Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, cloud platform company Akamai Technologies and the city of Cambridge, Mass., have agreed to work collaboratively to address climate change issues at the local level.
The groups say they hope to attract additional signatories from the corporate and nonprofit sectors.
The Community Compact for a Sustainable Future lays out a framework for the signatories to work in a more coordinated fashion to tackle sustainability challenges including waste reduction, energy efficiency, climate mitigation and adaptation, water management, renewable energy and green tech incubation.
As an example, it says Harvard and MIT will work with city staff to share sustainable design and green building strategies in new construction and major renovation projects. The universities will also share strategies and research with the city on pilot projects such as the Canaday solar thermal and steam tunnel heat-recovery system that supplies some 60 percent of domestic hot water for all buildings in Harvard Yard, according to the compact.
A steering committee will oversee the collaborative effort by identifying priorities, coordinating work, collecting data, evaluating progress and creating a forum for annual reporting.
Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase are among 10 companies that signed on to an expansion of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Carbon Challenge last month, committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their offices by up to 40 percent in the next 10 years.
US cities and companies can learn sustainability lessons from China’s fast-growing megacities, writes Michael Schmitz, ICLEI USA executive director, in an Environmental Leader blog published last month. For example, in just five years, Chinese planners are building from scratch a city the size of San Francisco for 500,000 people, incorporating building with cutting-edge energy efficiency and sustainable design and a city center that boasts smooth transit and electric vehicles, Schmitz says.
Photo Credit: Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer