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Hogan to sign environmental pledge March 25

by Richard Veilleux - March 24, 2008

University President Michael J. Hogan on Tuesday, March 25, will officially sign the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (PCC), a document that commits the Storrs campus to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Joining Hogan will be Gina McCarthy, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.

The signing ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. in the North Reading Room of the Wilbur Cross Building. It is open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

“Public universities have a unique opportunity to take leadership in efforts to reduce our society’s ecological footprint,” Hogan says.

“UConn already has a proven track record in environmental sustainability, owing to the energies and expertise of our dedicated faculty, staff, and students.

"Signing the PCC and agreeing to do our part in curbing carbon emissions formalizes our ongoing commitment to playing a leadership role in environmental stewardship.”

UConn discharged approximately 110,000 tons of greenhouse gases in 2006, about 20,000 tons less than in previous years, before the new co-generation plant opened.

The plant, which collects waste heat created by a series of turbines and turns it into steam that is then used for central heating and cooling, is 80 percent efficient.

“By signing the PCC, UConn unites with dozens of our peers and pledges to develop specific action plans, including academic and operational goals, toward a more environmentally sustainable campus,” says Richard Miller, director of environmental policy.

“This commitment reinforces UConn’s position as an environmental leader in researching, demonstrating, and employing technological and behavioral solutions to climate change – the most urgent global environmental challenge of our time.”

The pledge commits signatories to:

  • Initiate development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible;
  • Within two months of signing the document, creating institutional structures to guide the development and implementation of the plan;
  • Within one year, complete a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions (including emissions from electricity, heating, and commuting), and updating the inventory every other year thereafter;
  • Within two years, develop an institutional action plan for becoming climate neutral.

The plan must include a target date for achieving climate neutrality as soon as possible; interim targets for goals and actions that will lead to climate neutrality; actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for all students; actions to expand research or other efforts necessary to achieve climate neutrality; and mechanisms for tracking progress on goals and actions.

While that plan is being developed, the University must also initiate at least two tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gases, several of which have already been implemented at UConn.

These include establishing a policy that new campus construction be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard or equivalent, and encouraging the use of and providing access to public transportation for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

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