The “Green” K-Plan: Toward a Carbon Neutral Campus
Weaver, Samantha L.
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As a signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, Kalamazoo College must undertake a carbon emissions inventory and adopt a carbon neutrality plan within the coming year. It is my hope that this project serves as a stepping stone and significant contribution toward this effort. A carbon emissions inventory was conducted using spreadsheets developed for colleges and universities by the Massachusetts-based organization, Clean Air – Cool Planet. Results showed that through heating and electrical use, K-College released 11,009 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent gas (MTCDE) into the atmosphere in 2006. The project also showed that overall campus energy management has improved over the past decade, particularly since 1995. The carbon neutrality plan involves three approaches: “no-brainer” strategies, which represent no-cost or low-cost efficiency measures that could be implemented immediately; “no regrets” strategies, which imply aggressive efficiency measures requiring potentially significant upfront capital investment; and “no prisoners” strategies, which require commitment from all segments of the campus community. If carbon neutrality is to be achieved, it will require not only capital investment, but commitment from the student population to energy conservation. This project has highlighted the need for better campus metering capabilities to more accurately measure reductions in energy use as the College works toward fulfilling its commitment to climate neutrality.