals 0% 0 % 20 % 40 % 60 % 80 % 100 % Figure 1: SUNY Empire State College 2010 Greenhouse Gas Emissions National Average National Average 5, Empire State College 0.5 Empire State College 16, ,000 10,000 15,000 20, Total Metric Tons of Carbon Equivalent Per 1,000 sq ft. Per FTE Empire State College National Average Figure 2: Empire State College has a small carbon footprint in comparison to national averages. s u s t a i n a b i l i t y plan executive summary

5 Projections for the future: The college has a low carbon footprint compared to other four-year institutions. However, there is still work to be done. A growing body of students and the projected change in property ownership will increase the college s emissions by 35 percent by It is projected that SUNY Empire State College will have a carbon footprint of 7,335 MT of CO 2 e by 2023, a 35 percent increase over the baseline year ,000 7,000 6,000 5,000 Total Emissions (Metric Tons CO 2 e) Plans for reduction: The carbon action plan outlines strategic initiatives for emissions reduction. Initiatives can be divided into three categories structural measures, changes in integrated technology and behavioral changes. If the college were to implement all of the strategic measures discussed in the plan, an estimated 607 MT of CO 2 e would be saved each year, and 11,872 MT of CO 2 e over the lifetime of the projects. By 2023, this would equal a 10 percent reduction in emissions. 4,000 3,000 2, Year Figure 3: It is projected that SUNY Empire State College will have a carbon footprint of 7,335MT of CO2e by 2023; a 3 percent increase over the baseline year s u s t a i n a b i l i t y plan executive summary

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