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Carbon Action Plan and Climate Neutrality

ASU’s Carbon Action Plan

In September 2009, ASU issued a Carbon Neutrality Action Plan, which commits the university to eliminating GHG from building energy sources by 2025, and from all sources by 2035. That plan provided the vision, the commitment, and the overall structure for moving toward fulfillment of the goal.

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ASU and Climate Neutrality

In October 2006, ASU President Michael Crow invited select leaders of higher education to meet at ASU’s Tempe campus, where they formed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The ACUPCC’s purpose is to eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from campus operations, address issues of global climate disruption, promote research and education that will equip society with means to re-stabilize earth’s climate, and provide leadership-by-example on climate issues for the rest of society. Since then, ASU has reduced GHG emissions by 15% while growing one-third in enrollment, and has built the nation’s largest and most complex distributed solar energy system. By June 2014, we’ll have 25 megawatts (MWDC) of solar energy production from 90 systems on five campuses.

By May 2013, ASU had completed an agreement with Ameresco to become strategic partners in achieving climate neutrality for ASU. As part of that agreement, Ameresco agreed to develop a comprehensive GHG emissions reduction strategy, which is due to be delivered to ASU this summer. The emissions reduction plan is a key part of the climate action plan (CAP), which provides more detail about our plan to develop climate-related actions and responses.

ASU’s Climate Action Plan

The climate action plan will include information about each of the important aspects of ASU’s responses to climate disruption:

  • A GHG inventory: a summary of current GHG sources and quantities, and their recent history and trends.
  • An emissions reduction plan: a GHG reduction strategy, which includes plans for energy conservation and efficiency and renewable energy systems development.
  • A vulnerability assessment: a projection of the likely impacts and effects (climatological, ecological, economic and social) of climate change by 2035, our target year to achieve neutrality.
  • An adaption strategy: a discussion of response that ASU and communities in the Valley will need to develop to minimize human distress caused by climate disruption.
  • A vision of regional resilience: a description of community and ecological resilience that we must develop to flourish as climate change poses increasingly difficult challenges.

What can students, employees, contractors, and campus visitors do to help achieve our goal of climate neutrality?

In campus buildings:

  • Use daylighting instead of electrical lighting when you can. Use LED task lighting instead of general lighting.
  • Turn off unused lights, electronic devices, power strips, and appliances.
  • Adapt to and accept ‘conservation’ temperature settings (78° – 80º in the summer, and 66º- 68º in the winter) in campus buildings. Report rooms that are too cool in the summer and too warm in the winter (and other energy inefficiencies) to the numbers below:

    • Tempe campus: 480-965-3633
    • Polytechnic campus: 480-727-1110, or 480-965-3456 after hours
    • West campus: 480-543-3200
    • Downtown Phoenix campus: 602-496-1502
    • Residential Facilities: 480-965-9526

On campus and in your personal life:

  • Eat less meat. Eat locally produced, in-season foods. Avoid buying foods that are produced on other continents and foods produced in hothouses.
  • Weatherize and solarize your home. Buy Energy Star appliances and LED lights. Use multiple setback thermostats. Open your windows in spring and fall. Adapt to ‘conservation’ settings (78° – 80º in the summer, and 66º- 68º in the winter). Consider installing a swamp cooler. Plant shade trees where solar doesn’t work.
  • Walk, bike, train, bus, and carpool. Plan car trips for fuel efficiency. Telecommute, call, email and teleconference when you can. Buy the most fuel efficient car you can afford.
  • Consume less newly manufactured stuff. Reduce, re-use, and recycle. Look for recycled content and products with minimal packaging. Buy locally.

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