Board committee hears sustainability update
In a Board of Visitors committee meeting Wednesday afternoon, University Architect David Neuman presented strategies to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from the University’s 2009 levels.
The University is expected to emit 396,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually by 2025 if emissions continue at current levels. Neuman’s strategy would cut that number by 136,000 tons.
The University’s sustainability efforts, which began in the 1990s, have saved the University $6.7 billion in electrical costs. “Twenty percent of our carbon footprint has been avoided through our conservation efforts over the years,” Neuman said.
Strategies for reducing greenhouse gases include cutting combined heat and power by 25 percent, but 32 percent of the future cuts were labeled “To Be Decided.” “That’s just as it says — we don’t know where it’s coming from,” Neuman said. “It’s got to come from one of the other areas.”
More than half of the University’s greenhouse gas emissions are from electricity, and 32 percent are a result of heating systems.
Neuman’s presentation was the first update on sustainability to the Board since June 2011.
“Energy conservation [is] our biggest success story right now,” he said.