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NYU, Johns Hopkins Deliver Climate Action Plans to Slash GHG Emissions

NYUGHGemissionsBoth the New York University (NYU) and the Johns Hopkins University have released climate action plans that set goals for reducing carbon emissions, improving energy efficiency and boosting their use of clean and renewable energy sources.

New York University has a comprehensive strategy to reduce its carbon footprint and improve its overall sustainability as part of its goal to reach carbon neutral status by 2040.

The “Climate Action Plan” (PDF) includes the university’s current gas inventory along with several strategies and projects to mitigate the emissions through the use of cost-effective technologies.

The action plan focuses on four key strategies: to reduce energy intensity (50 percent of its climate neutrality goal), generate and use cleaner energy (30 percent of its goal), generate renewable energy (10 percent of its goal), and reduce or offset remaining emissions (10 percent of its goal).

NYU already has reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 percent over the past three years, from 171,000 MTCE in FY06 to 136,000 MTCE in FY 2009.

The action plan was the result of two recent commitments to mitigate climate change: Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC Climate Challenge, and the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), introduced in 2007.

Under the PlaNYC Climate Challenge, NYU will reduce its GHG emissions per square foot by 30 percent from FY 2006 levels by FY 2017. As part of its ACUPCC commitment, NYU pledges to achieve climate neutrality or net-zero emissions by FY2040.

Projects to meet these goals include upgrading and retrofitting university buildings through efficiency and conservation, generating cleaner on-site power including the upgrade and expansion of its cogeneration power plant that is expected to mitigate 23 percent of NYU’s baseline FY2006 emissions, producing renewable energy including wind and solar technologies, encouraging behavioral changes through expanded environment-related course work and efforts to involve the university community, planning for green building, and offsetting remaining emissions.

The Johns Hopkins University climate action plans call for an investment of more than $73 million in conservation and energy efficiency measures to cut its carbon-dioxide emissions by more than half from projected levels by 2025. The goal is to cut 141,000 metric tons annually in 15 years from an initial reduction of 81,000 metric tons per year.

Projects include lighting fixture and control upgrades, installations of solar power panels and solar hot water equipment, as well as HVAC, electrical, and lab equipment improvements. Other projects will focus on water conservation measures, window replacements and making the buildings more airtight. The university is also building cogeneration plants at both the university’s East Baltimore and Homewood campuses.

The emissions reduction goal is part of the university’s “Implementation Plan for Advancing Sustainability and Climate Stewardship“, which includes strategies for research, education and community outreach in addition to GHG reduction.

Johns Hopkins will also establish an Environment, Sustainability and Health Institute, where faculty members will collaborate on research. The university also will establish a Sustainability House in a to-be-renovated building at the university’s Homewood campus to serve as headquarters for the university’s Office of Sustainability and student environmental groups. It will also be used as a showcase and laboratory for energy conservation techniques and technologies including zero net carbon emissions, storm water capture and reuse, and organic maintenance of the grounds.

The university will also help Baltimore’s and Maryland’s sustainability and climate change efforts. As an example, Johns Hopkins students will be trained to conduct audits at nonprofit organizations in the city and help them determine how to cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

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